Rib Taper hypothesis #43,759


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4 minutes ago, Michael Darnton said:

A local player had/has a very fine ancient cello that is like that one at the upper block; I don't remember if it's a composite or an issue with cutting down, but it works fine. :-)

One of the more memorable violins I've seen in this regard was an Alfred Smith (Australian) that was considerably thicker in the c-bouts than at either end to the extent where it was easily visible from a distance. It was a SCREAMER. But I don't know how much of that could be attributed to the strange construction. It would be fun to try, but I haven't.

I don't suppose it was late 18th century French? I have seen a couple of experimental violins by Salomon and Lepileur that were like that all round - kind of a 3/4 size back and a full size front.

Hardly a concept that a modern maker should be able to patent ...

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2 minutes ago, martin swan said:

I don't suppose it was late 18th century French? I have seen a couple of experimental violins by Salomon and Lepileur that were like that all round - kind of a 3/4 size back and a full size front.

Hardly a concept that a modern maker should be able to patent ...

There was another maker in Turin who did this with guitars.....

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2 hours ago, sospiri said:

I'm sorry, but the aesthetic consideration doesn't satisfy me, because the plate is bent down. Why?

First let me say that if you think it was 'bent down' it iis not really clear if those makers in the past looked at it the same way. Who knows? Basically we know only that it was made intentionally because Stradivari marked the height difference  with a divider on his mould.

Then, if you read all the old manuals on violin making (Il manoscritto di Antonio Marchi, librem segreti di buttega) you won't find anything which would deal precisely with this aspect. I am sure if there would be something important to it, they would have written something. 

The thing with the non-aesthetic considerations is that you usually go into a sort of very undefined theories, just like my air cavity adjustment hypothesis. For the idea of giving the top tension I am asking myself how much this really is and if it can have an effect on the sound, because it is certainly compared to the stress at the top block created by string tension only negligibly small. Whatever hypotesis you build there, you run into trouble to verify it.

For all the non aesthetic theories I think Roger Hargraves hypothesis works best because it is in the context of baroque construction methods.

 

 

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Here's one more hypothesis.  Not suggesting it as a leading candidate, but just one more possible reason.

Maybe they had some idea that set or limited how deep they were willing to go at the neck, but they had a different idea about how deep they wanted the overall body?  Hence, some sort of taper.

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3 hours ago, David Beard said:

Here's one more hypothesis.  Not suggesting it as a leading candidate, but just one more possible reason.

Maybe they had some idea that set or limited how deep they were willing to go at the neck, but they had a different idea about how deep they wanted the overall body?  Hence, some sort of taper.

At least, a shorter endbock at the neck means you can use a shorter neck block, and get more neck blocks out of a tree.  But I still vote for visual effect.

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I agree that visual effect is the most likely motive.  However, since the time frame of the shift to the Strad style upper bout from the top style of this roughly corresponds with the most valued period of Cremona making, we can't be confident that something incidental to this didn't physically contribute to their success.

Maybe yes, maybe no.   Just because we don't readily see how, doesn't mean it isn't so.

 

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On 10/29/2020 at 9:07 PM, sospiri said:

I'm sorry, but the aesthetic consideration doesn't satisfy me, because the plate is bent down. Why?

Why is a bow cambered? Isn't the same springing effect going to apply to this issue too?

The only constructional change that I can see would be that in bending the belly down, all else being equal, you not only lower the end of the neck that butts up against rib and edge of the belly but you also lower the position of the upper nut in relation to the plane of the lower rib and c-bout ribs ribs. You are therefore increasing slightly the back tilt of the neck and this allows you to make the fingerboard with a proportionately smaller wedge to obtain the same projection height at the bridge position. The overall neck thickness could be less. You would also have a slight increase in the string angle over the bridge which does not necessarily make the instrument louder.

If you look at some of the earlier instruments with an almost straight neck position the wedge can be huge, perhaps already in that time it was becoming uncomfortable to have the neck so fat at the heel, also due to progress in playing technique they were moving towards a slenderer neck.

