Acoustic violins are beautiful, complex, and delicate instruments. The carefully selected wood, fitted with high-quality strings, combined with the maker’s skills, creates the masterpiece.
The shape of the violin was created centuries ago.
The earliest known existant violin, now in the National Music Museum in Vermillion, was made by Andrea Amati (ca. 1505-1577). During his time, Amati introduced the violin in its mainly present unchanged form. The expertise of these luthiers helped the makers today to build valuable violins with the amazing quality of the sound that the wooden sound box produces.
The combination of the craftsmanship with the wood, varnishing, and everything else in the violin-making create these sound boxes that can be incredibly difficult to replicate.
The violin’s body resonates just like a loudspeaker cone. The shell also produces pressure fluctuations inside the hollow body, a highly localized flow of air bouncing in and out of the f-holes cut in the top plate.
The idea that a “secret” known only to Stradivari and other classic Italian makers accounts for the outstanding sound of their instruments is no longer widely accepted because the instruments we listen to today are very different from when they were originally made.
String vibrations transfer energy to the shell modes by means of the bridge, which rocks asymmetrically.