Problem locating and drawing F-holes


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Hmm, a couple of attempts to correct, and my text from the last post keeps being repeated. I hope I fixed it this time. :)

Fascinating. With respect to my response, you posted this as if from a point in the future instead of the past. Time travel or spooky action at a distance. The violin is really much more mysterious than we realize. :)

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Fascinating. With respect to my response, you posted this as if from a point in the future instead of the past. Time travel or spooky action at a distance. The violin is really much more mysterious than we realize. :)

Maybe it's because I watched a show on Nostradamus the other day. :)

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Sure, in the historical sense of what the first fellers might have done, but my question is aimed more at the philosophical question of why the "violin". Here is more underthought (to coin a new word).

There are an infinite number of possible constructions of acoustic resonators, like violins, yet it may well be that the violin is the only one that is capable of being rendered as accurately as it can be by such a diverse number of construction methods.

From the purely mathematical perspective, it may be possible to assign a genus value to gross features of any potential construction, not unlike the way topology fundamentally deals with the number of holes in a given 3-dimensional object. Then, one might ask, how many of those other inifinite constructions have the ability to be able to be rendered relatively accurately using such a diverse field of methods. I think it is subject to such mathematical investigation along these lines. Not that I would be capable of actually executing such an investigation, I am really just a general idea man.

In other words, what would we say about the violin if it were possible to demonstrate that it is unique among the infinite number of possible acoustical resonators of X genus?

How do David Rivinus's Daliesque designs fit into your genus theory? See http://www.rivinus-instruments.com/ I note that the top plates of some of his instruments have extra holes in them and so would be topologically different from standard fiddle top plates.

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In the Denis link which Roger Hill posted, I think there were around 64 steps involved in creating a basic form shape ... One still needs to come up with a corner shape, because that's not defined by the form.

You've mentioned that some fudging is needed to fit Guarneri into "the usual Cremonese system". (post #59)

I have the Denis book, and have even read some of it! :) I've drawn one mould following his step-by-step instructions, not having ventured out into my own variations. The corners, however, are drawn in the Denis method, not left out. I think it would be hard to locate the cut-outs for the corner blocks if you didn't know where the corners were.

And he does talk about laying out the f-holes following a similar philosophy, so it is pertinent to this conversation. Indeed, knowing where the corners are, or seeing where they are, is one way we decide if the f-holes are in the right position.

The large number of steps involved bothers me a bit. But what was the alternative? Today, we photocopy a Strad magazine poster, cut it out, don't like it, photocopy again, diddle with the copy until we decide it's acceptable. Certainly not the method used in the old days, pre-photography. And if one person could create a design, with a few layout concepts that followed what appears to be an underlying philosophy (e.g., harmonic sections), then that mould could be copied or modified. I don't think anyone is saying these modifications didn't take place, but rather that you can see it in the instruments as they do take place over time.

The blending of arcs doesn't bother me, as it appears to be a fairly common procedure in other design of the era. I am somewhat bothered by the large number of steps. The concept of drawing the mold, rather than recreating the outline of the instrument, is appealing to me on a fundamental level, too.

Whether the Denis method is correct or not, it is interesting in that it is based on a few concepts, rather than an external sculptural shape.

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How do David Rivinus's Daliesque designs fit into your genus theory? See http://www.rivinus-instruments.com/ I note that the top plates of some of his instruments have extra holes in them and so would be topologically different from standard fiddle top plates.

Well, for simplicity, one would classify it by reducing the number of main holes to two. Then, the outline would indeed fall into the class of "other constructions" and my intuition is that it's not remotely subject to many methods of outline construction, like the violin.

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The corners, however, are drawn in the Denis method, not left out. I think it would be hard to locate the cut-outs for the corner blocks if you didn't know where the corners were.

Are we talking about the same thing? I was referring to the actual corner shape and position, on the plates. The rest of the plate outline can be traced from the rib outline.

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Are we talking about the same thing? I was referring to the actual corner shape and position, on the plates. The rest can be traced from the rib outline. This the part which apparently Strad used small templates for.

Apologies if we're not talking about the same thing, but I think we are. Here is a photo of my attempt at the Denis method.

post-24063-1254403438_thumb.jpg

Which does show the corner shapes -- a full template for producing the mould, including the corner templates.

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Sorry for not being more clear. I edited out the "template" part because it made it confusing, but you caught and quoted it before the edit made it onto your screen.

What I'm trying to say is that the actual plate outline can be taken by spacing out from the rib assembly, except for the corners.

Here's an interesting article by Roger Hargrave, in which he mentions,

"Stradivari was evidently more concerned about the corner shapes than he was about an even overhang....

... As a result the corners' shapes are stunningly beautiful in both concept and cut, regardless of the rib corner shapes."