Without the bend in the belly, the same could be obtained by increasing the angle slightly at the foot of the neck where it butts up to the rib and belly, but you would not obtain the same visual aesthetic for the ribs.

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On 10/30/2020 at 9:47 PM, Bruce Carlson said:

The only constructional change that I can see would be that in bending the belly down, all else being equal, you not only lower the end of the neck that butts up against rib and edge of the belly but you also lower the position of the upper nut in relation to the plane of the lower rib and c-bout ribs ribs. You are therefore increasing slightly the back tilt of the neck and this allows you to make the fingerboard with a proportionately smaller wedge to obtain the same projection height at the bridge position. The overall neck thickness could be less. You would also have a slight increase in the string angle over the bridge which does not necessarily make the instrument louder.

If you look at some of the earlier instruments with an almost straight neck position the wedge can be huge, perhaps already in that time it was becoming uncomfortable to have the neck so fat at the heel, also due to progress in playing technique they were moving towards a slenderer neck.

Without the bend in the belly, the same could be obtained by increasing the angle slightly at the foot of the neck where it butts up to the rib and belly, but you would not obtain the same visual aesthetic for the ribs.

Roger Hargrave's measurements show us that these fingerboard angle arguments are misguided.

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32 minutes ago, sospiri said:

Is that a request?

His articles are freely available to anyone who is interested.

No it's a way of saying tactfully that I don't think you have any grasp of the issues, any real understanding of what Hargrave is propounding, nor any way of assessing whether Bruce's patient engagement with you merits being rejected with a clever quip.

 

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20 minutes ago, martin swan said:

No it's a way of saying tactfully that I don't think you have any grasp of the issues, any real understanding of what Hargrave is propounding, nor any way of assessing whether Bruce's patient engagement with you merits being rejected with a clever quip.

 

I do have a grasp of basic geometry. The point being, Roger Hargrave's articles show us that the Cremonese Masters were able to achieve the same string angles as modern makers.

Are you disputing this? 

And I wasn't giving a clever quip. Study the geometry and see for yourselves.

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7 minutes ago, sospiri said:

I do have a grasp of basic geometry. The point being, Roger Hargrave's articles show us that the Cremonese Masters were able to achieve the same string angles as modern makers.

Are you disputing this? 

And I wasn't giving a clever quip. Study the geometry and see for yourselves.

Bruce was talking about the thickness/comfort of the neck for the player. His comments were based on study of original examples.

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1 minute ago, martin swan said:

Bruce was talking about the thickness/comfort of the neck for the player. His comments were based on study of original examples.

This is related to modern styles of playing though isn't it? With the chin and shoulder rests and the thumb positions.

I have discarded all three of these encumberances. 

Also you will find modern necks that have some similarities to the old style. Because the makers have their own methods which is a nod to the old masters.

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4 hours ago, sospiri said:

I do have a grasp of basic geometry. The point being, Roger Hargrave's articles show us that the Cremonese Masters were able to achieve the same string angles as modern makers.

Are you disputing this? 

And I wasn't giving a clever quip. Study the geometry and see for yourselves.

I don't dispute the string angle, a lot of the reason that the bridge height and string angle are the way they are is also for bowing clearance, not only for downward pressure and powerful sound. However, modern necks are longer and consequently there is proportionately more tension to get the string up to pitch, even if the tuning pitch had remained the same as that of Stradivari. With modern pitch it is decidedly more. Stradivari may have been going in that direction but he wasn't there yet due to the shorter neck. This was sufficient for his day or he likely would have made further changes.

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28 minutes ago, Bruce Carlson said:

I don't dispute the string angle, a lot of the reason that the bridge height and string angle are the way they are is also for bowing clearance, not only for downward pressure and powerful sound. However, modern necks are longer and consequently there is proportionately more tension to get the string up to pitch, even if the tuning pitch had remained the same as that of Stradivari. With modern pitch it is decidedly more. Stradivari may have been going in that direction but he wasn't there yet due to the shorter neck. This was sufficient for his day or he likely would have made further changes.

