Perception of violin soundpost height differences

Lei Fua, Claudia Fritzb and Gary Scavonea

aComputational acoustic modeling laboratory, CIRMMT, McGill University
bInstitut d'Alembert - LAM, Sorbonne Université / CNRS

Monday, September 16, 2019 from 19:40 to 20:00

in Summer Theater

Abstract :
This experiment explores how changes in soundpost height affect the perceptual qualities of the violin and whether there is a threshold of change below which players do not perceive differences. A violin installed with a height-adjustable carbon soundpost was employed. The experiment was designed as a sequence of playing tests. An experimenter was present to change the soundpost height. Thirteen professional violinists and six luthiers participated. The experiment involved two phases. During the first phase, subjects played and described their feelings about the violin with different soundpost settings in order to find their optimal soundpost height. During the second phase, the experimenter randomly increased, decreased or did not change the soundpost height in ten trials within a range of approximately ±0.1 mm around their optimal height. Subjects were asked to play the violin for each trial and compare it with the previous setting, to decide whether they were the same or different. Initial results indicate that each subject’s optimal soundpost height varies within an interquartile range of 0.3mm and the smallest height variation that could be recognized above chance level is about 0.04mm.

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