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Help Me Make My Next Violin!

Posted by admin on July 22, 2011

To celebrate the opening of our music store, I will be making a new violin!  I will be posting pictures and updates on our website and our Facebook page.  You are welcome to stop by the workshop at any time to check on my progress.  Sometimes, I’ll even be asking for your help – like now:

The violin was designed by Andrea Amati using mathematical proportions commonly used in art and architecture throughout Europe during that time period (1500s).  Since then, several incredibly talented makers have modified his design, but the basic plan has not changed.  These days, violinmakers draw their inspiration from these early craftsmen, choosing the most successful instruments to copy.

That’s where you come in!

I’ve chosen five great instruments I like; now I need help narrowing it down to one violin to build.  Read the information below for a little bit of background, then make your selection.

If you'd like to see pictures, come to our Grand Opening Celebration (Saturday 1-5) to vote in person!

Nicolo Amati of Cremona, Italy, was the grandson of Andrea Amati, inventor of the violin.  While Nicolo respected his grandfather’s designs, he began to add his own originality in the 1630’s.  His violins are characterized by precise, mathematically derived outlines, clean execution, and a luscious amber-colored varnish.

G.B. Rogeri was a student of Nicolo Amati.  However, after his apprenticeship, he moved to Brescia, Italy, about 30 miles away from Cremona.  His instruments clearly show an Amati influence in their full outline and arching.

Antonio Stradivari, from Cremona, Italy, is the most well-known violinmaker of all time.  This is partly due to the sheer number of instruments he built (thought to be over 1,000), but mostly because of the exquisite quality of craftsmanship and tone.  The earliest known Stradivari violin was built in 1666, and he continued making until he died at age 93 in 1737.  The “Viotti” violin, built in 1709 is a wonderful example of a Golden Period Strad.  It has a powerful, elegant appearance and evidence of a beautiful red varnish (although much has worn away).  This violin was named after Giovanni Battista Viotti, a great Italian virtuoso and an admirer of Stradivari’s work.  The “Kruse” violin was built 12 years later in 1721, as Stradivari entered his Late Period.  Despite his age, Stradivari shows his extraordinary craftsmanship in the graceful curves of the scroll and body outline.  It is made from a slab cut back and slightly fuller arching, contributing to a darker sound often found in his later works.

Matteo Goffriller was a Venetian violinmaker, making instruments during a time when Venice was one of the most important musical centers in the world.  He is particularly noted for his cellos.  The great Pablo Casals used a Goffriller cello as his concert instrument for much of his life.  Goffriller made a number of violins and violas as well; this violin is an example from the middle of his career.

 Nicolo Amati, 1666
 G.B. Rogeri, 1704
 Antonio Stradivari, Viotti, 1709
 Antonio Stradivari, Kruse, 1721
 Matteo Goffriller, 1700

*Voting ends at 11:59 PM on Sunday, July 31, 2011.