Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

How to design the back of a scroll?


MikeC
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have seen this drawing showing the compass circles as a method of drawing the back of the scroll but if you were to design one like this then how would you know what diameter to use for the compass circles and how would you know what spacing to use between the compass points?

post-31367-0-20906000-1392575740_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 59
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

The simple answer, if you don't have the Strad drawings, is that you make a scroll and change it until you get it right and then you make your circles from that scroll, to use for the next 4 or 5 hundred copies that you will make after you have got it right. Addie is absolutely right. However, it is a great system and one that I use all the time.

BUT and this is important. You have to work this circle thing from both ends. Start with the circle under the front of the scroll and move at equal distances around the head until you reach the back of the scroll, just behind the throat. Then start at the other end (the chin) and draw the two straight lines. These will take up any discrepancies in the length of the scroll outline. These discrepancies are always much bigger than you might imagin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

so basically the design came first and then the circles not the other way around.  

 

The question is classic Chicken and Egg. But this is certainly how I do it when I am copying an original or a plaster cast. The first one(s) always needs some tweaking. They may have had some mathematical ways of creating those first designs, but these circles are all that you need to start mass production.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have seen this drawing showing the compass circles as a method of drawing the back of the scroll but if you were to design one like this then how would you know what diameter to use for the compass circles and how would you know what spacing to use between the compass points?

 

If you have access to a local library, you may find a interesting and insightful read in a back issue of The Stad Magazine, March 2006, "Trace Elements" by Joe Grubaugh & Sigrun Seifert pp. 42-48, with special attention to pg 45.

 

This would be a good starting point for your analysis.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my opinion these points are all derived geometrically. For instance the first compass point is set at the end of the heell of the scroll even with the nut. Thd width here is usually 2/3 the width of the ears. The next compass point is set ~70mm up from the end of the heel (2/3 length of the scroll). This width is usually 4/5 the width of the heel. (This width as you can see has no direct geometric relation to the width of the ears).

That is how they develop. Each successive circle relates to the previous circle but not to some absolute overall width.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Besides the paper templates in Cremona, Vuillaume acquired a wooden one, possibly a “master.” Presumably he got from Tarisio, who got it from Cozio, who got it from Francesco.  It’s still in Paris.

 

attachicon.gifModello_Cavigliere.jpg

If from the Stradivari workshop it would have come from Paolo. Francesco was dead by the time Cozio came on the scene.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If from the Stradivari workshop it would have come from Paolo. Francesco was dead by the time Cozio came on the scene.

Oops, my mistake! Thanks for the fact check.

Francesco D. 1743. Even Paolo didn't live to complete the sale.

The paper tag looks to be from a genuine early Strad label.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Besides the paper templates in Cremona, Vuillaume acquired a wooden one, possibly a “master.” Presumably he got from Tarisio, who got it from Cozio, who got it from Francesco.  It’s still in Paris.

 

attachicon.gifModello_Cavigliere.jpg

Wonder what those parallel lines are,  two below the label and two above near the upper edge. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IMHO the back of the scroll/ pegbox is not designed per se. It is merely the result of the front view design of the pegbox and scroll.

 

The width of the pegbox is designed with regards to the internal space where the strings winds on the pegs, and the spacing between the pegs for comfortable turning, and to prevent the strings from abrade against each other. Once all those factors have been managed, the thickness of the walls are added for strength. This gives the width of the pegbox.

 

With all that said, one must of course take into account the aesthetics of the whole, and make the lines flow harmoniously.

 

Anyone interested in reading more about my method, see my article 'Carving a scroll using angular templates' in the section below.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IMHO the back of the scroll/ pegbox is not designed per se. It is merely the result of the front view design of the pegbox and scroll.

 

The width of the pegbox is designed with regards to the internal space where the strings winds on the pegs, and the spacing between the pegs for comfortable turning, and to prevent the strings from abrade against each other. Once all those factors have been managed, the thickness of the walls are added for strength. This gives the width of the pegbox.

 

With all that said, one must of course take into account the aesthetics of the whole, and make the lines flow harmoniously.

 

 

I agree. There was a discussion here awhile back about the pegbox being the first aspect established and carved in the whole process. Once the "front" is set, the "back" flows from that, out of necessity. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree. There was a discussion here awhile back about the pegbox being the first aspect established and carved in the whole process. Once the "front" is set, the "back" flows from that, out of necessity.

Here I have to disagree with view that the internal dimensions of the pegbox are the predominate design feature of the scroll. If this were the case Amati scrolls for one would not look the way they do (narrow at the A peg).

The predominate design feature is the back view and the turns into the head. The front view of the pegbox is largely determined by the back view and its dimensions. A cursory look (appendix of Beare book) at the dimensions of the widest point of the back of the pegbox gives a range of 24-27mm. These differences I would attribute not to design differences but to execution. The scrolls were probably all laid out to the same design but were sawn out by hand. A good craftsman will cut to the line. In think in some cases the cut was proud to the line and in others a little scant the line. The saw cuts were then simply cleaned up. It is hard to imagine such differences if the interior of the pegbox was the leading feature. A mortise is one of the easiest shapes to keep dimensionally consistent as it is largely created from chisels made for that purpose (I think this would be especially true of the Stradivari workshop. The Guarneri shop would be a different case because they handle the interior of the pegbox differently than Stradivari. Filius Andrea and del Gesu beveled the top inner line of the pegbox to hide differences in the mortise while Stradivari left a 90 degree angle there because of the high level of finish he gave to the interior of the pegbox).

