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baroquecello

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Everything posted by baroquecello

  1. If the intention is modern playing, then I'm out. Aquila has a new type of synthetic strings that sounds quite like bare gut. I didn't like the string response on my baroque cello, but can imagine them working fairly well on violin. Mind you, bare gut is very bright sounding.
  2. I don't think one can generalise how to best select an instrument for any player. It depends on many factors, like playing level, the kind of playing environment, the ensembles one plays in, or if one plays soloistically, with or without orchestra, with piano or whatever combination. As a teacher (I work mainly as a teacher for beginning to intermediately advanced students), I tell my students to also not forget the optic and haptic side of the story. It is great to open your case and find something that immediately gives you a little excitement. On days that you don't feel like practising, this can really help getting in the mood! I believe this also counts for professionals. Years ago (what!?! almost decades ago!), I chose my main instrument based on quality of make and "projection". This was a mistake. The cello is really perfectly made by a living, Cremona trained maker, new vanish, a Strad model with a very elegant execution. When I see pictures of myself next to other cellists, my cello always stands out in a good way, from a distance, it looks very very elegant and beautiful, so I think the maker got many things right that others, even famous makers, do not. But when opening the case, this beauty, with its perfectly done varnish job, just doesn't appeal to me, really. It feels cold and impersonal. It doesn't fit my personality, which is messier. Only after considering the optics and haptics, I consider sound and here again, first it has to be something I personally like, and then I'll see how it does in a larger hall. Again taking my own main cello as an example: it sounds rather good from a distance, but under the ear it sounds rather flat and subdued. It is easy and comfortable to play, with a wolf within acceptable limits, but it is no fun to play even if it sounds good in the hall. I'm currently looking for something else, and I'm considering everything I can get my hands on, including cheap instruments. First of all I want it to be a pleasure to play, for me, because I believe I will play better when I am enjoying more. I rarely play in or with an orchestra, but I often play chamber music, so for me, it has to work well in a string quartet setting, or with a piano or organ (with organ is the large hall setting for me). So that is the last stage of trying out. I believe that almost any instrument can sound well in an unaccompanied solo setting, which is what most buyers try in the hall. I don't think that comparing sounds of unaccompanied instruments is very useful, as one rarely compares unaccompanied instruments in concerts. It usually is only one instrument playing, and as long as that doesn't have any obvious flaws, it is the player that will do the acoustic convincing, and if the player feels good, they will be more convincing. I understand this isn't really an answer to the original question... Edit note: the one thing I don't do is test an instrument outside. All instruments sound crappy outside, and I never play outside. I don't know if this is true scientifically speaking, but as a player I feel that in cellos, the back does quite something for the sound, especially for the players perception of it, but needs it a good floor and walls to have an impact.
  3. Beech has been used in stead of maple, often for necks and scrolls, but also for backs and ribs. By Saxons, but also by none less that del Gesù and Ruggeri. So there is a lot you could do with beech, if you like.
  4. @Giovanni Valentini or John Valentine? I had a cello with a construction similar to your violin in that the neck block region was much less high than the rest of the ribs. It possibly contributed to the bass bar crack in the top bout. It was resolved by making a higher top block and adding some wood to the ribs. The cello is probably central european (saxon/bohemian or so), possibly mid 19th century, so it otherwise has nothing to do with your violin. I agree more photos would be very interesting!
  5. Actually, to my own surprise, I quite like the way the violin looks with "white binding" (The Ficker in particular)! And I think the auction violin, as a set also including the original case and likely bow, and apart from the bow being in good condition, has some value to it. Thinking practically: I know a lot of cello that have heavily damaged edgework and would have benefitted from something like this. Although I could imagine the binding loosening quickly. Were these violins varnished after adding the binding, and was the varnish on the binding removed afterwards, or were they varnished before the binding was added?
  6. Heron-Allen hin-oder-her, I do think it is a well executed version of the (not very tasteful) design. Especially as it is likely to have been made by an amateur maker. The comments here may sound derogatory, but if it sounds good, be happy you own it, it looks like it will be a stable Instrument for some time to come.
  7. As far as I know, what is used by bowmakers is usually the wood of the "false acacia" (because it actually isn't an acacia) Robinia pseudoacacia. I'll take your word for it that true acacia of the species you mention is also used.
