(Modified 12/2020)
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"What Makes a Fine Violin....?

 Web Host: David Langsather {Violin Maker, Researcher.... Salem, Oregon, USA}

Allow me to summarize what I have learned over the past 22 years on this subject...
   The violinist's instrument becomes an (equal) partner in presenting his musical ideas to his audience.
   He decides how he wants to project the upcoming musical passage and his bow / violin, carry out his directions without disappointing him or letting him down.
   He has at his command, a superior voice (violin timbre) he is proud of, and which will command the attention of his audience.
   His listeners are enraptured enough so their mind does not wander from his music.
  He is able to convey all the different emotions in that piece of music.
  The notes he plays are immediate, and equally clear and fine, and consistent from note to note.
  He has more than enough power in reserve so that he has the full range from fff to ppp, (both of which are clear and carry well) giving him more dynamic range for performance.
  Underlying these superior musical abilities, His violin is well built for many years of use and is attractive to look at.
   Besides his violin being made to careful plan by a skilled artisan, these additional attributes, I believe, are additionally important:
<<for this reason, the top plate(spruce) wood should be large enough so that all the spruce wood in the violin be made from this same block; top plate, bass bar, sound post, six wood blocks, glue liner strips, and purfling.>>
<<The back (Maple) wood should be a large enough piece to make the: back plate, ribs, neck block.>>
<< There are a number of ebony pieces on the instrument and they also should be in Synchronous Response agreement with the plate wood. Best if all these are made from the same block of matching Ebony: Finger Board, tail piece, string bar of the tail piece, saddle, nut, tuning pegs and end pin.
  The odds of all the pieces of wood in the instrument matching these wood characteristics from random selection, without specific goals and tools, and training, is about 1 chance in 10,000! Although the effect of some wooden parts will be less, the violin plates, neck, ribs, fingerboard, sound post, tailpiece
endpin, ribs, and end blocks, and glue liner strips, are very important to match.
  Once the instrument is built carefully to a successful historic violin maker's plan, even using wood selected with the latest scientific techniques; The instrument will not probably play at its potential unless the vibrations of the parts work together and instead of against each other.
  My 22 years of tap tone violin research has investigated this area to a high degree; both as to ideal frequencies of each violin part, but also the tools and techniques needed to adjust each part for the final acoustical adjustment so that the energy being transmitted is syncronous making synergy ...the sum total being greater than only the sum of the individual parts. Review this section at the "Violin Part Tuning" link on home page, or directly from here by clicking on:
   As the instrument is being assembled, there are several things that need to be done to increase the sound level of the lower overtones produced and decrease the level of the upper tones produced when the string is vibrated.
  This tonal charasteristic has been noted in the finest Crenomses instruments of the 17th and early 18 th centuries.
   These are three that have been changed and lost as violin making evolved. All three made contributions to the above desired overtone modifications.
   The three are:
  Hematite Burnishing of the outside of the instrument wood.
  Dutch Rush final sanding of inside and outside surfaces.
  The use of Fuller's Earth added to the first two layers of varnish (which formed the vanished varnish ground formula of this time period).
  See complete coverage of this topic under "Cremona Secrets"
from the home page or direct from here by clicking:
violin115006.gif violin115004.jpg
...Now for some good news // bad news.
  Just for illustration sake, let us say that we have made a wonderful violin with the best wood choices, the correct dimensions, acceptable weight range.
...Now we string it up and test play it for the first time. How will it sound? Probably not the way we had hoped for.
...This is because a violin can only be 'wonderful' like the best violin in the world, when it is precisely final tuned with the following goals:
*** The plates are tuned to their proper frequencies, even all over their vibrating surface areas. {The basis for the violins potential future success.}
*** The sound holes are adjusted to that they have the correct individual frequencies. {Yes there is an important timber contribution here, and yes it is easy to adjust on a completed instrument.}
*** The neck is carefully micro tuned so that it vibrates in a complimentary fashion with the body of the violin. {Overall functioning of vibrating masses.}
*** The bridge is adjusted (micro-tuned) so that each string is full and rich and of the same power. {Determines largely the sound quality and clarity produced.}
*** The sound post fits precisely at both ends, has the correct frequency, and the correct length. {By itself, if not correct, this can make an otherwise excellent violin unacceptable.}
*** The fingerboard has the correct tap tone tuning all over its top surface. {This determines whether each note will be focused and match all other note's clarity and power potential.}
*** The tailpiece has the correct tap tone tuning all over its top surface. {This determines whether the violin will deliver its full potential of power.}
*** The nut has been micro adjusted acoustically to that each open string has the same power and whether the open string sounds nearly identical with the same note fingered from the next lower pitched string. {Prevents the audio distraction of a tone out of place during a performance. Also easily tuned fine tuned.}
*** The endpin has the correct frequency for clarity of tone.

 Other examples can be cited but I hope this gives you a realistic check on expectations of a new violin.
  The potential of any violin can only be discovered when all is working as a complimentary acoustical unit.
  Occasionally an instrument does turn out close to ideal; I had the experience with my Opus #24 violin, but it is a very rare thing; and frustrating when you try to duplicate the success. However, my Opus # 24 violin has serviced as in inspiration and guide toward discovering some of these violin acoustical 'secrets'. (Really just undocumented or yet to be explained acoustical principles that govern Violin Sound Production.) That is, no magic, just hard (if little known) science.

  Please see "Violin Part Tuning" tab for details of how each of these is adjusted and what the goals are, Or click here:

David Langsather, Salem, Oregon, USA 9/2020
.." Martin Schleske Master Studio for ViolinMaking", carried out a study to determine the most important subjective criteria when rating a violin. The results were as follows:
The most important item when choosing your new violin is it's Timbre (or voice or tone color) "The degree of Resonance of a voiced Sound"
<<<"My goal is help you achieve this illusive dream">>>>
David Langsather.... Salem, Oregon, USA 11/ 2020