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bungling_amateur

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    Strange old stuff

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  1. Perhaps in a few generations there will be scientific and technical studies and breathless press releases about trying to analyse what is the secret to E. H. Roth's success.
  2. Do you mind me asking, how is the insurance valuation calculated, if it is not simply the expected market value of the item?
  3. Is it not possible to measure the grain lines for dendrochronology, from a CT scan?
  4. Yes the stamp has curly things at the top 2 positions and the bottom 2, only the left and right pairs are star-points. It would be lovely to see a much bigger closeup of the stamp (though I guess it won't make a difference to the ID given above)
  5. Thank you Andrew for posting this. Do you know Herbert L Edlin's book, "Woodland crafts of Britain"? He documents a lot of this kind of thing from a similar time period, with lots of b/w photos. He describes materials, concepts, etc. but it is great to also see the handling of the tools and the speed of working (I know the film is speeded up... I mean the confident accuracy and efficiency)
  6. I thought conductors hadn't been invented yet in Bach's time?
  7. A pound of gold is lighter than a pound of feathers: Gold is measured in troy pounds (5760 grains ≈ 373.24g), but feathers are weighed in avoirdupois pounds (7000 grains ≈ 453.59g). Now an ounce of gold is heavier than an ounce of feathers...
  8. There's a difference between using a word to describe a particular sound, and using a word to describe an instrument (and its potential or variety or potential sounds) If we are using words to describe the sound then presumably a chocolatey sound being produced on a violin E string has something in common with a chocolatey sound being played by the kettledrums. Its not the drums themselves that are chocolatey (unless the timpanist has too many long rests and an addiction to sweeties). As David Beard says a good instrument should be usable to create a wide variety of different kinds of sounds. The only words I would mark down are "old" and "new". I don't have an idea what an "old sound" might sound like. Perhaps a bit faint and scratchy, like a shellac 78 played on an antique hand-cranked portable machine; and a new sound could be the same recording played on an iphone through slightly tinny bluetooth speakers?
  9. It wasn't until I got a strange "home-made" violin in its crude plywood home-made case that I realised there was a right and a wrong (left?) way round for violin cases. Unfortunately the violin is a bit wider than normal and I have yet to find a right-handed case it will fit into. Still confuses me every time I open the case...
  10. There's also rectified vs unrectified, the rectified ones have the surface ground down to make them smooth and even which "improves" the tone but makes them fray more. I once read a Victorian instructions for care of gut harp strings; you were to take oil (don't know what kind), add a drop of essential oil (lavendar or violet I think) and then apply it sparingly to the strings using a feather. I did wonder how much was actually for string care and how much for decadent aestheticism.
  11. I always think it is worthwhile to compare violin studies with other instruments. I first came across guqin from the work of John Thompson: http://www.silkqin.com/ He discusses changes in guqin setup connected to the switch from using silk strings to using metal-nylon composite strings - soundpost position changes or removal, possibly re-graduation. He includes questions about whether the denser higher tension synthetic strings cause more damage or degradation to the structure of the wood than the traditional organic strings. These would all have implications for the kind of questions being studied here.
  12. This is all very interesting and true, except that there is a big difference between studying music as an intellectual discipline (its history, psychology, structures, etc) and learning how to do it as a craft tradition. All different musics as performing arts are immersive craft traditions - I remember talking to Malian kora players, they talked about how they basically studied full time with their relatives from childhood (it was an uncle and nephew I met) in order to master their music and performance art. I don't see that as much difference from learning how to play the violin in a symphony orchestra; neither better nor worse, just different. The mistake is to think that Classical Western music is the "pinnacle" or the "standard" against which other music traditions can be compared, or into which they can be assimilated. We occasionally have friction here in discussions of top-level violin-making, and organological theoretical analysis of violins - two utterly different ways of studying "violin making", with different methodologies and different outcomes (the maker produces fine instruments, the analyst produces technical papers). I think there is a parallel with studying music.
  13. Did you never read / see Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected "Parson's Pleasure" about the Chippendale commode? The antiques dealer tells the owner that it is worthless, "firewood", but he would give them £20 because it had pretty legs. You can guess what happened when he turned up with his van to take it away...
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