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Bruce Carlson

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Everything posted by Bruce Carlson

  1. What does the formaldehyde do to the protein in the hide glue you are using to hold the violin together?
  2. It appears that most of the decorated instruments starting with Andrea Amati were not carried out by the maker himself but were done by craftsmen specialized in decorations, possibly from the royal courts for which they were intended. Actual painting and gilding like we see on Andrea Amati is a specialization. I'm sure at the time, decorated instruments were prepared for special commissions and were thought to be aesthetically superior to a plain instrument. Times change and when we arrive at the time of Stradivari he was carrying out a more discreet version of decoration. On the other hand, the arabesque ribs and scroll like the Stradivari 'Hellier' were likely carried out in the workshop as designs exist in the collection of artefacts in the Museo del Violino. The dots and lozenges in between the two rows of the purfling you can also see in Stradivari's rosettes on his guitars. Most decorations ended with the conclusion of the baroque period. You will still see J.B. Vuillaume and others doing it for commissions from special personages.
  3. Is the fingerboard smooth in that area?
  4. Yes, it's a long stop but I'm going on memory as I don't have my data at home. Stradivari precedes slightly as he was making the long stop already in 1690 but you see it off and on in other makers. It certainly wasn't as standardized as it is today.
  5. Don't get me wrong, I'm not in favor of all the frilly packaging but I think that's one of the reasons the companies do it like that. Personally I could care less about the packaging.
  6. It's one thing to question the airtight provenance of an instrument from Stradivari workshop in Cremona in 1716 to the violin display case where it is currently kept in the Ashmolean Museum. Only a handful of instruments have a flawless line of provenance from the time they left the workshop til today and even then, without photographs and totally unequivocal documentation, even they can be doubted. It's quite another to question whether or not the violin is an authentic work by Stradivari. Many details of the Cremonese working method were unknown to Vuillaume and if all you need to differentiate a Vuillaume from a Stradivari is the presence or not of a pencil point we are approaching the ludicrous.
  7. Fabio Biondi plays in a baroque ensemble, he's using a baroque style bow and the strings on the instrument appear to be modern.
  8. The 'Baron d'Assignies' of 1713 is heftier in the belly than many.
  9. Unfortunately Stewart got that wrong. He's a true expert on keyboard instruments but continues to make errors regarding violins.
  10. There are two arguments which continually get mixed together creating no end of confusion. One affirmation that Pollens questioned was whether or not it is the Messiah from the workshop of Stradivari all the way to its final display case in the Ashmolean. The other has to do with whether or not Stradivari made the violin, and if fake who made it.
  11. Tartini measured the string tension but gauges and strings were a lot less standardized than they are today. Then introduce the wild card of local tuning pitch.
  12. That neck came from the 'Soil' but it too had been lengthened and re-shaped before it found its way into the Museum. Bridges in general were somewhat narrower than today, around 39mm.
  13. Sometimes up to 10mm shorter. The overall neck angle including the fingerboard was about the same. Vuillaume was modifying mostly to make the neck more comfortable for current playing technique. This meant a longer neck and more slender, especially at the heel. The longer string length is what increased the tension and not so much the angle over the bridge which was very similar.
  14. With all of the background noise we have to put up with on a daily basis our hearing is likely less sensitive than it would have been for someone living in that time.
  15. On hearsay, Natahan Milstein was to have played it once. Can't prove it. The soundpost crack is microscopic and wouldn't have kept anyone from playing it. There were other reasons.
  16. a bit larger than what we use today. shorter in length, chubbier at the heel, greater in width and thickness
  17. There is a neck pattern amongst the Stradivari artefacts for a contralto viola, a tenor viola and cellos but no violin. I can't imagine it would be too different from the contralto viola except proportionately smaller. Sacconi didn't delve too much into the original neck shapes or dimensions.
  18. You can download a pdf copy of what was done to the 'Cannone' in 2004 when I changed the fingerboard back to a copy of the one made by Sawicki in Vienna etc. http://www.premiopaganini.it/archivio/pdf_doc/congresso2004.pdf
  19. Zheng Quan studied in Cremona and then returned to Beijing where in a very short period of time he became director of the violin making school. I believe he has now retired from that position but is still active as a maker. Good solid professional making. You could probably send him the photograph and ask him if he made it.
  20. Frank Kovanda the bow maker also confirmed this as much of the work was done while at Pickerel Wisconsin over the summer. Frank was there to help.
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