The Catgut Acoustical Society Library

File #:M5140

Name:Meinel, Hermann


See also:

General Information:

One of the foremost acousticians in violin research who came from a family traditionally centered in

music and musical instruments in Germany near Markneukirchen and Klingenthal. Early trained as a

Master Violin Maker he soon recognized the narrow limits of constructing violins on an empirical basis

and entered the University of Leipzig eventually obtaining his doctorate under H. Backhaus in

Greifswald. Meinel's interests and abilities placed him in an excellent position to relate the fast

expanding knowledge of acoustics of the early 1930s to the study of the violin. In 1934 his essay on violin

acoustics won an award from the Prussian Academy of Sciences. His research and writings on the

violin continued until his death in 1977. Several of Meinel's papers are reproduced in the Benchmark

volumes 5 and 6, which indicate the scope of his work on stringed instruments. He emphasized the great

importance of wood thickness compared with other factors in violin making with respect to modes of

vibration, volume, and timbre of sounds produced. He studied the properties of outstanding violins,

methods of evaluating tone quality and performance, the effects of varnish, arching of plates, and

properties of the wood used, radiation patterns of violins, as well as the vibrational modes of the

complete violin. His paper "Regarding the sound quality of violins and a scientific basis for violin

construction" (in English) JASA 29(7) 817-822(1957) gives a good idea of the overall scope of his work.

File Contents:


Correspondence: (1935-1978) involving Meinel, Verlag Hirzel, Verlag Springer, Backhaus, CMH,

Dowden Hutchinson & Ross and (Frau) Elisabeth Meinel.

Key Words:


Miscellaneous: (10) Biographical material (CMH work on Benchmark; "Acoustica" article;

"Lebenslauf" translation by Schelling); abstract of paper given at Budapest ICA; paper (& trans.) by

Baumgartner; description of translator R.K. Walter; 1936 German newspaper describing Academy

Prize; 1960 Markneukirchen Festival Program; Synthetic fibre from automatic bowing machine.

Key Words:


Technical: (17) Meinel's bibliography plus 16 papers from 1936-1974 . The file contains a bibliography

of Meinel's work and some English translations. See Tech Summary.

Key Words:Response curves | wood thicknesses | varnish | tuning | violin design

Last modified: 27 June 1998