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The International Violin Bridge Competition 2021


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Lovely to hear from a few non grumpy maestroneters. Thankyou for the support as we slept you all typed.

Answers below sry if long

@David

We had Four International Judges with a combined working experience in the trade of over 120 years, One American, One Italian, One Scottish and One English, 3 different violin schools. All exceptional respected makers and restorers, and all who care deeply about celebrating and supporting our craft.

The judging criteria is very clear in the rules and application, and was devised by our Judges at the onset of the competition it will be refined for next year.

@Andreas Preuss hiding the stamps was something we discussed, but we felt that the stamp and how it is designed and executed is such a part of the skill and look of a finished bridge that it was important to keep them.  

"But I would say there are more categories needed for the awards. Classical cuts, stylish cuts, new design cuts."

Yes we need to think on this as Shlomo Moyal's and Nikolaos Pylarinos Viola bridges, would both be in the new design category, and they get lost in such a simplistic points competition structure.

https://archive.violinbridges.co.uk/shlomo-moyal-3/

https://archive.violinbridges.co.uk/nikolaos-pylarinos/

We will have an evaluation and improve things for next year.

 @matthewnykoys
 "I rarely find a ugly looking bridge that also just happens to work in all the right places that it needs to in order to sound good as well." 

I agree with this, those who say a badly cut/ ugly bridge can work well, are following a myth. It may work but its a fluke. I could write another 75 pages vsa paper on this but wont :) 

The short version is a well cut bridge shows skill, intent and attention to detail and simplistically that is what is needed in setting up and adjusting a fine violin.

@GeorgeH
Yes I have sold a few books, which even if I do say so myself is a beautiful thing, and if you are in isolation from the main violin cultural hubs and if your studying violin making or repair its an essential book and tool, but please let me re assure you, the time and costs involved from running the violinbridges.co.uk project for the last 12 years has been in no way financially compensated.

Violin Bridge Cutting is an art, and the competition/ site/ book are ways to celebrate, promote and support that art.

@mattroop For this instance and method of Judging it is who scored more overall points. But it has been suggested that we should have awarded Gold and Silver so we could open up to awarding merits to other bridges, this is something we need to take on board, I will put it to the Judges.

We don't plan to add pictures on the website of the sides and other views.

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12 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Noykos, I very much liked your bridge. Had I been judging, I probably would have put it first place. No need for a diatribe, although it was a well-done diatribe with many good points.

Thanks David for the kind words on my bridge.  It’s not really a diatribe I suppose.  Tone of voice never comes through in a post.  I wasn’t really angry or anything.  I was more trying to provide balance to the thread.  
 

I personally do enjoy looking at bridges so I was putting forth that point of view.  The competition was fun for me because it was a chance to showcase some of my work without putting a huge amount of time and effort into it since carving a bridge doesn’t take that long compared to making a cello or violin for a competition.  Plus, I carve a lot more bridges than I do make instruments so it was more natural.  
 

I wasn’t at the judging, so I cannot comment on how the process went but I thought all the entries that won something were well done and I came away from it thinking there was a reason they were chosen.  I usually feel that way after seeing a VSA competition as well, especially when I was a scribe for Sigrun for one of the years.  In the VSA there’s always an instrument that I think is good and should have been scored higher, but I think overall there is usually a loose consensus.  I felt that way about the bridge competition as well, so the judging must be working.  That’s really the best you can do for competitions like these.  

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22 hours ago, violinbridges said:

I think Grumpynet maybee a better name for this place

That just dismisses the points without any attempt to answer them.
There is nothing grumpy about wondering why a working part is judged only on its final appearance, and not it's function.

Should violin competitions be judged in this way too? If so, a CNC violin will win every time.

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@woodbutcher sorry for not answering and its a valid question, I think I have answered this before in this thread but will do it again.

a working part is judged only on its final appearance" 

yes that is correct.

The purpose of the International Violin Bridge Competition is to compare aesthetically the standards of violin family bridges, and to celebrate and award the best entries.

It is not following the mold of a traditional violin making competition.

 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, violinbridges said:

Lovely to hear from a few non grumpy maestroneters. Thankyou for the support as we slept you all typed.

New endeavors often get whacked around a bit. Glad you had enthusiastic participation.

19 hours ago, Matthew Noykos said:

Every shop person I talk to who carves bridges all the time, likes to look at bridges.  The fact of the matter is there is a lot of personal expression in a bridge and it's one of the few times that restorers can do something that is theirs.  

So lighten up people.  It's fun to look at bridges.

I also liked your bridge Matt.  Very nice. I'm also very happy Greg got some recognition.

Yup.  You know I'm a bridge nerd.  I have boxes of old bridges I pull out to gawk at every blue moon. Other luthier's ideas (at least those I like) tend spur me to try different approaches, though maybe not to much of a departure from what I've found works for me.  Also, I use blanks from different sources (and I even have some old Wurlitzer blanks) which require slightly varied approaches... and looking at a bunch of bridges, cut from various blanks, can supply one with some good ideas.

