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Will L

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Everything posted by Will L

  1. Sometimes one wonders if such subtleties are really useful or if they are a psychological boost. But IMO humans are very capable of seeing and feeling incredibly minute differences and IMO this particular one is helpful. The first time I saw this was back in about 1970 on a Strad which had belonged to Heifetz. And it appeared to be carefully and intentionally done. I always figure that guys as picky as Heifetz should be our guides instead of players who say, "Aw, I can play on anything." The other thing I noticed was that the upper G side of the fingerboard seemed flared out, giving extra space in the higher positions. Of course a neck which has pulled to the right will give somewhat the same look, and unfortunately I don't remember checking the setting of the neck; but I imagine it was fine and the fingerboard was actually flared a bit. I intended to try this sometime but never got around to it. If anyone has tried it or might try it in the future, I'd like to hear how it works out.
  2. The University of Nevada, Reno, is selling a Stradivari which was donated in the 1970's. It is an interesting violin which, IMO, qualifies as one of those Stradivari that Mr. Burgess and others mention in our all-too-frequent discussions of whether Strad was all he is cracked up to be. I'm familiar with this instrument and have a few interesting stories, but will wait until after it is sold to tell them. (Please note I am not implying, or intending to imply, anything at all about its authenticity or condition.) I hope all goes well for the instrument and it finds a good home. https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/about-last-week-recreational-marijuana-coming-to-henderson-unr-seeks-to-sell-rare-stradivarius-violin-kate-marshall-for-lieutenant-governor
  3. Cute story. Reminds me of Art Linkletter and his show and books called, "Kids Say the Darnedest Things." How do you suppose he got to the point of readiness to make such a connection? Do you talk about violin making much around him?
  4. This synchronization is an interesting point to think about. Not as simple as it seems. We can't start a stroke until the finger is in place. That is an ironclad principle. If we are playing two or more notes in one stroke, it is the placement of each finger in turn which gives the change in pitch, effects the accuracy of the rhythm, and the texture of how the notes sound depending on how fast and accurate we are. If you think of your series of notes as cutting off a long piece of taffy into pieces, quick slicing will give sharper edges and slow slicing will give rounder edges. (Not a perfect analogy.) For example, if we want clarity and good rhythm, the fingers have to be put down very quickly and exactly with the metronome. But the action must already be complete by the beat If we want a more mellow, fuzzy beginning, we can put the finger down more slowly, but we still have to consider getting it in place by the time the beat comes. All this is very subtle. The general rule is that a musician must do whatever is necessary to have a note begin exactly on the beat, and will sacrifice the end of the note before it in order to arrive on time. If you think of martele strokes, they start abruptly on the beat and it doesn't make much difference whether there is a lot or a little space at the end of the note. The player MUST do whatever it takes to prepare to start the next stroke right on the beat; that space is up to the taste and musical choice of the player as well as his technical skill. If, theoretically, we try to put a finger down at exactly the same time that we start a stroke, by law of averages we will be ahead one third of the time, correct one third of the time, and late one third of the time. (We might not really be able to tell if we are close, but if we could see or hear microscopically there would be a difference.) So, in effect, to be right it is the finger and not the bow which establishes our good or bad rhythm. We can never opt for a late finger, obviously.
  5. Of course this is a point well taken, and if you have remembered anything I have written you will recall that I have on more than one occasion stated that I'm not at all well versed on what has been done in the last 15 years or so. If things have changed that much, wonderful, but I'll have to see, hear, and play one of these urban myths to believe it. I played 30 or so Strads and not one was a BAD violin; and perhaps 10 were remarkable, and several super. And I played (let's round it down) 100 modern instruments by makers considered the best, and not one of them is as good as the 13 or so fine Strads, why should I believe that ANY modern maker is creating truly great violins? You'd think that in a lifetime of playing thousands of violins I would find one or two as good as a Strad or dG. But I didn't. Luck? In short, as far as has been proven to me, no one does more than talk generalities as if they have actually played one of these violins, but they never have shown even a recording from Y-Tube that sounds all that good to me. Please remember what the argument here is: That some modern makers are making violins as good or BETTER than the BEST old master instruments. I haven't seen "as good" much less "better." Better than is a tall order when we discuss Strad and del Gesu, and we should be conservative before we start giving out unwarranted accolades. I don't see it as helpful when people start spouting certain things as if they were gospel. It's a fair enough point to dispel myths about Stradivari, but we shouldn't supplant those myths with our own misguided ones. —MO
  6. There are a few makers who might be making instruments as good as lesser Cremonese instruments, but try and find one better than the FINEST. You won't. Or, to my knowledge, even as good. If you can make a violin as good as the Sarasate Strad, send it to me. If you can make a violin BETTER than that one, it wouldn't be a violin; it would be some divinely inspired device. Pronouncements as above come too easily, IMO. And one problem in these general discussions is that very few people have had a chance to see what a great violin can do under the fingers. Probably less with each passing year.
