• Jean Sudbury is the new hostess of our "Acoustic Corner"

      Jean Sudbury is the new hostess of our “Acoustic Corner”

      My family has said that I was born to be a musician. From early days of my life, I remember singing 1930s songs with my Dad accompanying me on the piano, harmonizing vocally with my family members, and singing for various community, family, and church events. My mother taught me to read music. I began taking piano lessons at a young age. In my elementary school, I was a member of the student orchestra, conducted by Martin Zwick, the principal clarinetist of the Utah Symphony. I started taking violin lessons at that time. My adventure in life as a violinist had begun. When I became an adult, I moved to Los Angeles to expand my career as a musician.

      By Jean Sudbury

      As a professional musician, I have always been fascinated by acoustics. I play an assortment of stringed instruments, including violin, viola, and members of the mandolin family. The bodies of these instruments are hollow. They are similar to the Human body as sound carriers. Friction is created from tines of the horse hair tightly strung on bows when is glides across strings. This and the plectrum action of fingers or picks against strings, creates variations of sound waves. When acoustic instruments are skillfully played, the sound waves become music.

      These types of sound waves have the power to change the moods of those who happen to be in the paths of the waves. Such sound waves can range from soothing to irritating, changing at a moment’s notice. The indefinable effect which these sound waves have on one’s brain has been described as ‘’frission.’’ From the Urban Dictionary comes this definition of Frission: A sizzling, sparking synergy borne of mutual intent, talent, and vision. That could also be used as the definition of music.

      A sound wave is created from vibrating patterns of particles traveling through the medium through which the sound wave passes. The sound waves in the air are characterized as ‘’longitudinal waves.’’ Tuning forks generate these types of sound waves. Crystal wine glasses share this capability. The longitudinal vibration of air produces pressure fluctuations. This pulsation creates sound as we hear it. Music is a resonance which results from such vibrations.

      A bee and a flower at Jean's garden.

      A bee and a flower at Jean’s garden.

      In a symphony orchestra, the music is created by combined groups of individuals. In a string section, many play the same part to create the vibration of sound. The harmony and counterpoint create multiple dimensions of sonic vibrations. The harp, a plucked stringed instrument, adds its unique longitudinal waves. In woodwind and brass sections, the vibration is produced in more of a vocal chorale fashion, deliciously harmonized. Each person plays an individual written part. Percussion sections add to the ‘’frission’’ in varied ways, from tympani to triangle.

      In a smaller ensemble; a chamber, folk, or jazz ensemble, the ‘’frission’’ is different. Perhaps it is more intimate. In a small group, just like a large group, the full effect is shared. In a small ensemble, each performer might have just a bit more creative license to add to the splendor. Good vibrations create good music, and vice-versa. The magic is shared by performers and listeners.

      This series will explore the collective energy of acoustic instrumental music, and how music helps to create various moods in different settings. Interviews and discussions with local musicians and others who appreciate the artistry of music, will add more sparkle to the ‘’frission.’’

      Stay tuned!


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      Comments

      1. Alice Pero says:

        Wonderful descriptions of what becomes the joy of listening and the joy of performing.

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