Sound Analyse intro

Violin sound analysis

The tone we hear consists of the root (keynote) and various overtones. Together they determine the timbre.

Using a sound analysis program on the computer, you can split a tone in the root and overtones. In the graph below you can see that. The root is here a C of 262 Hz. The first overtone is an octave higher. Each purple peak represents an overtone. The further to the right the higher this tone sounds. The higher the peak, the louder it sounds. Furthermore, you see a black line that connects the tops of the peaks as well as possible.


Based on many measurements it appears that a good sounding violin has the following properties:

  1. The keynote is louder than the overtones. The left peak is the highest.
  2. The strength -or loudness- of the overtones decreases regularly. (The peaks end close to the drawn black line)
  3. The violin also sounds good in the treble (above 10,000 Hz). This can not be seen in this example.
  4. All 4 strings sound about the same loud.

Good sounding is not always the same as beautiful sounding. For example, some people prefer a sonorous sounding Guarneri del Gesù. The other prefers a more clear Stradivarius sound.

So far the short version. In sound analysis extended you will find a slightly more extensive version.