  8. If you are looking for alternative european woods for bow making: beech and larch have been used historically for baroque bows, and larch also for inexpensive modern bows. Lately, acacia (rubinia pseudoacasia) has attracted some interest, with people like Gilles Nehr using it for bows.
  9. @Wood Butcher interesting. First you say that things weren't as standardised in earlier times as they ate now (which I completely agree with) and then you say a 7/8th instrument should simply have everything proportionally smaller. Semms somewhat contradictory. Violas are different from celli in this respect, because the LOB influences the posture of the player much more with violas compared to celli. A large lower bout in violas makes a world of a difference for the left arm. A large lower bout in celli just requires a shorter end pin. Bout width does influence the playing of a cello somewhat, but not nearly as much as vibrating string length. And bout width is a parametre that is not measured with the LOB.
  10. @Yogic I've a cello with a rather short LOB, (can't check now how short, as it is being restored, but the restorer described it as right between 3/4 and 4/4th LOB) but the distance between the bridge and upper edge is 400 MM, which results in a neck length of 280 MM (so that the 4th position thumb placement is standard) and a vibrating string length of approx 695MM. This small bodied cello is therefore a 4/4th cello with a rather small lower bout. Cello size depends on vibrating string length primarily, because that is what influences the playing experience most. Only the string length is relevant when someone is looking for an instrument that fits a small hand. And think of electric cellos. Therefore: Size designation equals string length.
  11. From the way it looks I'd expect that bow should work fine. Looks believable. Thumbs up!
  12. I'll repeat: the body size is not as important as you seem to think. It is the vibrating string length, nut to bridge, that counts. Even with 4/4 cellos a wide variety (much wider than with violins!) of body shapes and sizes are possible, but it is the vibrating string length (approx 68~71 CM) that makes a 4/4 cello a 4/4 cello.
  13. I can't recommend a luthier since I am in Germany, and I also cannot help identifieing this cello. But, being a cello teacher myself, I would like to highlight the role that a cello teacher can (and in my opinion should) play in decisions like these. When it comes to sound and playability, a cello teacher can usually judge very well if its worth it getting things fixed up. With less valueable bows, it really is hit and miss. Sometimes they look good but are terrible players, and vice versa. If you can get a good player for little money, then you lucked out, and sometimes it is worth to get a really cheap bow rehaired nonetheless, if it is one of the good players. I would suspect this cello to be a nice students cello worth it being restored (especially as it looks to be in rather good condition, likely you'll only need a new set of strings, heck, the lower two may actually still be in fine playing condition). What is more important than body size (there is no standard for fractionals, and especially older instruments vary wildly in their measurements) is the vibrating string length (between bridge and upper nut). If that is a lot shorter (more than a centimetre) than on your sons current cello, you will want to consult his cello teacher beforehand as that will influence the way the left hand is used. So in my opinion before consulting a luthier, the cello teacher should be asked for an opinion about the equipment and if (s)he deems it good enough for the student.
  14. What kind of bending iron is it and where did you get it?
  15. Philipp, I'll try to make it understandable. This is however not a scientific explanation, as I lack the background for such an explanation. Assuming a uniform string material (say bare gut) and a stable pitch, (like with bowing) there are three main important parametres that can be manipulated: tension, diametre and string length. One can manipulate these three parametres to get to the desired pitch, but (like with bowing: speed, weight and contact point) altering one will inescapably require you to alter the others, and any change will affect the sound produced. Keeping the same pitch: Increasing diametre (thicker string) will lead to a higher tension (if the string length remains the same) or will require a shorter string length (if the tension is to remain the same). On the cello, unlike on a piano, for instance, the string length is the same for all four strings. This means that, given a uniform material for all strings, only the diametre and the tension are the factors that can be manipulated. However, a string needs a certain amount of tension in order to be playable with a bow and produce good sound. I've read that for steel strings, they sound best if they are strung at a tension that is almost their breaking point. This is the reason that one should not tune metal strings too sharp. The main parametre left that can be manipulated is the diametre. If I therefore want a lower pitch, at roughly the same tension, then I need a thicker string, so that it will vibrate at a lower frequency, as more material will lead to a lower frequency (I'm assuming this has to do with inertia/kinetic energy). Here is where modern string makers start tweaking with different materials. They use heavier materials for the lower strings (for instance on cellos: tungsten winding for lower strings vs aluminium winding for a strings), so that the weight increases more relatively to the diametre than it would using a uniform material. When compared to the higher strings, in other words, the lower strings can be made thinner than they would need to be if they were made from the same material as the higher strings. Bare gut g and c strings are massive. A drawback of thick strings, apart from for the left hand, is that they respond slower to the bow, so there is also that reason to make sure the lower strings are as thin as possible. What you can also observe in practically all string sets, is that the lower strings progressively produce less tension at their desired pitch compared to higher strings, which is another reason why lower strings are not as thick as they "should" be. In cello string making, thinner seems to be regarded as better, even for the a string. I've never understood this, as I'm a thicker string guy myself, playing on gut, but that is how it is. Nowadays it should not be that hard to make a thicker a string, using a light and strong synthetic core material, and an aluminium winding, for instance. But I don't think any modern string brand has this as an ideal. Instead they focus on trying to limit the string diametre of the lower strings, without losing too much tension. Maybe @Bohdan Warchal wants to try this out once? I'd love an a string as thick as a d string (or even thicker, if you ask me).
