Violin Society of America

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    Quartet Judging


Following the individual instrument Competitions, quartets will be judged for workmanship and tone. Makers must have previously designated which violin is first and which is second. Makers may enter any combination of models.


The violin workmanship judges will not participate in quartet workmanship judging due to their greater workload. The designated viola, cello and bass workmanship judges will evaluate the quartet as a unit in one evaluation round considering the following categories, totaling 100 points:

1. Construction 40 points
Includes technical aspects of making, including the body, neck, scroll, setup and consistency of construction among all four instruments.

2. Varnish 20 points
Includes color, transparency, application, texture, patina (if present), and consistency of varnish among all four instruments.

3. Artistic 40 points
Includes sense of taste and artistry, considering stylistic and material similarities within the realm of overall impression.

Quartets that proceed to the medal round will receive at least a Certificate of Merit for Workmanship. Quartets that receive a unanimous vote as being of superior quality in workmanship will be recommended for Gold Medals. Please read the rules explaining Gold Medals, Silver Medals, and Certificates of Merit below.


Tone judging will be divided into two (2) rounds: preliminary and final. During the preliminary round, each quartet will be played and evaluated by four (4) players serving as tone judges and one (1) listening tone judge on a pass/fail basis. Each judge will have an equal vote. Quartets that pass into the final round will be further reviewed by the four (4) playing judges and one (1) listening tone judge to reach a consensus for Certificates of Merit or recommendations for Gold Medals. Please read the rules explaining Gold Medals, Silver Medals, and Certificates of Merit below.

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