Violin's sound holes

  • Thread starter Icebreaker
  • Start date
  • #1
Does anyone know the relation between integrals and the sound holes on the violin?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
brewnog
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,739
7
Icebreaker said:
Does anyone know the relation between integrals and the sound holes on the violin?

What, the way that the F-holes look like an integral sign?
 
  • #3
Yes. I read somewhere that they were incorporated onto the violin after some violin maker was impressed with calculus. But I can't find the source.
 
  • #4
fourier jr
757
13
james stewart's calculus text has a violin or something on the cover. seeing that cover for the first time was the first time i noticed that. it made me think that math is 'musical' in some (superficial) way, the way it looks on the page or something like that.

edit: on second thought I'm not sure that i believe that. euler was the first to use a stretched-out latin summa for an integral sign (i think) but he was around after the old-school baroque violins were made & they had the same soundholes as later ones. i think that's all true but i may be wrong. if i am wrong i'll of course look like a total bull****ter lol.
 
Last edited:
  • #5
zoobyshoe
6,551
1,287
I should think Mentor Integral would know the history of the symbol, when it first came to be used.
 
  • #6
FredGarvin
Science Advisor
5,088
10
Icebreaker said:
Does anyone know the relation between integrals and the sound holes on the violin?
I have seen papers on vibration analysis of violins in which they discuss the formation of chladni pattern formations at various resonant frequencies. From what I remember, the sound holes seemed to always be enveloped by the nodal lines. They didn't seem to cross them. I am not sure if that is coincidence or not. But by the looks of it, the general envelope of where to put the holes is somewhat driven by the tuning of the top and the "integral" shape came from stylization that was popular in the day. I will have to keep digging on this one. Interesting question.

EDIT: Aquick Google came up with this link:
http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~jw/chladni.html

It doesn't exactly reference a direct expalination, but I think it's a start. I'll have to read the whole thing later.
 
Last edited:
  • #7
If Euler was the first to use the stretched out S, then it was probably the other way around, that Euler used the shape of the violin sound holes. Then again, it could be a coincidence.
 
  • #8
hypatia
1,189
9
I've sent a email to this gentleman. I bet he knows the answer, hope he's not on summer break
http://www.ecu.edu/physics/George.htm [Broken]
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #9
russ_watters
Mentor
21,953
8,988
My professional bass guitarist roommate isn't sure but thinks its stylized based on a treble clef symbol. We think the area of the hole probably matters because it needs to let a certain amount of air move in and out, but other than that the geometry shouldn't matter.
 
  • #10
hypatia
1,189
9
from: Dr. George Bissinger
Professor of Physics
East Carolina University
Howell Science Complex

Hypatia,

I wish I could enlighten you and your folks about this but no one really
knows many details about the origin/originator during the 1500-early
1600 period of many of the things we accept as commonplace today. This
includes f-hole shapes, which are quite variable and certainly not
always f-shaped. In fact modern makers often change proportions to suit
their personal whims - and in some cases this significantly affects the
sound. So seeing integral signs prior to actual integrals is probably a
vapor state pursuit.

George

Thank you for answering George.
 
  • #11
zoobyshoe
6,551
1,287
That's a nice letter.

What, though, does he mean by a "vapor state pursuit"?
 
  • #12
hypatia
1,189
9
The f-hole shapes were made befor the integral, so the pursuit of this is not realistic?

lol Now I wonder if the person who made the integral sign, got it from the violin?

It is a very eye pleaseing shape
 
  • #13
zoobyshoe
6,551
1,287
hypatia said:
The f-hole shapes were made befor the integral, so the pursuit of this is not realistic?
It sounds like a physics term he is using to indicate that there may not be any single actual origin, no one violin or violin maker you could point to and say "Here we have the first, classic violin sound holes."
That's my impression, but I need to know if there is actually such an endeavor in physics as a "vapor state pursuit" and what the attendent difficulties are, to be sure I'm understanding him.
lol Now I wonder if the person who made the integral sign, got it from the violin?
Fourier jr said it's the greek symbol summa, stretched out:
fourier jr said:
euler was the first to use a stretched-out latin summa for an integral sign (i think)
 
Last edited:
  • #14
Jelfish
144
5
zoobyshoe said:
Fourier jr said it's the greek symbol summa, stretched out:

I'm pretty sure summa is latin. Summa, which means "sum," was written with a stretched "s" (the integral sign)
[tex]\smallint \text{VMMA}[/tex] (perhaps something like this?)
while the modern day "s" was used as a terminal "s" (that is, used when the "s" sound ended a syllable). The greeks have something similar: sigma [tex]\sigma[/tex] and terminal sigma [tex]\varsigma[/tex].
 
  • #15
hypatia
1,189
9
well I asked up in the physics threads..maybe someone will help us with "vapor state pursuit".
 
  • #16
GOD__AM
210
0
Sounds like he's saying: trying to relate the f holes to the integral sign is wrong since the holes existed before the sign... Its a fruitless endeavor or a vapor state pursuit. In other words a waste of time.

Another thought may be that since the f-holes were created so long ago that the original reason it was selected has since been lost or changed. Much in the way and story is changed over time after being told many times by many people. Hence the information is in a vapor state.
 
Last edited:
  • #17
hypatia
1,189
9
thanks for the imput :smile:
 
  • #18
zoobyshoe
6,551
1,287
Jelfish said:
I'm pretty sure summa is latin.
"...but, for mine own part, it was greek to me."

Casca in Julius Caesar
Act I, Scene II
by William Shakespeare
 
  • #19
zoobyshoe
6,551
1,287
Jelfish said:
I'm pretty sure summa is latin. Summa, which means "sum," was written with a stretched "s" (the integral sign)
[tex]\smallint \text{VMMA}[/tex] (perhaps something like this?)
while the modern day "s" was used as a terminal "s" (that is, used when the "s" sound ended a syllable). The greeks have something similar: sigma [tex]\sigma[/tex] and terminal sigma [tex]\varsigma[/tex].
Looks like you're more or less right about all this:

Integral Sign -- From MathWorld
Address:http://mathworld.wolfram.com/IntegralSign.html
The stretched out S to mean "summation" is due to Leibnitz.
 
  • #20
zoobyshoe
6,551
1,287
Musical Instrument Q & A: Violin
Address:http://www.oriscus.com/mi/qa/violin.asp

Origins of the violin
Q:I am a violinist and I am interested to know about the history of violin: who was the inventor of the first violin (I suppose the first maker of the violin is unknown.). My sister is a flutist. She is 12 and she is researching about the same thing - the history of violin - for her school. She goes to a French school and therefore she needs this information in French. She tried hard to find the information but she didn't succeed.* Quebec* 1/20/2004
A: This is a complex question that depends on what you define as a true violin. As you suspect, the violin was not so much invented as evolved from precursors. It is widely accepted that the concept of bowed instruments began in the Middle East around 1000 AD. The essential shape we know as a "modern" violin became standard in Italy around 1550, but may have evolved as early as the previous century. At the time there were many variations on bowed instruments (largely classified by whether they were played on the shoulder or on the lrgs - viola da bracchio or viola da gamba), but the violin family eventually took prominence. Among the earliest "great" violin makers beginning from around 1540 were the Amati family: Andrea Amati, his brother Nicolo, and Adrea's sons and grandsons.
 
Last edited:

Suggested for: Violin's sound holes

  • Last Post
Replies
23
Views
602
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
474
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
429
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
252
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
979
Replies
3
Views
526
  • Last Post
Replies
0
Views
901
  • Last Post
Replies
12
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
8
Views
910
Replies
1
Views
952
Top