Mark Caudle

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About Mark Caudle

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  • Birthday 06/06/1953

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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. Mark Caudle

    Any worse bridge?

    In some ways that violin in its state as shown represents the essence of what a musical instrument should be - an effective music making tool that is used as an unconscious extension of the player.
  2. Mark Caudle

    Baroque neck set in a Modern World

    I would reinforce the advice that if you use a screw, glue the neck first and let it dry before fitting the screw as the screw can shift everything about before the glue has set! (This is from experience!)
  3. Mark Caudle

    Intriguing small cello

    Is it very heavy? That seems to be the main problem with a lot of these somewhat primitive instruments. There are many small cellos around including Testore family (not that I think this has anything to do with Testore. I suppose at least some may have been tuned a 5th above normal cello tuning for use as a more portable bass, either in FCgd or GDaeor d. That seems far more likely to me than use by children. Here are some pictures from Tarisio of a small (636mm) CA Testore that they sold a few years ago. Hope it's ok to post these. Nothing like the op instrument!
  4. Mark Caudle

    The Top 3 Beginner Mistakes

    Plate bending is a perfectly traditional method in the right context. For viols or even possibly parts of some cellos or some very early instruments.
  5. Mark Caudle

    What is it about E strings?

    I don't play on modern strings at all but in view of the radical improvement to baroque instruments through using real equal tension strings has anyone thought of trying an experimental modern, equal tension set of strings? The use of higher tension top strings is so well established that maybe that possibility has been completely dismissed. Quite possibly it wouldn't work at all but I would be interested to know the result.
  6. Mark Caudle

    Perry Sultana...

    I can't see the point of making one of these if you don't use the wire strings. Presumably the design was conceived to give the best sound using these and if you use modern strings you might as well make a normal shaped viola.
  7. Mark Caudle

    Another british bow If you look down the page on this link you will see a flute by Bilton with a bit of information about his address and dates
  8. Mark Caudle

    Baroque bass bars

    It's not a recent obsession. I have been playing viols without soundposts since about 1975 and many consorts from then till now are very happy with these kind of instruments. But I think the burden of proof is to confirm the use of soundposts before the end of the 1500's as there is no evidence for them. But neither is any evidence likely to emerge to provide confirmation either way, so it is still a matter of choice or preference. Personally I prefer without in the right context. I thought the F. Linarol small viol is reckoned to be about 1560/70 (well before Nuove musiche) and I would be happy to agree that the Linarol, Ciciliano viols ca. 1600 may have had soundposts. But transverse barring of the type found in this instrument and suggested as previously in the Ebert viol and therefore in other Venetian viols as shown in Titian seems to make soundposts superfluous and I think it very likely that many of the violin family instruments of the type that your diagram shows may have had a similar inside arrangement if for no other reason than the relation of bridges to f holes.. By the way I don't trust anyone's opinions although many who have much more knowledge than me have come to the same conclusion about soundposts.
  9. Mark Caudle

    Baroque bass bars

    Concerning Ben's 16th century examples, is it not possible that not having a soundpost, the bridge was placed over a transverse bar which would need to be placed below the f holes? A similar idea to the Venetian, Linarol viol in Vienna etc. While string length is not vital on violins to achieve the lower pitches as thicker strings could be used, on bass instruments it becomes important as gut strings much more than about 4mm thickness become rather impractical. It's more effective to increase the string length.
  10. Mark Caudle

    Baroque bass bars

    The other thing I meant to say concerns cello neck overstand. I am convinced that this was usually non-existent or minimal (on early cellos) because every original neck I have seen, whether altered or not has a small notch in the upper end which gives just sufficient clearance of the front plate, usually later filled when the neck was reset and a piece added at the bottom of the root. Neck overstand and a higher overall level of the fingerboard over the front became advantageous with the rise of the use of thumb position as otherwise the wrist has to be bent backwards in an uncomfortable way.
  11. Mark Caudle

    Baroque bass bars

    Of course I am not saying that baroque players know everything! That would be impossible given the degree of historical diversity and controversy of interpretation that exists among the best informed experts. But many take a close interest in absorbing and putting into practice the best research. They also make great efforts to achieve consistent and suitable setup between the instruments of an ensemble based on this research. This is a moving target so we can't expect to be historically correct all the time but there is a continuing quest. With regard to Baschenis, there is something strange about the painting illustrated in David's link. The version I have in a monographic, paper book has an apple rather than a piece of garlic on the table! It is also rather more believable although I agree that the bridge is still rather high. However all the other Baschenis paintings I have are both clearer, and show lower bridges. I have made quite a number loosely based on the cello bridges and can confirm that they are very good and produce a better sound than other designs I have made or encountered including the Strad designs. I suspect that the slightly higher arch between the feet allows a bit more transverse flexibility than the Strad design which might be a bit stiff in that area. Interesting about the varied approach to bass bar angle. By not choosing the obvious procedure of following the angle of the joint in viols it looks as if those makers had found some advantage in the greater angle. I have a rather rough (early??) flat backed bass violin which also seems to have originally had a bass bar with a strong angle with the top end near the centre judging by some remaining trace marks.
  12. Mark Caudle

    Baroque bass bars

    I just checked in Sacconi and according to his list of the various bridges patterns and designs associated with the Strad B form cellos, the height of the bridge at the centre varies between 71 and 75 mm. This is much lower than a modern bridge and much other picture evidence also points in this direction (Baschenis etc). However this is not to say that the downforce on the belly through the bridge was not similar to modern values due to the lower neck overstand placing the nut in plane a similar distance from the top of the bridge. This is in response to David above - in practice I agree with your conclusion as to the results of the setup on downforce, but I disagree in believing that lower neck projection and lower bridges were the norm at least before around the 1770's. Another "baroque" feature which is almost never observed in modern "baroque" set up, particularly of cellos, is that bridges were usually parallel sided and strings wider apart on the bridge. This means that adequate clearance of the bow with the c bouts is possible with a lower bridge and from experience a larger radius of the curve of the top of the bridge is practical which among other features allows a different approach to playing chords. As a player i would like to point out that I play around 6 different cellos, all set up very differently to be suitable for different repertoire from about 1600 to about 1790. That's before starting on viols!
  13. Mark Caudle

    Baroque bass bars

    Thanks Ben for your very informative information. The positioning of bass bars on English viols with bent fronts seems to follow the line covering the belly joint under the bridge foot. French makers seem to have used a bigger angle and ignored this joint in the placing of the bar. In reply to baroquecello, while agreeing that many play on inappropriate instrument setups, I would dispute that players don't know rather a lot about baroque and early set ups and their variability. I suppose it depends who you work with!
  14. Mark Caudle

    Finding Bass Gamba Fittings

    Anything standardised and off the shelf is bound to be wrong for a particular instrument. Everything needs to be carefully matched to the style of gamba, strings as well. For frets I use bits of old broken strings!