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Our Great Spherical Friend, Part Two

Our Great Spherical Friend, Part Two

by Frederick C. Lyman, Jr.

Originally published in American Lutherie #7, 1986 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume One, 2000

See also,
Our Great Spherical Friend, Part One by Frederick C. Lyman, Jr.
Our Great Spherical Friend, Part Three by Frederick C. Lyman, Jr.
Improving the Plywood Bass by Frederick C. Lyman, Jr.

Our intent, in the design of a musical instrument, should be to keep in mind this theoretical correspondence between the atmosphere and the instrument, and to realize it in as much detail as possible. The objective is the possibility of the highest degree of control of the final tone production, with a minimum amount of effort and anguish by the performer.

Music differs from other atmospheric sounds. The tones are related to emotions and are arranged in such a way as to project a panoply of emotional changes and thereby tell a story or take the listener on a sort of emotional trip. The success of a musical instrument lies in the extent to which it can be made to facilitate this kind of expression.

However, the instrument is first and foremost a physical device, and its expressive properties are supported by its acoustical properties, which are in turn supported by its structural properties. Because the instrument is in a state of tension, it must have a certain structural strength, adequate to give it a basis of firm tonality.

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