I recall an occasional participant on this board remarking (after dumping out a pile of old bridges on a table while he was guest teaching at Oberlin) that perhaps we don't always see the "best" bridges by a maker (in terms of how they work) as they may well still be on the instrument they were cut for.  :)

I think you're correct.  Bridges are an area of personal expression. Those that work well often have specific similarities, but there is still plenty of room to stretch.

I've personally never been much of a competition participant or have any interest in judging, though like most here (I assume), I enjoy looking at the entries when they're all on the table... for me, especially nice before medals are announced. I usually find something I like very much, later recognized by the judges announcements or now and again not recognized by them. In this case, I'll be satisfied with looking through the entries after the fact.

For those that entered, hope you had a great experience.

 

 

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15 hours ago, violinbridges said:

@David

We had Four International Judges with a combined working experience in the trade of over 120 years, One American, One Italian, One Scottish and One English, 3 different violin schools. All exceptional respected makers and restorers, and all who care deeply about celebrating and supporting our craft.

Do these judges not have names? Are their identities to remain a mystery? :wacko:

If so, why?

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9 hours ago, Bodacious Cowboy said:

Looking at the entries, there seems to be an emerging trend for fat ankles.

This isn't a look I like, personally. 

Is there some acoustic benefit?

I also thought the bridges of Mr Noykos were the nicest.

 

 

Thank you for the kind words.  Do you consider the ankles on the bridges you saw of mine to be fat?  Just trying to establish a reference.  I’ve been trending in the direction of thinner ankles as of late.  On violin I used to make them slightly bigger than 4 mm.  Now I have been making them about a half millimeter smaller, around 3.75 or even closer to 3.5.  I too have seen quite a few makers make them thicker as time goes on.  Curious what people think it does to the sound. 

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7 hours ago, Jeffrey Holmes said:

New endeavors often get whacked around a bit. Glad you had enthusiastic participation.

I also liked your bridge Matt.  Very nice. I'm also very happy Greg got some recognition.

Yup.  You know I'm a bridge nerd.  I have boxes of old bridges I pull out to gawk at every blue moon. Other luthier's ideas (at least those I like) tend spur me to try different approaches, though maybe not to much of a departure from what I've found works for me.  Also, I use blanks from different sources (and I even have some old Wurlitzer blanks) which require slightly varied approaches... and looking at a bunch of bridges, cut from various blanks, can supply one with some good ideas.

I recall an occasional participant on this board remarking (after dumping out a pile of old bridges on a table while he was guest teaching at Oberlin) that perhaps we don't always see the "best" bridges by a maker (in terms of how they work) as they may well still be on the instrument they were cut for.  :)

I think you're correct.  Bridges are an area of personal expression. Those that work well often have specific similarities, but there is still plenty of room to stretch.

I've personally never been much of a competition participant or have any interest in judging, though like most here (I assume), I enjoy looking at the entries when they're all on the table... for me, especially nice before medals are announced. I usually find something I like very much, later recognized by the judges announcements or now and again not recognized by them. In this case, I'll be satisfied with looking through the entries after the fact.

For those that entered, hope you had a great experience.

 

 

Thanks Jeff.  I too was happy to see Greg got recognized.  It was also good to see the different entries.  It gave me food for thought.      And also made me think more about what makes a good sounding bridge.  It’s interesting to me to see the difference in the amount of mass people leave on the bridge.  

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8 hours ago, Matthew Noykos said:

 Do you consider the ankles on the bridges you saw of mine to be fat?  Just trying to establish a reference.  I’ve been trending in the direction of thinner ankles as of late.  On violin I used to make them slightly bigger than 4 mm.  Now I have been making them about a half millimeter smaller, around 3.75 or even closer to 3.5.  I too have seen quite a few makers make them thicker as time goes on.  Curious what people think it does to the sound. 

To me those of your bridge doesn't seem fat, I would say normal.:) In my opinion it's such a stiff point that I bet it doesn't make a noticeable difference, unless you get it so thin to makes it really flexible. I'd like to know what others more experts think, I do not make a lot of bridges (just for my violins).

8 hours ago, Matthew Noykos said:

 It was also good to see the different entries.  It gave me food for thought.      And also made me think more about what makes a good sounding bridge.  It’s interesting to me to see the difference in the amount of mass people leave on the bridge.  

It would be of interest to me too.:)

One thing I have noticed and really like about your bridge is the orientation of the medullary rays. I do not know if this parameter has been taken into consideration (in my opinion it should have been, as it is one of the aspects related to acoustic and mechanical efficiency that can be derived from simple observation), but for example I do not like at all how they appear in the bridge that won the gold  in the violin category, as the fact that they are cut (dots) on all the face, also in the lower part of the bridge (which I call legs), gives me the impression that the medullary rays are a bit too tilted when viewed in section . Instead in your bridge they are as I would expect to see them, i.e. long in the legs and cutted (dots) in the upper part, which in my opinion should indicate optimal continuity considering them in the section.

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23 hours ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

I have yet to meet a maker who prefers the look of a CNC instrument to a handmade one.  

In violin competitions, aren't there independent awards for tone and for workmanship?  Are you saying there should not be awards for workmanship?  

