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A Question Regarding Resonance
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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Irv
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July 14, 2020 - 6:38 pm
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My mother played on a piano with 96 keys (the conventional has 88).  As far as I know, no music was ever scored for the additional keys, all of which were on the bass end of the instrument.  My understanding was that they were added due to sympathic vibrations for the other keys.

Resonance is achieved from the fractional components of the fundamental tone (1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, and so on).  Due longer strings contribute more, less, or the same as shorter strings in this process? 

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

It is unpleasant to be thought so uncleverly unclean and capable of poisoning a whole city.—Sir Walter Scott

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Gordon Shumway
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July 15, 2020 - 2:10 am
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Mathematically they may all contribute the same, but part of that would involve some  sophistry about infinitessimals.

Longer strings probably contribute more, as the higher strings are stiffer, but of course the ones contributed by the higher strings tend to be inaudible as their pitch is so much higher, hence high strings sound more like sine waves. Also where the hammers hit will affect things. If the hammers hit the higher strings closer to their middles, then it might produce fewer harmonics.

And it is said that we can't hear the fundamentals of the lower strings, we construct them from the overtones.

Andrew

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ELCB
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July 15, 2020 - 2:37 am
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Irv -Hmm Thinking Here Smiley

 I remember being surprised upon first playing my 5-string violin just how much the C string contributed to the sound when I wasn't even playing on that string.  Thinking, "I would miss out on this if I had a bought a regular violin"!

Now, I swear I notice even more resonance across ALL my strings after I just changed out that C for a different one.

No difference in length of string... maybe we hear the longer wavelength differently?  I think we "feel" longer wavelengths more.

I regret not studying more about sound waves.  I've always been drawn to waves/ripples of all kinds - very evident in most of the artwork I created with glass (after my time in the military & before my health issues).  Wave forms/edges, wave/ripple textures, role of light & color, even water... and I had been wanting to incorporate sound waves because of my love of music (and what about ripples in time?).

Sorry, I digress...

Gordon Shumway - sorry, I didn't see your post.

 

- Emily

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Gordon Shumway
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July 15, 2020 - 2:47 am
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Of course a piano's strings are damped, so in theory the bass strings won't contribute any true sympathetic sound, just possible muddiness because the damping is limited (I can't even remember what a piano sounds like - these things aren't programmed into electric pianos!).

Andrew

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ELCB
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July 15, 2020 - 2:58 am
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Gordon Shumway - you are forgetting about using the pedals... all the strings would be allowed to vibrate sympathetically.

 

- Emily

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Gordon Shumway
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July 15, 2020 - 3:04 am
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A good pianist is sparing with the pedals, otherwise everything really will sound like mud!

I grant you may have a point, but an 88-key piano has more than enough such "resonance" with the pedal down. 8 more won't add to it, and if the pedal is used too much, those extra 8 keys will be the straw that broke the camel's back!

Narciso Yépes played on a 10-string guitar for the resonance of the extra 4 bass strings (their tuning was odd - you'll have to Google it), but that was a different kettle of fish - a guitar's 6 strings offer a much more limited range of sympathetic resonance than a piano's 88 (pretending there's only one string per note)

Andrew

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ELCB
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July 15, 2020 - 3:25 am
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Irv, Gordon Shumway - okay, now I'm really curious - why 96 keys?

Here's what I found!

https://www.pianistmagazine.co.....and-piano/

 

- Emily

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JohnBAngel
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July 15, 2020 - 12:12 pm
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I've been researching Carleen Hutchins and her contributions to the stringed instrument world and the Violin Octet family of instruments. She spent many years studying the acoustical science behind the sounds we hear on our "axes". I would be so bold as to suggest that Fiddlerman give some consideration to a trial-basis construction of some of the Violin Octet family of instruments. Don't know if there would be a market for them, but I would love to do a side-by-side comparison with these instruments against standard instruments. Resonance and harmonics- the search for tone is never-ending.

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Irv
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July 15, 2020 - 12:38 pm
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@JohnBAngel and others.  Yo Yo Ma used a Hutchins viola when he recorded the Bela Bartok Viola Concerto (The New York Album).  I believe it was considered blasphemous at the time by viola performers, but he won a Grammy for the album.  

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

It is unpleasant to be thought so uncleverly unclean and capable of poisoning a whole city.—Sir Walter Scott

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cid
July 15, 2020 - 1:10 pm
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Only goes to show you that just because something has always been done a certain way decades or centuries ago, something has been used decades or centuries ago, etc, does not mean others cannot do it differently, or use something else, or that it is wrong to do so. I am so one to not follow the crowd. 🤪

Or to put it more simply. There is more than one way to fix a potato. (The other phrase is cruel to animals. 😺)

Viola Time! 

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Irv
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July 17, 2020 - 1:39 pm
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@cid and @JohnBAngel , and others.  I had a thought, which might be of use to someone.

