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Stradivari's secret was a concept?


Andreas Preuss
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6 hours ago, Peter K-G said:

If you haven't visited my site, take a look here

There is a thread about the book that you use. Some people are wondering if any book could be as good as this one is presented as being.

Since you have had experience with it that proves it to be so, you would have very useful input.

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12 hours ago, Peter K-G said:

It's easy to draw conclusions from just one parameter (arch height/shape) , quite often wrong conclutions

S4, purple 17,5 mm 

S3, green 14,5 mm

Their tops follow the same S4 high arch, S3 lower arch

 

BackArchesS4_S3.thumb.JPG.44bb683fc8a925957160d8c0ea37a6d9.JPG

Spectrum_S3_S4.thumb.JPG.cc5dc628e21b76a84414e7d928bf7fd7.JPG

While your S3 has a little bit more of general power over nearly all frequency-areas it has lesser relative higher-harmonics-strenght in relation to the big area from B1+ until ~ 2 kHz. This would approximatly fit to my claims about " lower arching =reduced overtones, more volume ".

Your S4 has a reduced A-formant , even reduced extended A-formant ( 800 Hz - 2 kHz), in comparison to this reduced area a well pronounced extended singers-formant. 

This all fits quite sufficient to my thesis - which however is not mainly supported by the Strad3D-project ( not enough violins, no statistical power) but by my experience in a considerable number of instruments.

However the soundsamples of Strad3D fit to my experience. The spectral view is a quite bad valuated one, I admit.

Anyways : naturally you can say " No, in winter temperatures do not have to be lower than in summer in all points of time "  and I admit, " Yes, you are right."

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14 hours ago, Peter K-G said:

S4, purple 17,5 mm

 

Your S4, even if you were "out of great wood" when you made it, seems, even more than the S3, to closely resemble the response curves obtained by Dünnwald for "Old Italian" instruments, i ncluding those made by Stradivari.

Such an impressive result makes me think that if I were ever to go into serious violin-making, I would definitely need to purchase a copy of Peter Kreit's book!

However, even without a copy of his book, I see that Don Noon does indeed manage to make very good violins; at least, I will assume that Annelle K. Gregory's great talents do not include the ability to make anything sound like a Stradivarius. Not that I can claim any particularly great qualifications as a judge of violin sound, of course, but it does seem to sound as good as anything else I've encountered, and similar to classic violins.

Edited by Quadibloc
Avoiding double post
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1 hour ago, Quadibloc said:

 

Your S4, even if you were "out of great wood" when you made it, seems, even more than the S3, to closely resemble the response curves obtained by Dünnwald for "Old Italian" instruments, i ncluding those made by Stradivari.

Such an impressive result makes me think that if I were ever to go into serious violin-making, I would definitely need to purchase a copy of Peter Kreit's book!

However, even without a copy of his book, I see that Don Noon does indeed manage to make very good violins; at least, I will assume that Annelle K. Gregory's great talents do not include the ability to make anything sound like a Stradivarius. Not that I can claim any particularly great qualifications as a judge of violin sound, of course, but it does seem to sound as good as anything else I've encountered, and similar to classic violins.

I will repeat this question: How many of Kreit's violins have won awards? If they have, I would be interested too. As for Noon's violins, it is only a matter of time when he will win a tone award at the VSA. Well, that's my opinion. :)

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2 hours ago, Michael_Molnar said:

I will repeat this question: How many of Kreit's violins have won awards?

It's been noted that Patrick Kreit has retired from violin-making. However, given that the frequency response of Peter Grankulla's violin, made following Patrick Kreit's book, is so interesting, I would have liked to at least hear one of his violins played. I could not find this either on his site or his YouTube channel: of the four videos, one shows frequency analysis of a vocal chorus, two show the construction of an electric guitar, and one shows a violin - but not yet ready to be played.

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I'm more than happy to discuss objectives on what I'm doing and how, it's no secret that it's based on Patrick's book.

What I will do if the discussions goes in the directions that they have in the past, is jump out of the discussion.

As I have no plans to go into business of making and selling violins I can do this openly without fear of loosing credibility on the market.

I know a few professional makers who have the book and use it to have some control of the outcome of finished violins.

One maker I have taught how to do it from the beginning. What I didn't teach him is how to make great violins, that he already knew.

Over the last 7-8 years I have also learned a lot. The most important thing I have learned:

- It is not difficult to make great violins, just follow your instincts and skip all the tech stuff and make a lot of violins. Learn the materials and get a feel on what to do with every piece of wood and they will be better and better.

If the above is the argument for a fellow maker, he/she shouldn't participate in discussions on how to control the stiffness, weight and graduation in violin plates and modes in assembled violins, by shooting down every post with the above argument.

