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Corner shape

Don Noon

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There is so much more to geometry and geometric design than the golden section. Why limit yourself to only that aspect?

Greetings, Torbjörn-- In a broad sense, there are surely a number of ways to impose a meaningful system of coordinates on the violin's outline. The golden section is very interesting historically, but nothing says it is the last word. On the other hand, the golden section appears frequently in nature in ways one would hardly imagine. Did you know you can still buy expanding, multi-point dividers on the golden section? They are used by dentists and orthodontists to check on the proper alignment of teeth along the arc if your jaw. I have to admit that even I was skeptical of this, but it seems that when you observe a normal smile :) from directly in front, the amount the each successive tooth is overlapped by the one in front is on the golden section!

I have drawn violins on the golden section, ratios based on the Fibonacci number series, and others, and have gotten some nice violin-shaped objects from all of them. They differ less than one might think. I don't feel limited by the golden section because there is flexibility within the system.

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I'm still clinging to my belief that in workshop situations, builders and designers would be more likely to use straight-edges and compass-dividers. They're just easier and faster than something such as a protractor. But I have no 'smoking gun' to support my belief.

So far! :)

In the system I worked out, the use of proportional dividers is even faster and more accurate than compass-and-straightedge work, but there is almost no evidence of these dividers, especially one pinned on the golden section, being used by 16th-century violin makers.

There is almost no evidence that I know of to indicate that geometric design was employed by violin makers at the bench, except that the presence of a demonstrably geometric instrument implies geometric design.

Only from Strad do we have evidence of innovation and redesign. Strad created new models at the blazing pace of about one every ten years! For all we know, every other maker was simply using templates either handed down from previous generations or copied from existing models. It is a tantalizing mystery!

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