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Review: Acoustics of Wood by Voichita Buchur

Review: Acoustics of Wood by Voichita Buchur

reviewed by Nicholas Von Robison

Originally published in American Lutherie #57, 1999 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Five, 2008

Acoustics of Wood
Voichita Buchur
CRC Press, 1995
ISBN 0849348013

Voichita Buchur’s book Acoustics of Wood is a synthesis of over fifty years of work by the scientific community into the physics of how this complex material responds to vibrational wave stimuli. With almost 800 references into the literature and about ten years from inception to its being published in 1995, it is a tremendous resource for the luthier’s understanding of his/her main material. I don’t get the feel from the text that the author is a maker herself, even though she is a member of the Catgut Acoustical Society. The book is heavily weighted towards violin family instruments, but this doesn’t make the book any less valuable to guitar makers.

After a short, well written, general discussion on the anatomical structure of wood (macro, micro, and molecular), a brief outline is presented dividing the book into three major sections. Part One explores the physical phenomena associated with the effects of acoustic waves in forests (windbreaks to attenuate noise) and architectural acoustics (concert halls, office buildings, restaurants) with wood being used as a construction material and insulator in conjunction with other nonwood materials. A survey of six European concert halls and their geometrical, acoustical, and construction data is pretty interesting.

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