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Cremonese Violins

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What does the professor mainly discuss?
  • A. Some special techniques used by the makers of vintage Cremonese violins

  • B. How the acoustical quality of the violin was improved over time

  • C. Factors that may be responsible for the beautiful tone of Cremonese violins

  • D. Some criteria that professional violinists use when selecting their instruments

显示答案 正确答案: C

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    NARRATOR:Listen to part of a lecture in a history of musical instruments class.

    MALE PROFESSOR:So, musical instruments evolved in ways that optimized their acoustical properties-how the instrument vibrates and sends those vibrations through the air to our eardrums.

    Now, professional musicians are very particular about their instruments.They want instruments that help them fully express the intent of the composer... which, of course, translates into a more enjoyable listening experience for the audience members.Yet, most audience members probably aren't even aware of how much the instrument matters.I mean...OK, think about the last concert you attended.When you applauded, what went through your mind?

    FEMALE STUDENT:I recently heard a violinist who totally blew me away.Uh so, when I applauded, I guess I was showing my appreciation for his skill, the hours of practice he must've put in.

    MALE PROFESSOR:And his violin...?

    FEMALE STUDENT:Didn't really think about it.It looked exactly like mine, [afterthought] uh, which is inspiring, in a way, knowing my violin could also produce such beautiful tones, that maybe I'll sound that good someday.

    MALE PROFESSOR:I hope you do. But if your violin isn't as good as his...

    FEMALE STUDENT:Y'mean he might not sound as good playing my violin?

    MALE PROFESSOR:As I said, tone quality differs from instrument to instrument.The question is...why?Why does one instrument sound more beautiful than another, even if they look identical?There's a particularly interesting case with an extraordinary generation of violins made in northern Italy... in the city of Cremona, back in the late 1600s, early 1700s.

    These vintage Cremonese violins are considered the best in the world.But it's not like the makers of those violins were any more skilled than their modern-day counterparts; they weren't.Today's top violin makers can pretty much replicate all of the physical attributes of a Cremonese violin.But it's generally thought that the acoustical quality of modern violins doesn't live up to the quality of the vintage ones.

    MALE STUDENT:So, what attributes of the old violins have been replicated?

    MALE PROFESSOR:[Listing] Oh, their dimensions, shape...their fingerboard height, uh, general craftsmanship.For a long time, people thought the varnish used to coat and protect the violins was special.But research showed it was the same ordinary varnish used on furniture.However, researchers have discovered that there's something special about the wood the violins were made from, and recently, they've been able to replicate that, too.

    MALE STUDENT:How...unless the trees the Cremonese used are still alive...

    MALE PROFESSOR:The trees weren't replicated, just the wood...specifically the wood's density.Density's determined by how trees grow.Trees, all trees that don't grow in the tropics, grow seasonally. They grow faster early in the year, in the springtime, than they do later in the year.So early-growth wood is relatively porous; late-growth wood is denser, less porous.And this variation shows up in the tree's growth rings.The denser layers are generally darker than the less-dense layers.We call this variation the "density differential."

    Variations in wood density affect vibrations, and therefore, sound.When scientists first analyzed the wood of vintage Cremonese violins and compared it with the modern violin wood, they calculated the average density and found no difference.Later, other researchers measured the density differential and found a significant difference: modern violins had a greater variation... a larger differential.

    FEMALE STUDENT:So you mean the density of the wood in the Cremonese violins is, is more uniform?

    MALE PROFESSOR:Correct.

    FEMALE STUDENT:But northern Italy isn't in the tropics!

    MALE PROFESSOR:No, but climate matters.Turns out the Cremonese violins were made from trees that grew during a "little ice age," a period when temperatures across Europe were significantly lower than normal.So the trees grew more evenly throughout the year, making the density differential relatively small.

    MALE STUDENT:But you said someone replicated the Cremonese wood.

    MALE STUDENT:The density differential was replicated.

    MALE STUDENT:What did they do, try to simulate an ice-age climate in a greenhouse and grow some trees in there?

    MALE PROFESSOR:No. What happened was a materials scientist figured out a way to process wood to make it acoustically similar to the Cremonese wood.He basically exposed the wood to a species of fungus, a mushroom.In the forest, fungi are decomposers; they break down dead wood.But this particular fungus nibbles away only at certain layers in the wood, leaving other layers alone.As a result, the density differential of the fungi-treated wood approached that of the Cremonese wood.

