Music of bronze-age and 3D printing

http://www.cnet.com/news/the-music-of-bronze-age-celts-revealed-through-3d-printing/

The music of bronze-age Celts revealed through 3D printing

A bronze artefact previously thought to have been the butt of a spear has been revealed to be the mouthpiece of an ancient horn.

Primitive music may not have been so primitive after all, as discovered by an archaeologist and Ph.D. candidate at the Australian National University College of Asia-Pacific. Billy Ó Foghlú, who believed that the bronze- and iron-age musical horns found in Ireland must have had mouthpieces, has 3D printed an object that vastly improves the sound of the instruments.

His research has been published in the ancient Celtic culture journal Emania.

The model for the mouthpiece, however, was something quite unexpected: a bronze artefact dating back to 100BC to 200AD called the Conical Spearbutt of Navan. Found in the early 20th century, the artefact (as the name suggests) was thought to have been mounted on the butt of a spear.

3D printing technology has been improving at a rapid pace in the past few years. While it has primarily been used for the manufacture of custom designed objects, it’s increasingly seeing use in the fields of paleontology and archaeology as a means of studying objects without damaging the fragile original artefacts. It’s also allowing museums to create replicas of artefacts that can be handled by the public.

In this case, the object wasn’t printed directly, but cast in a 3D printed mould. Using the exact measurements of the so-called Spearbutt, Ó Foghlú created a 3D model, which he then used 3D print the mould and cast the replica in bronze. He also created a 3D printed replica of a horn over two metres long, copying the thickness of the metal of the original object. He then put the two together and blew.

“Suddenly the instrument came to life,” he said in a statement.

“These horns were not just hunting horns or noisemakers. They were very carefully constructed and repaired, they were played for hours. Music clearly had a very significant role in the culture.”

The artefact would likely have been misclassified because it was excavated separately to the horns. Many iron- and bronze-age horns were discovered across Europe and Scandinavia, but very few mouthpieces were found in Ireland. This led to the impression that music in Ireland had regressed.

However, Ó Foghlú believes that so few mouthpieces were found with horns because they may have been ritually dismantled and separated when the horn’s owner died.

“A number of instruments have been found buried in bogs. The ritual killing of an instrument and depositing it in a burial site shows the full significance of it in the culture,” he said.

“Tutankhamen also had trumpets buried with him in Egypt. Contemporary horns were also buried in Scandinavia, Scotland and mainland Europe: They all had integral mouthpieces too.”

cnet.com

by  | September 1, 2015 7:47 PM PDT

 

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3D printed Chi flute

http://3dprint.com/91641/ancient-chi-transverse-flute/

Ancient Chi Transverse Flute Gets 3D Printed Reincarnation

If you had been living the high life near the Marquis Yi of Zeng in 433 BC, you might have been lucky enough to hear a performance on the Chi (篪), a transverse flute that was most likely used for court and ritual music. Unfortunately, in the more likely event that you weren’t, the instrument declined in favor, for reasons not entirely certain, and largely disappeared from music history. However, over the last few decades, there has been a small, but devoted, interest in bringing this instrument back to life.

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One person who has shown an interest in this instrument is the musician Cheong Li who decided as part of studying the instrument that he would try to create a 3D printed one. This application of 3D printing technology opens up a world for the study of extinct instruments, as explained by Lee in an interview with 3Dprint.com:

“I’m a musician and a novice to 3D printing. I’m not that capable in woodwork, but 3D printing allows me to draw and design my own instrument easily. One thing I’m particularly interested in is music archaeology. There are quite a lot of ancient instruments that have been forgotten or abandoned in the course of history. It would be very interesting to make them and be able to actually hear what they sound like.”

The Chi is a particularly unique instrument. Unlike the flute, fife, or recorder, the air is introduced into the instrument in the center and the holes for fingering are on either side of the mouthpiece. The ends of the flute are actually closed and the sound is produced as the air is blown into and then escapes from the holes that are used for fingering. Information about the flute is scarce and Lee is having to discover the instrument’s secrets the old fashioned way: trial and error.

