DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF AN ELECTRIC VIOLIN
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Study Level: BTech, BSc, BEng, BA, HND, ND or NCE
This is a research in music which talks about the construction of an “Electric Violin” under the family of strings instrument. This research work describes, highlight and explains the process and methods that are involved in the construction of an “Electric Violin’’. This research however, focused on the construction of the electric violin. It assumed that the construction and development of the sound quality of the instrument depends on the quality of components used. The method of collecting data in this research includes, review of literature, citation from internet, imaginative power, participant method and oral interview related to the study. The researcher is also assisted by a research assistant who happens to be a music technologist with full innovative support on the usage of Machines (tools). This project tends to establish in Akwa Ibom and Nigeria at large an entrepreneurial base where hidden skills and potentials that lie under Nigerian Technologist will be adequately explored. The study recommends that craft and music should be included in the curriculum right from primary to tertiary level.
1.1 Background of the study
Technology becomes a catalyst for social change for every successful economy, today, technology serves as an ideal support system that can leapfrog community development programmes, for the betterment of the society at large. The ancient Egyptians developed stringed instruments, such as harps, lyres and lutes, which required making thin strings and some type of peg system for adjusting the pitch of the strings. Ancient Egyptians also used wind instruments such as double clarinets and percussion instruments such as cymbals.
Although violins precise origins are not completely understood, it is probable that the violin (and its larger siblings the viola and violoncello) evolved during the mid-16th century in Northern Italy. Electric violins first came into existence in the 1930s and 1940s, manufactured by companies such as the Electro Stringed Instrument Corporation (founded by George Beauchamp who invented the bakelite Electro Violin), National, and Vega, who released a solid body in 1939. Skeleton-framed electric violin, somewhat similar to the ones made today, were manufactured in the early 1930s as well. In addition to perhaps being the maker of the first true violins, Andrea Amati (ca. 1500-1577) was the patriarch of the Cremona school of violin making. During the next 150 years, other members of the Amati family and their followers, who included Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) and Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri (1698-1744), brought the violin to its highest level of perfection both as a musical instrument and as a work of art.
An electric Violin is a Violin that uses a pickup to convert the vibration of its strings into electrical impulses. According to the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2002), “The violin, sometimes known as a fiddle, is a wooden string instrument in the violin family”. Most violins have a hollow wooden body. It is the smallest and highest-pitched instrument in the family in regular use. The violin is the most modern embodiment of stringed musical instruments played with a bow. Like the guitar and other plucked string instruments, bowed instruments date from antiquity.
Technology is the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society and the environment covering areas such as engineering applied science, pure science, and industrial arts. The researcher is not pondering on technology itself, rather, on Music Technology. Music technology is the approach to construction and making of musical instrument. It is also an area that seeks into bringing out new innovations and techniques in the musical parlance and musical gadgets at large to enhance a better performance.
Music technology helps students learn in a more productive manner, help also in making life easier for them. In education, for instance, creating pathways to incorporate technology into educational practices is highly critical to the stakeholders within the education system. Since Internet penetration is directly proportional to increasing economic growth, it has the potential to improve our economic standing within the world economy. Disruptive innovation technologies play a critical role in addressing the challenges faced by communities in areas such as education and healthcare. It is important to develop technological innovations that are suitable to solve problems faced by the community.
Electric music technology came in as musical instruments and recording devices using electrical circuits, which are often combined with mechanical technologies.
Example like the electrical violin, (invented 1930). The earliest known applications of technology to music was prehistoric peoples’ use of a tool to hand-drill holes in bones to make simple flutes.
Electrically amplified violin have been used in one way or the other since 1920s; jazz and blues artist Stuff Smith is generally credited as being one of the first performers to adapt pickups and amplifiers to violins. The Electro Stringed Instrument Corporation and Vega Company sold electric violins in the 1930s and 1940s.
