This study explores a controversial aspect of Western musical instrument design, establishing beyond question that the familiar stringed instrument outlines developed between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries were not arbitrary, intuitive shapes drawn within acoustically efficient frameworks, but were designs following a profoundly considered manipulation of plane geometry and numerical proportion. The central core of the work is the detailed step-by-step design analysis of thirty-three important historic instrument examples covering all main categories of stringed musical instruments of the period.
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