5. the varnish

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The three most important functions of the varnish are the following:

  1. It should protect the instrument from the negative influences of weather and dirt
  2. It should raise the instrument’s possibilities of sound
  3. It should emphasise the wood’s natural beauty

Most violinmakers strive for the development of an ideal recipe for varnishes. Indeed, the varnish has a large impact on the sound. A soft varnish and an insufficient undercoating have a tendency to deaden heavily the sound of a violin. If the varnish is too hard or brittle, in contrary, the sound becomes shrill and penetrating.

To sum up, one can say that an instrument, which is badly or incorrectly built cannot become a masterpiece just because of an excellent varnish. However, a good instrument can be ruined because of a miserable varnish.