Savart Journal

science and technology of stringed musical instruments

Visual Comparison of Ensemble Averaged Transverse Arching Profiles of Golden Age Cremonese Violins and Curtate Cycloid Curves

R.M. Mottola


Previous research indicated that arching profiles of golden age Cremonese violins are not accurately represented by curtate cycloid curves and that a high degree of variability exists among the arching profiles of those instruments. This follow up study generated ensemble averaged arching profiles from size-normalized arching profiles for three profile locations (upper bout, C bout and lower bout) of six violins and visually compared them to mathematically generated curtate cycloid curves. Curtate cycloid curves appear to closely match ensemble averaged profiles at the C bout location only. An attempt was also made to identify other mathematically generated curve types that may offer close approximations to ensemble averaged profiles, using automated curve fitting software. Only polynomials of at least 5th order were identified as candidates offering close approximations. A single Cartesian function approximating the ensemble averaged profiles was identified which may be of use to modern violin makers desiring to make use of these profiles in modern instruments.

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Article published Jun 14, 2012.
This article has been accessed 8729 times since publication.


The Savart Journal is published in collaboration with the Guild of American Luthiers.

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R.M. Mottola Liutaio Mottola Stringed Instrument Design
United States

R.M. Mottola is editor of the Savart Journal. A former engineer and a luthier since 1994, R.M. Mottola is also the technology editor for American Lutherie, the quarterly journal of the Guild of American Luthiers, and has been an active researcher since 2001. He maintains the Liutaio Mottola Lutherie Information website and is a member of New England Luthiers.