I'm sure Don and other makers will win Awards.

I'm also sure I probably won't, at least not in 10-15 years to come.

(I did participate in a competition with two of my latest violins, didn't go too well, because G-string on both was difficult to play, especially in higher position, where also C (B1+) wolfs)

____________________________________________________________________

That aside, I'm not able to predict all the modes/parameters (below ~600 Hz) - I can control them :)

I'm starting to get a clearer picture on how to influence transition hill and bridge hill based on that.

 

 

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On ‎6‎/‎26‎/‎2018 at 6:30 AM, David Beard said:

I'm saying flatish. You're saying flat.

The point embodied in classic work is that most of the height at the bridge is sustained past the corners and a bit further toward the bout areas.

I agree that's what we see. And in many cases it is flatish or very flat. But what was it like 300-350-400 years ago when it was made? As well as the wood creep from the pressure of the strings on the bridge perhaps during  high humidity moisture  periods? there is also a general trend of reduced EMC, this added to low humidity periods will inevitably draw the belly down.

So your hypothesis of a mistake in violin arching since the time of Vuillaume doesn't hold much water.  If you or someone else could make reliable models of these changes and the effect on the arching over the last 450 years, then this might be of some use to luthiers?

This might be a help in testing the hypothesis more rigorously before it is submitted to the pragmatist DB?

 

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9 hours ago, Quadibloc said:

It's been noted that Patrick Kreit has retired from violin-making. However, given that the frequency response of Peter Grankulla's violin, made following Patrick Kreit's book, is so interesting, I would have liked to at least hear one of his violins played. I could not find this either on his site or his YouTube channel: of the four videos, one shows frequency analysis of a vocal chorus, two show the construction of an electric guitar, and one shows a violin - but not yet ready to be played.

All I want is an independent validation of Kreit's system. In fact, I would love to see an independent validation of any system producing award-winning violins. 

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In looking at the older thread, now archived, about Patrick Kreit's book, I found a comment that was very illuminating to me.

At this point, I felt I had finally found at least two of the pieces of Stradivari's "secret"; one makes a violin using good conventional practice, with relatively flat arches and thin plates, and it will project well, then carve out certain regions of the bridge to limit the high frequencies, and you will get the Cremonese "bridge hill". So that was no big secret after all, it appeared in one of the published papers I encountered.

But I noted that the big thing I was looking for still remained vague and mysterious to me.

This post by Michael Darnton:

Quote

 

This is one of the perennial problems. We have an instrument in our shop which always makes a great first impression, and it retains that through an hour or so of shop testing back and forth. Then it goes home as one of the potential choices, and it always comes back. In terms of immediate effect, the type of thing that gets tested in showrooms, on stage in comparisons, and in competitions, it performs exquisitely. It's when the player digs in over a week or so and tries to make music with it that its flaw comes out: it has one really wonderful sound and response, and it can't do a darned thing more than that, or less, either. Its on, or it's off. I would say that the inexperienced get grabbed by it, but that's not true--so do talented, experienced players. If there was no such thing as an approval, it would have been sold a long time ago.

Ultimately, that's why players take things out for a week; because that instrument is far from alone. On the other hand, I've seen ones that I know are flexible and interesting and that would grow on a player over time be instantly rejected, because they don't have the immediate buzz, or might take a few moments of testing before the player can figure out how the instrument needs to be played.

And lesser instruments aren't unique in this: I've had players tell me that their Strad was not nearly as impressive at a week compared to how they felt about it after they'd been learning to play it for six months.

In my experience selling things, brilliance, clarity, and fast response make a good impression in the short run, regardless of what necessities are missing. I've always thought that this might have been proven in one VSA contest, where spectral plots taken of the tone winners were very similar to each other (strong in the clear and sparkling zones). . . and very different from the Strad they were compared with.

 

helps to illuminate the characteristic "responsiveness to the player" that I was not equipped to define.

Violinfan continued:

Quote

To me, one of the "necessities" is tonal depth or richness of the tonal palette, with which the player creates the desired tonal colors by varying bow pressure, bow speed, sounding point, etc. It is part of the personality of the instrument. If present, the richness of the tonal palette also depends to some extent on the style and technical level of the player.

and I think this is indeed the quality to be considered.

Since one of the simplifying assumptions made at least at the beginning of scientific study of the violin is that it is approximately a linear system, that a violin, for example, might fail to get louder when you press the bow harder, tends to be overlooked. Although to study this phenomenon, one does not need access to a Strad; a cheap student fiddle should do fine.

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1 hour ago, Quadibloc said:

In looking at the older thread, now archived, about Patrick Kreit's book, I found a comment that was very illuminating to me.

