Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by Mairead

  1. When one says the violin sounds dark, bright, mellow (or has mellowed out), has edge, flat, etc., what generally does that mean?

    I'd like to know this too!

    Of course, any judgement about tone colors is probably highly subjective, but I have to suppose that acoustical physics gets in there somehow too. For example (and I don't know the language of acoustics, so this may be laughable) a 'dark' tone might be the result of more energy going into lower-frequency overtones, and 'edge' might imply a regular discontinuity in their production.


  2. I was thinking about getting a carbon fiber bow. I have heard a lot of good things about them, especially about the Spiccato and the coda bows....

    My experience mightn't be relevant to you, particularly if you've already taken your decision as to brand, but I bought a Musicary and couldn't be happier with it. Shar sell them for ca. US$350.-

  3. In order to get the bow that was just re-haired to produce a sound, you need to scrape your rosin a bit with a knife or a key and then run your bow over it.

    Make sure you get a good even coating of rosin on the new bow hair.

    And as Al suggested [it's hard to get used to how much poorer we became by his death] do it slowly so that friction doesn't make the rosin glaze onto the hair.

  4. The unique feature is the curved edges. There is no bead around the edge to square the violin.

    ...There is a stamp on the back which says "Russian".

    As far as I know, they were associated with the name Rigart Ribus and made in St. Petersburg (aka Petrograd, Leningrad) in the mid 1800s.

    I'm pretty sure I didn't get the name quite right, but it's at least close. It's not a Russian name. Nor am I sure it's the maker's name. I've only seen a few of them, generally on ebay. The rounding you mention seems to be characteristic of them. I can't imagine that the rounding would bother the tone, tho it does make them seem odd and uncouthie to eyes accustomed to the crisper look.

    Perhaps someone such as Stefan Hersh or Michael Darnton can tell us more?

  5. As for "Elaine" and the anti-Commie guy, I was inclined to let one pretty nasty post go, but not two

    er, I must have missed out something, then, because they looked like quite reasonable comments to me. I didn't think either Elaine or the anonymous commentator were casting aspersions. Apparently you thought Elaine's comment was fine, too, judging by your response to it. Did something change meanwhile??

    It seems a pity to have unhappiness here, especially if it's all down only to a misinterpretation or so.

  6. At the very lowest end of reliability, I know that one regular poster there is the last member of a very long food chain, and that his offerings have been previously seen and rejected by almost every professional dealer in the country, and many players. If that filtering process appeals to you, bid on.

    Michael, if you feel able to say (either here or in email) could you tell me which that regular is? I think I may know, but I'd be interested in confirmation. Certainly there's a person who seems to offer a lot of Big Deals that turn out to be scruffy instruments whose claimed provenience seems supported largely by handwaving. I don't believe I've ever seen him get a nibble, since he always requires some outrageous-looking starting bid.

    On the other hand, that mightn't be who you mean, and I'd be interested to know that, too. :-)

  7. AL STANCEL died on Monday, Nov. 29, 1999.

    Marsha, do you know what exactly was the listed cause of his death? I ask because his last post to the list was made that very morning, so whatever it was must have happened very suddenly. Which I suppose was a blessing, in its way.

    We'll not see the like of him again soon.

  8. : I will share with the readers of this forum that may

    : not have known Al personally. ....

    Thank you, Marsha. What an awful loss to us all. I think the epitaph Rab Burns wrote for a friend fits for Al, too:

    If there's another world, he lives in bliss.

    And if there is no other, he made the best of this.

  9. The author of the Maggini web site identifies himself as a member of the Schidlof Quartet, but he doesn't say whether he plays the Maggini in performance.

    In his mail to me, Rafael mentioned he was on tour, though not playing here. From that I inferred that he does indeed play it in performance and that, had he been playing nearby, I could have heard it (and perhaps even seen it up close, after (well, I can dream, can't I? :-)). He says it has a 'deep contralto sound' -- which sounds rather like your description of your copy!

    The other identifying characteristics he mentioned were the characteristic Brescian arching, and 'inside the violin the eccentric use of the corners', though I can't imagine what he means by the latter.

  10. It is a fact that the German factories made a run of violins. Suppose they made a thousand of one model. Then, they had orders from Sears and Montgomery Ward. One retiler wnted all Maggini models, one wanted Gaspar Da Solo models....then, the factory put in the labels of both makers, 500 Maggini, 500 Gaspar and shipped....every body was happy....except those of us who wonder what happened 100 years ago??

    It sounds as though you're saying that the labels are even more nonsensical than the claims on their faces imply -- i.e., that they're not only not originals, but not even copies of originals? An instrument made with double purfling could be labelled and ship as Maggini, Ruggieri, Bertolotti da Salo, or perhaps even Amati, depending solely on the retailer's order, sort of thing?

    It would explain a lot.

