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Violin models of the present and future


Arbos
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Makers of the past tended to copy Amati and Stainer, but at some point everybody starting copying Stradivari and, a little later, Guarneri del Gesu. The most accepted theory is that it happened because these models give a more powerful sound, more suitable for the music of the time. Where do you all see the violin going in the future? It seems like del Gesu has displaced Stradivari as the most inspiring or copied maker these days and I wonder if in a hundred years people will be copying Balestrieri, for example.

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The Strad/Del Gesù centrism is not new....  and it will continue.

Perhaps some modern Italians with a strong personal style (that is, not the "copysts") will be more copied in the future, as Scarampella.  But it is hard to know. 

If you want to innovate, move to viola or Bass making. I make my own viola model.

 

 

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Well, I don’t make instruments, I was just curious! Seeing how the change in models come from players’ preferences I wonder whether modern taste would mean a change in model. It seems to me that innovation in violin making can be found in more precise copying and new strings. 

 

Indeed, viola making is a field more open to change and innovation.

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3 hours ago, Arbos said:

Well, I don’t make instruments, I was just curious! Seeing how the change in models come from players’ preferences I wonder whether modern taste would mean a change in model.

Mainstream player preferences are still pretty much the way they were 200 years ago, with the exception of strings, and evolving tastes in sound, which have trended in the direction of a more focused and less fuzzy sound.

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7 hours ago, Arbos said:

Makers of the past tended to copy Amati and Stainer, but at some point everybody starting copying Stradivari and, a little later, Guarneri del Gesu. The most accepted theory is that it happened because these models give a more powerful sound, more suitable for the music of the time. Where do you all see the violin going in the future? It seems like del Gesu has displaced Stradivari as the most inspiring or copied maker these days and I wonder if in a hundred years people will be copying Balestrieri, for example.

A hundred years from now everybody will be playing computer signal filtered electric violins which will be able to reproduce any famous old violin's sound the player wants.

I might be wrong about this-- in maybe only in 10-20 years.

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48 minutes ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

A hundred years from now everybody will be playing computer signal filtered electric violins which will be able to reproduce any famous old violin's sound the player wants.

I might be wrong about this-- in maybe only in 10-20 years.

People have been saying things like this since I started playing. But wood violins still dominate. 

I still think you are right though, but it will be closer to your original 100 years. There is something about the experience of playing a tradiional wood violin that will just take a tremendous amount of data to replicate.

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1 hour ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

A hundred years from now everybody will be playing computer signal filtered electric violins which will be able to reproduce any famous old violin's sound the player wants.

I might be wrong about this-- in maybe only in 10-20 years.

 

7 minutes ago, deans said:

People have been saying things like this since I started playing. But wood violins still dominate. 

I still think you are right though, but it will be closer to your original 100 years. There is something about the experience of playing a tradiional wood violin that will just take a tremendous amount of data to replicate.

Nah.  Electronic instruments will be the new "rubbish", and stuff you currently consider firewood will be selling for as much as an asteroid mining rig.  :P  :lol:

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10 hours ago, Violadamore said:

 

Nah.  Electronic instruments will be the new "rubbish", and stuff you currently consider firewood will be selling for as much as an asteroid mining rig.  :P  :lol:

I can’t wait to see awfully antiqued Chinese instruments from the 2000’s for $20000 each. Oh, and then the threads on Maestronet asking whether a particular example is real!

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37 minutes ago, Arbos said:

I can’t wait to see awfully antiqued Chinese instruments from the 2000’s for $20000 each. Oh, and then the threads on Maestronet asking whether a particular example is real!

I expect that The Auction Scroll will contain the same sort of weighty discussions that it does now (and the moderator will still be kept busy locking and deleting), only the names being faked will have changed.  Oh, and The Pegbox will still be awash in interminable threads about plate tuning, varnish cooking, geometric layout theories, and the secrets of their long-departed predecessors whom no one living can equal..........  :ph34r:  :lol:  :rolleyes:

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17 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Mainstream player preferences are still pretty much the way they were 200 years ago, with the exception of strings, and evolving tastes in sound, which have trended in the direction of a more focused and less fuzzy sound.

Musicians often use the terms "focused" and "fuzzy".  Is there a physical definition of these that can some how be connected to the construction of the violin? For example, If I'm trying to make a violin for a player who wants a "focused sound, what do I do?

If a single note is played do these terms refer to the starting transients or do they refer to the steady portion of a long note?

There's all kinds of non harmonic bowing noise in the sound.  Does "focused" and "fuzzy" refer to the amount or type of this noise?

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My musings on the topic that have been bouncing around my grey matter for a while. As stated in the opening post, Strads and Del Gesu, or models based on them have dominated in part because of the added power to project in larger venues compared to Amati and Amati-like violins (my opinion and possibly wrong). What I have wondered about is the importance of this power relative to other tonal attributes with the use of modern microphones and speaker systems that I see in use in concert halls (pre-2020). The other thought is, are Strad/Del Gesu like violins prefered to Amati-like violins in a chamber music like setting?

