Claire Curtis Violins

The Violin

The development of the modern violin is sometimes credited to Andreas Amati, though he was certainly not the first to make recognizable violins. He did, however, make a fine set of matched instruments for King Charles IX ca. 1560, many of which still survive. It is likely that this Royal patronage standardized the proportions and decorative elements of the violin; before then, violins were far more varied in size and shape. In this regard they were somewhat like the mountain dulcimers of today; dulcimers can be large or small, hourglass or teardrop shaped, and can have varying numbers of strings tuned in various ways. But we recognize the instrument as a mountain dulcimer, regardless of these variations. So it was with the violin.

Information about the physical instrument:

The Anatomy of a Violin by Joe Curtin and Gregg Alf (external link)
An essay on the elements of design and construction of the violin (not illustrated). By two of the most respected makers in America today. There are many other interesting articles on this website.
(Sept 2005 - Joe Curtin was named as a recipient of a McArthur "Genius" award.)

Construction of a Violin by Hans Johannsson (external link)
An excellent illustrated guide, which goes a little more into the details than the Curtin & Alf paper. Hans is a maker in Iceland.

Violin Making by Hand by Derek Roberts (external link)
A day-by-day photo journal of the construction of a violin. Derek Roberts offers violinmaking classes in the UK.

Le montage du violon by Thomas Billloux (external link)
A very nice Macromedia Flash video showing a luthier setting up a violin. He fits the pegs, planes the fingerboard, makes a new nut, sets the soundpost, carves a bridge, and finally strings up the violin. The website is in French, but the film has no narration. 14 minutes.
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