There has never been a book written that covers the craft of enhancing sound until now. Indeed, most books written about sound are based on the physics of sound. In the 46 years I have been making musical instruments, I have never found it either necessary or useful to know anything about the physics of sound. My reason for this total disregard for such knowledge is that ALL the greatest musical instrument makers from 1400 to 1840 including Stradivari, Guarneri del Jesu, Amati, Ruckers, de Zentis, Blanchet, Taskin, Cristofori, Stein, Hubert, Walther, Graf, Schnitger knew nothing about the physics of sound. That is because all such knowledge wasn’t discovered yet. What these makers knew was vastly more important and valuable, but unfortunately was secreted away only in their instruments.
My attitude when I began making musical instruments in 1972 was to restrict myself to only that knowledge available to those great musical instrument makers. That body of knowledge, which was acquired over a period of 350 years, had as its foundations the teachings of Pythagoras. Based on his ideas of the musical ratios, makers of all kinds instruments developed the craft of enhancing the sounds of their materials to make their instruments sound as beautiful and as resonant as possible. Then, towards the end of the 18th century, with the development of modern scientific methods and attitudes, all that lovingly acquired ancient Pythagorean based knowledge was put aside and immediately forgotten. Even Conrad Graf in the beginning of the 19th century had to relearn that body of knowledge to produce the sounds of his pianos. But little of what Graf had learned was acquired by apprentices in his workshop. Recovering all that lost knowledge was my goal.
This treatise is meant to preserve this knowledge of how the greatest instrument makers in history thought about sound and how to enhance it.