Coda International Presents Break-Through Science at Violin Society of America National Convention

November 7, 2018

Cleveland, OH. On Wednesday, November 7th, CodaBow co-founder Jeff Van Fossen and master bowmaker Roger Zabinski co-presented “The Physics and Mystery of Bow Design” on the mainstage for the 2018 Violin Society of America Convention. In this joint presentation, Zabinski and Van Fossen discussed the importance and function of the bow with specific attention to the bow as tension manager and signal conditioner, design influencers of performance, and design approaches. Drawing from their extensive and specialized knowledge as an aerospace engineer and celebrated master bowmaker, they addressed the historical understanding and intuitive control of design characteristics and illustrated the eternal foundation in science for these principles of design. Dispelling misconceptions and reinforcing a common language to communicate the fundamentals, the four elements of design were discussed individually with illustrative examples of their effect: weight, dynamic balance, stiffness, and action.


Most notably, these leaders offered a preview of the innovative and groundbreaking scientific research advanced by CodaBow.  Emphasizing the dominating role of the Helmholtz Wave in sound production, this research suggests the direct influencers of that wave form and the ability of the player, by connecting and controlling the string, to “shape the Helmholtz”.  From the string’s perspective, the most direct influence is the hair ribbon, and the interaction and relationship of hair to string will ultimately determine the shape of the sound wave and by extension, the tone. This ribbon compliancy profile dictates the “Action” of the bow, that is, the degree and shape of the bow’s connection with the string.  Long understood and manipulated by bow makers as extrinsic “camber”, a bow’s action can be first measured and tailored to meet the diverse needs of players. Designing this characteristic requires considering Modulus, the Area of Inertia, and the Approach, and in advanced bowmaking the recipe is an intimate understanding and control of fiber blend, fiber architecture, and resin.
This “Shaping the Helmholtz” forms the foundation of CodaBow’s design approach.  Utilizing their signature Performance Innovation Loop, the continuous cycle of Computer Model, Prototype, Quantify, and Qualify determines the needs of players and the scientific approach to meeting those needs.  As it has from its founding, CodaBownot only broke barriers of design, but discovered ways to measure relevant and critical data, and implemented the process to practically apply that data. The overall study established the course and forecast the future of bow design.

Summary and further information is available by visiting the CodaBow website at​and​.

This post is brought to you by CodaBow International.