Thomas Coleman

Violin geometry references

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9 hours ago, Ben Hebbert said:

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The conclusion is that there are things in beauty that are neither geometrical or even necessarily intuitive, but that somehow belong within God's schema.... it's why Burgess doing his own thing according to his own nature ain't necessarily wrong. :)

 

You might like the attached  pdf of a 1909 reprint of the book "The Analysis of Beauty" by William Hogarth, 1753

My only complaint about the book is that I wish somebody would translate it from English into American.  I have difficulty understanding foreign languages.

analysisbeauty00hogagoog.pdf

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2 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

You might like the attached  pdf of a 1909 reprint of the book "The Analysis of Beauty" by William Hogarth, 1753

My only complaint about the book is that I wish somebody would translate it from English into American.  I have difficulty understanding foreign languages.

analysisbeauty00hogagoog.pdf

Ah, so the violin actually embodies the shapes and curves of the serpent. Quite a significant revelation, explaining not only the reversing curves in the outline, but also why it has so often been called "the devil's instrument".  ;)

It also ties in to concepts about sin, and "original sin", predating geometry interpretations. Not that someone at some point won't try to define sin in terms of geometry, if that's the thinking system they are most comfortable with.

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51 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Ah, so the violin actually embodies the shapes and curves of the serpent. Quite a significant revelation, explaining not only the reversing curves in the outline, but also why it has so often been called "the devil's instrument".  ;)

It also ties in to concepts about sin, and "original sin", predating geometry interpretations. Not that someone at some point won't try to define sin in terms of geometry, if that's the thinking system they are most comfortable with.

Freud would have a field day with your mind, Mr Burgess! 

:) 

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Sin and geometry?  No, it's trigonometry, along with cos and tan.  :P

In 1753, Americans still mostly spoke English, not 'Merican. 

Remember that When in the course of human events stuff?  Not exactly how the Kardashians speak, is it?  Oh, I mean not exactly how they talk.  ;)

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34 minutes ago, Ben Hebbert said:

Freud would have a field day with your mind, Mr Burgess! 

:) 

It's all your fault!

I have not yet completely recovered from the whiskey you recommended a half-dozen pages back. ;)

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7 hours ago, Ben Hebbert said:

Freud would have a field day with your mind, Mr Burgess! 

:) 

Yes, days in the field not uncommonly involve being bogged down in muck.  IMHO, anyone exploring Burgess's mentation would probably require frequent winching out........ :ph34r::lol:

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To pursuie my previous post
Ratio, proportion or unit fraction are used indistinctly to mean specific relations internal to the violin. In this sense, they are distinguished from our casual measures which are ratios to an external reference  (meter).

We all know the ratio 4/5 which often links the lower bout to the upper bout or the fraction 1/7 proposed by Sacconi to set the bass bar. But we do not know anything about the origin of this ratio and fraction. When other values appear like 13/16 rather than 4/5 (Nicolo Amati and Strad) or fractions 1/4 and 1/5 to set the viols bass bars, one remains without convincing explanations. David Burguess can post on MN "may be" or "why" and he is right because there exist according to the violins that one measures, dozens this occasional relations of which one can quite reasonably think like David does that, "if one search them one finds them ".


In Fine, finding "proportions" in a violin seems to mean nothing but apparently casual internal relationships. Nothing very interesting here for me. This wise observation has long kept me away from the subject (until a severe and persistent insomnia decides otherwise).
The ancient texts are filled with these "occasional" proportions without accessible meaning. Thus, the proportions of the ancient temples do not correspond or that very partially to the recommendations of Vitruvius, the Lute of Arnault de Zwolle seems to have existed only in his imagination etc.. ..


In the 1970s Richard Tobin publishes "the Canon Polykleitos" and then come from other publications in the 1990s Louis Frey publishes "Architectural Data and Hypothesis on Pre-Euclidean Mathematics" and Pierre Gros "" Irrational Number and Perfect Number at Vitruvius " ), recognized commentator of Vitruvius with whom I come into epistolary contact (no email at this time) and who adroitly advises me.These publications defend the idea that the proportional sections and their approximations provide a plausible explanation to the origin "ratio".


