Quantum Physics Research Sheds Light on Expressivity in Your Violin Playing

Part of playing and performing any piece of music well is being able to enable others to feel and experience the emotions of a piece, as well as simply enjoying the sound, the experience of the instrument itself, and sometimes the spectacle.

Vibrato

Vibrato is one way in which violinists can put expression and mood into the ‘voice’ of their instrument, and help facilitate sound projection. It is often used to mimic the liveliness and colourful expressivity of the human voice.  The up-down oscillation in pitch can enhance the quality of a note, and help make the emotional connection with listeners.

Understanding The Mechanics of Vibrato

In new research, Scientists at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have used a method associated with quantum physics known as the ‘Filter Diagonalisation Method (FDM)’ to help shed light on how the mechanics of vibrato work.

 

Why Use This Method of Study?

In short, the sheer speed of oscillations (4-8 cycles per second or with a period of 125-250 milliseconds per cycle) makes it difficult to study using other, less accurate methods.

Why Study It At All?

The researchers hope to gain a better understanding of the nuances that performers introduce to music and the logic behind them. This more scientifically in-depth, and informed knowledge could then be used teachers to achieve the ‘perfect’ vibrato, assist sound artists in making more natural sounding vibrato effects in audio production, as well as enabling researchers to map stylistic trends in vibrato use across cultures and time.

Musical Signals

The researchers used the quantum physics methods because of the anticipated mathematical similarities between the resonances of music signals and those of atoms and molecules.

Findings

In reality, the scientists found that because harmonics in musical signals oscillate with time, they can be even more complicated than their quantum counterparts. The scientists reported that, as a result of the research, we are one step closer to understanding the mechanics of music communication.

Getting The Best Expression Out Of Your Instrument

The method of producing great expression and great tone i.e. how a person plays is only part of the battle.  A well-maintained instrument that is set up well, and plays well, can help the player and the listener get so much more out of what is being played.  Some violins have very special and unique tones, and skilled violin experts can help to bring out the best instruments.

The Art And The Science of Violin Maintenance, Restoration, and Repair

Here at the Stoke Newington workshop of Bridgewood & Neitzert, we are fully equipped and staffed by expert craftsmen. Our staff are very experienced and are ready to undertake a full range of repairs and restorations, both common and not so common, on violins and all stringed musical instruments. Give us a call at 020 7249 9398 contact us online.

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