  16. @Andreas Preuss may we see a pic of your costum designed bridge?
  17. Many (most?) old violins have faked labels or labels with wrong information. Therefore practically nothing can be said about the violin based on your description. If you want to get any useful info, you should post good pictures of the violin.
  18. Hm, I'm very curious, but I have to sign in with google or Facebook, because it wants to collect info on my contacts... (it says so explicitly) Is there another way to get the download?
  19. Regarding the allemanic school: I suspect music making wasn't thought highly of in Switzerland, as the lack of excelling composers from there in the 17th and 18th century seems to indicate. The lack of acoustically succesful instruments would only be another symptom of that. And yes, I would call them farmers instruments. Rich farmers, but farmers nonetheless. You have a great number of fantastic organs in the rural north of the netherland and north west of germany, due to the wealth of farmers in the 17th and 18th century, and their desire for pomp, but not for musical taste has assured that those instruments remained unscathed by later fashions and are largely intact in original disposition. I'd say the decorated violins from the allemanic school can be viewed in the same light. But I defer to anyone with actual knowledge of Swiss musical life of those days. I have none.
  20. @jacobsaunders yes, I would agree with your summary. I must say that I am very excited about seeing these two instruments (the Fichtl and the Leydolff) right next to each other and, especially the leydolff, in close to original condition. This should be a treasure trove of information for makers and musicians alike, that are interested in historical performance practise. It would certainly be great to have drawings and measurements from these instruments for replicating. But also, in the light of the Quanz quote, I think to own the two as a combination should be highly interesting to prominent early music players. Or maybe the instruments would deserve preservation in a museams collection? Personally, I've not seen two different instruments from different makers but within such a short timeframe and from the same Kulturkreis together, corroborating so well the main written source that we have for exactly this time frame (albeit in Berlin circles). Very exciting somehow! And I very much enjoy looking at the scroll and peg box of this cello.
  21. @jacobsaunders what I find very interesting on your instrument is the relatively high neck overstand, and the fact that it has no wedge shaped fingerboard. If it is indeed the original neck, then I am very surprised at these features on such an early instrument. It does seem as if projection was increased at the button and root (is that the correct term?) of the neck, where a small wedge seems to have been added. I'm very curious as to what you'll find regarding the neck construction and its possible authenticity t the instrument, when you open the cello. I also have a quaestion regarding the varnish. It is so shiny: has it been french polished or is this a characteristic of this kind of varnishing?
  22. Ok here comes the Quanz Quote: "Wer auf dem Violoncell nicht nur accompagniret, sondern auch Solo spielet, thut sehr wohl, wenn er zwey besondere Instrumente hat; eines zum Solo, das andere zum Ripienspielen, bey große Musiken. Das letztere muß größer, und mit dickern Saiten bezogen seyn, als das erstere. Wollte man mit einem kleinen und schwach bezogenen Instrumente beydes verrichten; so würde das accompagnement in einer zahlreichen Musik gar keine Wirkung thun. Der zum Ripienspielen bestimmte Bogen, muß auch stärker, und mit schwarzen Haaren als von welchen die Seyten schärfer, als von den weißen angegriffen werden, bezogen seyn." Kap. XVII, Abschn. IV, §1.
  23. If you mean that the reflection shows that the f hole wing doesn't follow the arch; I think that likely the f hole wing was fluted and therefore catches the light at a different angle.
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