Take our previous example, the fraction 1/7, this measurement is taken from the center of the instrument which is to say that the width is divided into 14 and that the bass bar is positioned by 6 parts on one side and 8 parts of the other. This division corresponds to a section 3-4 (6-8), a fourth. It's starting to get more interesting...
The fourth is one of the possible approximations of a proportional section called "harmonic". The two approximations that "frame" 3-4 are 2-3 and 5-7. The measure becomes predictable 2-3 and 5-7 are two possible alternatives of 3-4 and "cerise sur le gâteau" (icing on the cake), the average of the difference between 2-3 and 3-4 gives you the avrage thickness of the bass bar which otherwise corresponds to what is called the "Pythagorean tone".
So, we went from a simple measurement injunction to a reasoned knowledge. That's a lot more exciting, (at least for me).


After a few sleepless nights I published a book in 2006 "Treaty of violin making, the violin and the art of measurement" in which I continued and I hope thorough, the works of my predecessors. The book is based on the analysis of a technical plan of a string instrument, a lute. The document (middle XV ° C) is known but I revisit its interpretation. Zwolle gives some simple relations like tthe settings of the bridge and sound hole. But it appears that these few indications of "relative measures" (ratio) are however contradictory. The important thing is that I demonstrate that these contradictions can be explained by the use of approximations of the proportional sections. (I don't receive to date any critic about the validity of my demonstration but I have to admit that, unfortunately,  these 30 pages are rather tricky to grasp for many)
In conclusion, the lute of Zwolle is not a drawing in the sense we understand it but an "exempla", that is to say, a teaching medium on the way to take measurements.

Wow! doors open, what happens if I apply this teaching to the form of the violin ? It happens that many things are rationally explained that the connection between a 4/5 and 13/16 becomes clear, it happens that sense arrives in the system.
Sorry to have been a bit long but it was a complement to my previous post on the interest of talking about "relative measure" instead of "proportion".

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Francois 

i think your concept of the lute being an "exempla" is a strong one, but I think a few things need to be explained about Arnault de Zwolle's manuscript - many years ago, great damage was done by musicologists who published the musical instrument segment and ignored hundreds of other pages full of many other kinds of mathematical and natural observations. As a result our understanding of him is distorted and as far as I am aware there has been no effort to make the full extent of his codex widely available to the public. 

However, the pages containing keyboards are far more convincing as musical instruments - in fact in my own training in London one of the first-year technical drawing projects was to do a proportional upscaling of the clavichord from Arnault's drawing. It is so accurate that successful copies have been made from it. The harpsichord/dulce Melos is equally viable as a technical drawing for an instrument. 

I wonder if there are any "real" reasons why the lute is wrong - I know lute aficionados have said so, but coming from 1480s Burgundy, what do we cave to compare it by? I have certainly seen one or two South German (good thing Saunders isn't reading) lime wood angels with  comparable lutes... 

IMG_4087.JPG.3372a46c5d5eefeefdc1fb25b61b7184.JPGIMG_4088.JPG.635311df3bd59fceb29b83ba2175e135.JPG

 

 

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8 hours ago, Ben Hebbert said:

Francois 

i think your concept of the lute being an "exempla" is a strong one, but I think a few things need to be explained about Arnault de Zwolle's manuscript - many years ago, great damage was done by musicologists who published the musical instrument segment and ignored hundreds of other pages full of many other kinds of mathematical and natural observations. As a result our understanding of him is distorted and as far as I am aware there has been no effort to make the full extent of his codex widely available to the public. 

However, the pages containing keyboards are far more convincing as musical instruments - in fact in my own training in London one of the first-year technical drawing projects was to do a proportional upscaling of the clavichord from Arnault's drawing. It is so accurate that successful copies have been made from it. The harpsichord/dulce Melos is equally viable as a technical drawing for an instrument. 

I wonder if there are any "real" reasons why the lute is wrong - I know lute aficionados have said so, but coming from 1480s Burgundy, what do we cave to compare it by? I have certainly seen one or two South German (good thing Saunders isn't reading) lime wood angels with  comparable lutes... 

