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Found 19 results

  1. Andreas Preuss

    Stradivari's secret was a concept?

    What and how Stradivari worked in his workshop will always remain a mystery. But from pure facts how many instruments he produced average over the years tells a story of a man who worked with principles far ahead of his time: Fast, efficient and perfect. I calculated the averages from the Goodkind book and came to the following figures 1700 - 1715 12 violins and 1 cello 1716 - 1725 15.5 violins and 1.5 cellos 1726 - 1737 7.5 violins And this does not reflect the entire work volume of the shop, because they made with three people in the workshop fittings, cases, strings and even bows (because they couldn't order them in Mirecourt) as well This makes clear to me what mindset he had. He wouldn't waste a minute on something where he didn't know the result. Every single work procedure followed rules to get the perfect result he wanted in the minimum of time. I think if we replace the word SECRET with the word CONCEPT, we are getting actually to the point, because a concept doesn't look at ONE gimmick, a concept tires to build consecutive steps so that the entire process brings the best results. I am pretty convinced that in order to understand what Antonio Stradivari was doing in his workshop, we need to figure out what he was doing for which reason to make the next step possible. And this becomes pretty complex. So no wonder that none of those smart people in the past figured it out. Now if someone is asking me, how do you think Stradivari made his instruments? Of course, I can't give a irrefragable theory on this. I can only say that back in the 18th century the common concept was alchemy. It was the idea to transform Lead into Gold but not in the literal sense. (even though some modern Alchemists tell Physicists that their theories are nonsense) Transforming lead into gold is only an analogy to transform a something worthless into an ideal form or simply to enhance its qualities to its optimum. If we apply this mindset on what result Stradivaris intended to get from 'imperfect' material wood, this makes sense to me. This gives me, without having any proof for it, the idea that he worked with alchemical ideas. At least it seems that the wood he used was not left in its natural state. This would support the idea that alchmeical procedures were used to improve the material qualities. When I looked into it I translated it like this: Alchemical procedures follow 7 different transformative processes described with the terms Fire Water Wind Earth Putrefication Filtration Agglomeration However, the order might be changed and some of the procedures can act together. So we can interpret the transformation of materials like this: The raw wood is steamed (Fire and water) and thereafter needs to dry (wind). Earth would be the ground on the wood and putrefication filtration and agglomeration describe the process to make the varnish. (At least recent scientific research points into the direction that the wood might have undergone some treatment.) I know it is very weird, but in the end things which were going around in Antonio Stradivaris mind mustn't make sense to our modern scientific way of thinking. This might be in the end his biggest secret.
  2. It has been suggested to me, since I am only an interested layperson, that instead of repeating things I have read which, in some cases, may be fallacious, given that many of the participants in this group are highly able and knowledgeable professionals in lutherie, I should ask questions. Up to now, what I have been doing, even if it did not seem that way, was trying to learn in my own poor, fumbling way. Before I could ask a question that would be likely to give me the kind of answer I was looking for, I would have to know enough to be able to ask the right question. An example of a wrong question would be: "How would I go about making a violin that sounds as good as a Stradivarius?" - that would produce all kinds of answers, some unhelpful, and when it came to the ones that seemed helpful, I would have no idea which of them to believe. So here we are: (to frame my questiion, I am beginning with some backrgound material; please forgive me if it contains mistaken and false assumptions; but if you do not understand how I am thinking, you will not know what information I am really looking for) The violins of Antonio Stradivari have been praised for the beauty of their tone, and for how well they project. However, other makers of violins, both classical and modern, have been able to approach or even exceed his violins in those respects; I can mention Domenico Montagnana and Jacob Stainer for sweetness of tone, and Joseph Guarneri del Gesu for projection - but I don't have to resort to referring to makers whose violins go for high prices at auction. Many modern makers also achieve similar heights in these traits. On the other hand, at least some concert soloists, when speaking of Stradivarius violins, single out a third trait for praise, and they often appear to claim that this virtue is Stradivari's unique point of excellence. Any violin, even the cheapest student violin, will make different sounds when bowed, or plucked, or when the strings are struck with the wooden part of the bow. But a Stradivarius, they say, has a deep reservoir of tonal resources waiting for the dedicated performer who takes the time and effort to learn how to bring them out. Expressiveness is a very basic virtue of the violin, so I would presume that any violin that is of good quality has it to a degree. To have that trait par excellence, presumably a Stradivarius violin not only has several different "voices", but it has several different very good voices. So here is/are my question(s): This expressiveness, this versatility: - is it something that modern violin makers consciously strive for, in general? - are modern makers doing well enough in general at this that this characteristic of the violin gives no more substance to the "Stradivarius myth" than tone and projection? - are any modern makers particularly noted for the expressiveness/versatility of their violins? - what design features of a violin should be emphasized, or what design techniques should be utilized, to improve the expressiveness/versatility of a violin? There you are, finally: my question.
  3. Dimitri Musafia

