Acoustics for violin makers

2nd European training school
Ghent, 10-13 April 2018

Organising committee:
Claudia Fritz, Alexis Guilloteau, Geerten Verberkmoes

Scientific committee / faculty:
Tim Duerinck, Claudia Fritz, Alexis Guilloteau, Colin Gough, Mathias Kersemans, George Stoppani, Geerten Verberkmoes, Romain Viala

This is the second European training school in acoustics for violin makers. The first one took place at ITEMM in Le Mans (France) in February 2017, at the end of which, it was decided to organise one yearly, each time in a different making school across Europe. This second training school is hosted by the Department of Musical Instrument Making of the School of Arts in Ghent (Belgium).

Returning faculty include George Stoppani (violin maker and researcher in Manchester, UK) and Claudia Fritz (researcher at Sorbonne Université, Paris, France). New lecturers are Colin Gough (emeritus professor at University of Birmingham, UK), Alexis Guilloteau (engineer at ITEMM, Le Mans, France), Romain Viala (PhD student at Femto-ST, Besançon, France) as well as Mathias Kersemans and several of his associated researchers (Research group Mechanics of Composite Materials, Ghent University, Belgium).

This training school will address various topics regarding the acoustics of bowed string instruments, such as the violin’s acoustical functioning, modal analysis, psycho-acoustics and measurement techniques. There is no requirement of having attended the first training school to enroll. The program consists of a well-balanced mix of theory lectures, practical sessions and sound evaluations. Participants are invited to bring a self-built instrument (violin, viola, cello) to be included in the listening tests/and or to be used in various acoustical measurements.

The School of Arts is located right in the city centre of Ghent, so besides participating in all the fascinating lectures and hands-on practical sessions, there is a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful city of Ghent during the upcoming spring time together with your fellow violin makers!


Day 1 – Tuesday 10 April

12:00-13:00 Reception / registration
13:00-14:00 Introduction
14:00-15:30 Listening test on violins (with a professional violinist), part 1 – led by Claudia Fritz
15:30-16:30 Theory lecture on violin acoustics by Claudia Fritz
16:30-17:00 Break
17:00-18:00 Theory lecture on the vibrational modes of the violin family by Colin Gough
18:00-19:00 Open discussion (moderator: Geerten Verberkmoes)

Day 2 – Wednesday 11 April

9:00-11:00 Theory lecture on numerical models of the instruments of the string quartet – a potential tool for their design, making, and study by Romain Viala
11:00-11:30 Break
11:30-13:00 Listening test on viola/cello (with professional players) led by Claudia Fritz
13:00-14:00 Lunch break
14:00-18:00 Practical sessions (in small groups) led by Alexis Guilloteau (bridge mobility measurements), George Stoppani (modal analysis), Colin Gough (internal cavity measurements) , Romain Viala (use of his software for geometry and material optimisation of a violin soundboard), Claudia Fritz and Geerten Verberkmoes (basic acoustics).
18:30-19:30 Open discussion (moderator: Colin Gough / George Stoppani)

Day 3 – Thursday 12 April

9:00-11:00 Theory lecture on Synchronising experimental modal analysis and finite element modelling by Colin Gough and George Stoppani
11:00-11:30 Break
11:30-13:00 Listening test on violins, part 2 – led by Claudia Fritz
13:00-14:00 Lunch break
14:00-15:30 Theory lecture on How a theoretical model can impact on practical making by George Stoppani
15:30-18:00 Practical sessions (in small groups) led by Alexis Guilloteau, George Stoppani, Colin Gough, Romain Viala, Claudia Fritz and Geerten Verberkmoes.
18:30-19:30 Social event with a musical recital on 19th century violin performance practice (Ann Cnop, violin and Luc De Vos, piano)

Day 4 – Friday 13 April

10:00-10:30 Theory lecture by Mathias Kersemans on 3D laser Doppler vibration (3D LDV) measurements
10:30-11:00 Presentation by Sam Fruytier on testing of alternative violin making materials
11:00-11:30 Presentation by Klara Vleminckx on modeling a violin from alternative materials
11:30-11:45 Break
11:45-12:30 Presentation by Tim Duerinck on making violins from alternative materials
12:30-13:30 Lunch break
13:30-16:00 Demonstration of violin measurements with 3D LDV
16:00-17:00 Closing discussion (moderator: Claudia Fritz)


School of Arts Ghent, Nederpolder 26, 9000 Ghent, Belgium (days 1-3)

University Ghent, Zwijnaarde Science Park, Building 903, 9052 Zwijnaarde, Belgium (day 4)


Makers are invited to bring an instrument (violin, viola and/or cello) so these can be used in the listening tests as well as being measured (bridge mobility, internal cavity response, …). Makers who bring a violin as “first” instrument can bring a viola or cello as additional instrument (and vice versa…), to ensure we have enough cellos and violas for the Wednesday listening tests!


Participants will have to arrange and pay for their own accommodation during their stay in Ghent. In the city centre of Ghent, where most of the training school will take place, are many hotels. However, since the city is popular with tourists, hotel prices may be in the higher range. Cheaper alternatives, from around 60 euro a night, could be found on AirBnB or hotels and B&B’s a bit further away from the centre of town. Public transport can take you easily to the city centre. We advise you to use a website such as to check availability.

Tuition fees

580 euros.

All lunches and coffee breaks as well as the recital and dinner on Thursday evening are included in the tuition fees.

French makers will get full support from Fafcea (even if this takes place in Ghent! The training has indeed been validated by Fafcea). The refund procedure will be explained and organised by ITEMM after registration.