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Personal approach to violin making


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4 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

I've noticed the same thing too.  But one of the problems with this experiment is that the thin tape still allows sound low frequency sounds to come out.  Closing a glass window reduces an outside noise.  Covering your window with paper isn't nearly as good. It's best to brick up the whole window opening.  You need something much heavier and stiffer than tape to get a significant change.

So I suggest you carefully stick tape on the underside of the f holes instead of sticking it on the top  surface. Then fill up the f holes with epoxy level with the top surface.

 ( ... )

Thanks for the suggestion. I have to dribble in the epoxy starting with the eyes on the Vieuxtemps inspired copy as the f-holes are very 3d. Yes, a single pass of the blue tape actually works as a lower- frequency radiator and the rolled- off high frequencies make the instrument sounds a bit deeper. But the phenomena is different on every instrument and we generally do not press down hard on tape around the wings for the better air seal.

Blue tape laminates are possible. It is a variation on the gluey technique.

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An unintended consequence of the tape over the f holes is that it can also dampen the vibration of the island area between the f holes.   To avoid this I stick the tape along the outside edges of the f holes and leave a very narrow gap between the tape and the inside f hole edge.  That way the inside edge can still vibrate like normal.

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3 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

Penso che fai bene a cercare di sviluppare un tuo modello personale, troppi liutai pensano solo a copiare senza farsi troppe domande. Saranno poi i risultati che otterrai a farti aggiustare il tiro se li saprai giudicare con senso critico. Non capisco bene cosa intendi riguardo alle superfici parallele (delle fasce?) ma poco importa, l'importante è che per te abbia un senso, gli effetti di questo genere di cose sono difficili da apprezzare nello strumento finito, un po' come la differenza tra fare le fasce con i piani sfalsati come faccio io (che lasciano la parte tra le C parallela) oppure a cuneo come fa la stragrande maggioranza, io lo faccio perchè ha senso per me ma dire che è fondamentale per il suono è un'altro paio di maniche. I violini sono in fondo tutti molto simili come struttura e quindi lasciano spazio a interpretazioni diverse, ma cercare una tua strada attraverso il ragionamento ti fa sicuramente onore, nessuno potrà avere mai delle certezze e solo i nostri violini potranno darci ragione o meno.

Grazie dell'incoraggiamento!  Esatto il fine è proprio quello di avere la parte tra le cc parallela! Le fasce a cuneo non mi han convinto proprio perche rendono obliqua la parte tra le cc e quindi mi immagino il suono un po' "strozzato", mi piace moltissimo questa cosa delle fasce con I piani sfalsati avevo pensato a una cosa simile in passato ma non sapevo si facesse! Mi sta dando una grande dritta ci lavoreró su! È stato un gran piacere parlare con lei.
Sarebbe bello un giorno conoscerla di persona, ho sempre avuto la sensazione che fosse una persona con una certa profondità sia sul piano lavorativo che personale. Grazie!

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39 minutes ago, Fade said:

Grazie dell'incoraggiamento!  Esatto il fine è proprio quello di avere la parte tra le cc parallela! Le fasce a cuneo non mi han convinto proprio perche rendono obliqua la parte tra le cc e quindi mi immagino il suono un po' "strozzato", mi piace moltissimo questa cosa delle fasce con I piani sfalsati avevo pensato a una cosa simile in passato ma non sapevo si facesse!

In effetti è il sistema antico cremonese, dimenticato o ignorato da molti.;)

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19 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

I doubt that anyone really knows what theories the 17th and 18th century Cremonese makers had it their heads. Some examples turned out spectacularly, sonically, while others did not.

That's true, even difficult to say if it can have an acoustic influence, but I like it (I'm sorry for the previous digression in Italian:))

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1 hour ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

An unintended consequence of the tape over the f holes is that it can also dampen the vibration of the island area between the f holes.   To avoid this I stick the tape along the outside edges of the f holes and leave a very narrow gap between the tape and the inside f hole edge.  That way the inside edge can still vibrate like normal.

Brutal. Schooled again...

 

My violin looks like Eddie Van Halen's guitar.

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15 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I doubt that anyone really knows what theories the 17th and 18th century Cremonese makers had it their heads. Some examples turned out spectacularly, sonically, while others did not.

