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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 6:03 pm 
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Hi there;

Hoping someone can point me in the right direction. My daughter (grade 9 junior high school, age fourteen) is working up proposals for a science project. We both play flute and whistle, but her main instrument is fiddle, and one of the ideas we are playing with is comparing three bows on the same fiddle (wood, graphite, and fibreglass). The thought at this point is to fix the fiddle in place, and used notched wood saddles to establish a fixed plane for the bottom of the bow (the horsehair). Looking at effects on pitch, volume, differences in the spectra, whatever else we can think of. Maybe a subjective component also to do with tone. if she goes in this direction, we would be looking for software that is free, capable, and easy to use......her project, not mine.....reckon as I know very very little in this area I won't be able to take it over and become 'science project dad'. We just upgraded her bow a bit, and had to choose between materials, so we are interested in the topic anyway......she plays fiddle, but is also joining a local amateur orchestra this year where her teacher is concertmaster so she'll have to start thinking 'violin'.

Any recommendations for PC software along these lines? I've had a look and am overwhelmed, and would prefer this to be about focusing on the science rather than on evaluating a dozen software programs. Thanks for any info.

Edited to fix an unfinished sentence about a fixed plane for the bow.

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Last edited by Adrian W. on Wed Sep 24, 2014 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 7:04 pm 
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An interesting project. :thumbsup: Yes, without a de facto leader for this kind of software, sifting through packages can be a chore.

No expert here, but you might want to look at the free audio software from the Bioacoustics Research Program at the Cornell University Ornithology Lab: Raven Lite, or Canary. They're intended originally for birdsong analysis, but they're general sound laboratories featuring multiple display formats - including spectrograms for studying tone and formants. And with luck, your daughter might be able to elicit some interesting support from her fellow scientists at Cornell. :-)

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/brp/software

I've played a bit with Raven Lite, but not enough to say anything intelligent. And I'm sure others here will be along with other good suggestions. For example, I forget if Audacity includes spectrograms.

Good luck!

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 7:22 pm 
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Thanks MT. Will look into it for sure.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 4:38 pm 
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Audacity can do spectrograms, but I have not spent any time using them. One advantage might be all the online support available for Audacity.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:39 am 
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Sonic Visualizer is the tool you need.

http://www.sonicvisualiser.org/

It's really cool, and open source.

The biggest difference in bows is resonance. That might be tough to spot in a visual analysis.

Be aware that unless you have an acoustically treated room that very minor differences in position make really noticeable differences in recordings -- all the more so if you're looking at the sound, instead of listening. You can get really weird comb filter effects and all sorts of stuff. You can reduce this by putting the microphone nearer to the fiddle -- you will get more fiddle and less room that way.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 3:00 pm 
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Great info guys; thank you. All my bookmarks to C&F have stopped working for some reason so I had assumed there were problems with the site......came in the old fashioned way and there it all was, up and running. Will let you know how it turns out.

Adrian

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