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kypfer
03-07-2015, 09:08 AM
I see many references to "great", "better" or "improved" projection, so presumably it must be a good thing to have, but exactly how does one define projection and what units are used to measure it?

I'm assuming here that projection can actually be measured ... how else could one show that one was "better than" or "improved from" another?

Hippie Dribble
03-07-2015, 09:23 AM
Definitions of projection:

1
the act of expelling or projecting or ejecting
2
a prediction made by extrapolating from past observations
3
the representation of a figure or solid on a plane as it would look from a particular direction
4
a planned undertaking
5
(psychiatry) a defense mechanism by which your own traits and emotions are attributed to someone else
6
the acoustic phenomenon that gives sound a penetrating quality




Advocates of side sound ports are pretty much unanimous in their agreement that the sound "projects" with greater volume and clarity of tone towards them.

Other factors that, from my own experience, may contribute to "improved" projection are thinness of the soundboard, lighter bracing, and softwood tops such as spruce et al.

For myself, I tend to equate projection with simpler terms like volume and resonance.

KnowsPickin
03-07-2015, 09:28 AM
I guess the better question is "How does projection differ from volume?" Based on discussions I've heard, they are not synonymous.

Hippie Dribble
03-07-2015, 09:43 AM
I guess the better question is "How does projection differ from volume?" Based on discussions I've heard, they are not synonymous.
Yeah I agree. I realise it's way simplistic of me to equate the two terms as one and the same. Based on the above definition it seems that both volume and projection can each be gauged on possessing a "penetrating" quality, though how one differentiates between them is the difficult question. This will be an excellent thread.

katysax
03-07-2015, 09:48 AM
I can tell you from playing the bass through an amp, that when I am playing with a group, I can turn the volume up and the sound is loud but diffuse. When I add in a Compression Pedal, the sound becomes more concentrated and cuts through. I can play with less volume and yet the bass like is more clearly evident in the mix. To me that is the difference between projection and volume. Also some ukes can be loud when you are the player or near them, but the sound will sound less loud when heard by a listener some distance away. If the sound can reach a longer range, then it is projecting.

TheBathBird
03-07-2015, 09:51 AM
Yeah I agree. I realise it's way simplistic of me to equate the two terms as one and the same. Based on the above definition it seems that both volume and projection can each be gauged on possessing a "penetrating" quality, though how one differentiates between them is the difficult question. This will be an excellent thread.

Maybe the difference between projection and volume is similar to that between an actor on stage who is able to make his speaking voice carry to the back of the theatre, and somebody just shouting. Not sure how that translates to the ukulele though..!

mm stan
03-07-2015, 01:09 PM
I equate volume as loudness. Projection is force in a direction...

Ukejenny
03-07-2015, 01:11 PM
For me, projection is how far your sound reaches with a good degree of clarity and quality.

brimmer
03-07-2015, 03:27 PM
I concur with Jenny. Projection iimplies clarity, whereas volume is just a quality of loudness.

ukulelekarcsi
03-08-2015, 08:18 AM
I concur with Jenny. Projection iimplies clarity, whereas volume is just a quality of loudness.

Me too, but with a slightly different nuance: it's how focussed your sound wave leaves the ukulele. Measure the volume right in front, and at the sides, and the difference will tell you something about the projection. Nuanced bracing, harder backs and sides and especially curved backs will generally result in more projection, not necesarilly in more all-round volume.

But that's only my understanding. In describing the sounds of musical instruments, it's almost like gastronomic critique: what exactly is 'dry', 'wet', 'full', 'warm'? Technical terms like sustain, 'highs, mids and lows' or volume are easier to define, projection falls somewhere in between. As does intonation in my opinion: it's as much a result of string gauge and hand pressure as it is of fret placement, action and saddle compensation - ever played a gipsy guitar?

Booli
03-08-2015, 11:00 AM
I equate volume as loudness. Projection is force in a direction...

In physics, this might be described as a VECTOR.


For me, projection is how far your sound reaches with a good degree of clarity and quality.

I think of volume vs. projection similar to the different between a flood lamp (diffused) and a spotlight (narrower focus)...

as katysax said also, diffused and loud, vs. focused and clear (as in note separation)

or another metaphor...

volume: drop a 16 lb cinder block in a lake or pond, big splash and messy, big ripples that die off without going very far

projection: drop a golf-ball sized stone in a lake or pond, tiny yet defined ripples that spread out far and wide

I also tend to think of volume in terms of watts of energy pushing the sound, and projection in terms of the resonance and perception of specific acoustic frequencies and how they interact with their 'environment' (carpet, wood floor, tile, high ceilings, etc)

southcoastukes
03-08-2015, 07:26 PM
“What is projection?” is certainly a good way to begin the thread, but a pertinent follow-up might be “How important is projection?”

Projection was extremely important for the 20th century Classical Concert Guitarist. Especially during the early part of the century, amplification was pretty crude. Andres Segovia, for example, went well into mid-century playing without amplification in Concert Halls simply because he thought the amplified tone, even through a microphone, was simply horrible compared to the natural acoustic sound of the guitar. A common joke in those days was “I went to hear Segovia last night”; reply: “You mean you really heard him?”

With those sorts of conditions, guitarists and luthiers did everything possible to add projection to the Classical Guitar. Certain wood combinations were found to help with projection, and new construction such as lattice bracing helped with projection as well. What some of those results also yielded, however, was a tone many found to be harsh; shrill to the point of being unlistenable.

Today, amplification is much more accurate than it was when projection was so important. Segovia himself relented and used a microphone during his later years. For that reason the emphasis on projection has faded. It’s not that an instrument that projects well isn’t still desirable. We feel it is, but we also feel its importance is now secondary. There just aren’t that many situations where you need Concert Hall projection from an acoustic instrument today, and of course on an Ukulele it was even trickier. Good tone today can be amplified accurately and heard under any condition, so if there is a choice to be made between tone and projection, most builders today will lean toward tone.

kypfer
03-08-2015, 10:18 PM
southcoastukes wrote:
“What is projection?” is certainly a good way to begin the thread, but a pertinent follow-up might be “How important is projection?”

Thanks for a response that I can fully appreciate ... effectively volume whilst maintaining a good balanced tone ! :)

As it happens I did see Segovia perform in the '60's. I must admit I don't remember whether he was amplified or not ... just mesmerised by this unassuming man alone in the middle of a big stage making all these wonderful sounds :)

Thanks to everyone else for their feedback as well, it's been interesting getting a few views on the matter :)

mm stan
03-09-2015, 04:45 AM
Yes projection may well be how one sends and receives sound... not the quality of sound in musical terms