Research in Progress
In addition to making my own instruments,
I am actively involved in research of great instruments of the past.
Graduation Patterns: I am working with Jeff Loen, a maker and researcher
in Seattle, Washington, to collect and analyze thickness graduation
data for fine violins, violas, and cellos. Jeff and I have published
one article in The Strad in December 2002 on thickness patterns in
Stradivari instruments and another, co-authored with Terry Borman, for
instruments of Guarneri del Gesu in September 2005. Additional book-length
manuscripts have been completed and are awaiting publication, including
a book featuring fine instruments from the National Music Museum (formerly
the Shrine to Music) in South Dakota.
to see examples of
thickness contour maps”
we have made for the “
of 1693. The maps are prepared from thickness measurements such as
those I did for the Testore violin above, using a sophisticated computer
mapping program. For more information, or to purchase maps of this
or many other instruments, contact Jeff Loen at LoenViolin@aol.com
The Size and Position of Cremonese f-holes--I have intensively
investigated the size and position of f-holes on classic Cremonese
violins, violas, and cellos. After much effort, I believe that I can
offer a plausible reconstruction of the system used by those great
masters to determine the size and position of the f-holes. This system
appears in an abbreviated form in the December 2004 and January 2005
issues of The Strad.
For an expanded version of “The Cremonese
System for Positioning the F-Holes
,” The Strad
, December 2004, Click
For an expanded version of “How Stradivari Positioned the F-Holes
, January 2005, Click Here
Both of these files are in .pdf
format and require you to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader. If
you do not have the Reader, you can get it as a free download from
the Adobe website at www.Adobe.com .
I am currently preparing “The
Cremonese System for Positioning the f-holes: a Plausible Re-creation.”
book-length manuscript provides more details about the system, the
variants associated with different makers, and many more examples,
especially the application of the system to the larger instruments.
You may contact me directly if you would like to be notified when
it is available.
The tailpiece vibrates in
several different modal patterns and frequencies when the instrument
is played. I have been investigating the possibility of adjusting
the tailpiece to use a natural tailpiece mode to suppress the wolf-tone.
Initial results have been quite promising.
Testing the Quality of
Oliver Rodgers developed a program to test wood flitches. Based
on simple measurements and taptones, the program will calculate the
three basic wood stiffnesses and the density of the sample. I have
s original FORTRAN program as an Excel spreadsheet.
Instructions for use and simple examples of the results are included.
Please note that recently increased security precautions will normally
disable the macros when you open the spreadsheet. You may have to
explicitly allow the macros to run. You can also choose to accept
the digital certificate of security on the spreadsheet, allowing the
macros to run automatically. Click HERE to download a copy.
research in progress concerns the design of arching, the interaction
of arching and graduation patterns, and the interaction of air and
Here I am using a Hacklinger gauge to measure the thicknesses of the top plate of a violin by Carlo Antonio Testore of 1748.