Over the centuries, the violin underwent several changes. Its pre- sent-day form was achieved toward the end of the 19th century. Disarmingly simple in appearance, its crafting is somewhat more complex, requiring no less than roughly seventy components. Every aspect of the instrument has been meticulously planned. Its shape, proportions and ornamentation, over and above their elegance, were based on acoustic considerations. Andrea Amati, along with his sons and grandson Nicolas, considered as the family's most gifted master craftsman, are among those credited for introducing the most notable changes to the violin. They not only refined its physical form, but gave it a sharper tone as well. The Amatis also flattened the arched modeling of the belly and back, increased the strings' tension, accentuated the angle at which the neck is raked back and improved the lacquered finish. Yet, the peak of violinmaking was reached by Stradivari, a student of Nicolas Amati. The Stradivari name has become synonymous with that of the instrument itself.
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