Posted on January 13, 2010April 13, 2023 by Dale Phillips Letter: Circles in Classical Violin Design Letter: Circles in Classical Violin Design by Jim Blilie Originally published in American Lutherie #89, 2007 Hi Tim, I’m sure Michael Darnton has infinitely more experience with violin design and a much more sensitive eye for the form of violins than I do (See The Power of Circles). That being said, I was really bothered by his article. Mr. Darnton writes that his theory of circles in the design of classic Cremonese violins seems to be the only one that will produce aesthetically pleasing shapes. I have no doubt that circles were used extensively in the design of violins, since they are much easier to draw than parabolic, hyperbolic, or elliptical curves. But he goes on to say that essentially all the extant violins of the height of the Cremonese school do not follow his plan. He posits various reasons for this, but in engineering, if the data don’t match your theory, you go back to the drawing board and find a new theory! Become A Member to Continue Reading This Article This article is part of our premium web content offered to Guild members. To view this and other web articles, join the Guild of American Luthiers. Members also receive 4 annual issues of American Lutherie and get discounts on products. For details, visit the membership page. If you are already a member, login for access or contact us to setup your account.