    Where did Stradivari get his wood?

    I've heard all sorts of stories about where Stradivari got his tonewood. Some say that he travelled to Val di Fiemme to select trees to fell for the spruce, other stories say that he travelled to Venice to source his maple. Are there any reliable information sources that cast more light on this aspect of Stradivari's work? Thank you in advance!
  4. Davide Sora

    The Universe Within

    I found this on the web, awesome images, finally the proof that Stradivari was extraterrestrial.... Joking aside, the varnish looks very rich in pigments, something I would not have expected, according to the latest research. I do not know neither the author nor the violin, does anyone know if its conditions are good (original varnish?) and so if the images are reliable? This gentleman seems to have many personal theories, does anyone know him?
  5. Dimitri Musafia

    Ever see an X-ray of a case by Stradivari?

    Not likely - to my knowledge it’s never been done before. Until now. The International Violin Making School of Cremona kindly offered me their X-ray lab to examine the circa 1680 “Milan” Stradivari case and try to understand how it was made. The resulting images are being studied, for future publication, but already many interesting features are appearing. For example, the fact that the curved perimeter around the body of the violin is made of multiple blocks of spruce glued together in such a way to ensure that the grain is always crosswise, a lightweight and effective way to protect the violin from bumps. Don't worry about the nails - they go into the top and bottom panels and are thus invisible (in fact only visible in the x-ray image). Unprecedented new light on a distant past!
  6. Kevin Kelly

    Cello corner template

    The cello corner template in the PG thread has got a lot of attention. I want to show something that i think is pretty interesting, but not related to that topic. It looks to me like there's part of a design of a guitar rosette left on the maple. This design looks like it matches the type of rosette on the Stradivari guitar in Paris, the "Vuillaume". Some antique guitar people were interested to see this, because as I understand it, this guitar suffers from the some of the same kind of suspicions as the "Messie" - namely that some people have wondered if it really came from the Strad. workshop or was a French copy, since it was in the hands of Vuillaume for some time.
  7. Davide Sora