IMG_4087.JPG.3372a46c5d5eefeefdc1fb25b61b7184.JPGIMG_4088.JPG.635311df3bd59fceb29b83ba2175e135.JPG

 

 

Hi Ben

 The lute of Zwolle is part of a corpus of elements of various origins and Zwolle was not manufacturing lutes (or harpsichords for that matter) but was astrologer. This lute is problematic because its image does not correspond to anything known in XV ° S but it is precisely there that we find the most interesting element. The drawing is probably inspired by earlier Arab sources of at least two centuries (on this subject, see C.Rault n: String Instruments from the Middle Ages, Créaphis, Rencontres Collection at Royaumont, Grâne, 1999. pp. 49-75.) . In the Eastern culture, the "ud" (lute) plays the same role as the monochord in the West. It is the instrument of the scholars used for theoretical teachings of music of course but also arithmetic and other parts of the quadrivium.
As I wrote in my previous post, believing that this drawing is a plan is the projection of a modern idea. It is actually an "exempla" that is to say an oral teaching medium. There was an error of interpretation. This drawing hidde a grammar that allows us to read all kinds of forms, it is polysemous and it's not nothing (hi Dan Brown I get the rights).
Moreover, this discrepancy between the observable reality and the writing is the norm before the invention of the printing press. One do not waste parchment to describe one thing but one tends  towards the universal.
With the printing everything changes, the knowledge becomes exportable, there is a rupture of the obligated link which bound the taught to the teacher. Very quickly we try to transmit selfexplicative knowledge other than the Bible, architectural treatises follow one another and these texts say a lot about the evolution of society during the Renaissance. The look changes and the progress in a century between the publications of a matthias Rorictzer at the end of the XV ° C, a Vincenzo Scamozzi in the middle of the XVI ° S and a Guarino Guarini (beginning of XVII ° S)  is hudge. With Rorictzer it is still antiquity, with Guarini it is already the nineteenth century, it is us. It is clear that something essential has happened, a page is turned.
Of course, in detail, everything is not so linear there are back and forth, brakes and acceleration but the violin is definitely an instrument of the other world. It is in continuity with what the Zwolle manuscript teaches us. There is no doubt about it.
 
A few years ago a guitar maker came to see me to redesign a Selmert guitar to his taste, he came and was satisfied and furthermore it has been an easy job . Do we have to  speak of "pro-engeneering" in this case :)

 

 

 

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Francois, Thank you!

Am I right that twice the diameter of the circle on the Zwolle, effectively gives us the Safi-al-Din neck length? And that therefore

A) part of the confusion about the illustration is that Zwolle for whatever reason neglected to put any importance in the length of the neck? / OR

B)calculated the neck dimension to give an octave at it's root - even if lutes and uds didn't apply this rule in real terms. 

My thought is  that whether it is based on an arabic manuscript, or on Uds coming into Burgundy through Moorish spain, orand somehow transforming into lutes along the way (OR BOTH), it shows that he holds some kind of antecedence in high regard, which makes me think this is more practical than purely a philosophical essay on the nature of geometry. ... this may be where we disagree, although it comes to the same thing despite semantics, that this is a simple system and as a result it incorporates the general language that proves to be common to all instruments. I certainly feel that this has more certainty when compared with the more straightforward keyboard drawings, which seem to be much less theoretical. I know that I am outspoken in respect of the beliefs of communities of lute experts in the world, but it is on their say-so that this is nothing like European lutes of the 1480s, and I'd simply like to see their evidence and reasoning.

What is lovely about the lute is that it is so simple, and that makes it such a good exempla that can be expanded out into more complex shapes. The idea that violin design owes itself to a more 'primitive' genesis, is that it allows us to see an evolutionary build up. It makes the complexity of the violin a far more credible and predictable idea, than the sense that it turns up out of nowhere. 

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I tend to see the use of ratios in instruments and designs much more prosaically.  I would have been happy to observe some sort of ideas behind the ratios, but after surveying ratio use in many classical instruments, it looks very practically and traditionally motivated (to me).

So, the 2:1 ratio in the lute drawing I would be willing to see as simply convenient in the drawing.   It doesn't necessarily need to have any more weighty meaning than that.

Consider that today, some woodworkers like to use a measurement on everything.  It can amount to a habit of working.   Want to make up a design for a shelve from scratch.  Ok.  I need it to be about so big, well that's close to 18", I'll make it 18".   Not exactly a process deeply loaded with meaning, just habit.   In the same way, executing free designs with compass and rule and simple ratios for sizing need be seen as no more than habit, and tradition.

 

The ratios framing the bodies of violin family instruments provide illustration.   Traditionally, all such instruments from classical Cremona show ratios of 2::3, 3::5, 4::7, or 5::9.   Now we could try to read meaning into these ratios.  But the also fit a very simple rule of thumb:  "double the width less a unit".   In this sense we could see them as lengths the are just short of 1::2, or a musical octave.   