That's what I'm trying to highlight, that the corner shapes on the plate don't come directly from the ribs. To me, this is an important design element which can make or break a fiddle. I hope I'm clearing this up, as opposed to making it more confusing. :)

http://www.roger-hargrave.de/PDF/Artikel/S...lanollo_PDF.pdf

Here's another cool article by Roger which also discusses visible layout marks, and dimensions for the Servais Strad cello, in case anyone hasn't seen it already.

http://www.roger-hargrave.de/PDF/Artikel/S...Servais_PDF.pdf

Both of these articles can be useful for correlating actual layout marks with design theories, and looking for underlying or repeating measurements and ratios.

Catnip, you'll notice from the articles that Stradivari also didn't get everything to line up just perfectly. :)

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... Roger Hargrave ...mentions, "Stradivari was evidently more concerned about the corner shapes than he was about an even overhang....

... As a result the corners' shapes are stunningly beautiful in both concept and cut, regardless of the rib corner shapes."

I find it chronologically odd The 1701 Servais Cello shares purdy much the same F-hole/Corner features as most Golden Period Stradivari Violins.

But then there's his 1704 Betts Violin, with those Long Corners.

I'm pretty sure Stradivari needed to abandon the Cremonese System, i.e. get more Artsy, to come-up with those Long Corners

[rather than derive them from pure math/geometry].

post-6775-1254412329_thumb.jpg

And with The Betts, "Art" [corner purfling] is truly in the eye of the beholder, although its F-hole location isn't too bad.

Jim

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...

What I'm trying to say is that the actual plate outline can be taken by spacing out from the rib assembly, except for the corners.

Here's an interesting article by Roger Hargrave, in which he mentions,

"Stradivari was evidently more concerned about the corner shapes than he was about an even overhang....

... As a result the corners' shapes are stunningly beautiful in both concept and cut, regardless of the rib corner shapes."

That's what I'm trying to highlight, that the corner shapes on the plate don't come directly from the ribs. To me, this is an important design element which can make or break a fiddle. I hope I'm clearing this up, as opposed to making it more confusing. :)

http://www.roger-hargrave.de/PDF/Artikel/S...lanollo_PDF.pdf

The underlying math and the artistic interpretation don't seem incompatible to me. Just because the form might have a mathematical basis doesn't mean that the implementation isn't open to the eye of the carver. Maybe I'm not being very clear, either.

So, assume the rib follows a simple mathematical curve. That does not imply that the overhang must then be exactly the same everywhere. Just as the purfling does not exactly follow the edge, particularly in the corners.

But the basic design is there. And one of the basic differences seems to be that the Denis concept goes from the inside out, while many others go from the outline back to the form. And I certainly don't claim to know which is better; the inside-out method seems to me to be more fundamental.

I dug up my copy of the June 1998 Strad and hope to read the Milanollo story again at lunch today. Thanks for locating it.

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I heard this story about Leonardo da Vinci and it goes like this; that Leonardo was approaching a town where he was going to work for a new patron, and a servant was sent out to see if it was Leonardo who was approaching.

Asked to identify himself, Leonardo drew a perfect circle freehand.

Freehanded Circle?

So how would someone not knowing what happened, recreate what happened, after the fact?

Just because the slipper fits, doesn't mean you should marry the girl, just that she made it onto the short list.

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You did not explain yourself well, although I am curious about the point -or circle- you were trying to make. Feel free to clarify more plainly.

Cinderella

Someone seeing a perfect circle might think it was drawn with a compass, and most of the time they would be right, but once in a while they would be wrong.

Do you think that if you could cram into the slipper the girl of your dreams, then you might forget about Cinderella.

If it works for you, then use it.

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Just because the slipper fits, doesn't mean you should marry the girl, just that she made it onto the short list.

Perhaps you are not understanding what Denis is providing that none of the others are, and that is the precise location of the narrowest point of the CC's.

Sacconi's plan was flawed by erroneous ideas that he injected into the design, instead of letting the design lead him; things like the balance point being at the bridge (obviously he never tried to balance a plate!) or his preconceived location for the narrowest spot of the body, which is not supported by real violins (Denis' narrowest point is different by 5mm or even more, and is correct, according to Stradivari instruments, themselves.)

So if the slipper fits only one girl, then the 'short list' is very short indeed. B)

:) :) B):) :)
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How well did the slipper fit the girls you haven't met yet? :)

And if the slipper fitted (insert your choice of perfect mate here) then why would you want to try any others.

For those of you who are married, we will just assume that your spouse's name appears in the above fill in.

I think this analogy is about to fall apart in a really big way! :)

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Someone seeing a perfect circle might think it was drawn with a compass, and most of the time they would be right, but once in a while they would be wrong.

Wow -- this is exactly the point, and I think you have it completely backwards, the cart before the horse. The definition of a circle is mechanically represented by a compass -- all the points at a given distance from one point (the center). Without the concept of the circle, what is a 'perfect' circle? The design is there, not some random shape.

Mathematically, something is a circle or it's not. Artistically, you have round things, some of which look like circles, some don't.

