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David Beard

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  1. 'Traveling with' isn't and shouldn't be considered the same as 'exporting/importing'. But sanity doesn't always prevail.
  2. There are some paper templates where he's working out some decoration designs. There also a some paper templates associated with actual scrolls. However, to me, the non de orative paper templates seem very loose and don't seem to represent the design or detail of the actual scrolls at all. I suspect those templates served for norhing more than positioning the scroll work on the block of wood. The actual scrolls from Strad and the other Cremona makers show well structured patterns of geometry and proportion choices. The full collection of specfic choices are almost never all the same from one example to next, even of the same makee. So, I suspect each example was worked individually.
  3. Visio is what I use. Lets me layer, scale, and prebuild geometric structures. I keep a library of pre built templates that helps tremendously on the labor. Makes graphic visual analysis much easier. These days I also scale everything that has a reference length available. That way I can measure by mm or old oncia when desired.
  4. Offered just for humor: It seems discussion of ratios makes our violin making community seriously irrational.
  5. David Beard


    It's a fairly deep dive to begin tinkering with soundposts. They are also called the 'soul' of the instrument. That's actually their name in French. The tools are simple. You can make a good traditional post setter from just coat hanger wire. However, a good post fitting is not just about position. The tightness is equally important. Changing the position toward or away from the edge even a fairly small amount changes the tightness. So, adjust tightness, or even posititon change that changes the tightness can require cutting a fresh post. You might even need to cut several. So, besides a setter, you need blank spruce posts, and a good fitting knive. A suitable mirror and light you can snake inside are also valuable. The sort of 'standard' starting position is variously described as 'a few mms', 'half a post width', or 'a bit less than the plate thickness' back from the bridge foot and horizontally 'just inside the bridge foot' or 'symmetrical to the bar'. Following from a well fit (snug but not too) starting position post, one follows the ear, intuition, and experience to fine tune the position. (Roughly, near to bridge gives focus and bright, but too tight if too near. Further back gives open, diffuse, and too loose if too far back. Toward the center tends to balance toward low end and away toward the treble.) Nothing is automatic or given about any of this. A truely clean perfect fit from post to plates is a essential. An upright position is generally best, but not without exception. In all of this, experience and highly develop skill are very helpful. If at all reasonably possible, one should involve a pro. Even if not possible, one should still realize that it would be vastly preferable to involve a pro. If you are in the less common position of working to be a pro, or committed to learning post settings for whatever reason, then realize it is a longish road. Expect to do a very questionable job the first dozen/many times, and then to learn across a great many more goes. Good fortune to you.
  6. David Beard


    Get a pro involved.
  7. I don't say this to be flip or dismissive, but to demonstrate the fallacy of this sort of logic. Your argument above is like saying that since orbits aren't simply circles, and since they are described not just with a radius but also with an eccentricity that therefore they aren't orbits at all.
  8. Yes. These are very interesting things. I did not intend to imply music theory was of interest only in Brescia. Of course, it was an active topic much more broadly. My focus on Brescia is because one of the theorists of the time, LanFranco, actually published his book in Brescia in 1533. And, it's note worthy that in the last pages of his book, Lanfranco mentions violins. Moreover, he mentions specific makers and families. Lanfranco mentions the older Zanetto for example. However, Lanfranco does not draw any connections between music theory and methods of instrument design. While and intriguing possibility, I'm not sure there is any indication that instrument maker's actually tried to apply music theory to their making in any direct way.
  9. Hi Francois, I'm not at all sure there is any formal link between the new music theorists and the instrument makers. But, it is quite intriguing that both were active in Brescia at the same time, and the same time the we first mention of violinii and makers of violins, and that also being shortly before the first surviving examples we have of violas representing the new violin family. While there might not be a formal link from makers to music theorists, perhaps an awareness of the complexities the theorists explored inspired the makers to break free of some earlier constraints. (Unfortunately, this part will sit well with those who want the ideas underlying Cremona making to be straight forwardly simple. In fact, it will probably drive them crazy. But, it is what it is.) Beginning from Giovanni Maria and Brescian work around that time we see less simple choices of ratios being made, and a mixing of reference to outside edge and also to the purfling line measures. If we try to the roots of the making principles as far back as possible, we do in fact find simpler and more straight forward choices. And, we can also see that from the earliest, the location of important elements was at times related to the body length, but even more often was related to the body width (generally same as the lower bout width). In particular, related to a distance equally to the width up from the bottom of the instrument. This is most easily represented by a 'bout square'. Most of the historical shapes also allow reference to an upper bout square. All these shapes have a width. Most of them have both a lower and an upper width, though in some examples the two are equal. Except for some of the earliest medieval cytharas, most of the body arrangements can framed by upper and lower bout squares that either join, overlap, or are separated by a gap. And, for most of the earlier historical examples, the amount of the overlap is a straight forward simple part of the lower width. Also, in the earlier historical examples, the upper width are either equal the other or reduced by a simple part. The following shows some various combinations of such choices: Notice that in these pictured examples, as well as most of the earlier historical examples, the combinations of gap, lap, and bout sizings have led to fairly simple BD to Width ratios (same as Body to Lower Bout). However, as time goes on and methods develop, the historical examples do not continue to show such clean mathematical simplicity. Increasingly, the makers explore more complicated combinations of choices. Perhaps inspired by the music theorists like Lanfranco who explored how ratios like 5/4 and 81/64 are not equal but both sound like major thirds to us, and both have straight forward musical meanings, perhaps such complexities of musical thought inspired them to explore combinations of ratio choices that don't actual equal out mathematically, but end up come in close enough to represent simpler ratios in practice. Regardless of why, we see in Giovanni Maria and work after that more complex combinations of ratio choices. The might set the UB width by making it's purfling line correspond to 4/5 the LB width. And the might set the overlap by different ratios of LB that aren't related used with UB. Mathematically such choices mean that the ratios of Body to Width don't actually work cleanly. Yet they always made choice combinations that leave the Body and Width very close to one of the tradition ratios 2:3, 3:5, 4:7, 5:9, and 6:11 which are all 'a part less than double the width', and all arose cleanly when the choice of bought size and overlap were made in more straightforward and coordinated ways. Unfortunately, there is no way to understand Cremona design choices without stepping into such complications. The Cremona making did not start with a fresh slate, but began working within traditions that already developed several centuries of convolution from the much earlier simple starting point.
  10. Not consistently make the kind of mean but content free remarks that gave rise to my unkind response.
  11. Actually, compounded ratios were part of the general culture. Look no further than music meters for a common practical example.
  12. Take the fudge out of your ears. Without that, the view changes.
  13. Nor is my suggestion as you label it. The 'fudge' is in your imagination.
  14. I appreciate that. Very glad if some of my work has been helpful.
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