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Secret Knowledge and violins


Craig Tucker
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Seems to me, Craig was asking for "some different points of view on the matter". He got mine. :lol:

Jim

I appreciate your opinion, Jim.

Really, I don't want only the opinions of people who agree with me.

Though I'll take those aslo, but I'll also take the opposite opinion - and the better the agument, the more I want to hear it.

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IF there is an acoustic design code AND you understand its underlying design geometry and how that relates to played string frequencies, then instead of using laborious empirical techniques you'd know precisely what to change to 'customize' an instrument to any Player's desire. You might design many new violin 'Models', or you might design one really great violin 'Model' that needs only set-up changes to customize to different Player preferences.

That's a gigantic IF.

And, if there ISN'T an acoustic design code, then everything else after that qualifier is pretty pointless.

It would be nice to discover such a code, and become master of the violinmaking universe. However, I don't believe such a thing exists, and we are therefore best off resorting to the laborious empirical techniques of building something, seeing how that works, and then building something else, trying out some different ideas. This is pretty much the way I see that it has always been.

To the extent that each maker tends to have a characteristic sound (which I think is true to some extent), it would be only partly due to acoustic "intent", with such intent based on the maker's empirical history. A lot of the characteristic sound could be due to a habitual construction details in the arching and graduation (and wood selection, varnish, etc.)... what "seems right" to them... which might not be doing acoustically what they think it does, but still creating a personalized sound.

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That's a gigantic IF.

And, if there ISN'T an acoustic design code, then everything else after that qualifier is pretty pointless.

Don,

If Amati wasn't originally working from some acoustic design code, then we're left to ponder three possibilities:

(1) Andrea Amati himself was an empirical 'copyist'. [if true, then many have 'copied' Amati's same mistakes. :huh: ];

(2) Some other genius presented Amati with drawings/patterns to create the very first violin but never explained the underlying acoustic code principles. [if true, this explains a LOT];

(3) Same as (2) only a space alien gave Amati an instrument to copy. :o

We're left to speculate what occurred nearly 500 years ago. I'll go out on a limb though and rule out the likelihood of (3) above. :D

Jim

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Don,

If Amati wasn't originally working from some acoustic design code, then we're left to ponder three possibilities:

(1) Andrea Amati himself was an empirical 'copyist'. [if true, then many have 'copied' Amati's same mistakes. :huh: ];

(2) Some other genius presented Amati with drawings/patterns to create the very first violin but never explained the underlying acoustic code principles. [if true, this explains a LOT];

(3) Same as (2) only a space alien gave Amati an instrument to copy. :o

Those are the only possibilities that you can come up with?

If that is indicative of the scope of your imagination, that's pretty disappointing.

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My opinion is that the violin arrived at what we have come to expect a violin to be purely by empirical development. As I have mentioned before, our current view of what a violin should be was set by Strad and his contemporaries. This isn't to say this is the best acoustic design, the most elegant visual model, only this is what we have been taught a violin should be. If it had historically evolved with a different shape, different tone, etc, then that particular model is what we would then consider as the epitome of what a violin should be, and if some tinkerer built something like a Strad model, it would be viewed as a deviant anomaly.

The length of the body and neck was most likely dictated by the length of the average persons arm, the scale length by the tension of the then available strings to withstand tuning to the desired pitch, the bass bar according to what will keep the top from warping, without being an extreme detriment to the sound. The rib height was probably arrived at by what would comfortably fit under the average persons chin, and on and on. It's easy to try and see some mystical master plan for the instrument, but I believe this would be a case of adjusting the theory to prove the facts, rather than the facts being used to prove the theory.

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if some tinkerer built something like a Strad model, it would be viewed as a deviant anomaly.

I've got to respectfully disagree. Strads are so sweet that players would still love them...perhaps not in such droves. If they didn't "go viral" then there would be dedicated, hardcore devotees who would swear by them.

The length of the body and neck was most likely dictated by the length of the average persons arm

I thought body size was ideal for the frequencies played? Ergo basses and violas sound thin (yes, I know that basses aren't violins).

The rib height was probably arrived at by what would comfortably fit under the average persons chin

Fiddles are actually a little short. I love my chinrests from Gary.

In the excellent "Nicola Benedetti meets Aly Bain" on

, they both said that they were initially attracted by the shape of the violin. There is something very organic about the violin folks are completely taken by *both* the looks and the sound. I've got a soft spot for ugly, beat up fiddles who sing like angels. When played well, the motion of the bow arm and fingering of strings is quite graceful and elegant.

There is a reason that fiddles are kings wherever (and whenever) they go.