Meaningful, or just habit?   Regardless, it's what they did.

 

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9 hours ago, Ben Hebbert said:

Francois, Thank you!

Am I right that twice the diameter of the circle on the Zwolle, effectively gives us the Safi-al-Din neck length? And that therefore

A) part of the confusion about the illustration is that Zwolle for whatever reason neglected to put any importance in the length of the neck? / OR

B)calculated the neck dimension to give an octave at it's root - even if lutes and uds didn't apply this rule in real terms. 

My thought is  that whether it is based on an arabic manuscript, or on Uds coming into Burgundy through Moorish spain, orand somehow transforming into lutes along the way (OR BOTH), it shows that he holds some kind of antecedence in high regard, which makes me think this is more practical than purely a philosophical essay on the nature of geometry. ... this may be where we disagree, although it comes to the same thing despite semantics, that this is a simple system and as a result it incorporates the general language that proves to be common to all instruments. I certainly feel that this has more certainty when compared with the more straightforward keyboard drawings, which seem to be much less theoretical. I know that I am outspoken in respect of the beliefs of communities of lute experts in the world, but it is on their say-so that this is nothing like European lutes of the 1480s, and I'd simply like to see their evidence and reasoning.

What is lovely about the lute is that it is so simple, and that makes it such a good exempla that can be expanded out into more complex shapes. The idea that violin design owes itself to a more 'primitive' genesis, is that it allows us to see an evolutionary build up. It makes the complexity of the violin a far more credible and predictable idea, than the sense that it turns up out of nowhere. 

What I'm trying to explain is that Zwolle's lute interesst is not in the choice of the ratio nor in its form but in the indications which it gives on a specific pratice that macons of that time call "the extraction of the measurement". This expression simply means that , A,B,C,D being dimensions we go from A to B then B to C, C to D, etc. Each dimension is dependent of a previous one. It is this order that is so important to know. Zwolle's luth is only that, the teaching of "the extration od the measurement" .
So, when he recommands to give the length of the neck equal to the width of the body, the value of the ratio (1-1) is not important. The important point is "A to B " the lengh of the neck has to be relative to the width of the body.
One do not forget that we are in oral tradition context where craft never received knowledge through the writing. From this point of view the sequence of the instructions is important, no notes book, remember, cathedrals, ships, musical instruments, furnitures were buit and no notes book.
Oral tradition understanding is quite challenging...

Capture d’écran 2017-11-16 à 08.50.44.png

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1 hour ago, David Beard said:

I tend to see the use of ratios in instruments and designs much more prosaically.  I would have been happy to observe some sort of ideas behind the ratios, but after surveying ratio use in many classical instruments, it looks very practically and traditionally motivated (to me).

So, the 2:1 ratio in the lute drawing I would be willing to see as simply convenient in the drawing.   It doesn't necessarily need to have any more weighty meaning than that.

Consider that today, some woodworkers like to use a measurement on everything.  It can amount to a habit of working.   Want to make up a design for a shelve from scratch.  Ok.  I need it to be about so big, well that's close to 18", I'll make it 18".   Not exactly a process deeply loaded with meaning, just habit.   In the same way, executing free designs with compass and rule and simple ratios for sizing need be seen as no more than habit, and tradition.

 

The ratios framing the bodies of violin family instruments provide illustration.   Traditionally, all such instruments from classical Cremona show ratios of 2::3, 3::5, 4::7, or 5::9.   Now we could try to read meaning into these ratios.  But the also fit a very simple rule of thumb:  "double the width less a unit".   In this sense we could see them as lengths the are just short of 1::2, or a musical octave.   

Meaningful, or just habit?   Regardless, it's what they did.

 


Regardless!


As I said, I found an interest to understand! Ok, we are all different, limits and orientations of our curiosity vary. Some people may be satisfied using the 1/7 ratio to set the bassbar and other people will be interested to know that this unit fraction is related to a fifth and fourth division. We can be satisfied to know that the ratio 7- 4 is one of the most common but we can be curious about other types of surfaces (often close).

Capture d’écran 2017-11-16 à 10.07.50.png

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Thanks again, Francois, 

You wrote: "Each dimension is dependent of a previous one. It is this order that is so important to know."