As today, presumably they had a number of various concepts, some (like today) pretty outlandish.  Examples that turn out spectacularly are not proof that the theories are correct, but at least whatever was done didn't take the maker too far away from what really was the reason for the good result.

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16 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I doubt that anyone really knows what theories the 17th and 18th century Cremonese makers had it their heads. Some examples turned out spectacularly, sonically, while others did not.

I wonder if they even knew what is a 'theory'. 

I can't repeat it often enough. They didn't know anything of modern science as we do today. Isaac Newton who laid the foundation of modern science was a contemporary of Antonio Stradivari.  

If anything, they worked with analogies based on alchemical procedures and methodologies.

 

 

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16 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I doubt that anyone really knows what theories the 17th and 18th century Cremonese makers had it their heads. Some examples turned out spectacularly, sonically, while others did not.

At least we do know which theories were in swing. True or false; we can make some deductions about their theories.

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50 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

They didn't know anything of modern science as we do today.

29 minutes ago, Torbjörn Zethelius said:

True or false; we can make some deductions about their theories.

The obvious deduction is that any theories they may have had were fundamentally incorrect.  

Beyond that, I think we can presume that various things were tried out, and things that didn't work so well were discarded; things that worked were kept.  Trial and error and experience.  The theories don't matter so much as the form of the final object, and we kinda know what that is.

 

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1 minute ago, David Burgess said:

Perhaps, presuming that fiddlemakers were anything close to well-versed in the engineering accomplishments of that era.

We do know that Stradivari's step children in his second marriage were the grandchildren of the architect Alessandro Capra. I think I got that right. ;)

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16 minutes ago, Don Noon said:

The obvious deduction is that any theories they may have had were fundamentally incorrect.  

Beyond that, I think we can presume that various things were tried out, and things that didn't work so well were discarded; things that worked were kept.  Trial and error and experience.  The theories don't matter so much as the form of the final object, and we kinda know what that is.

 

The form of the final object is dependent on the science of the day, wether it's true or false. IMHO

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10 minutes ago, avandesande said:

I would say that geometric properties and proportion were a more important driver than science at the time as they were well understood. Galileo discovered the relationship between pitch and frequency in 1660s, and information traveled quite slowly in those days.

Yes proportions is one of the keywords as opposed to absolute measurements (what many makers do today).

Another thing is defining the result with precedures governed by the  observations in the process. 

 

 

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It's a chicken and egg thing, a lot of our expectation of what a violin should sound like is based on our previous experience of hearing them. It's similar to warming to a difficult to a difficult piece of music on multiple listenings. No other instrument balances so finely on the edge of horror and ecstasy.

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5 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

I wonder if they even knew what is a 'theory'. 

I can't repeat it often enough. They didn't know anything of modern science as we do today. Isaac Newton who laid the foundation of modern science was a contemporary of Antonio Stradivari.  

If anything, they worked with analogies based on alchemical procedures and methodologies.

 

But would it be probable that some persons were more sensitive than others? Assuming their sensitivities were similar to ours now, perhaps their focus was more on what sounds they heard. Certainly Bach heard overtones far better than most of us do today. Music, then, having evolved from chant, must have had a greater emotional effect of pitch movement and harmony. Their adaptations were due to experimentation and observations that stuck. Holistic observations are far more complex and avoided for many a scientist, while for a chef or artist, that is the greatest skill they possess.  Alchemical procedures were how "innovators" evolved. I use them. Their tools for measuring were their senses, while I have a laptop and microphones. But this likely is also the reason that instrument had subtle changes, not too many drastic ones. The technological changes, aside from the modern neck, were mostly external.

Their sonic goals were to produce louder instruments that played smoothly throughout its range. Not that different now. I am sure it was relatively easy to produce instruments that were resonant at specific frequencies. 

As for the physical beauty of the instrument, the Strad- era produced something amazing. I believe that Vivaldi had an influence in the development of the string sound around Venice at the time. The Amati family must have given out a free pack of strings if a customer posted a good review on Yelp. 

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This "area" where this conversation has steered to, is something that not only applies to the violin, but pretty much everything, as it speaks to what we have become,how we have changed, the advents of technology and education and the how those things ushered in the death of certain long standing human traditions of "just how we did things"

The concept of building some sort of box and attaching strings to a neck predates the violin by quite some bit, particularly if we look to China and India. 