I apologize for running on but my principal point is that the scrolls were highly designed but were executed freely in a workmanlike manner. I would also like to say that the strength and beauty of Cremonese scrolls comes from the judicious and capable use of the saw as opposed to the gouge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my opinion these points are all derived geometrically. For instance the first compass point is set at the end of the heell of the scroll even with the nut. Thd width here is usually 2/3 the width of the ears. The next compass point is set ~70mm up from the end of the heel (2/3 length of the scroll). This width is usually 4/5 the width of the heel. (This width as you can see has no direct geometric relation to the width of the ears).

That is how they develop. Each successive circle relates to the previous circle but not to some absolute overall width.

It is quite clear that these drawings were geometrically derived, as were all Strads drawings and templates. It is also clear how they work, I have been using this system for forty years. The question is how were the original scrolls developed and where did the inspiration come from?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is quite clear that these drawings were geometrically derived, as were all Strads drawings and templates. It is also clear how they work, I have been using this system for forty years. The question is how were the original scrolls developed and where did the inspiration come from?

Simple to ask, hard to answer.  For the first part, was it geometric design, or geometric replication?  Many authors, with many theories, have proved violin design can be geometrically replicated using multiple theories or methodologies.  And they all come up with the same result, because that’s what they started out with.  

 

However, delving deeper, the Medieval and Renaissance baggage was still very much in evidence: they believed in divine ratios, and probably used them.  But see above, regarding authors, for replication pitfalls.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I doubt that the first successful (elegant) scroll was drafted out completely from scratch. In my humble opinion, at some early time, a beautiful scroll was hewn out, followed by some minor refinements over time. Perhaps these refinements were made by the early Amatis, or possibly even by the previous mentors.

 

It is clear that by the time the Amati family entered the scene, the scroll was already at a somewhat high level of development, so I'm thinking they were already making refined scrolls when they started. If this theory isn't plausible, it stands to reason there should be some scrolls in existence showing progressive development.  At some point a well executed scroll was drafted out for the sake of repeatability, and we have been doing the same ever since.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is quite clear that these drawings were geometrically derived, as were all Strads drawings and templates. It is also clear how they work, I have been using this system for forty years. The question is how were the original scrolls developed and where did the inspiration come from?

This is not a cop-out but like the violin itself they are without precedence yet arise from a rich vernacular tradition.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here I have to disagree with view that the internal dimensions of the pegbox are the predominate design feature of the scroll. If this were the case Amati scrolls for one would not look the way they do (narrow at the A peg).

The predominate design feature is the back view and the turns into the head. The front view of the pegbox is largely determined by the back view and its dimensions. A cursory look (appendix of Beare book) at the dimensions of the widest point of the back of the pegbox gives a range of 24-27mm. These differences I would attribute not to design differences but to execution. The scrolls were probably all laid out to the same design but were sawn out by hand. A good craftsman will cut to the line. In think in some cases the cut was proud to the line and in others a little scant the line. The saw cuts were then simply cleaned up. It is hard to imagine such differences if the interior of the pegbox was the leading feature. A mortise is one of the easiest shapes to keep dimensionally consistent as it is largely created from chisels made for that purpose (I think this would be especially true of the Stradivari workshop. The Guarneri shop would be a different case because they handle the interior of the pegbox differently than Stradivari. Filius Andrea and del Gesu beveled the top inner line of the pegbox to hide differences in the mortise while Stradivari left a 90 degree angle there because of the high level of finish he gave to the interior of the pegbox).

I apologize for running on but my principal point is that the scrolls were highly designed but were executed freely in a workmanlike manner. I would also like to say that the strength and beauty of Cremonese scrolls comes from the judicious and capable use of the saw as opposed to the gouge.

I take your meaning (I think), but I was not talking about the interior of the pegbox as the reference point, but the entirety of it. Meaning the pegbox walls.

Here's how I look at it. The back of the scroll (and really the scroll itself) is ornamentation and not crucial to the function and playability of the instrument. The important part is having a pegbox opening wide enough to accept the strings at a reasonable spacing and allow access to the pegs, and pegbox walls thick enough to support the pegs without cracking. Once those criteria are met, the design can move on from there.

That is not to say that there is then no room for artistic  :o interpretation, only that in the case of musical instruments, form must follow function, otherwise the thing won't work. Therefore, one starts with the required aspects (pegbox dimensions etc.) and goes from there. 

I'm not saying that scrolls weren't brilliantly planned, or that templates weren't used, only that the starting point (in the mists of time) was the pegbox, in it's entirety, as that is the only element above the nut that you cannot do without.

 

I lay out and make the pegbox first, then cut, shape, and lay out the rest of it. Using templates. I do this not to narrow my options artistically  :o , but because I don't like hollowing out a pegbox after all the work of a scroll, and because I always know what the  pegbox is going to look like and what dimensional points I need to hit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...