How Banjo Works

How Banjo Works

The acoustic properties of the banjo have been subjected to very little scientific study. The few studies that exist have used the five-string banjo. Dickey used a structural dynamics model to simulate the effects of features such as loss factor, head tension, bridge mass, and string excitation location on qualities such as loudness, brightness, and […]

The Science Behind Cello

The Science Behind Cello

The violoncello, or cello, is a member of the violin family of string instruments, but it is distinctly different from the violin. Its strings are tuned to C2, G2, D3, and A3, an octave below the viola and a twelfth (octave plus a fifth) below the violin. Although the strings vibrate at one-third the frequency […]

Kinematics of the Bowed String

Kinematics of the Bowed String

As the bow is drawn across the strings of a violin, the string appears to vibrate back and forth smoothly between two curved boundaries, much like a string vibrating in its fundamental mode. However, this appearance of simplicity is deceiving. Over 100 years ago, von Helmholtz (1877) showed that the string more nearly forms two […]

History of The Violin

History of The Violin

History of the violin starts in Italy in the early 1500s. While not much is yet known about the instrument’s prior development, European forebears include the rebec and the Renaissance fiddle, which themselves evolved from instruments found in the ancient Eastern world. The violin brought together in a particularly happy way features seen in a […]

How Portuguese Guitar Works

How Portuguese Guitar Works

When referring to Portuguese traditional music, fado inevitably comes to mind. In this particular style of Portuguese music a singer is accompanied by two instruments: a classical guitar (more commonly known as viola) and a pear-shaped plucked chordophone, with six courses of double strings – the Portuguese guitar. The characteristic sonority of this instrument is […]