ALB

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Don,

If Amati wasn't originally working from some acoustic design code, then we're left to ponder three possibilities:

(1) Andrea Amati himself was an empirical 'copyist'. [if true, then many have 'copied' Amati's same mistakes. :huh: ];

(2) Some other genius presented Amati with drawings/patterns to create the very first violin but never explained the underlying acoustic code principles. [if true, this explains a LOT];

(3) Same as (2) only a space alien gave Amati an instrument to copy. :o

We're left to speculate what occurred nearly 500 years ago. I'll go out on a limb though and rule out the likelihood of (3) above. :D

Those are the only possibilities that you can come up with?

If that is indicative of the scope of your imagination, that's pretty disappointing.

David, feel free to suggest any other possibilities [iF Amati was NOT working from some acoustic design code which simply means IF he did not 'design'

that violin shape/geometry, where'd he get it from?].

Thanks,

Jim

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My opinion is that the violin arrived at what we have come to expect a violin to be purely by empirical development. As I have mentioned before, our current view of what a violin should be was set by Strad and his contemporaries. This isn't to say this is the best acoustic design, the most elegant visual model, only this is what we have been taught a violin should be. If it had historically evolved with a different shape, different tone, etc, then that particular model is what we would then consider as the epitome of what a violin should be, and if some tinkerer built something like a Strad model, it would be viewed as a deviant anomaly.

The length of the body and neck was most likely dictated by the length of the average persons arm, the scale length by the tension of the then available strings to withstand tuning to the desired pitch, the bass bar according to what will keep the top from warping, without being an extreme detriment to the sound. The rib height was probably arrived at by what would comfortably fit under the average persons chin, and on and on. It's easy to try and see some mystical master plan for the instrument, but I believe this would be a case of adjusting the theory to prove the facts, rather than the facts being used to prove the theory.

I tend to agree with this kind of thinking

I've got to respectfully disagree. Strads are so sweet that players would still love them...perhaps not in such droves. If they didn't "go viral" then there would be dedicated, hardcore devotees who would swear by them.

I just wanted to point out that in Strad's day, Stainers were all the rage and classical period players really liked them too. Cremona was still very respected (as can be seen by correspondences of the time and orders by nobility) ,but it took awhile to really catch on.

Fiddles are actually a little short. I love my chinrests from Gary.

Did violins fit peoples' shorter stature back then? I don't know for sure, I'm just thinking out loud.

In the excellent "Nicola Benedetti meets Aly Bain" on

, they both said that they were initially attracted by the shape of the violin. There is something very organic about the violin folks are completely taken by *both* the looks and the sound. I've got a soft spot for ugly, beat up fiddles who sing like angels. When played well, the motion of the bow arm and fingering of strings is quite graceful and elegant.

There is a reason that fiddles are kings wherever (and whenever) they go.

ALB

I agree that the violin is beautiful. I love the shape. However, I seem to agree with Bill that the violin is the way it is because the inventors made it that way and it became the definition of what a violin should be.

At the time of Amati people were very attune to golden ratios and had an intense interest in mathematics and proportions. Perhaps this is why it looks so organic and beautiful to us?

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David, feel free to suggest any other possibilities [iF Amati was NOT working from some acoustic design code which simply means IF he did not 'design'

that violin shape/geometry, where'd he get it from?].

Obviously space aliens must have given the design to him, as humans could not possibly be inventive and try things and have them happen to work pretty good.

That, the face on Mars, and many other earthshaking secrets are being withheld from the public by NASA.

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there is another recent thread dealing with the dimension of the violin. the global shape of violin didn't appear by magic with Amati (and probably not brought by aliens or Santa Klaus either) but obviously evolved during many centuries before the Cremonese.

the brothers Wright might have been the first to fly but they had 500 years of thinking and experiments behind them.

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I've got to respectfully disagree. Strads are so sweet that players would still love them...perhaps not in such droves.

And I also need to respectfully disagree. That's typical "la-la land" stuff. Bill Yacey gave a highly plausible scenario in post number 64.

David, feel free to suggest any other possibilities [iF Amati was NOT working from some acoustic design code which simply means IF he did not 'design'

that violin shape/geometry, where'd he get it from?].

You're wasting my time, again. Almost anyone can come up with numerous viable violin origination ideas, without resorting to space aliens for the third choice, as you have done.

Please stop masturbating upon your fantasies here. There are other websites for that. ;)

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Don,

If Amati wasn't originally working from some acoustic design code, then we're left to ponder three possibilities:

(1) Andrea Amati himself was an empirical 'copyist'. [if true, then many have 'copied' Amati's same mistakes. :huh: ];

(2) Some other genius presented Amati with drawings/patterns to create the very first violin but never explained the underlying acoustic code principles. [if true, this explains a LOT];

(3) Same as (2) only a space alien gave Amati an instrument to copy. :o

We're left to speculate what occurred nearly 500 years ago. I'll go out on a limb though and rule out the likelihood of (3) above. :D

Obviously space aliens must have given the design to him, as humans could not possibly be inventive and try things and have them happen to work pretty good.

Don,

I'm going with (2) - some human genius gave the violin design to Amati. :)

Jim

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