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Last update: 07-09-2013:


Of course, I got involved in it by necessity. As I wrote it in my 1996 essay (in Hungarian) I just needed a few of instruments for play folk music, but that time it was almost impossible to get them in Hungary. Then I got caught. Found out, that again, this is one of those borderlines of real sciences and humanities, where a guy like me can find any business. A guy, who has some talents, but not enough to be an artist. Who has technical sense, but too much bohemian to be an engineer. I also have creativity, but not in a manner of arts, rather for construction. I have an analytic mind. I take everything to pieces, observe it from one, and the other view, and refit in a somewhat different way. What cannot be done in practice, I do it theoretically. Try to find out, how it works, and what to change for to work better. I choose architecture to study, cause I thought that it’s such a borderline. I hated, when world changing ideas should’ve been dreamed on the paper by 6B pencil. Enjoyed much more to think about how to avoid leak, and how does it work statically. Exactly computing shear force, and gauges of steel armature: it was not my business again. That’s how I became neither a 6B-architect, nor a static. Fortunately it isn’t necessary to calculate inertia and torque of a tambura neck. If brakes, I’d make the next in a different way. But what is that different way? Useful to have some imagination about how it works, what forces exist in it.

I became excited more and more, finding out, why does one instrument sound fine, and the other why not? How can be reached to sound good, but not even crack or bend. In this job, I usually leaned on my intuitions, based on my studies in music, acoustics, statics, mechanics (and what ever), rather then exact calculations. (Once in the Middle Ages, statics also worked such way). One of my relative’s new father-in-low, who was an excellent carpenter, asked once: why is such a great stunt to make a good instrument, hence there are accurately detailed plans, with exact dimensions, and techniques? The task is just to make everything according to them. The old man was said to a be a great cook, we were enjoyed one of his masterpieces just that moment. This offered me the answer: “If uncle Karcsi should’ve written me this recipe, accurately detailed everything in milligrams, seconds and Celsius degrees, could I make it exactly good as this one?” Don’t believe it – he answered – hence there aren’t two similar pieces of pepper or potato, not to even speak about meat! Can’t be calculated in milligrams, you must taste it, and do it accordingly. So did he answer his own question. Moreover there are two problems: On one hand, not even the goal itself – the sound, we’re about to produce – can be defined exactly by parameters. Not even in the case of a speaker, or an amplifier, and an instrument is much more complex and sensitive. On the other hand, parameters of used materials (wood) can not be controlled, being complex creations of nature. And to top it all, not even known the exact working of every parts. What is determined by what, and how? What is important? Thickness? Width? Cross-section? Inertia? Density? Young-modulus? Self resonance? If we knew, how could they defined? What to do, if there is a twelfth (thirteenth, etc.) parameter, we didn’t keep in mind? Just like the story of blind men and the elephant. No one can see the elephant itself, no one knows it’s behaviour. That one can most closely reach the ideal solution, who can synthesise the best working “elephant model” in his mind, using that poor information, he got, fingering separate parts of it. And we never know, whether it works because our model is correct, or although it’s incorrect, we made a mistake, what compensates it accidentally. And then if we’d change something, what should make it work better, according to our model, it should make it work even worth.

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