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The position of the holes doesn’t seem to have much impact on the pitch but rather it is their size that has the greatest effect. The fingering itself is irregular, meaning that rather than playing a scale by lifting successive fingers, each note has a unique fingering configuration. As part of understanding the instrument, Lee has created a fingering chart in an effort to codify the relationships between pitch, frequency, and finger position.

He described the process of designing the instrument in preparation for 3D printing:

“I’ve been using Rhino for Mac. It wasn’t too difficult to draw a simple tube like this. However, the most difficult thing is to determine where I should put the finger holes. I’ve spent some time studying pictures of Chi from various sources and tried to figure out the exact measurements. The tuning is not quite accurate yet and I think I’ll need to rework it.”

He printed his instrument as a single piece with the exception of a final cap for the end which was printed separately and then glued into place. The printing was done via 3D Hubs on a FlashForge Creator Pro and took only a few hours to complete. The instrument Lee printed is created entirely in PLA and the interior dimension is 14.2 cm with an extra centimeter on each end that acts as the wall.

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Now that his flute is printed, it seems to have raised more questions than it resolved and Lee plans on diving further into understanding its mysteries.

“There are quite a few questions about this instrument that intrigue me,” Lee notes. “For example, why is the fingering so unpredictable? How does a closed tube sound different from an open tube? To understand these things, I may need to collaborate with a scientist to calculate the physics behind it. It may help to solve a mystery in music history, and if possible, I hope that this instrument can be mass produced and played by more musicians. I’d love to write a tune for it as well!”

This is the third instrument that Lee has created through 3D printing; the first was a Xun, which is an egg-shaped blowing vessel, and the second a sliding whistle. The opportunity to truly understand an instrument that is presented through creating the instrument itself adds a new level of interaction that is open to more and more people through 3D technology. We may never know the way this instrument sounded when it was played 2,000 years ago, but thanks to 3D printing, we can hear it as it has been reincarnated today.

What do you think about the use of 3D printing to re-create ancient instruments? Let us know your thoughts in the 3D Printed Chi Flute forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | AUGUST 27, 2015

3Dvarius debuts – check it!

http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/3dvarius-debuts-as-first-fully-playable-3d-printed-violin-1.3189914

French violinist Laurent Bernadac spent years designing 3Dvarius, billed as the first playable, 3D-printed violin. Its streamlined design was inspired by the classical world's much-coveted Stradivarius violins.

3Dvarius debuts as first fully playable 3D-printed violin

French violinist spent years designing futuristic, minimalist instrument.

A Stradivarius violin is considered one of the world’s most coveted classical instruments, but amateur musicians could soon be jamming on homemade Strads.

French violinist Laurent Bernadac has unveiled 3Dvarius, billed as the first fully playable 3D-printed violin.

The translucent creation is inspired by the much-coveted instruments created by Italian master Antonio Stradivari in his legendary Cremona shop in the 17th century.

However, the design was then stripped down to be as lightweight as possible and allow for extreme freedom of movement for contemporary musicians.

The 3Dvarius is essentially an electric violin and uses a magnetic pickup to detect the vibrations made by the strings and must be plugged into an amplifier.

Produced as a single piece using stereolithography – a 3D technology that prints models one layer at a time by rapidly curing a liquid polymer using UV lasers – the model had to be strong enough to withstand the tension and pressure of violin strings, which also have to be tuneable.

Bernadac revealed one of the first successful prototypes, nicknamed Pauline, in videos released this month.

The musician, whose high-energy performances blend the traditionally classical instrument with guitar, the cajon percussion box and other sounds, has spent the past few years designing the futuristic-looking 3Dvarius.

References:

cbc.ca

http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/3dvarius-debuts-as-first-fully-playable-3d-printed-violin-1.3189914