Soundpost: Letters to the Editor January 2021
A selection of letters The Strad receives each month from its readers around the world: January 2021 issue
HELP OR HINDRANCE?
In response to Andrew Dipper’s poetic and romantic observations on tools (‘The Lost Art of Cremonese Violin Archings’, October 2020): we should recognise that good tools and understanding go hand in hand. ‘Why not program a computer to do the job of arching for you – just press a button and go?’ Dipper mercurially asks, to which his daughter adds, ‘We should not let the robots win!’
Every tool is a prosthetic device, extending what we might otherwise be able to do: planes that cut straight lines, rulers that draw them, compasses that draw curves. A ruler and compass – essential to Cremonese violin design – would be an analogue computer that lets us add, subtract, multiply, divide and calculate square roots. Similarly, the truncated wooden cylinder in Dipper’s article (like assorted other curtate cycloid devices) invokes the sinusoidal curves of trigonometry…