“Torch” — Part V, Page 32

Posted on February 3, 2010 at 5:00 am in FINDER as part of TorchTorch - Part Five, « TorchTorch - Part Five, . Follow responses to this post with the comments feed. You can leave a comment or trackback from your own site.

22 Responses

  1. Liza says:

    A lutenist plays the lute. This lady is a luthier.

  2. Speed says:

    My bad. I blame migraine. It’s an easy target.

  3. Liza says:

    Oh dear– hope you feel better! Migraines are no fun at all.

  4. Constant domed weather means bad wood and that means no stradivarii or Jaegers!

  5. Owlmirror says:

    This is probably a dumb question, but:

    Is it stated anywhere definite whether this is the future of our world, or a future world in an alternate universe, or a different planet in our universe, or what?

  6. Mr Frisky says:

    I believe this is at last the story arc in which Ms. McNeil intends to reveal that to us.

    I seem to recall the term “interregnum” being bandied about.

  7. Lethe says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s an alternate universe where things are *similar* but not ours. I don’t think it could possibly be “our” world, though it shares aspects. Obviously, I’m just guessing – Speed might have something up her sleeve that explains all the … clans, genetic engineering, biocybergear, zombies, lol – though I’m happy enough considering it to be an AU.

  8. Hmpf says:

    Could be far-future. Very far future.

    But yeah, it’s never stated definitely – and I like it that way. :-)

  9. I think it is stated definitively – in the first arc the Pastwatch institute is dredging up Paul Simon and Mark Knopfler songs from, well, from the past, and if their psychics are getting it all from some next door universe they’re pretty confused. It is similar to our world but that’s because Speed’s using it to investigate our modern urban culture one dome wall away from vast depopulated areas where aboriginal cultures can act as a contrast.

    If it’s a future world of an alternate universe where they also have Paul Simon and Mark Knopfler, that could be fine, but it’d be a pretty lame story point for Speed to introduce this late in the game (standing out in lots of magnificent unlameness, don’t get me wrong), not unlike Hercule Poirrot finally announcing some space alien must have killed the butler with a mind ray. Nah, it’s our world, that somehow ended up with domed cities and feathery non-dinosaur master-genetecist war-god lizards.

    Mind you, we’re all in lots of alternative universes simultaneously, and not all the same ones. But that’s another topic.

  10. Owlmirror says:

    Getting back to the topic of the current page — I’ve seen a couple of attempts to explain violins with very rich tones.

    One theory involves the completely serendipitous effect of the wood being soaked in an anti-woodworm preservative compound used by Stradivari (and his contemporary Guarneri). That one is being proposed and researched by Joseph Nagyvary:

    - Mineral Preservatives in the Wood of Stradivari and Guarneri
    - http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0004245

    The other one is that it’s all down to the wood density (or rather, a lower density differential; a more homogeneous density):

    – A Comparison of Wood Density between Classical Cremonese and Modern Violins
    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0002554

    Citing from the latter paper itself:

    Apart from genetic factors, the overall density of wood is influenced most significantly by the microclimate at the tree’s location. A tree growing in a cool area with limited direct solar exposure and little access to water supplies or quality soil will grow slowly and have relatively high overall densities. On the other hand, a tree of the same genetic makeup would grow faster with lower overall densities, if it were located in a more hospitable microclimate, i.e. with adequate solar access, a nutrient laden soil, sufficient quantities of water, a relatively flat local, and without traumatic events causing formation of very dense wood. The former conditions have historically been thought to create high quality tone wood although our findings indicate that the latter conditions will more closely mimic the densities found in this study. As we did not find significant differences in median density between these particular classical and modern violins, these large-scale factors would not be relevant to the sound quality difference between the classical Cremonese and the modern violins.

    Hm.

    It would look like there’s a freezing cold forest in Anvard because they want wood that grows slowly and is thus more dense — but the paper certainly seems to be saying that high density itself is known to not be the answer to rich-toned violins.

  11. No-one seems to have commented that our luthier is over 120 years old. Have we encountered near-immortals before in this world? Is she a construct? Is she a robot? Is she preincarnated and only a luthier for maybe ten years in which she was actually alive? Or why can’t more people afford the treatment? The Llaverac queen, if this technology is available for any money whatsoever, would almost definitely look eighteen.

    P.S. In males like Ahsef, the lutenizing hormones spur testosterone production, and since her playing causes him to pretty much climax, I’ll nominate her an honorary lutenist.

  12. Owlmirror says:

    If it’s a future world of an alternate universe where they also have Paul Simon and Mark Knopfler

    I was a bit unclear (because I was hoping to spur a more specific statement), but a possible scenario that I had in mind is that humans from our world colonized an alternate universe where the non-avian dinosaurs (or whatever) did not go entirely extinct, and this is the far future of that universe.

    Nah, it’s our world, that somehow ended up with domed cities and feathery non-dinosaur master-genetecist war-god lizards.

    Or perhaps the dinosaurs (or whatever) came from an alternate universe to here.

    I know that Shar is on the record as saying the Laeske are not dinosaurs, but we don’t actually know that he is correct. His closing statement doesn’t make sense — it’s kind of like saying that humans are not primates. The lack of the substance of his argument is annoying.

    Even if the Laeske are not maniraptorians (which I would put them in because of their contour feathers), or not coelurosaurs, they sure look like they are pretty clearly some sort of theropod, or saurischian, at the very least. You can’t have a species completely unrelated to all other species. Are Laeske actually some weird branch of the archosaurs, or saurapsids, and every anatomical feature that looks maniraptoran is just convergence?