  7. I might as well disagree for the sake of discussion. "It is reasonable" IF by "the old guys" you mean ALL the old makers. It is NOT so reasonable if we talk of specific celebrated makers. What I means is that bad old makers, just like bad new ones, make bad violins. I'd say what is reasonable is to say good makers make good violins; that is what gives them. And guys that make bad violins are bad makers; that's why they were adjudged "bad" in the first place. Take good ol' Walter Mayson, for example: isn't it interesting that they only kept his bad violins, consigning the good ones to the fire in order to give him a reputation only a mother could love. We hear stories of bad Strads, but I'm still waiting to see one myself. Curiously, a bad Strad—or at least mediocre one—such as the XXXXXX (name withheld to avoid a law suit ) is still better than a mediocre Gagliano family instrument. A T-shirt might sum it up easily and best: GAGLIANO BAD IS WORSE THAN STRAD BAD. Or perhaps: GAGLIANO DOES BAD BETTER THAN STRAD I wish more contemporary makers could make a violin as good as the XXXXXX. I'd buy a dozen of them. And I think the urban myth is ridiculous that bad Strads got thrown away, so only the good ones remained, thereby giving the illusion that he only made good violins.
  8. I don't think of it that way. Being inconsistent would be a negative, and I find variations in Strad to be a positive, personally. IMO, if you look at the scrolls by the makers considered tops, it seems they were not making to win a prize; and I find that looseness refreshing. And, unlike most of us, they weren't trying to copy someone else or adhere to some overly constraining standard. (Not suggesting Strad didn't have standards.) I think if a noob showed up at an international competition with a scroll like the one on the Il Cannone, and Guarneri had never lived, he'd not get a gold medal.
  9. This link has enough scrolls from the old masters to keep occupied for days. To me, offhand, it looks like once Stradivari started a scroll he didn't sweat and strain to achieve some perfection based on his "ideal" pattern. There is a surprising freedom to his work considering how many of us in our youth fell into believing that he was always perfect and flawless. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/548031848382229724/
  10. FWIW, Weisshaar's glossary gives the following for upper, middle, lower bouts: French: "la largeur du haut; la largeur aux "C"; la largeur du bas" German: "der Bügel, ober; der Bügel, mittel; der Bügel, unter" (probably mittel Bügel, for example, in a sentence) Italian: "la zona, superiore; la zona della C; la zona inferiore" Karl Roy is slightly different. French: The same as Weisshaar German: der Oberbügel, etc. Italian: la fascia superiore, etc.
  11. Darnit! I was looking for a violin that features a sound post crack. Just like I expect my Holiday Inn to feature a swimming pool and a continental breakfast. I don't think the seller is using quite the right term, when using "feature" as a verb: https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=to+feature&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8
  12. A picture is worth two words: wing crack. I don't get as much milage as the Chinese. https://www.google.com/search?q=image+of+violin+wing+crack&client=safari&rls=en&tbm=isch&imgil=q6GdJWIYL_56YM%3A%3B4xb-pe-Gv2hMXM%3Bhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.hosmerviolins.com%2Fwing-crack-repair-2%2F&source=iu&pf=m&fir=q6GdJWIYL_56YM%3A%2C4xb-pe-Gv2hMXM%2C_&usg=__IJYHYBlgjaTHMja4Mbc7ZvA7YgA%3D&biw=1119&bih=752&dpr=2&ved=0ahUKEwi_iaTU6-
  13. My experience is the same as deans'. Never had a violin out of quite a few, one as old as 1654, crack while I had it. And I've taken some of those violins on tours through all sorts of climate change for months at a time. The one place almost all violins get a crack is at the lower wing of the F-holes. I assume those often occur within the 1st hundred years. Fortunately, those are easily glued. I was sitting next to a violinist with a Gagliano once during a rehearsal while the conductor was talking. The violin suddenly cracked from the bottom of the treble F to the bottom of the violin. What is interesting to me is that it made such a loud pop that the whole orchestra looked over to see what was going on. Talk about great acoustical properties!
  14. Manfio and I must be long lost brothers. Oh, how I admire neatness and order. And WOE! how it has always escaped me. IMO, neatness is much more important in repair or restoration of other people's instruments than in making. As long as a needed tool doesn't get lost for hours at a time, what th' hey! Once I couldn't find my hide glue for several days.
