“I expected to find more Italian vowels, what experts call the ‘Old Italian’ sound actually has the mark of foreign languages,” Nagyvary confirms.
Nagyvary has held for decades that the great Italian violin makers, Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesù, produced instruments with a more human-like tonal quality than any others made at the time. To prove his theory, he persuaded the famed violinist Itzhak Perlman to record a scale on his violin, a 1743-dated Guarneri, during a 1987 concert appearance in San Antonio.
For the required comparison, Nagyvary asked Metropolitan Opera soprano Emily Pulley, a former College Station resident, to record her voice singing vowels in an operatic style.
His paper is here (not firewalled). I suspect it will spark some interest, but not settle very much. The old instruments often sound wonderful in the right hands and have proven to be incredible investments.
A Comparative Study of Power Spectra and Vowels in Guarneri Violins and Operatic Singing
Abstract—This paper is the first of a planned series aiming to characterize what could be viewed as standards of excellence in the tone quality of violins played note for note by a world-class player. Here we begin with the most outstanding item in our data bank, the analysis of the Guarneri del Gesù “ex-Sauret”, played by its owner Itzhak Perlman in a 2-octave chromatic scale. The second violin analyzed was the del Gesù “ex-Ole Bull”. The tone quality of these violins is discussed in terms of their power spectra and similarities with those of the female singing voice. We have used a method of speech analysis, LPC with Praat, to determine the formants of vowels sung by a Metropolitan Opera soprano and those of the two violins. All the low notes of the voice and violins were then placed in a form of the IPA vowel diagram designed by Pfitzinger, whereby the vowels could be identified. Each violin has a characteristic distribution of vowels in the Pfitzinger plot, which can serve as identification and provide a basis for quality assessment. Some of the vowels are stable, others have a diphthong character. It appears that famous Cremonese instruments produce notes that gravitate toward certain type of vowels, implying that old masters could have used vowel identification as a means of quality assurance. We suggest that the user-friendly methods described here would be a useful supplement for makers and players in evaluating the quality of their own violins.
Recent research clarifies not only what type of music is best suited to a workout, but also how music encourages people to keep exercising. Distraction is one explanation. The human body is constantly monitoring itself. After a certain period of exercise—the exact duration varies from person to person—physical fatigue begins to set in. The body recognizes signs of extreme exertion—rising levels of lactate in the muscles, a thrumming heart, increased sweat production—and decides it needs a break. Music competes with this physiological feedback for the brain's conscious attention. Similarly, music often changes people's perception of their own effort throughout a workout: it seems easier to run those 10 miles or complete a few extra biceps curls when Beyoncé or Eminem is right there with you.
"Given that exercise is often tiresome, boring and arduous, anything that relieves those negative feelings would be welcome," Karageorghis explains. The benefits of distraction are most pronounced during low- to moderate-intensity exercise. When up against high-intensity exercise, music loses its power to override the physical feelings of tiredness, but it can still change the way people respond to that fatigue. The right music elevates mood and persuades people to ride out waves of exhaustion, rather than giving up. Karageorghis cautions, though, against listening to music while running in heavily trafficked areas—distraction from fatigue is great, as long as it does not put you in danger.
Music also increases endurance by keeping people awash in strong emotions. Listening to music is often an incredibly pleasurable experience and certain songs open the mental floodgates with which people control their emotions in everyday situations. If one strongly identifies with the singer's emotions or perspective, the song becomes all the more motivational.
I tend to row to podcasts of time shifted news and online science shows to justify the large amount of time I spend. Finding something absorbing is incredibly important to avoid boredom, but I do have to monitor tempo and power output along the way.
Antonio Vivaldi was born in 1678 - Jim somewhat more recently.
In honor of the day and something to mark the end of the season ... (this is in ogg vorbis format as it was the only cc version I could find. There are a lot of non-standard versions. My favorite of them is Yo-Yo Ma's cello variation .. You may need to play it in Chrome)