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Wow -- this is exactly the point, and I think you have it completely backwards, the cart before the horse. The definition of a circle is mechanically represented by a compass --

Not for most of human history. Instead, it could have been represented by the sun, a full moon, a cross section of a tree, or the rings from a stone dropped in the water. I'll bet people could draw a circle pretty well free-hand, or trace something, long before they came up with mechanical center-pivot devices to aid in recreating the shape, and mathematical definitions.

I think things can get unnecessarily complicated when failing to take human nature and innate talents sufficiently into account. The fiddle tunes you play can be defined with great precision mathematically, but I'll bet it's not he way you learned them, or the way they were created. We could define the shapes of all the characters in the alphabet mathematically, but using those definitions rather than the images would be a cumbersome way to use them, communicate them, and not the way they were originally generated, learned or used.

Humans have strong powers of shape and sound recognition. Even math is mostly communicated using convenient images which represent a concept, as opposed to making 97 dots to represent the number 97.

You're a math guy and I'm not, so I'm sure you can you can mess with some of the examples I've given. Instead, please try to see what I'm attempting to communicate.

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Not for most of human history....

But we are talking here about violin design, a very specific time in human history. I'm probably not being very clear. The mathematical concept of a circle is quite ancient, predating the violin by at least 2000 years, if not more than twice that. A compass does not draw a perfect circle. It is a representation. The design element is in the human brain, on that I think we agree, and we can call it math or art, but the circle is a concept, not a physical reality.

.... The fiddle tunes you play can be defined with great precision mathematically, but I'll bet it's not he way you learned them, or the way they were created. ...

Agreed -- there's a great quote by Einstein making a similar point. "It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure."

Humans have strong powers of shape and sound recognition. Even math is mostly communicated using convenient images which represent a concept, as opposed to making 97 dots to represent the number 97.

You're a math guy and I'm not, so I'm sure you can you can mess with some of the examples I've given. Instead, try to see what I'm attempting to communicate.

Math is simply another human attempt to deal with shape and sound recognition. In the culture that developed the violin we have things such as da Vinci's Vitruvian man -- art and math were two parts of the same human strivings. The violin is a very rational instrument. Variations of a few mm cause people to use terms such as 'large' or 'small'.

Given that, it's hard to understand how anyone can think there wasn't some underlying design. And if there is a design, then it seems reasonable that they would use the design tools of the day.

That certainly doesn't rule out artistic interpretation and variation. It's not one or the other.

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Given that, it's hard to understand how anyone can think there wasn't some underlying design. And if there is a design, then it seems reasonable that they would use the design tools of the day.

I don't necessarily think that there wasn't some underlying design. But if something is going to be called "the way it was", I'd like to see evidence stronger than "this shoe fits better than the other shoes in the closet".

Does complexity serve as validation in some circles? Aren't there simpler explanations, more along the lines of how a tradesman might think, which would do just as well?

Would a compass have been used (by violin makers) as a sophisticated design tool, or is it more likely that it was used to transfer dimensions and shapes from one object to another, like from a pattern to the work?

Does the similarity of shapes and dimensions between different makers in the same town require anything more than the notion that they were influenced by each other, copied each other, or traced forms?

I'll repeat that I don't have a position on this, except that I see some attraction in the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid), and my observations may be biased as a full-time violin maker.

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Does complexity serve as validation in some circles? Aren't there simpler explanations, more along the lines of how a tradesman might think, which would do just as well?

This is why we need an analysis and catalog book of all known compass and ruler violin constructions. :) I have to admit that I find the idea of a definitive outline intriguing, but the requisite information is just not that available. I remember reading Leippe's book some years ago (with its very brief introduction to about five historical golden ratio constructions) but that is about the extent of my practical knowledge. However, I am feeling inspired, and I think I will try to imagine and render my own construction from a Strad poster in the near future.

What is the prize for solving the violin in the least amount of steps anyway?

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What is the prize for solving the violin in the least amount of steps anyway?

I'll send you a free toaster, and try to give you any deserved acclaim, but that's about as far as it goes. :)

I'm sure you already know that smarts invested in the fiddle business can earn a lot more money elsewhere.

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Does complexity serve as validation in some circles? Aren't there simpler explanations, more along the lines of how a tradesman might think, which would do just as well?

Would a compass have been used (by violin makers) as a sophisticated design tool, or is it more likely that it was used to transfer dimensions and shapes from one object to another, like from a pattern to the work?

Does the similarity of shapes and dimensions between different makers in the same town require anything more than the notion that they were influenced by each other, copied each other, or traced forms?

Everyone I know would prefer the simplest explanation that works.

Certainly compasses, dividers, were used to transfer dimensions. The problem is, where did the first violin come from, the one that tradesman were copying from?

One person can create a design that can be used by many tradesman. A compass is useful because it is a multipurpose tool, and different violin makers would use it differently, depending on their own interest and education.

I have no doubt that copying, transferring of dimensions took place, just as it does now. Ideas get passed around. But I don't believe this is a way of maintaining a fairly standard violin -- more the opposite, that it would create significant variation. Seems there must have been some underlying design that kept the variations within defined limits.

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