Mark Caudle

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About Mark Caudle

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  • Birthday 06/06/1953

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    Male
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    Lodz/Colchester
  • Interests
    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

    Baroque viola neck and fingerboard dimentions

    I think that the upper range of the viola was defined during most of the baroque period by how far you could stretch from 1st position. This is generally f as exemplified by Biber et al. It also explains why necks were often very short in proportion to bodies, specially of the larger "tenors". The possibility of playing in higher positions was not even considered.
  2. Mark Caudle

    Plans for Dodd bow copy

    There are lots of originals around and in use. If you ask a friendly player of classical music on original instruments they will probably find someone who will let you measure their bow.
  3. Mark Caudle

    Martin Mathias Fichtl Vienna, Large Cello

    I only claim that my instrument is an original 17th century bass violin because that is what I have been told by many people with far more knowledge than I have, from the original 1983 auction catalogue onwards. It has also been used as a model for new instruments from quite a number of makers including Melvin Goldsmith and George Stoppani. Even you have looked at it Ben! It certainly matches what you would expect to see in one of these instruments. However when I have time I will post a few photos to see if the "identification game" produces any interesting revelations! I don't find the existence of the Fichtl surprising given such sources as Quantz who writes of the need for 2 sizes of cello in the mid-18th century, one for accompaniment and a smaller one for solos.
  4. Mark Caudle

    Baroque Cello Model

    I have actually made a baroque cello on the PG Rogeri model and it is a good model and turned out quite well although has a bit of a wolf problem. But I play and have played a lot of smaller instruments and they lack nothing in power and bass fullness of tone. For example I have a 702mm N. Chappuy which is a bit late for baroque but has a good strong bass. If I was using Strad plans I'd go for the De Munck or even a Guadagnini although again that is a bit late for Bach!
  5. Mark Caudle

    Baroque Cello Model

    I would continue to question the findings of the "authorities" about set up. I have seen quite a few original cello necks from the mid 18th century and earlier albeit mostly mangled and reset. One constant feature on all of them is that the notch that fits around the top of the front plate is only sufficiently deep to allow the fingerboard wedge to clear the plate. ie no significant overstand. This is in contradiction to Pollen's assertion that the overstand should be about 6mm according to the ||Strad templates. Around 1750 or '60 I have seen original neck English cellos that do have overstand (Thomas Smith for example) and I suspect that this started with the greater use of thumb position as it is awkward to avoid a hollow wrist in thumb position if the fingerboard is too near to the front plate. My feeling is that norms were also for shorter necks and smaller bass bars and soundposts although exceptions to this are widely quoted. Also the Strad cello bridge templates are much lower than modern. I think Pollens does tend to favour sources that support his theories although as a non-academic I am not in a good position to challenge them. Another theory that I am not convinced by is that because string tension was heavier than modern in the baroque period, instruments were necessarily thicker plated and have been subsequently thinned. Again this has certainly happened but is not proven as a rule. The idea that most instruments were built to survive into posterity is strange. I am sure that the majority were made to serve the contemporary music and musicians. I particularly remember a conversation with Dietrich Kessler who had the opinion that French baroque viols were built with very high bridges that caused such high pressure on the front plates that they would collapse after about 15-20 years. But during this time they were wonderful musical instruments. I have tried quite a few copies of B form baroque cellos and do not feel that they are always the best model for this purpose. I'd try something a bit smaller but with higher arching.
  6. Mark Caudle

    Baroque Cello Model

    There shouldn't be a problem of bow clearance if you keep the bridge curvature a bit less than modern.
  7. Mark Caudle

    Martin Mathias Fichtl Vienna, Large Cello

    I play in many English groups where these are regularly used and there are many others as well. In France practically every baroque ensemble is using them regularly for most of their performances. There is a big demand out there although I agree not many rich performers who may pay what the restoration work deserves.
  8. Mark Caudle

    Martin Mathias Fichtl Vienna, Large Cello

    Maybe one of the holes is for a strap fixing and the other for the tailgut. I have an old cello end-button that has depressions for 2 chords, the upper for the tailgut and the lower, presumably for the strap. Otherwise on the Fichtl the upper hole could be for the tail gut and the lower for a short and thick wooden spike as you sometimes see in illustrations. Perhaps this is more likely.
  9. Mark Caudle

    Martin Mathias Fichtl Vienna, Large Cello

    Here's a cynical thought. The more original large cellos are cut down, the more valuable my original, 802mm instrument will become. But seriously please don't cut it down! There are so few of the big ones left. However I do not really support Baroquecello's proposals. 1746 is probably too late for the Bb tuning and the alterations that he suggests won't really improve the practicality. If it was mine I would set it up in as near original condition as possible to deduce, and let it find its own market within the increasing diversity of the modern cello world.
  10. 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.
  11. 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!)
  12. 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!
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.