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Re: AUDITORY Digest - 31 Jan 2004 to 1 Feb 2004 (#2004-31)

Georg Essl writes (in part):
> Finally let me quote another sentence from the SciAm article that started the
>discussion. It contains also the sentence:
>"Overtones are what distinguish a Stradivarius from an ordinary violin;
>they add richness to the sound."
>I find this wording confusing, because it suggests that an ordinary violin
>lacks overtones and that this is the defining quality parameter. Of course
>we know that to be nonsensical and I don't think that this is what they
>mean to say. Maybe the danger of too much simplification in

Yes, this is another musical analogy from that article (Sci Am, Feb., 2004)
which doesn't quite work. Of course, the most lowly violin in the world
HAS overtones or partials. What might distinguish a poor violin from a
Strad is its spectral envelope. But there are also more subtle factors,
such as how the spectrum varies with time. (Otherwise, we could turn a
mediocre violin into a Strad using a spectrum shaper.) While I've never
heard that a Strad has a unique spectrum, I have heard that Strads and
other great ancient violins "respond" better to the violinist's