Doppler Effect and moving

April 8, 2013 at 04:25 PM · Has anyone noticed a difference in performing what you are moving compared to when you are not? I was wondering if there is a noticeable doppler effect when a performer is moving around.

Replies (28)

April 8, 2013 at 05:38 PM · no, unless the player is riding a motorcycle


playing messa di voce in tragically HIP


April 8, 2013 at 09:01 PM · The effect would only be noticable to a person who is stationary relative to you (if you are the one moving). If you're playing, you're not moving relative to your instrument, therefore you would hear no difference.

April 8, 2013 at 09:03 PM · And you would have to be moving at a really fast speed.

April 8, 2013 at 10:44 PM · I know I would not hear a difference, but the audience members are stationary.

I also understand that it would be a very small difference, but wouldn't there be some observable change especially in sudden fast movements?

April 8, 2013 at 10:51 PM · Why not crack open a physics book and see for yourself? Or read about it on the web?

April 8, 2013 at 11:55 PM · Yet another way of doing vibrato. Just don't tell Ms K!

April 9, 2013 at 12:17 AM ·

You can run your violin through a Hammond G37 speaker. This works on the Doppler effect principle.

April 9, 2013 at 01:38 AM · Eric, I understand how the doppler effect works, and I have been reading multiple works on the subject.

I was just wondering if any violinist has had personal experience noticing this in a performance during sudden jolts forwards or backwards. I tried experimenting with my Korg tuner, but it wasn't responsive enough.

I plan on recording myself soon, and experiment moving different ways while playing an open string. Already I have gathered that it's not enough the make a noticeable difference.

April 9, 2013 at 02:48 AM · Doppler, no... but the Tippler effect is not uncommon and definitely very noticable. You recognize it by performers that move excessively in a swaying action from side to side - in the extreme they may even fall off the stage - the sound becomes slurred, I mean legato where it should be staccato, and, for example, the Elgar Violin concerto has definite echoes of "Barnacle Bill the Sailor" and the Brahms, "Eisgekühlter Bommerlunder"...

April 9, 2013 at 03:52 PM · of all the things to worry about...

April 9, 2013 at 04:25 PM · Well, it beats arguing about shoulder rests, but only marginally :-)

April 9, 2013 at 05:49 PM · I've seen Lindsey Stirling perform and there was hardly and difference other than her being near the front of the stage and when she was at the back of the stage, but with the the twirling and side to side there was hardly and difference other than volume and projection relative to the audience.

April 9, 2013 at 09:13 PM · A walking player typically moves at speeds around 1 m/s. Compared to the speed of sound (340 m/s) this is 0,3%, or 5 cents.

my 5 cents,


ps Elise, "Eisgekühlter Bommerlunder" LOL

April 9, 2013 at 10:27 PM · I suspect Gareth Thomas may hear that difference (~1.3 Hz @440) :-)

Is this what you are worried about, Shawn?

A piece of music played while moving towards your audience at twice the speed of sound will be heard perfectly in time and tune but backwards.

By the way, is your name pronounced Bouquet?

April 10, 2013 at 01:37 AM · Bart, the Doppler effect is most pronounced when the stationary observer is closest to the moving source. Think of a vehicle with an emergency siren traveling past you at high speed on a straight road.

April 10, 2013 at 08:10 PM · Doppler effect has nothing to do with proximity to the source. It is the result of compression or expansion of sound waves due to the source (or observer) moving towards or away from the sound source.

The reason the pitch of a siren changes when an ambulance is speeding past is because the ambulance is coming toward you (sound waves compressing), as it passes, it changes to moving away from you (sound waves expanding).

If an object was very far away, but it was moving towards you and away from you very quickly, you would theoretically hear the same effect.

April 10, 2013 at 08:15 PM · Actually 5 cents can be quite noticeable. Next time I am playing in a performance and I play a note slightly flat, I'll start running towards the audience as fast as I can so they hear it in tune. Then I will play the next note slightly sharp, so I can run back to where I started. The audience will never know my intonation was off.

April 11, 2013 at 01:09 AM · The doppler effect might be significant for this guy:

April 11, 2013 at 01:24 AM · Paul,

That was impressive playing. Thanks for posting. I was completely mesmerized.

April 11, 2013 at 02:13 AM · I'm barely coordinated enough to play standing still - I sure won't be moving fast enough to create a Doppler effect! I would probably trip and hurt both myself and my violin if I attempted to move like that guy in the video Paul Deck linked.

I always wondered how the violinist with the group Celtic Woman (they always seem to be on my PBS during pledge drives) dances around like she does while she plays.

April 11, 2013 at 07:01 AM · A doppler effect may also be acheived based on how firmly the violin is held in place. If the vibrations are causing the violin to move as whole then that will affect the sound. So maybe that implys you may or may not et a doppler shift if you use a shoulder rest or not.....lets start another shoulder rest discussion......

April 11, 2013 at 03:20 PM · That video was a refreshing change from so many of the po-faced performances you see. It is also the first time I've seen a violinist deliberately change violins in the middel of a piece! The violinist (who was he, btw?) certainly knew how to entertain an audience, and you can't do it like that without a consummate command of technique and understanding of the music. But I couldn't help wondering what Heifetz's reaction would have been had our man played like that on one of the Master's televised master-classes!

April 11, 2013 at 04:23 PM · @paul

Not to sound like I'm a hating or anything but watching him seems almost like watching molasses compared to her

April 12, 2013 at 10:09 AM · The violinist in the vid is Chuanyun Li. Excellent, unique violinist, he has much good stuff. I agree, very exciting and refreshing.

April 12, 2013 at 10:09 AM · The violinist in the vid is Chuanyun Li. Excellent, unique violinist, he has much good stuff. I agree, very exciting and refreshing.

April 12, 2013 at 12:46 PM · Again?

April 13, 2013 at 01:29 AM · Thank you for the wonderful discussion. It was just a thought. Now back to shoulder rests.

And yes Boucké is pronounced bouquet.

April 13, 2013 at 01:57 AM · Come to think of it, if you threw a shoulder rest (preferably without your violin on it) past someone's ear they might well hear a doppler effect.

Or a simulated doppler: yyyyYYYEEEEEOOOOOOWWWWWWWwwwwwwwww

if it hit them...

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