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This research has enabled me to use some of the same techniques that were used by the famous 17th and 18th Century Italian Masters with great tonal results.
The elegant shape of the violin evolved over a period of 400 years, largely due to the influence of four prominent families of instrument makers, a new study finds.
Chitwood isn't a master violin maker; he's a plant researcher who studies developmental genetics but also plays viola in his spare time.
He typically studies how plant genetics relate to the shapes of leaves.
Olaf has a thorough understanding of what a violinist requires in terms of playability, and brings out the best in the instrument.
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To assess the evolution of violin shapes, Chitwood relied on images from online sales of rare and valuable violins.
By analyzing the outlines of the instruments, Chitwood found four main "blueprints" influenced by master instrument-making families, including Stradivari, the Italian Giovanni Paolo Maggini (1580-1630), the Italian Amati family and the Austrian Jacob Stainer (1617-1683).
"But the real solution is that we should be playing violas between our knees."Shape and sound"This study looks at evolutionary patterns in that outline over the centuries," said Jim Woodhouse, a professor of engineering at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, who was not involved in the study.
[Creative Genius: The World's Greatest Minds]While examining the outlines of violins, Chitwood also found that using his analysis, the shape of a viola is indistinguishable from that of a violin about 63 percent of the time.
A viola player himself, Chitwood said the instrument should probably be larger to accommodate its deeper range but that instrument makers decided to limit its size so that it could be played under the chin, like a violin, instead of between the legs, like a cello.
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Stradivari, one of history's most respected violin makers, lived in Cremona, in northern Italy, from 1644 to 1737.