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4 hours ago, Jim Bress said:

My musings on the topic that have been bouncing around my grey matter for a while. As stated in the opening post, Strads and Del Gesu, or models based on them have dominated in part because of the added power to project in larger venues compared to Amati and Amati-like violins (my opinion and possibly wrong). What I have wondered about is the importance of this power relative to other tonal attributes with the use of modern microphones and speaker systems that I see in use in concert halls (pre-2020). The other thought is, are Strad/Del Gesu like violins prefered to Amati-like violins in a chamber music like setting?

IMHO, where it all goes (excepting the art collector market, which will bid up whatever it will) will follow the money.  A majority of professional makers seem to build what they think players (who can afford bespoke violins) will buy.  What the players want (again, following the majority) will reflect what gigs they get, so the underlying question seems to be, "Where is violin music going in 100 years?".  I really doubt that any of us will guess anywhere close to the reality, as it plays out.  I'm sure there will be multiple valid answers, too.  :)

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6 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Musicians often use the terms "focused" and "fuzzy".  Is there a physical definition of these that can some how be connected to the construction of the violin? For example, If I'm trying to make a violin for a player who wants a "focused sound, what do I do?

If a single note is played do these terms refer to the starting transients or do they refer to the steady portion of a long note?

There's all kinds of non harmonic bowing noise in the sound.  Does "focused" and "fuzzy" refer to the amount or type of this noise?

Just an opinion:  I think focused would have good amplitude and minimal dropouts in the 1kHz to 2kHz range, and fuzzy would have lower amplitude there but still strong response in the higher overtones where note definition is less clear.  With poor response in both ranges, it would be neither focused nor fuzzy, but fatally flawed.  I don't think it has to do with non-harmonic surface noise, but the harmonic content of the notes.

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On 3/7/2021 at 2:13 PM, Arbos said:

Makers of the past tended to copy Amati and Stainer, but at some point everybody starting copying Stradivari and, a little later, Guarneri del Gesu. The most accepted theory is that it happened because these models give a more powerful sound, more suitable for the music of the time. Where do you all see the violin going in the future? It seems like del Gesu has displaced Stradivari as the most inspiring or copied maker these days and I wonder if in a hundred years people will be copying Balestrieri, for example.

I wish to see an end to copying altogether, but it will most likely never happen.

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To me it seems that in the 1970s-1990s it seemed more fashionable for makers to have their own model. But often claiming that it's based on the best qualities of Guarneri and Stradivari, or some reference back to the big 2. 

Now it seems like exact copies dominate. Maybe they just work.

 

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1 hour ago, deans said:

Same thing. Good players buy things that work for them

Is that because they work soundwise and playability-wise, or because they have (sometimes) worked out as good monetary investments, or reputation enhancements?

After all, if one plays on a Strad, the player must be really good, right? :D

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16 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Is that because they work soundwise and playability-wise, or because they have (sometimes) worked out as good monetary investments, or reputation enhancements?

Playability and sound for sure. I cant think of a whole lot of newly made violins that may have been good monetary investments. There are some good exceptions of course. I think a good Guarneri copy from one of the top makers could work out for someone if they held on long enough. 

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I still can’t understand how trying to copy a particular instrument down to the smallest detail and promising that it will look and sound almost like the original (which the buyer probably has never played) can be a viable business strategy. I guess the idea is that if you play like Heifetz (you don’t) your violin won’t hold you back because it is just like his (it isn’t)!

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7 hours ago, Arbos said:

I still can’t understand how trying to copy a particular instrument down to the smallest detail and promising that it will look and sound almost like the original (which the buyer probably has never played) can be a viable business strategy.

While I have never tried to exactly copy anything, I have on occasion tried to come close to a specific instrument or two, just to find out what would happen.  I think it especially helpful to try a few different things to learn what does what... and picking good reference instruments to try seems like a better plan than anything else.

Promising that a newly made violin will sound almost identical to some other (very old) violin is either dumb or dishonest or a bit of both.  

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3 minutes ago, Don Noon said:

Promising that a newly made violin will sound almost identical to some other (very old) violin is either dumb or dishonest or a bit of both.  

Who are able to hear the differende in a double blind test anyway?

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7 hours ago, Arbos said:

I still can’t understand how trying to copy a particular instrument down to the smallest detail and promising that it will look and sound almost like the original (which the buyer probably has never played) can be a viable business strategy. I guess the idea is that if you play like Heifetz (you don’t) your violin won’t hold you back because it is just like his (it isn’t)!

A lot of copies are commissioned by people who actually own the original instrument. Or  by a student who admires a teacher's violin, and has had a lot of exposure to good instruments. As I understand it, makers that can pull it off have thriving businesses. 

Sometimes on this board everyone likes to assume that everything in the violin world can be attributed to foolishness. But II think people interested in historical instruments are usually pretty bright, both the players and the makers.

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