That being said it seems quite obvious that the violin we know today was a distillation by several people over several years in several different areas of the European continent, to which by the time it got historically to the Amati clan,that they were able to stand on the shoulders of all those trial and error failures and successes that came before and tweak the design to end up with what we know today.

I will say, the old ways, that being family run mentor/apprentice business's are the best environment for teaching, innovation and perfection through natural talent, to flourish. Something that sadly seems to have been killed off through our modern world.

I also think that composers and musicians played a bigger role in the development of these instruments and that their daily input into the feedback was probably crucial to refining what we know today. Whereas today, it is a foreknown thing of what a good violin is, and that for the most part the interactions between a musician or composer is primarily a business transaction.

I know for a fact that the handful of musicians I know personally are and have been very beneficial if not invaluable in my development as far as feedback goes. I think many of us know many.many musicians, but only a handful who are true friends and like to hang out and be involved in it as much as we are. I just think back then, without all the modern distractions, it was much easier and "normal" to really be working side by side with composers and musicians in a friendly "just hanging out tweaking things" kind of way.

And then there's the natural talent thing, which I think gets grossly underestimated  in this day and age of "higher education" whereas just because someone spent a bunch of money,time and jumped through the hoops. doesn't mean that they're any good at what they do.

It's a lot like sports or music, think of all the pro teams of all the different types of sports over the years, it's a big accomplishment to make the pro cut, and out of all those people, there are very few stand out superstars comparatively speaking, all those pro players, but only x amount of Michael Jordan's, Joe Montana's and Babe Ruth's, just like there's only x amount of Strad's, Del gesu's and Amati's

Every generation will have their stars and just like every generation, there's always a few stand outs.

 

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13 hours ago, jezzupe said:

And then there's the natural talent thing, which I think gets grossly underestimated  in this day and age of "higher education" whereas just because someone spent a bunch of money,time and jumped through the hoops. doesn't mean that they're any good at it.

I think this view of talent is much more likely to be over emphasized today rather than the other way around. I encounter craftsman all the  time who anointed themselves "a master" based on some imagined innate talent when the truth is that talent is far less important than training and hard work. It is only after one has acquired an adequate level of training that those with real talent will rise above the merely competent.

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1 hour ago, nathan slobodkin said:

I think this view of talent is much more likely to be over emphasized today rather than the other way around. I encounter craftsman all the  time who anointed themselves "a master" based on some imagined innate talent when the truth is that talent is far less important than training and hard work. It is only after one has acquired an adequate level of training that those with real talent will rise above the merely competent.

This is often the view of Masters, i believe. The view from the top appears this way. There is an understanding that young stars have an appeal and we are fascinated by newly discovered celebrities. But longevity is a far greater indicator of skills and vision.

Not trying to contradict your statement but a lot to unpack. 

Ideal talent is made up of many facets, but when people casually use the word, it is meant to be a casual or directed compliment. Jezzupe's comment likely encompasses those with perhaps some weaknesses but mostly capable unpolished but develop-able skills. But young talent have a naivete and can be steered a stray. Egos get in the way. Or finances. Many act as they do to survive. Or many are created to as they do. Also, some of the most talented would rather use those talents elsewhere. Talented children from wealthy families develop skills faster than those who struggle. This also tempers their vision.

Self- anointment is a curious phenomenon. When the world was far more provincial, it was easier for individuals to be the best within their ponds. But global scrutiny makes it a bit more difficult. Having said this, if many factors are weighed and evaluated, there are regional qualities that are important. There are quite a few makers that make instruments that sound great, perhaps with a taste of the local water, that do not look that great or sound a particular way. Some of these makers have something to boast about, including sales that out number many makers of truly fine examples. But cutting corners saves time and knowing the local syntax helps develop a market. Some have great training, but they choose to make less expensive instruments. But in addition to what you state, many great makers are humble and generous with their time and knowledge like many here.

The final sentence speaks truths. Training, development, further education, and competition make up the path to rising "above" most. But within a lifetime, trends make up a great deal of the ebb and flow of any master's success. When expressing skepticism of many a young person's talents, many think I am bitter or jealous... time will tell.

