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Department of Engineering

Violin makers at the Department

Violin makers at the Department

Violin makers

A week-long conference and workshop at the Department in September brought together scientists and violin makers to explore the ways in which science can help with understanding, documenting and enhancing the performance of violins.

The meeting was attended by makers (most of them seen in the photograph) from the UK, USA, Sweden, Iceland, France and Germany. The participating scientists covered a similarly wide range of countries, and also of disciplines: departments of mechanical and electrical engineering, computer science, physics, mathematics, psychology and music were all represented, together with medical hearing specialists and scientists from industry. Very intense and rewarding discussions, presentations and experimental sessions filled the week.

The meeting was organised by Professor Jim Woodhouse, who commented: "This meeting highlights the multidisciplinary nature of musical acoustics, and also a culture change which has happened over the last 30 years. Back then, the violin world was much more secretive and the instrument makers who engaged with scientists were regarded as being on the fringes. This time we had some of the world's leading makers in attendance, and we heard top-class research presentations from makers as well as scientists, in roughly equal numbers. Although it has become very hard to attract funding for academic research in this subject, there is a lot of exciting work going on and we all look forward to a follow-up meeting in a year or two."

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