  • 旁白:听一段乐器史课程。

    教授:乐器一直在不断演变,优化声学特性,即乐器是怎样振动的,且怎样将所产生的振动通过空气传到我们的耳膜。

    专业音乐家对乐器非常讲究。他们希望乐器能帮他们充分地传达作曲者的意图,当然,对听众来说,这也会给他们带来更愉快的听觉享受。但大多数听众很可能根本意识不到乐器的重要性。我是说,好吧,想想你最近去的一次音乐会。当你鼓掌,你想的是什么呢?

    学生:我最近听了一位小提琴家的演奏,让我惊呆了。当我鼓掌,我在表达我对他高超技艺的赞赏,他肯定花了大量时间练习。

    教授:他的小提琴呢?

    学生:我还真没想过。那看起来和我的琴一样,这挺鼓舞人心的,让我知道我的琴也能发出这样优美的音色,也许有一天我也能拉得那么好。

    教授:我也希望你能。但假如你的小提琴没有他的好……

    学生:你是指,他拉我的琴可能就没这么好听了?

    教授:就像我说的,每件乐器的音质都不同。问题是为什么。为什么看起来一样的乐器,这个就比那个音质好呢?有一个特别有趣的例子,在17世纪末期18世纪初,意大利北部城市克雷莫纳产了一批非常棒的小提琴。

    这些古老的小提琴被认为是世界上最好的小提琴。但并不是说这批小提琴的制造者就比其他现代制琴师的技艺高超。他们并不是。现在顶级的小提琴制琴师能基本复制出克雷莫纳小提琴的物理性质。但普遍认为,现代小提琴的音质并不如以前的小提琴好。

    学生:那么,古老的小提琴的什么属性被复制出来了呢?

    教授:噢,大小、形状、指板高度,嗯,基本的工艺。很长时间以来,人们以为小提琴的表面防护涂层很特别。但调查表明,涂层和普通家具涂层是一样的。但研究人员发现,制造小提琴的木材有些特别之处,最近人们也能复制出来了。

    学生:怎么做到的?除非克雷莫纳人用的树到现在还活着。

    教授:人们没有复制树,只复制木材,特别是木材密度。密度由树的生长方式决定。所有不生长在热带地区的树都是季节性生长的,它们在每年初(春天)长得较快,之后较慢。所以前期生长的木头相对多孔;后期生长的木头更紧密,没这么多孔。在树的年轮也能看出这个差异。密度更大的木层通常比密度较低的木层要暗。我们把这种差异称为密度差。

    密度差异性会影响振动,从而影响声音。最初科学家在分析对比古老的克雷莫纳小提琴与现代琴的木材时,他们只算了平均密度,没有找到不同之处。随后,别的研究人员测了密度差,发现了显著差异:现代小提琴的(密度)差...更大。

    学生:你是说,克雷莫纳小提琴木材密度更均一?

    教授:对。

    学生:但意大利北部不在热带啊。

    教授:不。但气候很重要。原来克雷莫纳小提琴所用木材取材于从小冰河期生长的树木,这期间欧洲的温度比平时明显低得多。树木在这一年长得更慢,密度差相对就更小。

    学生:但你刚刚说有人复制出克雷莫纳木材了。

    教授:(木材)密度差被复制出来了。

    学生:他们做了什么?是在温室里模拟小冰河期种了一些树吗?

    教授:不,其实是一位材料学家发现了一个处理木头的方法,处理后其声学性质与克雷莫纳木材非常相似。他基本上就是让木头接触一种真菌,呃,一种蘑菇。在森林里,真菌是分解者,它们能分解枯木。但这种特殊的真菌仅仅蚕食木头中的某几层,别的它不管。结果,木头经真菌处理后,其密度差与克雷莫纳木材就很接近了。

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    题型分析:主旨题

    原文定位Professor: As I said, tone quality differs from instrument to instrument. The question is why. Why does one instrument sound more beautiful than another, even if they look identical?
    选项分析

    文章先针对musical instruments 的 acoustical properties 作出了探讨,随后对于why violin sound so beautiful 做了提问和解答

    选项是对文章核心信息的归纳描述,是why 的同义替换,是对全文主旨最准确的概括

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