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This thread is about building a violin which doesn't follow a symmetric outline for ergonomic purposes. At the same time the weight was initially kept at the bare minimum to find out in which parts of a violin mass and accompanying stiffness is needed to produce a 'good' sound. It was the idea that starting from unconvential patterns and working with a different concept would necessarily and automatically lead to failure. Thus this would have become additional proof to the idea that the violin seen as a concept of classical makers can't be improved. While this seemed to be true at the beginning, it came clear in the continuation of various constructional experiments, that a different construction concept at least seems to be possible. As said, it was in the first place not the goal to produce a violin with 'superior' sound characteristics but while experimenting with the violin useful hypothesis were elaborated to link constructional features with various characteristics of the sound. Princples were tested and judged by playing the instrument as well as recording sound spectra for objective comparison. Currently this project finds itself at the turning point from being merely experimental. (Andreas Preuss, Tokyo, 2021/5/11) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Though the original introduction of this thread has outlived itself, I believe that the general mindset is still valid. Serious violin making must not always follow already explored paths and even if there is the risk of making something foolish, there is ALWAYS the benefit of learning from unusual experiences. Everything below is the unaltered original text of this thread: Here you can follow me constructing the super-light violin. It will be the craziest thing I ever made and please don't take it too seriously. It is the violin maker joke from my workshop. But at least I am serious enough to make it the most professional way I can imagine. So following the footprints of Antonio Stradivari everything starts with a drawing. I decided to throw over board symmetry as well and came up with the funny design below. To save weight the length is only 351mm and all distortions follow the 10 percent rule which means that one f-hole is 10 percent longer than the other.
What and how Stradivari worked in his workshop will always remain a mystery. But from pure facts how many instruments he produced average over the years tells a story of a man who worked with principles far ahead of his time: Fast, efficient and perfect. I calculated the averages from the Goodkind book and came to the following figures 1700 - 1715 12 violins and 1 cello 1716 - 1725 15.5 violins and 1.5 cellos 1726 - 1737 7.5 violins And this does not reflect the entire work volume of the shop, because they made with three people in the workshop fittings, cases, strings and even bows (because they couldn't order them in Mirecourt) as well This makes clear to me what mindset he had. He wouldn't waste a minute on something where he didn't know the result. Every single work procedure followed rules to get the perfect result he wanted in the minimum of time. I think if we replace the word SECRET with the word CONCEPT, we are getting actually to the point, because a concept doesn't look at ONE gimmick, a concept tires to build consecutive steps so that the entire process brings the best results. I am pretty convinced that in order to understand what Antonio Stradivari was doing in his workshop, we need to figure out what he was doing for which reason to make the next step possible. And this becomes pretty complex. So no wonder that none of those smart people in the past figured it out. Now if someone is asking me, how do you think Stradivari made his instruments? Of course, I can't give a irrefragable theory on this. I can only say that back in the 18th century the common concept was alchemy. It was the idea to transform Lead into Gold but not in the literal sense. (even though some modern Alchemists tell Physicists that their theories are nonsense) Transforming lead into gold is only an analogy to transform a something worthless into an ideal form or simply to enhance its qualities to its optimum. If we apply this mindset on what result Stradivaris intended to get from 'imperfect' material wood, this makes sense to me. This gives me, without having any proof for it, the idea that he worked with alchemical ideas. At least it seems that the wood he used was not left in its natural state. This would support the idea that alchmeical procedures were used to improve the material qualities. When I looked into it I translated it like this: Alchemical procedures follow 7 different transformative processes described with the terms Fire Water Wind Earth Putrefication Filtration Agglomeration However, the order might be changed and some of the procedures can act together. So we can interpret the transformation of materials like this: The raw wood is steamed (Fire and water) and thereafter needs to dry (wind). Earth would be the ground on the wood and putrefication filtration and agglomeration describe the process to make the varnish. (At least recent scientific research points into the direction that the wood might have undergone some treatment.) I know it is very weird, but in the end things which were going around in Antonio Stradivaris mind mustn't make sense to our modern scientific way of thinking. This might be in the end his biggest secret.