    Scroll with blackened chamfers

    As is well known, starting from 1680/1690 Stradivari systematically began to blacken the chamfers of the scroll. To me it has never happened to see instruments from earlier periods with this feature, but I would ask if anyone has ever seen the work of other makers showing this detail before Stradivari. Was he the first to do it or were there any precedents?
  8. Festival hit, Strad Style is coming to DIGITAL HD ON NOVEMBER 7TH. You can pre-order it on iTUNES now... PRE ORDER ON ITUNES So, Pre-ordering is really helpful for us because it helps to boost the movie to the front of their page. And really -- we NEED to have violin documentaries getting seen by the world, no? In any case, it is very appreciated and please, spread the word. You can still see the movie on the big-screen If you're in: Denver, Colorado - Nov 3rd, 4th, 5th DENVER FILM FESTIVAL Brattleboro, Vermont - Nov 5th BRATTLEBORO FILM FESTIVAL Et Cultura, St. Petersburg, Florida - Nov 18th Find out more at www.stradstyle.com If you haven't yet watched the trailer - here's a link.
  9. Hi all, I was poking around the local university's library yesterday when I found another example of Nicolò Amati's connection to Stradivari's work, in this case, concerning his decorated instruments. The Hill's do touch on this point (what an incredibly comprehensive work!), stating: "We have seen two violins, the work of Nicolò Amati, which were gracefully embellished with inlaid ornament: in one of them the ornamentation consisted of double purfling, and a fleur-de-lys inlaid in black at the corners of the back and belly, interspersed with small precious stones, while a design of similar character was let into the sides at the blocks." This passage is almost certainly referring to the 'King Louis XIV' violin at the Smithsonian: http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_763853 . They then make brief mention of Amati family instruments with painted decorations. My copy of "Stradivari" by Stewart Pollens only mentions in passing that ornamented instruments were a thing in Cremona and Brescia prior to Stradivari. The "Sradivarius" exhibit catalog put out by the Ashmolean Museum mentions that Nicolò Amati's work influenced "the high arching and hollow edgework" found in the 1683 'Cipriani Potter' Stradivarius, and leaves it at that. So I was a little surprised to find this photo of a violin attributed to Nicolò Amati, dated 17th century in the caption, located in the National Museum in Prague (I forgot to note the book title ). I guess this could be the 2nd decorated Nicolò Amati referred to by the Hill's in the passage above. What really surprised me was how strongly Stradivari's and Nicolò Amati's decorated instruments resemble each other. The concept is all laid out right here: Inlaid ornamentation - probably using black mastic - on the scroll and rib corners. Double purfling with (Ivory?) dots or diamonds set in between the two rows. So, who can we attribute this concept / vision of instrument ornamentation to? Stradivari's work was undoubtedly influenced by Nicolò, but the source didn't have a date for this instrument, and apparently Nicolò was still putting out new work after Stradivari had made his decorated instruments. Is this evidence of an active collaboration between both of them? Why isn't this instrument brought up as an example in every book passage pertaining to the Amati family's / Stradivari's decorated instruments? Or in passages alluding to circumstantial evidence of a possible Stradivari apprenticeship under Nicolò Amati (along with the 1666 'Serdet', similar forms, etc.)? Anyone care to venture a date for this instrument? I couldn't find it in Tarisio's 'Cozio Archive'. Is it even an Amati? (it wouldn't be the first falsely attributed instrument in older literature). Anyone willing to comment on shared / dissimilar stylistic traits, construction methods, evidence for or against collaboration or a possible apprenticeship between Stradivari and Amati are welcome to add as much as they want to this topic! Thanks! Joel
  10. I recently purchased a Stradivari copy based on the 'Da Vinci - Juif Errant' violin circa 1714. I would like to find more information about the original violin, especially how it received its nicknames, and its provenance prior to ownership by Toscha Seidel. Any sources of information would be appreciated. So far, I've found the Tarisio/Cozio and the Jost-Theone Web sites, but they don't have exactly what I'm looking for. I've seen a reference to the four-volume Stradivari set, but have to finish paying off my credit card purchase on the violin before I even think about buying such a set of books. Thanks in advance, Attachment: copy (left) and original Juif Errant
  11. English: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/collection/museo-del-violino?hl=en Italian: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/collection/museo-del-violino?hl=it
  12. Over the last couple of years I have extensively studied Stradivari's guitars, guitar forms and templates and guitar making methods, to come to a more close reconstruction. The large guitar was made after Cremona template MS. 750. The small guitar was made after the little form in Paris (E.901.6). The cases were based on the "Giustiniani" example. These were the first guitars ever made after the Stradivari forms and templates, instead simply making a shortened version of the "Hill" or copy a guitar with later alterations (Rawlings). An article about this investigation, along with a plan for the little guitar, was published in the summer edition of American Lutherie. A shortened excerpt of this article can be found here: https://thedutchluthier.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/antonio-stradivari-guitar-maker/
  13. not telling

    Petherick's book on Stradivari (1900)

    www.gutenberg.org/files/36535/36535-h/36535-h.htm This looked interesting as I looked through briefly. I'm posting it here in case it is, half because I'm worried I wouldn't find it again if I don't post it for my own handy reference. I imagine others may find the reading and illustrations enjoyable too.
  14. feelingfaceform