Do you and Roger disagree over this one?

His numbers from Stainer to Stradivari 328 -330mm that he gave in the late 80s

Has he revised these numbers in recent years?

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12 hours ago, sospiri said:

Do you and Roger disagree over this one?

His numbers from Stainer to Stradivari 328 -330mm that he gave in the late 80s

Has he revised these numbers in recent years?

Just off the top of my head, the 'Lady Blunt' Stradivari of 1721 was on display in the 1987 Cremona Exhibition alongside the original neck and bassbar. The gluing surface if the fingerboard, where it touches the neck is 120 mm in length...... The cutaway on a wedge type fingerboard usually very close to the edge of the belly. The neck has been blocked up at the foot to lengthen it and to lift the overstand (appui, abstand etc.) above the edge of the belly. The new piece against the upper rib is cuneiform as the neck has to be tilted back enough to obtain the proper string angle. If it was only necessary only to tilt the neck back there would be far less visible wood, instead there is a conspicuous quantity of wood so, as I see it, the neck was also lengthened. It is the same way on the 'Messiah' of 1716 at Oxford and similarly on the 'Harrison' Stradivari of 1693 in Vermillion SD where wood was also added to accommodate a modern neck mortise. The Paganini 'Cannon' is also like the 'Lady Blunt' and the 'Harrison' but the neck was re-nailed in place. It is still 'short' at 128.5 mm

As to the Stainer violin, look at the side view of the neck and let's talk about the position of the upper nut.

https://www.roger-hargrave.de/PDF/Artikel/Strad/Artikel_1987_09_Jacobus_Stainer_1697_PDF.pdf

You can also peruse this catalogue by William Monical and you will see that there is quite a variety of neck lengths as it was not as standardized as it is today. You can download it for free.

https://www.academia.edu/25898590/Shapes_of_the_baroque

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3 hours ago, Bruce Carlson said:

Just off the top of my head, the 'Lady Blunt' Stradivari of 1721 was on display in the 1987 Cremona Exhibition alongside the original neck and bassbar. The gluing surface if the fingerboard, where it touches the neck is 120 mm in length...... The cutaway on a wedge type fingerboard usually very close to the edge of the belly. The neck has been blocked up at the foot to lengthen it and to lift the overstand (appui, abstand etc.) above the edge of the belly. The new piece against the upper rib is cuneiform as the neck has to be tilted back enough to obtain the proper string angle. If it was only necessary only to tilt the neck back there would be far less visible wood, instead there is a conspicuous quantity of wood so, as I see it, the neck was also lengthened. It is the same way on the 'Messiah' of 1716 at Oxford and similarly on the 'Harrison' Stradivari of 1693 in Vermillion SD where wood was also added to accommodate a modern neck mortise. The Paganini 'Cannon' is also like the 'Lady Blunt' and the 'Harrison' but the neck was re-nailed in place. It is still 'short' at 128.5 mm

As to the Stainer violin, look at the side view of the neck and let's talk about the position of the upper nut.

https://www.roger-hargrave.de/PDF/Artikel/Strad/Artikel_1987_09_Jacobus_Stainer_1697_PDF.pdf

You can also peruse this catalogue by William Monical and you will see that there is quite a variety of neck lengths as it was not as standardized as it is today. You can download it for free.

https://www.academia.edu/25898590/Shapes_of_the_baroque

Thanks Bruce. Are these your measurements from 1987?

 

 

Lady Blunt.jpg

So the string length was a few mm short of modern measurements?

Regarding the nut height on the Stainer in Roger's article, I don't believe it is possible to see it from a photograph because perpective is impossible to guage. The same applies to looking at an instrument from the side, you just can't see the true angle. The only way is to sight a line of the neck from the nut to the corner edges and doing this I see that instruments vary a bit in relative nut height.

 

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