Stradivari’s corners: Music of the spheres

Corners fig 7

The publication of high-accuracy violin photography has opened up new possibilities for researching Cremonese masterpieces up close and en masse. Philip Ihle examines Antonio Stradivari’s purfling corners across 136 examples and reveals their relationship with the luthier’s forms

I wrote an article for the October 2012 issue of The Strad about purfling in classical Cremonese violins, focusing on the varying styles of the makers of the Amati school. In that article I looked closely at the corner mitre of a 1695 long-pattern Stradivari purfling corner, and noted the features that distinguished his purfling from that of other makers. The big news back then was that Stradivari commonly made the bee-sting by extending the outer black line of the C-bout black, rather than by extending the outer line of the upper or lower bout into the corner, as was taught at the violin making schools.

When I began working at Florian Leonhard Fine Violins in London in 2006 I had the opportunity to study some of the famous Cremonese violins I had previously only seen in museums. This fuelled my interest in Cremonese corner characteristics…

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