Experimental modal analysis of a violin with three different tensions of a bass bar has been performed. The bass bar tension is the only intentionally introduced modification of the instrument. The aim of the study was to find differences and similarities between top plate modal parameters determined by a bass bar perfectly fitting the shape of the top plate, the bass bar with a tension usually applied by luthiers (normal), and the tension higher than the normal value. In the modal analysis four signature modes are taken into account. Bass bar tension does not change the sequence of mode shapes. Changes in modal damping are insignificant. An increase in bass bar tension causes an increase in modal frequencies A0 and B(1+) and does not change the frequencies of modes CBR and B(1-).
Two violins were investigated. The only intentionally introduced difference between them was the type of varnish. One of the instruments was covered with a spirit varnish, the other was oil varnished. Experimental modal analysis was done for unvarnished/varnished violins and a questionnaire inquiry on the instrument’s sound quality was performed. The aim of both examinations was to find differences and similarities between the two instruments in the objective (modal parameters) and subjective domain (subjective evaluation of sound quality). In the modal analysis, three strongly radiating signature modes were taken into account. Varnishing did not change the sequence of mode shapes. Modal frequencies A0 and B(1+) were not changed by oil varnishing compared to the unvarnished condition. For the oil varnished instrument, the frequency of mode B(1+) was lower than that of the same mode of the spirit varnished instrument. Our two violins were not excellent instruments, but before varnishing they were practically identical. However, after varnishing it appeared that the oil-varnished violin was better than the spirit-varnished instrument. Therefore, it can be assumed with a fairly high probability that also in general, the oil-varnished violins sound somewhat better than initially identical spirit-varnished ones.