More thoughts on the subject of time lag, bloom, pulse, etc.
It strikes me that a choice must be made regarding what might be called the
"effective speaking time" during the production of a musical tone on any
instrument - the point on the rising envelope of the wave form at which the
tone is considered to be "established" for musical aesthetic purposes. Then
there is the time delay between this time and some equivalent point in time
- perhaps an inflection - at which the "bloom" is effectively established.
These times must be somewhat under the control of the performer for either a
harpsichord or the tracker organ, and are manifestly under the control of
the string player. Our conductor, who is a professional viola player, talks
a lot about taking an intake of breath before producing a tone, another term
for which in sporting terminology might be the "wind up." So I suspect that
his problem with the first violins was inadequate "wind up" which leads to
appropriate timing of the rising envelope of the tone produced, hence a
discombobulation of the underlying pulse. I suppose that violins violas
etc. must also "bloom" although the effect could be overshadowed by effects
of varying bow speed and pressure.
I would guess that it must also follow that there is be an interaction
between these effects and the choice of appropriate tempo for a given piece
of music on a given instrument.
I apologize to the artistic types for thinking like an engineer - but I
suspect that various modes of thinking about this kind of thing eventually
converge if pursued far enough - it's largely a matter of terminology.
Come to think of it, this subject is not new to me. Back in the fifties, I
inherited the job of playing the carillon at the ME Church back home. There
was a huge lag between initiating movement of the handle, and actual
production of a tone. Also, I found that the tone could be enhanced by
giving the lever a "flip" near the end of travel. I fancy that I made that
rig sing like few others had been able to, but it took a while to learn to
get the phrasing right, taking those time lags into account.
I also found that I could not explain what I was doing to my replacement
when I was getting ready to head off to college.