  15. Not for collecting, but for a classification: VIOLIN-PLAYING ANIMALS: faunaphydlia? As used in a sentence, "I and my faunaphydlist orangutan Jockey Bear took the Metro by storm and made the cover of Paris Match. But it took all my busking profits to get the Strad restored."
  16. To start with, if your violin doesn't look similar to this, it is most likely not authentic: http://ingleshayday.com/archive/instrument/48-violin-pietro-antonio-dalla-costa.html But the ability to compare is not always easy, depending on your experience, and you might not be able to tell for sure. And another problem is there can be a great deal of variation in violins of some makers; not all their violins will look exactly alike. Your instrument would not have to look exactly like the pictured one to be authentic. If there IS enough similarity, or any doubt, then you should send some good pictures to an expert. Or, post them on MN as a start. Another point is that not only might your violin not be a dalla Costa, it might not even be a copy of one. People or "factories" sometimes put in labels which have little or nothing to do with the design of the instrument. But, also, your instrument could be by another valued maker. Anyway, it is better to make sure of what you have, not only for your sake but for the violin's. I think good examples of this maker would go for much more than $50,000 these days. Good luck.
  17. Vilopeggery ain't a bad start, Rue. To bring serious conversation to a thread supposedly for trivia, I have mixed feelings about collectors. They say that without salting away many of the great old violins, there would be fewer fine examples today. But as a player, I was always bugged by violins held by people who couldn't play them; some not at all. One fellow had a Strad and would look at it lovingly from the front, while plucking each string in turn to listen to the pure ringing. Then he'd turn it over and look at the back and continue the plucking. That was it. At least he didn't collect bows! I suppose to bring things back to the trivial we should suggest to the philatelists that "IF THEY CAN'T LICK 'EM THEY SHOULDN'T COLLECT 'EM. I mean, if a stamp isn't used to send a scathing anonymous letter to your city council it is just in some rich man's limbo. Shameful, I declare! (insert smily-face if necessary)
  18. I have never liked the term philately for the collecting of stamps. But I admire the buggers for taking up dictionary space with their own dedicated word. But what are violin collectors stuck with: violin collecting! And THAT is two words, in case anyone is counting. Why don't we have our own high-brow word, suitable for forgetting and mispronouncing, just like stamp collectors? Are we not just as valuable to society? Heck, they only need some tweezers and a magnifying glass; and a huge collection can be stored in the smallest safety deposit box. We have to have a cleaning rag and a bow, and even a small collection can fill a closet (which could be better used as a small preventive asylum every time we get the urge to buy another instrument). I demand equality. Any ideas for a good word? Note that stupidity is in such general use for so many other endeavors that to avoid confusion we must eliminate it from consideration.
  19. This link which Romberg posted is fascinating if you can wade through it: https://charlesdominique.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/lutheriepastel-copie.pdf On page four it discusses stringed instrument making in Toulouse and mentions that the making of strings was introduced by two Italians. In the last paragraph it mentions Rabelais in "Pantagruel" : "Racler le boyau" = scrape the bowels. Which came to mean "play badly on a violin." Then, further, it says that the term became associated with cats (as we all know) even though the "boyaux" were from sheep. (very rough translation)
  20. Note that the M has a small raised d and a period. "Manufactured instrument" sounds plausible, but that shouldn't be the way to abbreviate it. This is more fun than searching for gold or the secret of varnish, both messy and expensive.
  21. I'm guessing the "chez le" (followed by an abbreviation probably meaning "sign") means "at the sign of ___________." Then I see Connor nailed it: "L'entre de la rue _____."
  22. There have been some complaints recently about repair persons writing in instruments, but this is an example which is delightful and historic. We are lucky to have it. Perhaps the three words before "a Toulouse" are "la rue ________."
  23. What is your reason for buying a violin? If you need a good playing instrument with a good sound, and a good bow, buying any instrument without playing it and comparing it with others doesn't make much sense. Then, what are your reasons for wanting to buy this specific one? Since the pictures aren't helpful you might be buying unseen problems. If you can't do repairs and set up yourself, you may have to add several hundred dollars to get the violin and bows into playing shape, and even more if there are hidden problems. This is a commercial instrument which can't be pinned to a given maker and isn't worth much even if well set up. The fact that it may be loosely patterned after Amati is of no importance.
  24. As you can see by this link ( https://www.pinterest.com/pin/51861833179605760/ ) noted makers are all over the place, even with themselves. Some are more careful than others, but even then I don't think we can assume they were always trying to give perfect indicators for the bridge placement.
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