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Violin

The O-Bow from Dr Dylan Menzies

Have you ever yearned to play a violin like Leila Josefowicz or Paul Zukofsky but can't get beyond annoying scratchy squeals? Dr Dylan Menzies of the De Montfort University in Leicester, U.K., says that his O-Bow musical bow controller is much easier to master. A player selects notes from a bank of recorded violin sounds using a keyboard while the bowing hand strokes a traditional violin bow over an optical sensor. The result is pleasantly realistic.  Read More

By twisting thousands of strands together, a Japanese researcher has managed to form worki...

Spider silk is turning out to be a remarkably versatile material. Aside from having a higher heat conductivity than any other organic matter and proteins for inserting genes into cells, strings from a spider have also been found to have a very high tensile strength. One researcher in Japan has studied this property of spider silk for decades, and recently unveiled a new application for it by weaving together thousands of strands of spider filaments and using them as violin strings.  Read More

The i Violin display at CES

Often viewed as works of art, violins and other string instruments are not uncommonly displayed in the home. One Chinese company is turning a number of violins and other string instruments into speakers, so the display is functional. Instruments used to make the speakers, which also include bass and other string selections, are made by Hua Xing String Instruments in Guangzhou, China. A driver is inserted into the instrument, and the resonance within the resulting ViolinSpeaker is used to produce and project sound.  Read More

Scientists are developing a method of treating wood with fungus, so that violin-makers cou...

Earlier this week, we brought you the story of a radiologist and two violin-makers, who used computed tomography (CT) imaging to create a copy of a 1704 Stradivarius violin. The instrument that they produced was almost an exact replica of the original, as far as the shape, thickness and volume of its wooden parts was concerned. As one of our readers pointed out, however, much of the tonal quality of Stradivari's instruments was likely due to the microstructure and resonance characteristics of the wood of which they were made, caused by the growing conditions at the time. Well, it turns out that someone is working on reproducing that aspect of the violins, too.  Read More

Photograph comparing the original Stradivari Betts violin with the carved plate of the rep...

Almost three centuries after Antonio Stradivari's death he remains the greatest luthier of all times, with roughly 650 out of 1000 violins of his making still testifying to his exquisite craftsmanship. As many of the surviving instruments adorn museums and private collections, playing a Stradivarius violin is a privilege reserved for few and envied by many. But this may soon change thanks to a radiologist and two violin makers who decided to harness computed tomography (CT) imaging and special manufacturing techniques to create a reproduction of a 1704 Stradivarius violin.  Read More

Gigiway's Piano and Violin Learning Pen

Point the Piano and Violin Learning Pen from Gigiway at notation in a music book and it will either play the piece through its built-in speaker or repeat and re-repeat a chosen passage and tell you what all those complicated-looking symbols mean. Budding musicians can slow down the playback speed until they are ready to play at full pelt, activate the digital metronome and even compare tones to make sure their chosen instrument is in tune.  Read More

Still in concept, the squidolin – named on account of its squid-like appearance – is a sel...

“I love the sound of the violin,” explains Carlos Mendez. “Since I was a kid, I wanted to learn how to play it. But born in a poor country such as Nicaragua, my parents couldn't afford lessons.” It was this childhood affection for the stringed instrument that encouraged the young industrial designer to use part of his final project at the Art Center College of Design in Pasedena, California, where he graduated with honors in product design, to come up with an affordable way of learning the violin. So was born the concept of the “squidolin”.  Read More

Stradivarius for sale

February 18, 2008
Stradivarius for sale

February 19, 2008 Violins created by Antonio Stradivarius have, in the eyes of collectors and instrumental experts, never been bettered. Hailed for their superlative tonal quality and superior craftsmanship, owning a Stradivarius instrument has over the centuries been an obsessive ambition for many players. With only 650 Stradivari instruments in existence today, the news that a violin by the world’s most celebrated craftsman is for sale will be music to collectors and performers ears alike. A mystery however hangs over this remarkable instrument …  Read More

Exploring the future of the violin

July 24, 2006 One glance at a Ted Brewer violin leaves one in no doubt whether he is a maker of traditional musical instruments. He freely acknowledges that with a world of changing possibilities, it is his duty to explore applying new materials, technology, design and his passion for crafting beautiful instruments to explore the future of the violin. Currently Brewer produces three models at his Rotherham, U.K. workshop – the customised individually produced Crossbow (as used by Vanessa Mae (video here)) and Hades and the new Vivo2. Ted handcrafted just 25 instruments a year until massive market demand forced a need to look to greater throughput and he began to explore new production methods for his new vivo2 line, which is now sold by selected stockists. Instead of hand-carving his instruments from acrylic block, he took full advantage of the capabilities of GE Plastics' Lexan Visualfx special effects resin to add some stunning visual impact at the same time as moving to injection molding. The use of mainly transparent (mixed with blue and violet) special effects resin also allowed Brewer Violins to incorporate a special illumination feature: the Vivo2 violin has a built-in sound-to-light capability using two vertical banks of super-bright white LEDs. Light pulses along the length of the instrument to complement the music. The Crossbow can be heard here, the Hades can be heard here, and the Vivo2 can be heard here and here.  Read More

The Electric Violin

March 26, 2006 The violin is one of the oldest of instruments with roots going back 7000 years, arriving in its current form 500 years ago. So classically trained musician Tricia Ho felt that it was time to redesign the classical instrument with 21st century ergonomics and an interchangeable frame system that allow the player to customise the violin to suit their style and reduce musculoskeletal disorders in player’s necks and shoulders. “Coming from a background of classical violin training I have many friends who experienced problems gripping a traditional violin”, said Ho, a student at the University of New South Wales.  Read More

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