 

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3 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

I think this view of talent is much more likely to be over emphasized today rather than the other way around. I encounter craftsman all the  time who anointed themselves "a master" based on some imagined innate talent when the truth is that talent is far less important than training and hard work. It is only after one has acquired an adequate level of training that those with real talent will rise above the merely competent.

I guess a simple way to put it is; would you rather have entered the Chicago school of violin making at 18, or would you rather have started an apprenticeship with the Amati's when you turned 18? 

and perhaps you are rightfully so lumping these talented people into the pool of average talented people, I;m talking about exceptional natural talent, like Mozart, his dad showed him a thing or two when he was a child, but I don't think anyone really "showed" him how to do anything, he just had natural god given talent and he used it.

Now I think Mozart may be an extreme case of natural talent, but again, there is craft and there is art, and I suppose the debate could rage on. But I don't think Michael Jordan did anything except what he knew how to do,along with all the other talented people out there who did not need any "formal education" , sorry I believe in exceptional autodidacts and people who were just born to do what ever it is they do.

If we look at most all of the great modern song writers, I don't think many of them had to much formal training, they just knew how to write great songs and they just did it.

But I do agree that many average people do better with some form of education.

I think the discussion can even go to that topic, "do you think there are exceptional people? is there a gradient of talent, skill, luck know how etc? or is there more of a socialist "we are all created equal"  and therefore we all need some type of formal education to be successful?

I hate to say it, but in the realm of many things, all animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others. It seems to be something many people have a hard time with.

And as it relates to "the other way around" I would say look at all the small business's who prior to covid19 were doing rather well, and then look at the numbers of "students" out of "higher education" and the bagillions of dollars in debt they are in collectively, it's like they bought into some fantasy about education and what it would do for them.A fantasy that was very much promoted,the mere fact that the loansharking loans were set up are a testament to that.

And I would also say that if you are an exceptional person who has decided to embark in some journey there is no such thing as hard work, it's just something you do.

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Jezzupe,

Since I don't know who you are or what your background is I am having a bit of trouble understanding your point of view as to training and talent both in the present and in the past. My own training started as an intern at the Smithsonian Institution at 16 followed by more than 10 years taking summer classes, working in music stores  and setting up and operating my own shop . However it was not until I closed my shop, sold my house and moved to Chicago as a beginning apprentice at WH Lee that I discovered that doing what you are told by someone who knows how to make instruments is more valuable than all the undisciplined discussion and theorizing in the world. I have worked with graduates of many of the major schools in the world and while the discipline in most schools is not as strict as the working environment at Lee's all of them were still expected to do certain things in certain ways before starting to experiment with other methods. From what I know from some of my older relatives' and teachers' stories of their apprenticeships and from history in generaI I am quite sure that the atmosphere in the Amati shop would have been "shut up, do as you are told and don't ask questions until you have earned the right to do so."  Every one who worked there would have ended up as a competent violin maker but as we see talent did elevate some of them above the others as their careers developed.

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15 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

Jezzupe,

Since I don't know who you are or what your background is I am having a bit of trouble understanding your point of view as to training and talent both in the present and in the past. My own training started as an intern at the Smithsonian Institution at 16 followed by more than 10 years taking summer classes, working in music stores  and setting up and operating my own shop . However it was not until I closed my shop, sold my house and moved to Chicago as a beginning apprentice at WH Lee that I discovered that doing what you are told by someone who knows how to make instruments is more valuable than all the undisciplined discussion and theorizing in the world. I have worked with graduates of many of the major schools in the world and while the discipline in most schools is not as strict as the working environment at Lee's all of them were still expected to do certain things in certain ways before starting to experiment with other methods. From what I know from some of my older relatives' and teachers' stories of their apprenticeships and from history in generaI I am quite sure that the atmosphere in the Amati shop would have been "shut up, do as you are told and don't ask questions until you have earned the right to do so."  Every one who worked there would have ended up as a competent violin maker but as we see talent did elevate some of them above the others as their careers developed.

I think I'm just simply saying that there are many people who may benefit from training,school and education, but by no means need it to become successful and or really good at what ever it is they do. 

And that there are historically many people who are the best at what they do and they have had no formal training. 

I do think this is limited to certain fields and endeavors, for example I'm not to keen on an operation from a self taught brain surgeon, but certainly do entertain the reality that "that" singer, who has no formal training is better than all "those" singers who do have formal education.

Again natural talent

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