The electric violin of today can be used in any performance context requiring amplification. The artist may use any of the sound modification devices that any other electric instrument, such as an electric guitar, uses. Other sound modifications, such as MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface), give the violinist of today a virtually limitless array of sound possibilities. Independent makers of electric and acoustic instruments have gained in popularity in recent years in answer to the artist desiring an instrument of quality, made to their specifications (Yfantis V, 2017).
According to Agu (2009) “We appreciate the fact that there is a great need for us African at this point in time to re-orientate our minds and musical sensibility towards being more African in essence than Western-Classical as we create, learn and perform African music, I strongly feel that the surest way of achieving this is by providing texts and activities that would not only serve as facilitators to a literary approach to African musical arts education but would also act as guides and lay the right solid foundations that would initiates us back to our African roots with emphasis on African methodology and technical knowhow and communication in African music creativity and performance”.
To that end, the researcher, seeks to re-modify the shape and structure of the electric violin through the transfer of technology; where technology will be applied and exploited in another place for the same purpose.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The signal generated by an electric Violin is too weak to drive a loudspeaker, so it is amplified before being sent to a loudspeaker. The output of an electric Violin is an electric signal, and the signal can easily be altered by electronic circuits to add “color” to the sound. Often the signal is modified using electronic effects such as reverb and distortion. Invented in 1930, the electric Violin became a necessity as Classical Violinist sought to amplify their sound in the Orchestra format (Cunningham, 1998). It is no doubt, that electric violin has been considered as an exclusive instrument of the Westerners. As a sequel to this misconception, most scholars believe that construction of an electric violin using local materials could not be easily achieved. To this end, the researcher is bent on proving such perception wrong, by implementing the notion of transfer of technology; where technology will be applied and exploited in another place for the same purpose. With these and other noticeable challenges, the researcher/technologist is sets to construct an electric violin that will be durable, cost friendly and easier to fit into the band set up in Nigeria.
1.3 Aim and Objectives
The aim of this study is to develop new methodology for the production of more acoustic-like sounds from an electric violin, to reduce the timbre difference between both instruments; the researcher is bent on exploiting new environments where music technology will be sufficiently explored to incite the love for musical instruments construction in technologists. To achieve this, we must study that, which are the main influencing factors in both instruments and the most successful methods that will aid in the construction of an electric violin. The specific objectives is;
- To allows for quick, intuitive, and creative artistic results.
- To examine the constructive effect of electric violin and
- To check for the vibration and radiated sound of an electric violin.
1.4 Research Methodology
The study will employ both descriptive and experimental research design. The descriptive will enabled the researcher to gather materials, discussion and explain them as well. The experimental will give way for the new innovation in technology in the development of this electric violin instrument.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This creative study on the construction of an electric violin will be significant in the following ways;
- The design, knowledge and skill adopted for this work could as well provide information for researchers as well as students whose area of interest is in music technology.
- This work if taken beyond this level (outside the school situation) could provide employment opportunity.
- The study serves as motivation to local and indigenous instrument makers to help them update and improve on the quality of materials used in the construction of musical instruments in order to attract a wider patronage.
- This work will serve as a resource material for both teachers and students of music instrument technology.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study is concerned with the construction and making of an electric violin and the innovation employed through technological devices in order to aid sound audibility.
1.7 Definition of Terms
Violin: A stringed musical instrument of treble pitch, played with a horsehair bow.
Electric: Charges generated by electric current
Vibration: A periodic motion of the particles of an elastic body or medium in alternately opposite directions from the position of equilibrium when that equilibrium has been disturbed.
Sound: Vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person’s.
Timbre: The character or quality of a musical sound or voice as distinct from its pitch and intensity.
Intensity: Intensity, is defined as the power carried by sound waves per unit area in a direction perpendicular to that area
Radiation: The emission of energy as electromagnetic waves or as moving subatomic particles, especially high-energy particles which cause ionization.
Amplification: The process of increasing the volume of sound, especially using an amplifier
Amplifier: An electronic device for increasing the amplitude of electrical signals, used chiefly in sound reproduction.
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