The bowed string

University dissertation from Institutionen för talöverföring och musikakustik

Abstract: Of the many waveforms the bowed string can assume, theso-called "Helmholtz motion" (Helmholtz 1862) gives the fullestsound in terms of power and overtone richness. The developmentof this steady-state oscillation pattern can take manydifferent paths, most of which would include noise caused bystick-slip irregularities of the bow-string contact. Of thefive papers included in the thesis, the first one shows, notsurprisingly, that tone onsets are considered superior when theattack noise has a very limited duration. It was found,however, that in this judgment thecharacterof the noise plays an important part, as thelistener?s tolerance of noise in terms of duration isalmost twice as great for "slipping noise" as for "creaks" or"raucousness" during the tone onsets. The three followingpapers contain analyses focusing on how irregular slip-sticktriggering may be avoided, as is quite often the case inpractical playing by professionals. The fifth paper describesthe triggering mechanism of a peculiar tone production referredto as "Anomalous Low Frequencies" (ALF). If properly skilled, aplayer can achieve pitches below the normal range of theinstrument. This phenomenon is related to triggering wavestaking "an extra turn" on the string before causing thestring?s release from the bow-hair grip. Since transverseand torsional propagation speeds are both involved, twodifferent sets of "sub-ranged" notes can be produced this way.In the four last papers wave patterns are analysed andexplained through the use of computer simulations.Key words:Key words:Bowed string, violin, musicalacoustics, musical transient, anomalous low frequencies,Helmholtz motion