    Sam Zyg Vengerov Kreutzer Strad copy

    Anyone knows if there are recordings online with Vengerov playing on his Samuel Zygmuntovicz Kreutzer Strad copy 1727?
  15. Hello, I am a new maker trying to source Sacconi's "Secrets of Stradivari" book. It is proving to be a hard book to find these days. If you have a used copy to spare please let me know. I understand it is an invaluable resource. Thanks, J
  16. Dnes jsem se rozhodl představit jeden z mých houslí Opus 11 z 2012 Model je Mesiáš Strad inspiroval v roce 1716. Změnil jsem possioned f díry Tomáš Alvin krále a jeho studie o tom, jak Stradivari possioned f díru. Mesias Strad f hole jsou konstruovány poněkud jinak, než je obvyklé Stradivari.
  17. I spent an enjoyable afternoon looking at the "Prince Ludwig of Bavaria" ex-Strad at I&H. Much more fun than playing Sodoku or filling in crosswords... My thoughts are that this is a rather wonderful example of the sort of nineteenth-century fake produced by Jack Lott and others, and a great specimen excepting the later addition of an (?) older top. I thought that the back was real Cremonese, but not Stradivari, and the ruby red varnish applied around the c-bouts is typical of Lott and others like him in the 19th century. It matched the scroll too and made a lott of sense to me (pun intended). I don't know about the ribs, something Italian anyway, but they didn't go with the back. I couldn't get the top at all. I have some ideas but not strong enough to call on - definitely not "original" as stated below. If it's jiggered with by Anton Sitt, that will be a sober lesson about making assumptions (will certainly make me sitt up and pay attention - sorry couldn't resist that). Here's the NJSO report on the instrument. Clearly, if something has older certificates, it must be genuine.... "A booklet about this instrument was published by Albert Berr of Bad Wiesee, Germany in 1950. According to the Hamma certificate, the table of this instrument was probably replaced by von Ranftler of Munich, though Axelrod indicates that Dietmar Machold's father, Heinz-Joachim Machold, acquired the original table and reinstalled it (Herbert Axelrod, Evelyn & Herbert Axelrod Stringed Instrument Collection [no location or date of publication], p. 60). Associated with this instrument is a certificate written by Chardon & Fils in 1929. This certificate indicates that in 1851 the maker Anton Sitt of Prague constructed the back, ribs, and scroll for a table that they believed Stradivari had made as a replacement for an Amati violin. However, the Chardon & Fils certificate indicates that the back made by Sitt was of two pieces, whereas the back of the Ex-Prince Ludwig Ferdinand is of one piece. Furthermore, the top of the Ex-Prince Ludwig Ferdinand is not in the style of Amati. Thus, the Chardon & Fils certificate must not belong with this instrument. Prince Ludwig Ferdinand of Bavaria was an ardent amateur violinist. The back of this instrument is heavily damaged. There is a crack running from the bottom, just left of center, up to the lower right corner. There are also multiple cracks descending from the top."
  18. Hi everyone. A while ago I watched the Vengerov Masterclass video, At 24:09 in the video, Corina Belcea started to play. I was really amazed at her playing, but more the sound of her instrument. Before I saw the video, Ive never heard of her. So I did a Google search, got to a Wikipedia page, and got some info. I wanted to specifically find out what violin she plays, as the violin in the video had this amazing, sweet sound that I've never heard before. Now I've heard a few Stradivarius violins, like Vengerov, David Garrett, Joshua Bell(Live), Anne Akkiko Meyers, Andre Rieu, etc. But the sound from the violin that Corina Belcea plays in this video really sounded different in ways. According to the info I found on Wikipedia, "Belcea plays a 1666 Stradivarius violin on loan from the Beare Family." So I again did a Google search, and found out the 1666 Stradivarius violin is the oldest known surviving Instrument of Antonio Stradivari. It is apparently labeled "Alumnus Nicolai Amati, faciebat anno 1666" He was 22 at that time the violin was made. Strangely, considering that this is his oldest instrument, I couldn't find much info on the violin itself. So my question is, does anyone perhaps have pictures/info/plans on this violin? I'd love to make a copy of this violin someday. Has anyone noticed a difference in the sound of that violin that she plays? Ps. I do hope the violin that she plays in the video is indeed the Ex-Back Stradivarius(1666), otherwise I don't know how I'm going to find out what violin she was playing when that video was made. Thank You for reading.
  19. http://www.ebay.com/itm/281058784027?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2648 An argument against excessive polishing?