Mudcat Café message #1687906 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #89392   Message #1687906
Posted By: JohnInKansas
07-Mar-06 - 09:00 PM
Thread Name: Difference in fiddle bows?
Subject: RE: Difference in fiddle bows?
Bert -

The point is that you can have the same weight, and the same longitudinal moment of inertia around the center of gravity with many different distributions of the weight along the length of the bow.

In playing, the immediate rotations of the bow are mostly pivots on or very near to the point of contact of the bow with the string - which is a moving target, and the "feel" of the bow varies with each playing position. Different longitudinal weight distributions that give identical longitudinal moment of inertia *at the cg and identical weight can have very different variations in the perceived inertia, and hence the "feel," at different "points on the bow."

* Remember that the cg doesn't have to be in the middle, and it generally is not at the string, but some variable distance above it.

An additional complication is that the hand motion required for a given angle of pitching motion is much larger when playing near the tip than when near the hand.

The player can "compromise" the feel by playing at the point of string/bow contact where the "leverage" is balanced by "inertia" so it "feels best" for the particular passage being played, but the "preferences" for how to "make it feel right at the point where the player thinks it should feel right" are not simple.

Given a particular bow, you can "measure everything" and possibly could mass produce consistent copies of that particular bow. The set of "things to measure" that you originally suggested is not a sufficient set; but adding a few more things doesn't change the principle.

Unfortunately, only one specific player happens to like that bow, and all of the other players would demand that you do it all over to separately suit each of them.

The naturally occuring variations in "hand crafted" bows provides sufficient variation to permit selections and choices, and the best bow makers have a good instinct for what will satisfy fairly large groups of players.

A line of even the "best" of mass produced bows is unlikely to have sufficient range/variation in properties to satisfy more than a very small segment of the advanced player population because not every player wants the same bow.