A viola should have a body length of about 20 inches.  Carleen Hutchins never made a viola of this length, but one of her violin octet was very close.  

A 1/8 cello with an extended tail pin and suitable viola strings could be used as a full acoustic sized viola, using existing instrument moulds and patterns.  Obviously, it would need to be played as if a cello.  Obtaining strings the required length might be a problem.  I do not see any problems with the physics.  

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

It is unpleasant to be thought so uncleverly unclean and capable of poisoning a whole city.—Sir Walter Scott

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cid
July 17, 2020 - 1:43 pm
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Funny, @Irv My husband took one of my cheapo 16" viola and put am end pin and cello strings on it. We did that in case my daughter and two little granddaughters visited. It works pretty good for a little cello. He ordered the little endpin and popped it in. I can't remember what, if anything, he had to do.

Viola Time! 

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Irv
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July 17, 2020 - 2:02 pm
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@cid .  Cello strings on a viola would cause a lot more strain than viola strings on a cello.  I would think that the base of the instrument could rest on the thighs.  Without trying it, I am not quite sure about the ergonomics.  

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

It is unpleasant to be thought so uncleverly unclean and capable of poisoning a whole city.—Sir Walter Scott

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cid
July 17, 2020 - 5:17 pm
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Irv said
@cid .  Cello strings on a viola would cause a lot more strain than viola strings on a cello.  I would think that the base of the instrument could rest on the thighs.  Without trying it, I am not quite sure about the ergonomics.  

  

I don't think there is an issue with this particular one. It is only meant to give my granddaughters, 2 and 4 something to play with, in case they ever get here while still young, highly unlikely. It would be the right size for them for a few years. But, they will probably not get out this way.

It does not need to be on the thigh. It is hard to play a cello with it on your thigh. You can't balance it. Well, the average person can't. I am sure there is a video out there somewhere with someone doing it. The cello rests on the endpin properly between the legs and rests on the chest (in a simple description ). Having it on your thigh against the chest, simply does not work. It wobbles, etc. I tried it before we went the route of removing the chinrest and adding the endpin. It was just done for fun.

It was meant to give my granddaughters the feel of a cello, not to be played on their thighs. No technical mumbo jumbo with this. 😁 It played quite nicely, though, when I tried it, and is quite cute. We put it away, for now.

Viola Time! 

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Irv
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July 17, 2020 - 5:28 pm
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It looks like viola strings of some manufacturers come in an “extra long” length with a playing distance of about 15-3/4” (d’addario), so obtaining strings should not be much of an obstacle.  

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

It is unpleasant to be thought so uncleverly unclean and capable of poisoning a whole city.—Sir Walter Scott

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ELCB
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July 17, 2020 - 5:46 pm
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So Irv, just where were you going in this thread?  Were you just curious or are you actually working on a project?

 

- Emily

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Irv
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July 17, 2020 - 7:10 pm
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Hi @ELCB .  Another poster mentioned the possibility of making instruments along a pattern originally created by Cathleen Hutchins.  From that, I began to think it possible to create an acoustically superior viola starting with a “standard” sized 1/8 cello and recorded those thoughts here.  

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

It is unpleasant to be thought so uncleverly unclean and capable of poisoning a whole city.—Sir Walter Scott

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ELCB
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July 17, 2020 - 7:16 pm
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Irv - I read all that, just wasn't sure if you'd already embarked on a project or not.  Not thinking of a wider fingerboard and a few extra low strings?

Very exciting!dancing

- Emily

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JohnBAngel
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July 19, 2020 - 10:08 pm
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Irv,

Going back to your original post on resonance, it is possible that you have asked a question that is not that easy to answer. I have been looking around on the internet and it seems that there is a lot of information to sift through. My opinion right now is that the longer strings would contribute more sympathetic resonance than the shorter strings because more fractional tones would be available in our (human) sonic frequencies. There may be the same number of overtones on a higher string, however, the range may extend beyond our capacity to hear it. It is possible that something like this would drive a dog crazy, or any other creature that can hear ranges higher than humans.

I have noticed that my dogs react ambitiously when I play my harmonicas and we do harmonica jams regularly. They do not respond in this fashion to my stringed instruments. I think it may be due to overtones at higher frequencies.

I am going to look around some more but I am pretty sure that you have it figured out correctly. Take a look at the Wikipedia information about resonance- I found it interesting.

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Irv
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July 19, 2020 - 10:36 pm
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@JohnBAngel and others.  We had pets growing up but I do not remember any having discomfort when she played.  I remember my grandfather tuned the piano on alternate weeks and the lower keys had a quite visceral quality, more felt than actually heard.  Each key had several strings (I think 3 each), which needed to be slightly out of phase with each other but not enough to beat.  

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

It is unpleasant to be thought so uncleverly unclean and capable of poisoning a whole city.—Sir Walter Scott

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