For the first point, this may come down to judges discretion. As for CNC, I’m sure it must be possible to replicate asymmetric outlines etc. I bet there are people doing this, and others would be none the wiser when looking at the instrument. Players certainly wouldn’t know.

For the second point, yes, you are right. My original point was that the bridges were only judged visually, and then awarded.

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On 9/30/2021 at 1:34 PM, chiaroscuro_violins said:

In violin competitions, aren't there independent awards for tone and for workmanship? 

Sometimes. Other times, overall winners will be chosen more on one than the other, or variously weighted combinations of the two.

In this particular violin-related competition, is appears that only style or aesthetics were considered. So had someone entered a bridge with boobs, it surely would have been the overall winner (provided that they were nice boobs). :lol:

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On 10/1/2021 at 6:53 AM, Bodacious Cowboy said:

You're very welcome and no, not at all.

Genuinely interested to hear any opinions on the influence of ankle thickness on playing qualities.

My anecdotal evidence is that it added a little clarity to the sound.  Of course to really form an opinion I would need to do some more experiments.  The kind of experiments I do are things like leaving the ankles thicker and playing the instrument and then going back and cutting more out of the ankles and listening for a change in sound.  I’ll do that again on the next bridge I carve tomorrow and report back.  I’d anyone has a better experiment I would love to hear it.  I’ve only been doing skinnier ankles maybe the last year, so it’s still a fairly new change.  

On 10/1/2021 at 5:52 AM, Davide Sora said:

To me those of your bridge doesn't seem fat, I would say normal.:) In my opinion it's such a stiff point that I bet it doesn't make a noticeable difference, unless you get it so thin to makes it really flexible. I'd like to know what others more experts think, I do not make a lot of bridges (just for my violins).

It would be of interest to me too.:)

One thing I have noticed and really like about your bridge is the orientation of the medullary rays. I do not know if this parameter has been taken into consideration (in my opinion it should have been, as it is one of the aspects related to acoustic and mechanical efficiency that can be derived from simple observation), but for example I do not like at all how they appear in the bridge that won the gold  in the violin category, as the fact that they are cut (dots) on all the face, also in the lower part of the bridge (which I call legs), gives me the impression that the medullary rays are a bit too tilted when viewed in section . Instead in your bridge they are as I would expect to see them, i.e. long in the legs and cutted (dots) in the upper part, which in my opinion should indicate optimal continuity considering them in the section.

Yeah I would agree with this.  Of course you are agreeing with the way I cut my bridge so of course we are on the same page.  To be clear though, I think all the bridges that won prizes were nicely done and deserved to be recognized and that includes the gold violin.  It was nicely carved.  It would be interesting to examine that bridge in my hands.  I’m curious what the back looks like and a side view.  My bridges are more or less parallel thickness at the feet and then curve from the waist up so as long as the back of the bridge has streaking medullary rays and the grain of the blank is stacked up perpendicular to the back, my bridges will always look like that in the front.  Sometimes of course the blank I use is less than perfect but in a perfect world they would always look like that.

Material choice was one of the criteria for judging, I do know that.  

My guess is that the gold medal bridge might have been more triangular when viewed from the side.  That’s a choice I have seen legit people do, it’s just not what I do.  I think I have seen that idea more with cello bridges.

 

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5 hours ago, Matthew Noykos said:

My anecdotal evidence is that it added a little clarity to the sound.  Of course to really form an opinion I would need to do some more experiments.  The kind of experiments I do are things like leaving the ankles thicker and playing the instrument and then going back and cutting more out of the ankles and listening for a change in sound.  I’ll do that again on the next bridge I carve tomorrow and report back.  I’d anyone has a better experiment I would love to hear it.  I’ve only been doing skinnier ankles maybe the last year, so it’s still a fairly new change.  

Yeah I would agree with this.  Of course you are agreeing with the way I cut my bridge so of course we are on the same page.  To be clear though, I think all the bridges that won prizes were nicely done and deserved to be recognized and that includes the gold violin.  It was nicely carved.  It would be interesting to examine that bridge in my hands.  I’m curious what the back looks like and a side view.  My bridges are more or less parallel thickness at the feet and then curve from the waist up so as long as the back of the bridge has streaking medullary rays and the grain of the blank is stacked up perpendicular to the back, my bridges will always look like that in the front.  Sometimes of course the blank I use is less than perfect but in a perfect world they would always look like that.

Material choice was one of the criteria for judging, I do know that.  

My guess is that the gold medal bridge might have been more triangular when viewed from the side.  That’s a choice I have seen legit people do, it’s just not what I do.  I think I have seen that idea more with cello bridges.

 

Hi Matthew,

thanks for the insights.

I really like the style of the bridge that won gold, and I also think the winners deserved more photos with views of all sides, to present them in the best possible way.

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On 10/1/2021 at 7:53 PM, Bodacious Cowboy said:

Genuinely interested to hear any opinions on the influence of ankle thickness on playing qualities.

 

8 hours ago, Matthew Noykos said:

My anecdotal evidence is that it added a little clarity to the sound.  

I am thinning down the ankles mostly when I have an instrument which lacks bass power. 

i think it is difficult to make generalizations because so much depends on top arching and top thickness. 

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