#04 An Analysis of the Tailpiece or How To Choose The Right Material

The choice of setting up a tailpiece on a cello gives very different results in the sound. It can affect the balance or richness of tone, as well as the ease of sound emission.

Understanding the contribution of the tailpiece to the overall tone is the first goal of this study, and as a result, it helps the luthier in his choice of set-up, and to optimize the instrument.

 We compared several set-up, changing only the wood of the tailpiece. After a qualitative study of the perception of the sound of the instrument, we looked for a link with acoustic measurements.

 The recording of a scale for each tailpiece set-up allowed the study of the time envelope, the sound spectrum of the instrument, and the spectrum of the tailpiece vibrations.

  Finally, the modal analysis of each tailpiece made it possible to specify the mechanical behavior of their own resonances, as well as the values ​​of the dynamic markers which are the modulus of elasticity and the Quality factor linked to sound damping.

Correlations appeared between the perceptual sound classification of these assemblies, and the mechanical qualities of the wood species used.

 The choice of the tailpiece, made by the luthier, can thus be guided by using the preliminary study of its properties.

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#03 Tailpiece seems to be "transparent", invisible as long as it works...

The bridge, positioned right in the middle of the instrument, is the center of acoustical gravity. It produces the sound, so it is normal that violin makers pay a lot of attention both to the conception and practical realization of the bridge. The cutting of the bridge, repeated over and over again, opens the way to a process of experimentation and, over the years, violin makers have developed some personal recipes. A bridge carries the maker's individual touch, and the sense of his or her craft, in an attempt to bring the instrument to the best of its possibilities.

Read more: #03 Tailpiece seems to be "transparent", invisible as long as it works...

#01 The cello tailpiece

The cello tailpiece:
how it affects the sound and response of the instrument.
Eric FOUILHE1; Giacomo GOLI2; Anne HOUSSAY3; George STOPPANI4.

1. Laboratory of Mechanics and Civil Engineering, University Montpellier 2, CNRS .
2. Researcher at DEISTAF, University of Florence
3. Musée de la Musique, cité de la musique, Paris
4. Violin maker, acoustician researcher, Manchester
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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#02  Acoustics : The Cello endpin

The role of the cello has progressed, from the simple rythmical bass, the continuo, to a "singing" position. Accessories have changed a lot: strings, endpins and finetuners contribute to a more comfortable playing position, unbeaten and unrivalled in power and virtuosity.

Read more: #02  Acoustics : The Cello endpin