Straight lines within the arches of Stradivaris and Guarneris - Making Matters: Straight talking

Figure 11

Andrew Ryan investigates the presence of regular straight lines within the arches of the top and back in the instruments of Stradivari and Guarneri ‘del Gesù’

Everyone likes a mystery, especially violin makers. We spend a lifetime studying the work of Stradivari and Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ (GdG) in search of insights into their working methods and the underlying patterns that unite their work. Sometimes we find answers, sometimes just more questions.

One feature common to the arches of both Stradivari and GdG is the relationship between their longitudinal and recurve areas. A violin arch can be divided into three parts: the convex longitudinal area, a transitional concave recurve area, and the channel/edge area. The longitudinal arch area – the central convex portion of the arch – was described in The Strad by Steve Sirr and John Waddle in December 2018 and January 2019 (figures 1 and 2). They determined that this ‘longitudinal arch structure’ (LAS) for Stradivari and GdG violins is about 41 per cent of the total arch area, and that the LAS of the front is nearly equal in area to that of the back…

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