This accords very well with the ideas I've been exploring for English viol making. The point of differentiation that is very important is that in all of achitecture the sixteenth-century English had access to the same texts as everyone else, but came to their conclusions. It is why English perpendicular gothic exists through this period in church building, following the same rules as continental architecture but on it's own terms. Likewise, Hampton Court Palace perfectly follows an Italian Renaissance design, specifically that laid out by Paolo Cortese's 1510 De Cardinalatu yet doesn't resemble anything that the Italians would make. You can make similar observations about the uniquely French, but deeply Italianate mannerist architecture of Fontainbleu... I contend that the English were more interested in taking the proportions of "harmonia" and working from one to another in a dependent way - exactly as a composer moves from one note to another. Geometry in the sense that the Italians saw it was less of a concern, because it didn't directly relate to the most essential elements Harmonia - the proportions mapped out on a monochord. Nevertheless, everything comes from the same root. 

Here is a particularly simple instrument. It's one of my early sketches from about 2005, and is self-confessedly problematic. I think the boxes surrounding the soundholes and c-bouts may be a coincidental fit, but certainly the gross outline (as much, in effect as Arnault was interested in showing in the lute exempla) all seems to work and express a truth, and the system more generally evolves to describe most fine viols. As per Arnault as you describe him, each dimension is dependent of a previous one. It is this order that is so important to know. 

Video here: Presentation2.mov

5a0d844e23fb5_Screenshot2017-11-1612_26_59.thumb.png.3147f6ee95bc2f92023087ab29d0f365.png

 

5a0d849f6fe7c_Screenshot2017-11-1612_28_31.thumb.png.b0baa83672148a50b37b798c9e809db3.png

 

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51 minutes ago, Ben Hebbert said:

 

Hi ben, do you have the measurement in mm of the viol because the rather bad perspective of the picture change the analysis.

(I had several viols in my repertory  and would be happy to work on this one too, if you mind)

I need

 

Lenght from bottom  to the top but without the saddle of the neck  ( measurement on the table)

lenght of bottom and middle part

maximun width lower bout, C holes, upper bout

minimum width middle bout and Choles

 

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Unfortunately not - this is work from 12 years ago... the way I ran through things though was always to start by throwing lines and circles at the object, and then reconciling them to a symmetrical and proportional variant, so the overlaid drawings are always strictly proportional, and applying them back to the original photo or technical drawing is a good visual indicator of accuracy but it is not scientific. Over the various instruments I did measure, things were pretty uniform. This one was merely of partucular interest because of the unexpected and somewhat anomalous nature of the outline (short and wide) which means that the upper and lower bouts originate rather differently than normal. 

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On 11/09/2017 at 4:06 PM, Kevin Kelly said:

Some thoughts about this thread, in no particular order -

 

>>

Marty has published some work on violin design, but for some reason he seems to have forgotten to include himself in his list earlier in the thread. 

>>

 

 

 

 

I wrote an overly long explanation of violin drawing methods for Julian Crossman Cooke a few years ago and it is attached.

 

After thinking about it more I concluded my varnish takes too long to dry and I need to find something faster.   An alternative is to have several instruments being made at the same time with staggered operations.

Bend_rib...pdf

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On 11/14/2017 at 10:47 AM, Joel Pautz said:

Thanks all for sharing your insights, expertise in this thread, it has been a great read. I have a couple basic questions I'd really like to hear some of your thoughts on. 

First, if I recall correctly, I was taught in violin making school that one of the strengths of the internal mold was it's ease not only in being copied/ transferred, but also modified: need to remove a little? Trace a divider along the edge, cut down to the line, and blend with the greater curve by eye. Want to add a little? Thickness a rib, glue it to the form, and again, blend by eye. 

Have you encountered evidence that cremonese masters were using the internal mold to it's fullest capabilities (transferring and or modifying the form without without starting from scratch)? I'm not suggesting that they would be daunted by starting from scratch, just asking if they were open/ aware of other options.

Second, Stradivari was making what we would consider today to be a wide variety of instruments, and doubtlessly based some his work on models he had encountered. Do we know what procedure he followed in these instances? Would he have taken a tracing and measured key lengths as we would today, or was drafting out the instrument the measuring process he would have used? Did he alter these forms, or are they a faithful representations of the norm at the time? 

