Decoding Zozefs Terzivassian designs (?)


And the Golden Ratio !

For the last few weeks, I was experimenting with bouzouki designs, inspired by the Golden era of 1940s-1950s and the famous luthier, Zozef Terzivassian (the well known as the "Stradivari of bouzouki makers").

It is well known that Zozef bouzoukia played by the most famous Greek musicians and soloists of 1930s-1940s-1950s-1960s era.

But apart from the great sound quality which his instruments produced , what really is the  reason that generation after generation continues to be aesthetically captivated by his unique instruments?

Was the bold, colorful, big flower theme he was using on the pick-guard?, the unique "bat"sound hole shapes?, the white thick trim around the soundboard? ,or the unique flower decoration on the head-stock with designs simulating a 3-dimensional perspective angle?

Many old luthiers are referring to the "old traditional lutherie techniques", which Zozef  kept as a closely guarded secret, refusing to  pass it to any of his "disciples"... , even tho, many luthiers these days brag as the lucky ones who studied alongside the master luthier Zozef.

My interest focused on Zozef's early designs during the 1950s-1960s era
That was the time-period when Zozef constructed most of his masterpieces.
Until today, designs from that era continue drifting us in an inexplicable attraction
A "crazy" though passed though my mind as I was looking one of Zozef's  famous bouzouki construction, which carries design, copied and reproduced thousands of times the later years.

The Zozef bouzouki made for the great composer and musician   Basilis Tsitsanis


Basilis Tsitsanis with his famous Zozef bouzouki.(c) http://www.tovima.gr


Apart from the beautiful, colorful,  full of details, flower-decoration theme, the unique sound-hole decoration, and the bold, 3-dimensional perspective angle of the head-stock flower, what if some of  Zozef's constructions were hiding greater secrets than what the eye can see?
And if so, what more suitable to put under the microscope than the Basilis Tsitsanis bouzouki.
If the luthier had hidden secrets, these securely would carry on, on one of the most famous and important musical instrument he created .

As I mentioned above, Basilis Tsistanis bouzouki has been replicated thousand of times, through out the years by subsequent luthiers.
Since I could not investigate the original bouzouki, I  thought to put under the microscope a replica made by my friend and talented luthier Giannis Tsoulogiannis.


Replica of  Basilis Tsistanis bouzouki design .made by luthier Giannis Tsoulogiannis


And the Golden Ratio:

"The Golden Ratio describes the perfectly symmetrical relationship between two proportions.
It is a common mathematical ratio found in nature that can be used to create pleasing, natural looking compositions  We call it the Golden Ratio, although it's also known as the Golden Mean, The Golden Section, or the Greek letter Phi."

"But don’t let all the math get you down. In design, the Golden Ratio boils down to aesthetics— creating and appreciating a sense of beauty through harmony and proportion. When applied to design, the Golden Ratio provides a sense of artistry

This harmony and proportion has been recognized for thousands of centuries: from the Pyramids in Giza to the Parthenon in Athens; from Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel to Leonardo da Vinci  Mona Lisa; and from the Pepsi logo to the Twitter logo. Our bodies and faces even follow the mathematical ratio.
In fact, our brains are seemingly hard-wired to prefer objects and images that use the Golden Ratio. It’s almost a subconscious attraction and even tiny tweaks that make an image truer to the Golden Ratio have a large impact on our brains."

Zozef and Golden Ratio?
But what mathematics and classic art has to do with bouzoukia made by Zozef Terzivassian?


Main flower follows the golden ratio/spiral logarithm

Decoration follows the golden ratio/spiral logarithm
Decoration -sound hole, follows the golden ratio/spiral logarithm
Decoration -sound hole , follows the golden ratio/spiral logarithm
Decoration  follows the golden ratio/spiral logarithm

Decoration -sound hole , follows the golden ratio/spiral logarithm
Decoration -sound hole , follows the golden ratio/spiral logarithm

Decoration -sound hole , follows the golden ratio/spiral logarithm

My hypothesis that the early Zozef bouzouki decoration follows the golden ratio rule,  may be just a series of coincidence without any apparent casual connection.

But since the idea sounded interesting and very promising, I placed under the designing  microscope other bouzouki constructions by old famous luthiers.

The talented luthier and close friend,  Giannis Tsoulogiannis (http://www.hijaz.gr/en/provided me with photographs of such historical musical instruments

1. Mourtzinos bouzouki

Mourtzinos construction follows the golden ratio

Mourtzinos construction follows the golden ratio

Mourtzinos construction follows the golden ratio

Mourtzinos construction follows the golden ratio


2. Lazaridis bouzouki


Lazaridis decoration follows the golden ratio

Lazaridis decoration follows the golden ratio

Lazaridis decoration follows the golden ratio
3. Panagis bouzouki


Panagis decoration tends to follow the golden ratio

Panagis decoration tends to follow the golden ratio

Panagis decoration tends to follow the golden ratio

4. Zozef bouzouki


Zozef decoration tends to follow the golden ratio

Zozef decoration tends to follow the golden ratio

Zozef decoration tends to follow the golden ratio

Zozef decoration tends to follow the golden ratio
5. Zozef bouzouki


Zozef decoration follows the golden ratio

Zozef decoration follows the golden ratio

Zozef decoration follows the golden ratio
Accordingly to the talented luthiers Giannis Tsoulogiannis  (http://www.hijaz.gr/en/and Nikos Paisios (Paisios-Nikos-Handmade-musical-instruments/) the old master luthiers did not follow intentionally the golden ratio rule.
The talented luthier Nikos Paisios believes that the musical instruments by-themselves give us the answer.
 Many master luthiers constructed their musical instruments with different dimensions, but still all of them produced a great quality of sound. Accordingly to Nikos what is important in musical instrument construction apart from the fundamental laws of lutherie, is the quality of materials used.

Conclusion

Even tho, my initial hypothesis that master old luthiers followed in their bouzouki design and construction, the golden ratio rule , after close examination appears that in most cases the alignment of  decorative elements to the golden spiral/ratio is simply coincidental.

But from the other hand is undeniable that the golden ratio can really help a luthier in aesthetically balancing his decorative composition on the pick-guard and the soundboard overall . Further more, I am not completely convinced that some of the old master luthiers designed and constructed their instruments without keeping in mind the "benefits" of the golden ratio in aesthetics.



To the followers of this blog
I am welcoming the followers of this blog having in their possession very old bouzouki instruments made by luthiers as Mourtzinos-Kopeliadis-Lazaridis- Zozef-Panagis etch,  to send me at spyrosdimis@yahoo.com,  a straight, front photo of their instrument so I can update my hypothesis with new photographs and findings. Thank you

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