Mark Caudle

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About Mark Caudle

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  • Birthday 06/06/1953

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    Lodz/Colchester
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    Professional baroque and renaissance cello, bass violin/viola da gamba and viol player in UK and Poland since 1973. Also makes baroque instruments - mainly celli. Around no. 15 + some restorations of baroque wrecks!

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  1. I'll try and put together some sources but I have to play a concert tomorrow which I am practising for so give me a few days!
  2. It seems very clear if you look at the violin parts (which you can do online) where the violoncello piccolo parts are included. There is also sufficient time between violin numbers to change instruments. The violoncello piccolo solo parts are never included in any of the continuo parts to be played by various instruments such as violoncello, violone or bassoon.
  3. Bass violin tunings from various sources: BbFCg CGDa BbFCgd FCgd GDae CGDg etc!
  4. It depends what sort of instrument you are looking for. Some of the Bach Cantata solos sound very good with a very small cello piccolo having more of a viola sound. But probably these parts were originally played by a violinist as the parts are in the violin parts. Therefore very likely played "da spalla". However the suite probably sounds better on a larger instrument. I made a few small ones with a 636mm back based on some photos of a Testore from a Tarisio sale which is that size although originally 4 string. They are probably not ideal for the 6th Suite but not as weak in the bass as you might predict.
  5. It seems likely that many of the existing French and English cellos that are or were originally with 5 strings and are of various rather large sizes (3/4+) may have been played with a top d string a fourth above an a string rather than a top e. This would have been comfortable for players used to a bass viol with a top d string. 5 string cellos around 1/2 size may be less consistently successful than slightly larger ones although it is not a problem for me to avoid the knees on the smaller ones. The ones that Bylsma, Wispelwey etc play/played are around 3/4 size (Barak Norman etc). I am doubtful if these had a top e string originally although they work fine.
  6. But this was a choice made in the 1780's. Doesn't mean earlier musicians would have made that choice for the music and instruments they were playing.
  7. "With the ferrule, the bow became even better....." This is surely the issue. The bow worked differently with a ferrule but not necessarily better. Maybe historically and today the softer articulation has been preferred. A matter of taste rather than progress. On another point, bows without ferrules have another solution to preserving the contact of the hair with the end of the frog. The trench is angled slightly away from the stick.. This has a similar effect to tying the hair to the frog with string etc and removes the need to do this.
  8. Some performers have their viols set up like this and find it works well.
  9. I don't see why this would not be worth repairing. The damage seems to be fairly easily dealt with and parts of the instrument are in quite good shape. of course it would not be worth paying the restoring costs of a real expert violin restorer but there are plenty of people who could do a decent job on something like this without exceeding it's value. It's a question of being patient and taking the time to find someone who is sensitive to the concept of only performing reversible restorations on the original materials..
  10. I don't know much about this but would have thought that an American instrument (church bass) with original machine heads from the 1830's is very possible.
  11. Excellent plans for that Meares exist drawn by Stephen Barber but I don't have them. It might be possible to track them down or I could ask around if it proves difficult. That instrument seems to fit your requirements well or there are various Barak Norman's.
  12. Yes the Meares in the "Shapes of the Baroque" is the same instrument which is now in The RCM. I am still not clear what kind of instrument you are thinking of making. If you are going to make the Lewis as a 7 string French viol, the best models are going to be other unaltered French viols by Bertrand, Colichon etc. I am not sure what has happened to the neck on the original instrument because it is obviously reduced in width but maybe altered otherwise as well. But for an original reconstruction of the Lewis, English sources and examples will be more relevant. You might be interested in the measurements from the Talbot MS which I attach here in Donington's edition. Donington_-_talbot's_manuscript.pdf
  13. Another thing- I remember David Rubio made a number of very successful 7 string viols based on this Lewis in the 1970's and you might like to track one of these down to see what solutions he came up with. The advantage of the Lewis model over other available ones is that if you don't want to make a bent front model he made them with a carved front .
  14. The presumably French conversion to 7 string gives the 720mm string length which is about ideal for a multi-purpose 7 string for playing both solo and continuo. The original Lewis 6 string set up would probably, according to Ben's formula come out a bit less, which would be fine as a 6 string but might leave the low A string a bit short if you are making a 7 string version. You might expect the neck angle to be a bit less on the original version as well as it is documented that the French increased the neck angle when converting old English viols to their needs. You can look at the Meares in the RCM collection for an original English neck angle. Another major difference between the 2 versions would be the stringing- probably 3 covered strings and an open wound or gut c string for the 7 string version and only one covered string at most for the 6 string. The bridge position should probably be similar for both versions and would also maybe change the sound for good or bad if you change it from the original bearing in mind the position of the back plate. .
  15. I have 2 old cellos with flat backs!