At this point, I felt I had finally found at least two of the pieces of Stradivari's "secret"; one makes a violin using good conventional practice, with relatively flat arches and thin plates, and it will project well, then carve out certain regions of the bridge to limit the high frequencies, and you will get the Cremonese "bridge hill". So that was no big secret after all, it appeared in one of the published papers I encountered.

But I noted that the big thing I was looking for still remained vague and mysterious to me.

This post by Michael Darnton:

helps to illuminate the characteristic "responsiveness to the player" that I was not equipped to define.

Violinfan continued:

and I think this is indeed the quality to be considered.

Since one of the simplifying assumptions made at least at the beginning of scientific study of the violin is that it is approximately a linear system, that a violin, for example, might fail to get louder when you press the bow harder, tends to be overlooked. Although to study this phenomenon, one does not need access to a Strad; a cheap student fiddle should do fine.

It is my impression that loudness is mostly dependent upon bow speed and bow position relative to the bridge and that bow downward force has only a little effect.

The "color" of the note might change with downward bow force.  If I'm wrong I hope players here on MN will correct me.

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12 hours ago, sospiri said:

I agree that's what we see. And in many cases it is flatish or very flat. But what was it like 300-350-400 years ago when it was made? As well as the wood creep from the pressure of the strings on the bridge perhaps during  high humidity moisture  periods? there is also a general trend of reduced EMC, this added to low humidity periods will inevitably draw the belly down.

So your hypothesis of a mistake in violin arching since the time of Vuillaume doesn't hold much water.  If you or someone else could make reliable models of these changes and the effect on the arching over the last 450 years, then this might be of some use to luthiers?

This might be a help in testing the hypothesis more rigorously before it is submitted to the pragmatist DB?

 

The issue of creep opens a question as to how much it changed the arches we see.  It does not settle the question.

Further, the fact that we consistently see one type of arch with some lines of makers and the other kind of arch with other lines of makers is very telling, and strongly supportive of my hypothesis.

 

Also, where are the Strads and Amatis that have been nicely corrected be restorers?   I don't find any examples sporting a Vuillaume like arch?   

Perhaps the corrected instruments are among the ones that have a bit more rounding through the central elevations, but nonetheless retain the characteristic extended elevation???

If that's a defect, why wasn't it fixxed??

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7 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

It is my impression that loudness is mostly dependent upon bow speed and bow position relative to the bridge and that bow downward force has only a little effect.

The "color" of the note might change with downward bow force.  If I'm wrong I hope players here on MN will correct me.

Depends on, which meaning of "loud" you are thinking of :

1)  loudness - spectral neutral ( just the same soundcolour but more dB)  : bow pressure will not help very much, so far you have yet enough contact to the string and fitting to a certain bow speed / contact point ( distance to bridge) - all this is very complicated, because all the time all three dimensions have to fit and additional are changing also with different left-hand positions as also between the strings.

2) loudness in a special spectral meaning : bow pressure could eventually "help" - however this meaning of "loud" is mostly not positive in violinsound - at least in german language.

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13 hours ago, David Beard said:

The issue of creep opens a question as to how much it changed the arches we see.  It does not settle the question.

Further, the fact that we consistently see one type of arch with some lines of makers and the other kind of arch with other lines of makers is very telling, and strongly supportive of my hypothesis.

 

Also, where are the Strads and Amatis that have been nicely corrected be restorers?   I don't find any examples sporting a Vuillaume like arch?   

Perhaps the corrected instruments are among the ones that have a bit more rounding through the central elevations, but nonetheless retain the characteristic extended elevation???

If that's a defect, why wasn't it fixxed??

As I understand it, creep is caused by high humidity and pressure, in this case from the strings. But there is also the issue of the wood drying over time which will may cause the plate to flatten slightly or worse, cause cracking as it shrinks across the grain.

Jacob Stainer's violins show both features; the long flatish central elvevation and the gently curved central elevation. So do other famous makers.

So my question is; how much has cross grain shrinking affected the arching over 300 years or more?

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17 hours ago, David Beard said:

Also, where are the Strads and Amatis that have been nicely corrected be restorers?   I don't find any examples sporting a Vuillaume like arch?   
 

Since the way they were originally isn't certain, that's up to the discretion of the restorer, or the person they work for. Also, people are so accustomed to and accepting of a flatter portion in the center, why take it further? How much additional time and money does one want to spend getting it there, particularly when hardly anyone will appreciate it? How much extra risk does one want to take, pushing  the wood around any more than necessary?

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29 minutes ago, David Beard said:

But why so confident of what is only conjecture?  

It's a bit more than conjecture. I've been around and have exchanged ideas with restorers for the last 40+ years, with even more exposure to many of the best in the last 15 years, so I have a pretty good idea of what they can do, and how decisions are made, often involving ways to deal with distortions. You?

