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Jeff Haas

Arching terms

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I keep running across terms such as: "...the relatively flat arching of ..." or "...the relatively smooth archings profiles of ..." and "...a certain apparent flatness...(Hill)" in describing the violin arching of Stradivari. Usually in the context of ascribing acoustical superiority. What are they referring to? Why is arching shape so important?

I have heard Michael Darnton state the importance of proper arching - what shape should we be striving for?

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I have a 'Klotz', with the arching (contour of the belly) so high that you can see through one f-hole, and out the other. I don't know what the philosophy such high arching was...it seems to contribute to instability in the wood, and doesn't make the sound any better.

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It's hard to objectify these descriptions without a set of arching templates. Over the centuries every kind of arching has been tried. There's a myth out there that higher archings make for a sweet tone and easy playing, but not as much power as flatter patterns. Once Stradivari perfected his low-arched models it was shown that this doesn't have to be true. As Michael has pointed out, it's a combination of factors.

The Klotz model and it variations are still sought after in some quarters. Usually the tops are a forest of cleated repairs, but the sound is pleasing. I passed up an 1850's shop Klotz (I think it was a real one, not a 'School of') and am still regretting the choice.

Mark_W

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Generally speaking. High arched violins have a sonorous and smooth quality, while the flatter the arch have more volume and punch. A perfectly flat table would be monster loud, but have very poor tone quality. So it becomes a trade-off. Stradivari experamented and lowered the arch as compared to the Amati form violins of the mid 17th century. The greatest difference stands out when you hear a high arch baroque violin and a low arch baroque violin. The high arch instrument has a vocal quality to it that can sound like a child singing, while the flatter arch instrument has a more robust tone and punch.

Soloists and other musicans who wish to stand out in the crowded symphonie hall want volume, and therfore want to play instruments with punch and clarity. That is why violins with good volume, and good tone quality are always in demand, whilest the instruments with good tone only are relegated the second violin section.

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Steveg Soloists and other musicans who wish to stand out in the crowded symphonie hall want volume, and therfore want to play instruments with punch and clarity. That is why violins with good volume, and good tone quality are always in demand, whilest the instruments with good tone only are relegated the second violin section.

As a perennial second violinist I want an instrument with LOW volume and good tone laugh.gif.

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