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REED-L  October 1993

REED-L October 1993

Subject:

Renaissance acoustics revisited? (fwd)

From:

REED Project <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

REED-L: Records of Early English Drama Discussion

Date:

Tue, 26 Oct 1993 08:17:40 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (92 lines)

A message from the Renaissance group, FICINO, courtesy of another
Renaissance group, RENAIS-L. I have always been intrigued by the story
of those great Cremonese instrument-makers, especially since reading a
now almost-forgotten _Scientifc American_ article analysing their
workmanship.... In any case, I thought our early music buffs might
share my enthusiasm! If any of you has a comment or query about this,
please write directly to Ms Gutting and Mr Sparks at the address in
the body of the message!
 
AAY
 
Forwarded message:
 
 
 Query:  Forgive the cross-post, but we're in the throes of grant
 proposals....time runs thin(ly).  We need input from scholars and
 applied scientists who may have had experience with Late
 Medieval/Renaissance source materials related to the Physics of
 Acoustics from *that* temporal viewpoint.      Many thanks (again) to
 those who responded to an very abbreviated version of this enquiry when
 posted on HOPOS list. Your input is valuable.
 
 If you have ideas please e-mail me directly; I'm not subscribed to this list.
 
 Thank you!
 --Ann
 AnnH.Gutting and Thomas Guy Sparks <[log in to unmask]>
 Indiana University School of Music
 Bloomington, IN 47405
 
 
Basis for the  Project :
 
> > The international community of violinmakers is entering its fourth
> > century as heirs to a legacy from Cremona.  The continuous quest to
> > decipher and duplicate both the beauty and functions of Cremonese
> > instruments  has given the world a great variety of notable violins,
> > violas and celli;  yet no one has duplicated a Stradivari.  With this
> > proposal we are announcing that a major step has been taken toward the
> > realization of this goal.
> >
> > We have drafted a series geometric drawings based solely on our
> > historical research and in the process have independently created a
> > violin outline which conforms to the precise specifications of the
> > Stradivari "PG mould."  Our methodology is new only insofar as we are
> > researching and consciously combining historical sources which have
> > never been combined in this fashion or for this purpose.  We stopped the
> > piecemeal approach which had us investigating isolated features and
> > phenomena such as the so-called secrets of  varnish, wood treatments
> > and so forth, and returned to these and other vital questions from a
> > viewpoint we consider compatible with the knowledge and attitudes of a
> > 17th century  artisan.  The results are startling.
> >
> > It's a multidisciplinary endeavor, combining lab work with the history
> > of ideas:
> > As we approached this problem in 1990 we had no guidelines other than
> > our combined abilities in violinmaking and graduate-level historical
> > analysis. Our ongoing search for relevant source materials indicated
> > that we were breaking new ground and that if  we  hope to  find a source
> > directly related to our questions we would have to write it ourselves.
> > Our first question, then, concerned the validity of our proposal that
> > the early Cremonese school retained a  worldview which they had
> > inherited from a previous century. We needed to prove this by that
> > taking a synthesis of Renaissance science and philosophy to our drawing
> > board looking for a  central set of symbols by which the violin would
> > literally draw itself.
> >
> > The extent to which any violinmakers have been able to reproduce certain
> > Cremonese traits in their own products, however, has been largely
> > dependent on their access to these early violins, violas and celli.
> > These instruments have been copied and re-copied, examined,
> > photographed, measured, x-rayed, subjected to laser analysis and the
> > electron microscope. We recognize the enormous value of much of the data
> > that has been gathered and  respect the dedicated time required for such
> > close analyses. When reconsidering the overall task, however,  we find
> > that studies which focus on parts and isolated features of an instrument
> > cannot give us clues into functional unity which characterizes these
> > instruments as a whole.
> >
> > It is our contention that what occured in Northern Italy in the 16th
> > century was the product of a shared Renaissance mentality which was
> > equipped to preserve a medieval tradition in its own unique ways.  We,
> > therefore,  propose that the Cremonese secrets are an open book; they
> > are simply written in a time-specific language which we must relearn how
> > to read. This requires that we reassemble a specified blend of
> > scientific, philosophical and artistic principles prevalent during the
> > High Renaissance and devise a new lexicon to render  our findings
> > accessible to our colleagues.
> >
> > At Indiana University-Bloomington we are the only accredited
> > violinmaking program in the US.
>

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