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Hallo everyone,

I didn't loose interest in my own thread, I was just on vacations and busy with bike riding, ice cream eating and house restorations. B)

When I opened the thread again I was like

:o WOW, 75 pages!

and so many interesting posts in the meantime!

Now I am back in my workshop and I'll follow up as quick as possible.

 

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9 hours ago, David Burgess said:

It's a bit more than conjecture. I've been around and have exchanged ideas with restorers for the last 40+ years, with even more exposure to many of the best in the last 15 years, so I have a pretty good idea of what they can do, and how decisions are made, often involving ways to deal with distortions. 

I have seen a Palotta violin (  ~1790- 1810 in Perugia ) - fine sounding !  This violin after about 200 years had still an arching, even more than "vuillaume-like" - I call it "fish-like" long-arching. So we can see, that "not classical" archings can survive centuries without " de-creeping". 

However I am thinking about, if the "classical long-arch" should really mostly come from creeping, then possibly this is only  because of the quite thin central-line-graduations of the most classical top-instruments which could result in a lower resistance against creeping than in other instruments with more central-line-thickness.

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I don't suppose anyone has accurate images or tracings of the arch shapes Guadagnini copied for Cozio????

Would be very interesting to see how some of those long top arches looked at that time.    I would trust Guadagnini to do a basically accurate job.   I found a few photos of the arching templates he produced as they were displayed at the Cremona Museum.   But the only long arc shown was a Strad Fondo, so the typical rounded arc of a back.

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David, I think you have answered this question logically and definitively and you can rest your case :

"The issue of creep opens a question as to how much it changed the arches we see.  It does not settle the question.

Further, the fact that we consistently see one type of arch with some lines of makers and the other kind of arch with other lines of makers is very telling, and strongly supportive of my hypothesis.

Also, where are the Strads and Amatis that have been nicely corrected be restorers?   I don't find any examples sporting a Vuillaume like arch?"

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Why do some Vuillaumes seem to show less distortion on the top? I mentioned earlier the possibility that having had a chance to observe 200+ years of deterioration on old violins, Vuillaume made the top archings different in the first place, in anticipation of future distortion. This was around the same time that mortised (rather than nailed necks) started being used, probably because it made resetting necks much easier, the need for which is also an artifact of distortion. So some things about distortion were being noticed, and compensations made.

Vuillaumes are much younger than Strads and Amatis.

But how about this as another hypothesis: If he did indeed use some kind of heat treatment for his wood (as oral history indicates), and some kinds of heat treatment result in reduced equilibrium moisture content, could that have made them less susceptible to distortion (even though they seem to be more susceptible to cracking)?

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On ‎6‎/‎20‎/‎2018 at 12:30 PM, David Burgess said:

On a violin top, I wouldn't expect the length to stretch at all. Lengthwise, it's under compression.

Place a piece of paper flat on a table. While holding the center down (to represent the downward force of the bridge). Slide both ends toward the center (representing the longitudinal compressive force of the strings).  What happens? Yup, it bulges in the areas corresponding to the upper and lower bouts, without the bridge area having moved at all.

Or if you're willing to invest more time and effort, complete a violin. Before stringing it up, make a careful longitudinal arching template. String it up, then moisture cycle it several times between about 20 and 85 percent relative humidity, staying for about a week at each extreme before going back in the other direction.

Once this has been completed, let it sit for about a week to re-acclimate to the ambient conditions. Then check the arching with the template you made earlier. I think you'll be amazed at the difference! Oh, also set the neck extra-high on this instrument, because the neck projection will come down a lot. Right there, we've explained many of the changes we see in instruments, other than those due to wear-and-tear, or accidental impact.

You may never experience such humidity extremes where you live, but many places do, and they are even more extreme where I live, with indoor humidity ranging from as low as 5% in the winter, to as high as 100% in the summer, if one is not taking special measures to deal with this.

Yes, this being the explanation for the difference between top and back arching is a hypothesis, but if you start with an instrument with the same top and back archings, moisture cycle it enough times, and add a little heat cycling, you can duplicate it in a very short time. Not just talkin' out my azz,  I have actually done this. And as Torbjorn pointed out, the thinner the top, the faster this is likely to happen.

 

 

On ‎6‎/‎20‎/‎2018 at 1:11 PM, David Burgess said:

Found this old photo. Can't remember which experiment this was or the exact details, but the template is the arching as it was originally. One can see that the arching has gotten flatter and longer in the center, and more rounded in the upper bout (which also happened in the lower bout). Or more "typically Cremonese".

archingdistort.jpg

 

 

Thank you David.

 

 

 

 

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