Research

The Martin Schleske Master Studio for Violinmaking is renowned for forging a creative link between the art of violinmaking and the science of acoustical research.

Laboratory for Violin Acoustics in the Masterstudio for Violinmaking Martin Schleske.

 

The research section of my website is divided into two areas: 

  1. Introduction to violin acoustics: Fundamental principles of acoustic research in violinmaking are described using numerous illustrations, audio examples, photos, diagrams and vibration animations.
  2. Violin acoustics handbook: The handbook is updated from time to time with current research results and includes numerous articles and insights reflecting day-to-day research at the Martin Schleske Master Studio for Violinmaking.

Acoustics measurements on a violin by Antonio Stradivari in the vibration room at the Martin Schleske Master Studio for Violinmaking. The studio is visible in the background.

I consider my research like a tool for tracking down clues. By seeking to decipher the fascinating acoustic secrets of magnificent old Italian instruments, I have compiled an impressive body of experience. My acoustic analysis work makes it possible to visualize the tonal concept of an instrument by the likes of Antonio Stradivari or Joseph Guarneri “del Gesù”, allowing these masters of violinmaking to tell volumes about how they made their instruments. There is no comparable technique for doing this today.

Over the years, these great masters have gone from being historical examples to become my contemporary teachers. While concentrating on an arching or thickness graduation, or developing my new model, or brewing a batch of varnish, I have repeatedly felt as if one of those great teachers had tapped me on the shoulder and explained his formidable tonal concept. However, the explanation did not come in the language of a visual wood sculpture. Instead, it was much deeper, consisting of an explanation in the language of acoustics. Such is the definition of tonal sculpture. It reveals the living vibrations of the corpus, its individual resonance profile with all of its acoustic vibration patterns. This is how, in creating my own instruments, the true tonal concept of the master manifests itself...

Comparing Resonances Schleske-Guadagnini

More than everything else, it is contrasts which excite me in my work and which I seek to embody with my sound. For example, a mighty depth and warmth but with a silvery fire in the high register. An immediate response to delicate piano notes but with a solid resilience. But most of all, I seek to imbue my instruments with the inspiring contrast of softness and power.

It was in my quest to bring together these contrasts that I was inspired to develop my own model. Although I have the great masters to thank for all of their formidable preparatory work, I am not content to stay with their work alone. Clearly the great masters made the violin to blossom. But after the blossoms comes the fruit. I believe a fertile age has arrived for new violins which bring forth a wider spectrum of soloistic power and tonal colors, and more than a few important musicians are confirming this arrival through their performances. Their words serve as confirmation of my tireless creation and development process. My passion as a violinmaker has its roots in that original interplay between art and science: The only way to overcome the barriers is to speak both languages.