Luthier’s secret: The person behind the handcrafting is the one who makes the violin sound, after all.
Behind every masterpiece, there’s the artist, the maker who skillfully builds the instrument, and the brain that works with physics to create these beautiful sounds. The creation of the tones starts with choosing the best wood possible for the front and back plates and tapping it to measure how well it rings. And then comes the carving and arching.
By listening to and feeling the sound of the plates, the maker can learn to adjust their thicknesses to produce a fine-sounding instrument. Through the years, theories have come up relating to the account of the Stradivarius (one of the greatest luthiers of all time) secret. The most popular has been that the varnish had some sort of “magic” composition.
The main purpose of the varnish is to protect the instrument from dirt and moisture and to stop it from absorbing moisture from the player’s hands. And although many luthiers create their own recipe for varnish, no concrete evidence supports the secret formula theory.
Moreover, all the steps in violin-making are crucial, and they develop a unique violin sound.
The differences in a violin’s sound result from a combination of many factors, such as strings, plate thickness, bow, pressure, etc. In the end, each sound created turns out to be very unique, but in the violin world, we try to classify them, although it is very personal to each musician.
Violins can be full, lively, singing, eloquent, introspective, supernatural, sensuous, lustrous, bright, metallic, vibrant, clear, dark, rough… Usually, to make a good choice, the violin player must know well about different kinds of tones (from other instruments) and compare them. Choosing a new instrument is not an easy task, but it’s worth the effort. It’s a valuable instrument that we are talking about!
Here at Amorim Fine Violins, we developed a comparison tool on our website. You can give it a try now and see what kind of violin sound most pleases your ears! It’s free, and we guarantee it will clear your mind and make a choice easier!