The Chemistry of the Violin

Introduction

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The violin is an orchestral instrument that uses the vibration of strings that echo throughout the instrument through the f-holes to make different sound effects.  I chose the violin because I like to not only play it but I am enticed by the sound of the different strings and how the sounds deepen from within.  No one stops to think about all that goes into the making/playing of this instrument, so I decided I would.

Composition of ...

The Scroll: Placed at the top of the pegbox, usually in a curl at the top. Usually made of flamed maple.

The Tuning Pegs/Peg Box: Below the scroll this is where the strings connect and are usually tuned. Usually made of ebony, rosewood, or boxwood.

The Nut: The connector between the peg box and fingerboard. Usually made of ivory.

The Neck: The long part that ticks out from the body of the instrument. Where the strings of the violin sit. usually made of maple, or ebony.

The Fingerboard: The part of the neck that is glued to the body of the instrument. Made of maple and ebony.

The Bridge: A curved piece of wood towards the end of the instrument that separates the strings, so the strings can be played individually. Made of any wood

The Tailpiece/Endpin: This is where the strings attach at the end of the violin. The small button on the butt of the instrument holds it all together. Made of ebony and pernambuco.


Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

Ebony and Maple

How: The maple wood is usually used for the back, ribs, neck, and scroll of the violin. Ebony is used in substitution for maple.

What: Maple and Ebony are types of woods usually used in instrument making. Maple after a long types is stripped of the shine and long time use. Ebony is known for the longtime shine and use.

When: Maple and Ebony are used whenever there is a instrument creation. Even in band reeds are made of maple or ebony.

Why: Those who create instruments want only the best, which is ebony and maple. This type of wood can be considered expensive in violin making so others may turn to cheaper wood such as rosewood.

Where: These types of wood are used all over the instrument and all over the world. The violin is an instrument well known everywhere in the world since it was one of the world's first ever recorded instrument.


Chemistry's Role

The two main components used in the violin are all naturally occurring.  Wood grows and is not made by humankind.  The maple and ebony, two most used woods, are specifically chosen for the air in-between splints and how the sound will travel through the strings, wood, and out the f-holes.

Background Research

The violin is a very slow beautiful process. Starting with just a tree, ebony maple or many other tree options, cut to perfection and let out to dry for years.  Once the drying process is over the contractor will shape the violin in one of four ways.  The contractor will cut and glue the ribs to the sides and to the back.  The neck of the violin is glued on with pegs and the strings are tuned to the instrument speculations.

Resources

http://music.stackexchange.com/questions/8246/does-the-kind-of-wood-used-in-making-a-violin-affect-its-sound

Talks about the woods used in violins

http://www.lancastersymphony.org/portals/0/docs/edresc/instfeat/string_inst_violinhistory.pdf

Info on the first ever recorded violin and how it was made

http://illumin.usc.edu/73/the-violin-the-art-behind-the-sound

Different sound effects of wood

What wood was used for different parts of instrument

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violin

What the violin consists of

http://creation.com/the-timeless-art-of-violin-making-a-brief-history

What tools are used for the violin parts

http://www.chemistryviews.org/details/ezine/2058533/Chemical_Secrets_of_the_Violin_Virtuosi__Part_1.html

More on sound of violin


About the Author
Kalazaya Cotter is a junior at senior high school. She enjoys learning about the brain and the science behind it. She will attend montana state university to pursue the dream of a future in psychology.  When Kalazaya is not working, playing soccer with friends, or volunteering for her church; she is practicing her violin for the philharmonic orchestra, working hard to keep her honor roll, or just hanging with her family.
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