The old masters seemed to less than fond of rigid attitudes in some areas of their work - alternating between slab and quartersawn orientation (I understand that Da Salo even used slab tops occasionally). They paid no mind to whether the rib structures flame was oriented the same way around the garland, or the orientation of the back flame (pointing up or down). It was all good. I understand that the instrument can not function if its proportions are way off, but I'm curious if any of you have encountered examples that made you say "hmm - they could have cared, but apparently they didn't".

I've been skimming through Stewart Pollen's "Stradivari" this morning, and it touches on a couple of the questions I had in the section discussing the Viola D'Amore. Right up front Pollen's brings up a tracing that appears to be of a 'damaged or distorted instrument" (mss. 349 & 350). I know its been already mentioned that the paper patterns lack lay-out markings, and that the significance of a distorted pattern probably indicate a lack of distortion being the norm in his personal patterns, but until I learn more I think it's interesting that Strad was fine expending that paper on a distorted pattern. 

After all it appears that he was very stingy with his molds, and in the next passage Pollen's mentions a guitar form in Paris (MM E.901.4) that Strad changed into a cornerless Viol form by, among other things, adjusting the bottom bout "through the addition of strips of veneer held in place with small wooden pegs." These adjustments allow the mold to conform with paper pattern MS 368 which Pollen's believes was the basis for the mold's shape, but honestly, without the layout markings, I'd probably do it the other way around. 

So, Strad was comfortable with basing a project off a quick tracing and a few key measurements while an instrument was in the shop, and he wasn't concerned with distortion, at least at first.  Perhaps he felt he could true it up later. Apparently this was all he needed to start with though, similar to Mr Denis only needing a few key measurements of Ben's Viol.

It also appears that Strad was indeed using his molds to their fullest, modifying them as needed. Would anyone care to elaborate on what this process would have looked like? 

Excuse my ignorance in terminology, but do any of you think it to be the case that this drafting/ measuring, geometric, etc.  knowledge was purposefully absent from these patterns in order to prevent shop hands from having access to a more prestigious skill? 

I'm still also interested if anyone has come across curious idiosyncrasies in their research that I guess would be an example of an 'exception to the rule'. Kind of like a Del Gesu back joint that's off angle, or the fluting going off the center line of the scroll. These curiosities always interest me, and I guess they show what that maker was mindful of, and what he wasn't. 

I believe Roger pointed out in his bass thread that the Amati family were scaling up their scrolls for larger instruments, but others in Cremona started from scratch. Do any of you feel that the Amati were working at a different, perhaps higher level of understanding than the other cremonese workshops when approaching a new pattern, or were they all using the same toolkit at the same level? 

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3 hours ago, Joel Pautz said:

Excuse my ignorance in terminology, but do any of you think it to be the case that this drafting/ measuring, geometric, etc.  knowledge was purposefully absent from these patterns in order to prevent shop hands from having access to a more prestigious skill? 

 


One can also wonder what was the knowledge of the maestro himself ! (speaking of proportion, measurements, etc...). Actually, if one sticks to a margin of error of +/- 0.75 mm, no shape of the master is entirely traced with the ruler and the compass. But that proves nothing,  forms could have been disappeared. Up to a contrary proof, these forms are  empirical adaptations made from pre-existing pattern themself made according to the Amati family standart. Subject to a more thorough study the PM 1062 form (without attribution) could be one of these original patterns.

 

3 hours ago, Joel Pautz said:

Do any of you feel that the Amati were working at a different, perhaps higher level of understanding than the other cremonese workshops when approaching a new pattern, or were they all using the same toolkit at the same level? 

it's pretty tempting to believe. The alteration of the original models of the Amati family is certainly a cause of decadence. Moreover this phenomenon is not unique to the violin making. Since ancient times, some complain about workers who have the bad habit of reproducing jigs more and more badly damn... There is nothing new under the sun :)

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8 hours ago, Joel Pautz said:

I've been skimming through Stewart Pollen's "Stradivari" this morning, and it touches on a couple of the questions I had in the section discussing the Viola D'Amore. Right up front Pollen's brings up a tracing that appears to be of a 'damaged or distorted instrument" (mss. 349 & 350). I know its been already mentioned that the paper patterns lack lay-out markings, and that the significance of a distorted pattern probably indicate a lack of distortion being the norm in his personal patterns, but until I learn more I think it's interesting that Strad was fine expending that paper on a distorted pattern. 