  11. Al wrote, responding to Mark W.:

    The scroll in the picture is like a normal classical scroll, almost. Notice that the little curl going to the eye of the scroll doesn't go all the way around. This has led to the German factories accentuating the shortness of the curl, and eliminating one of the scroll turns.

    So, to me, the Maggini scrolls look almost like the classical ones...some actually are, with the curl being completed at the eye. Like any hand made thing, there are differencies from one to the other. The one I held looked just like a normal scroll as we see on modern instruments, but not to perfection.

    A few weeks ago I ran across the pictures that Mark pointed to, and mailed Rafael (the owner) about them. He very kindly wrote back, telling me something about how he knew he'd got a Maggini. It had a good cert, for starters :-) But he also considered it significant that the scroll has a quarter-twist less, and the two sides are different, one from the other. I thought that was very interesting.

    Do you suppose the idea of 1 twist fewer is also a mistake? I find it interesting that the German instruments alleged to be copies of Bertolotti da Salo's work all have 1 fewer twist. If they copied correctly, I wonder whether the idea that Maggini also did one fewer twist (and then, by extended confusion, one extra) came merely from Maggini having been trained by BdS?

    When I set out to learn to play fiddle, I never supposed there was so much extra to be fascinated by :-)

  12. The determination of quality fine and good are my subjctive evaluation of the qulity of the item in general. It does not have to do with the condition of the item.

    Could you say more, perhaps using an example, about the difference between 'quality of the item' and 'condition of the item'? I don't think I quite follow. Thanks!

  13. Then, the abrupt arching attributed to Stainer is nothing like he made....but a gross distortion...like a bath tub!

    Oh dear...so is that 'bath-tub' shape another case of misunderstanding, then? Like the German makers who got confused about Maggini scrolls because (I suppose) they'd never actually seen one in the flesh, as it were, and so did one more twist instead of one fewer?

  14. : I would also like to know what the words 'Fine' and

    : 'Good' mean in the descriptions (and the lack of

    : either fine or good). Do these refer to the quality

    : of a particular maker's specific instrument? So if

    : the description includes 'Fine' does this mean that

    : its a fine example of that maker's output?

    I was hoping someone would answer your question -- presuming there is an agreed meaning! :-) --because I'd like to know the answer too.

    I suspect that 'fine' and 'good' are used to speak of the overall condition, since I saw them used in connection with anonymous instruments, but 'interesting'? I've no slightest idea what that might be meant to mean.

  15. The book "Violin Making as It Is and Was" by Edward Herron Allen has some very good descriptions of the formation and foundation of the "Arch".

    If you need a glossary of terms, here you go:

    [excellent glossary clipped]

    Thanks very much, Steve! That's exactly the sort of thing I'm interested in. I find it's immensely difficult to talk about something without having an appropriate vocabulary! :-)

    Would you consider that book a good one for learning how to identify individual makers, as well as more general theory?

  16. The idea is that the violinist would type in the notes (s)he was trying to play and then an algorithm would work out the best possible set of fingerings for that particular passage.

    It sounds a fascinating project, Angela. Will you take it further than canonical fingerings, do you think? And do you have a sense yet of how non-deterministic the algo will have to be?

  17. The shody type of violins Mr. Hersh refers to, are more commonly refered to as "players" instruments.

    These violins have lived long and usefull lives, but do not have the head turning looks that the majority of dealers want to sell.

    Okay, thanks Steve and Stefan. That clears it up for me -- we're talking about the same thing: all the value in the sound, none in the looks or name.

    Can you estimate how the various factors --age, name, sound -- contribute to an instrument's price? I know that valuation is art not science, but are there finger-in-the-wind percentages that most knowledgeable folk might agree with one another about?

    For example, what ought someone expect to give for some anon. 18th c. instrument that's sounds great but has been knocked about and patched up with care in the usual areas (bushings, cheek patches, table cracks, rib cracks) but without serious structural damage?

    What ought someone give for that bothy Strad of my example, if they didn't know it was a Strad?

  18. And, yes, it can be cross ways arching, longways arching, and both top and back. What the writer means is what he/she sees in his/her own mind.

    Thanks, Al. So there is no standard frame of reference for the term at all, then? It's merely a synonym for 'curvature'? If so, then no wonder I couldn't find it defined anywhere!!

    Are there well-defined terms for describing the difference between, e.g., the rather shallow longitudinal slope of a strad vs the somewhat abrupt slope (I think of as being) characteristic of a Stainer? For example, the fiddle I have sitting on my lap right now, if looked at from the side. has a strongly domed table, having a rise/run of about 0.75"/1.5" at the button end, and then continuing straight along til the tailpiece end where it drops off again just as abruptly. The back, in contrast, is very shallow and looks almost an flattened arc of a circle, from the side.

    If there are standard terms to refer to those two visually very different profiles, I'd like to learn them -- they'd be lots easier than the circumlocution I just went through! :-)

  • Create New...