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pointless fiddle?


maestramusica
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Has anyone else heard of this maker?

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...959508&rd=1

I have seen only one violin shaped like this outside a museum. It was played by Alasdair White of the Battlefield Band, a very well known Scottish Traditional Band that played in Denver last fall. Alasdair's is without pointed corners like this, but much lighter in color- more of an amber color. Anyone know where violins of this shape were more likely to be made?

I asked him then if there is any real consistent difference in sound from this style, but he didin't have an answer for me on that, just that EVERY violin has a different sound from the next one.

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Anyone know where violins of this shape were more likely to be made?


I know there are US makers who do them. I think the shape just comes from an older tradition, though. For example, if you look at the picture of what appears to be the oldest known Hardanger fiddle, the Jåstadsfele dated 1651, http://www.hfaa.org/images/gamelfele.jpg you can see the resemblance.

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I knew I had seen the shape in museums and reference books on the history of violin development. Actually, I have a friend who recently commisioned and took possession of a newly made Hardanger Hybrid- the same tuning and playing as a normal violin, with pretty much the same shape, just lots of extra sympathetic strings and longer pegbox (AND a carved dragon head guarding the pegs). He plays it just the same, but the sound is somewhat different, like a Viola D"Amore with all the sympathetic vibrations happening! Very neat! Reminds me of the sound in "Forth Eolingas" from the Lord of the Rings soundtrack.

Mr. McD- Where do you get these cornerless fiddles? My impression, correct me if I'm wrong, is that you mostly sell new instruments. Do you have a maker who regularly produces these insteresting violins? Or do they tend to come in one at a time as consignment type sales peoples attics and barns?

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I knew I had seen the shape in museums and reference books on the history of violin development. Actually, I have a friend who recently commisioned and took possession of a newly made Hardanger Hybrid- the same tuning and playing as a normal violin, with pretty much the same shape, just lots of extra sympathetic strings and longer pegbox (AND a carved dragon head guarding the pegs). He plays it just the same, but the sound is somewhat different, like a Viola D"Amore with all the sympathetic vibrations happening! Very neat! Reminds me of the sound in "Forth Eolingas" from the Lord of the Rings soundtrack.


I've heard one of those too! I love the sound.

The "hourglass" violins are usually called "guitar-shaped" (I couldn't remember that, at first). Here's someone who has them on offer: http://www.trademarkguitar.citymax.com/cat.../63593/4001.htm

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I doubt if the hardanger was the inspiration. Joshua Bell played on one made by Stradivarius before moving up to a real Strad. Here's a photo of his "Guitar Strad" with its current owner:

www.metroactive.com/papers/cruz/02.02.05/amadeus-0505.html

In his early days, Vuillaume made these, too. I think maybe they are simpler to make: one single piece of ribbing and no corner blocks.

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Joshua Bell's first Stradivari was a violin of this shape.

It is more correctly referred to as a 'Gusetto' violin, not Cosetto.

Bell bought his Gusetto Strad because it was cheaper than a regular Strad - buyers prefer the more conventional shape although the inside of the corpus of a standard violin has this shape.

The corner blocks fill in the 'corners'.

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I doubt if the hardanger was the inspiration.


I'm sorry for having been unclear, Rich. I was only suggesting that all 'guitar-shaped' fiddles, including the Jåstadfele, might owe their shape to some earlier model -a mediaeval Arabian guitar, maybe? but probably a viol, I suppose- that didn't appeal to Andrea Amati (or whoever we're identifying as the maker of the first modern violin).

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The classic hardangers always had kind of a Brescian look to me, with their long, narrow, pointy f holes. I wonder if any Italians made viols with that very flat area under the bridge and the fluting on the f holes. Isn't there some baroque instrument like the citern that has the hardanger-type sympathetic (is that the right word?) strings, too? So maybe music ideas were moving between Scandanavia and the Mediterranean in the 1500s. I don't think any of the archaic string instruments from Asia developed the sound box like the viol family instruments. But maybe Marco Polo brought it back, along with the spaghetti. Somebody help! I've stretched my ignorance as far as possible on this one.

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The Viola D'Amore, still in use in early Baroque, had the sympathetic thing going too. It had 7 strings above the fingerboard that were to be played, and 7 VERY thin strings below the fingerboard, that were to vibrate sympathetically. My College violin teacher was also a Viola D'Amore player who later became president of the American, and I believe, the International Viola D'Amore Societies. So I had many opportunities to hear its sound and get a close-up look at it in my college years. When, one night he went to practice the D'Amore, opened the case, and found the delicate rosette under the strings had collapsed, he flew with it next day, (it had it's own ticket/seat) to Peter Prier's Salt Lake City Atelier. Prier was the only luthier he trusted with HIS "baby"(1970's).

WEll, maybe I was a little informative, but definitely rambling!

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Really neat looking. How does it play and sound?

In the "pegbox" forum of this site, someone just posted a pic of one he made as his first building project.

I've been thinking (probably stupidly) that since I'm now sqeamish about taking my $4000.00 baby into certain venues, that maybe I could get something with reasonable STUDENT sound (for "fiddling"in the pubs, etc) that at least LOOKS fairly interesting. Hence, I'm looking at the "oddities" and decorative fiddles more than I really should be.

Of course, finding a REAL job, would be a first step towards affording to buy ANY other fiddle.

Thanks for sharing!

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Hi,

it sounds like a fiddle most of all but smoother and slightly nasally. I think because its dimensions are smaller than an ordinary violin and its waist is narrow with slightly high archings, it does not have the power but it does have a really unusual sound quality. Its the old wood too I suppose - sort of mournful. The wood on the back and sides is not maple - I think it is sycamore. The neck is baroque length and the bass bar is enormous! There are no cracks in it either which is good. Perhaps it is a long lost Strad!

When I played it, it wanted to play folky type music and this really unusual tune came out which I'd never played in my life before - perhaps its haunted by the ghost of an old fiddler

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My work violin is a cornerless. It's very robust but has a great tone. I have got so used to the shape that I actually prefer it to the conventional shape and so have just bought a viola without corners also. This has a great sound too and I myself believe that if anything the sound is better for not having blocks. The corners are only prone to getting chipped off anyway. I got a good deal on both instruments possibly because of the shape. You lot can continue to look down your noses at these instruments and I'll continue to pick up bargains!

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