After all it appears that he was very stingy with his molds, and in the next passage Pollen's mentions a guitar form in Paris (MM E.901.4) that Strad changed into a cornerless Viol form by, among other things, adjusting the bottom bout "through the addition of strips of veneer held in place with small wooden pegs." These adjustments allow the mold to conform with paper pattern MS 368 which Pollen's believes was the basis for the mold's shape, but honestly, without the layout markings, I'd probably do it the other way around. 

So, Strad was comfortable with basing a project off a quick tracing and a few key measurements while an instrument was in the shop, and he wasn't concerned with distortion, at least at first.  Perhaps he felt he could true it up later. Apparently this was all he needed to start with though, similar to Mr Denis only needing a few key measurements of Ben's Viol.

 

Joel, in my opinion your ideas make total sense. He wanted to take a 'snapshot' of the instrument, and coupled with a few measurements if he needed it, he would have been empowered to produce a viola d'amore to "Cremonese proportions" yet referencing the original that had passed through his shop. I see this as a totally intuitive manner of collecting ideas for future use, and in a way the sloppiness of the tracing seems to be evidence towards Stradivari being confident that anything he built would be according to a system, rather than a simple copy from a technical drawing as 20th century instrument makers would consider it. 

Ironically in a separate discussion elsewhere recently, I gave a viol maker some proportionally good photos of an instrument and the measurements and suggested that he figured it out from there, but he was adamant that he needed a technical drawing... at the same time as being adamant that viol makers didn't use any proportional scheme... to which my thought is that if that is right (obviously I disagree) there is no real requirement to copy a technical drawing perfectly... [face palm, eyes roll, all kinds of emojis] 

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18 hours ago, Ben Hebbert said:

Unfortunately not - this is work from 12 years ago...

So, it's very fresh :) OK I did with your picture

1) I draw the outline

_5a0ea0725f073_Capturedecran2017-11-17a09_33_46.thumb.png.d2d298ffadaa125b53a89e1406b4bb2a.png

2 I check the symmetry

5a0ea0c28cacb_Capturedecran2017-11-17a09_34_03.thumb.png.0e176b3c4d7891968f98feca4cba58b5.png

 

3- I draw the average

5a0ea0f84bfa0_Capturedecran2017-11-17a09_34_17.thumb.png.02b6cedb3df812882237cd41aef6379c.png

4 I set the line

5a0ea10f0a611_Capturedecran2017-11-17a09_34_38.thumb.png.9ef5e9ace4a81699ec6bc822da1056de.png

5 Letters to be clear

5a0ea11a88cb3_Capturedecran2017-11-17a09_35_13.thumb.png.7bfeb3122a628d4ac65882690f36f24f.png

 

So Measurements are in pixels 

PQ= 1095

XQ=656   

PX=439 

ZQ=387

XZ=279

pp'=656

aa'=435

bb'=249

ee'=407

qq'=545

 

The framework is clear enought

The surface

pp'/PQ=0,599 close to 0,6  ratio 3-5

In the lenght

pp'/XQ=1/1 (a square)

PX/XQ = 0,669 close to 0,666  ratio 2-3

XZ/ZQ= 0,720 close to 0,714  ratio 5-7

 

In the width

aa'/pp'= 0,663 close to 0,666 ratio 2-3

bb'/aa' = 0,572 close 0,571 ratio 4-7

qq'/bb'= 0,83   ratio 5-6

ee' /qq' = 0,746  close to 0,75 ratio 3-4

 

I just follow here the teaching of the Zwolle luth!

but they are many other theaching than we can get from this....may  be tomorow

I have to go to work a bit  :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capture d’écran 2017-11-17 à 09.35.36.png

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On 16/11/2017 at 12:49 PM, Ben Hebbert said:

 

You wrote: "Each dimension is dependent of a previous one. It is this order that is so important to know."

 

Hi Ben
I ended the drawing in a more explicit way. As often, differences are easier to characterize than similitude. To show up this I added the example of a viola framework which respectc almost the same order than your viol to get the measurements, only the ratios are changing. It's an illustration of what I try to explain:  "proportions"  of a text are only a superficial indication of the deeper order which manage the forms. Furthermore It's also true for images.
A lot to say...

5a116db4a4dbd_Capturedecran2017-11-19a12_01_41.thumb.png.bbb213c00c0ce47209d2729ff754f2d5.png

 

5a116e5a1bf76_Capturedecran2017-11-19a12_42_07.png.ea3c1a77d997d10a45f29b4b41b707c0.png

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