    Or did he intend that are Laeske completely alien to the planet? If so, the DNA evidence for that should have been available long before Shar came along.

    Not having at least the basics of Shar’s complete argument is frustrating.

  13. Owlmirror says:

    No-one seems to have commented that our luthier is over 120 years old.

    We’re blasé like that.

    Have we encountered near-immortals before in this world? Is she a construct?

    Very long-lived clan? Brain transplanted into clone body?

    The Llaverac queen, if this technology is available for any money whatsoever, would almost definitely look eighteen.

    Do we have a specific (or even a general) numerical age for her?

    (“She’s seven-hundred thirty-something; why do you ask?”)

    In males like Ahsef, the lutenizing hormones spur testosterone production, and since her playing causes him to pretty much climax, I’ll nominate her an honorary lutenist.

    Well, yes, but you’re just objectively evil.

  14. Speed says:

    Curses!

    Well, I can only say that our luthier hasn’t had the benefit of reading that paper. I’d written Ahsef’s part of this story a hella long time ago, and had written it to play out over time– like the other kids’ stories– and then of course I read that bit about how the dense mini-ice-age trees wasn’t the answer. So his story gets rewritten a little. But the first moves on the chessboard have to remain the same, or I’m back to my bad old ways of dumping too much into the pot at once.

    On the theme of ancient techniques returned to the modern world, some nice men figured out how to make Damascus steel again… that’s why you can get a damasked blade on anything from a letter opener to a grapefruit fork now…

  15. tsukechick says:

    Hmm, regarding some very old Anvardians, there have been some characters mentioned. I can’t remember her name, and I went and lent my books to a friend who’s skivved off across the entire danged country (curse hiiim!) so I can’t look it up, but there is a news reporter/tour guide lady who was mentioned in the glossolalia to be very ancient and from a long-lived clan who are all about remembering things. (There’s a bit in the first Finder book, I believe, where Jaeger saves a woman from being crushed by a piece of falling dome. The Guide Lady is there explaining things when that happens.)

    And, of course, there’s Jaeger himself. ;)

    As for appearance-preservation, just look at Emma’s father! Girl had to be in her sixties at LEAST when she strutted her stuff on stage in Sin Eater book 2, and she had legs that put Rachel’s competition in Voice to shame!

  16. Yeah, this girl looks sort of Milo clan too … how old is Jaeger, anyway?

  17. Owlmirror says:

    Alas, poor Speed: Science takes away another plot point! But a double-blind test doesn’t lie.

    Violinists can’t tell the difference between Stradivarius violins and new ones

    What’s more, no one has tested whether violinists themselves can truly pick up the supposedly distinctive sound of a Strad. The common wisdom is that they can, but Fritz and Curtin showed that this isn’t true. “Many people were convinced that as soon as you play an old violin, you can feel that it’s old, it’s been played a lot, and it has a special sound quality,” says Fritz. “People who took part in the experiment said it was the experience of a lifetime when we told them the results. They were fully convinced they could tell the difference, and they couldn’t.”

    Also in http://www.nytimes.com

    /2012/01/03/science/in-play-off-between-old-and-new-violins-stradivarius-lags.html

    “In Classic vs. Modern Violins, Beauty Is in Ear of the Beholder”

    Claudia Fritz, an expert on the acoustics of violins at the University of Paris, has arrived at a different explanation for the secret. Despite a widespread belief in the old violins’ superiority and the millions of dollars it now costs to buy a Stradivarius, the fiddles made by the old masters do not in fact sound better than high-quality modern instruments, according to a blindfolded play-off she and colleagues have conducted.

    “I don’t think there is any secret, except in people’s minds,” she said.

  18. Owlmirror says:

    [Trying again, without links]

    Alas, poor Speed: Science takes away another plot point! But a double-blind test doesn’t lie.

    Not Rocket Science, by Ed Yong

    Violinists can’t tell the difference between Stradivarius violins and new ones

    What’s more, no one has tested whether violinists themselves can truly pick up the supposedly distinctive sound of a Strad. The common wisdom is that they can, but Fritz and Curtin showed that this isn’t true. “Many people were convinced that as soon as you play an old violin, you can feel that it’s old, it’s been played a lot, and it has a special sound quality,” says Fritz. “People who took part in the experiment said it was the experience of a lifetime when we told them the results. They were fully convinced they could tell the difference, and they couldn’t.”

    Also in The New York Times, for 2012-01-03:

    In Classic vs. Modern Violins, Beauty Is in Ear of the Beholder

    Claudia Fritz, an expert on the acoustics of violins at the University of Paris, has arrived at a different explanation for the secret. Despite a widespread belief in the old violins’ superiority and the millions of dollars it now costs to buy a Stradivarius, the fiddles made by the old masters do not in fact sound better than high-quality modern instruments, according to a blindfolded play-off she and colleagues have conducted.

    “I don’t think there is any secret, except in people’s minds,” she said.

  19. Owlmirror says:

    [Does one link go through?]

    Link for first reference and paragraph:

    Violinists can’t tell the difference between Stradivarius violins and new ones

  20. Owlmirror says:

    [Link for second reference and paragraph cited]

    In Classic vs. Modern Violins, Beauty Is in Ear of the Beholder

  21. Owlmirror says:

    And the actual paper:

    Fritz, Curtin, Poitevineau, Morrel-Samuels & Tao. 2011. Player preferences among new and old violins. PNAS http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1114999109

  22. Owlmirror says:

    One last link: I wonder what this type of fiddle would do to Ahsef?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardanger_fiddle

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