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Set up modern violin for Baroque play?


Steve R.
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Hi all. I have been wondering what set-up adjustments could be made to a modern violin - short of Baroquing it - to provide a more period sound for early music play. I realize that the obvious first step is a full set of baroque style gut strings and a baroque bow.

What other non-structural changes to set-up would/might be appropriate to try?

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All that's really left is the bridge and tailpiece, and removing as much of the chinrest/shoulder rest as you can stand (given the modern neck you may want to preserve the chinrest, but try playing without just to see how the instrument sounds).

Unless the baroque bridge is done by someone very good though I'm not sure it would be worth the cost of a new one.

I'd suggest telling your string supplier what you're doing, in case it affects what strings they recommend.

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I had the oportunity to go to a concert of the Italian consort IL GIARDINO ARMONICO, a baroque group that I love.

I've noticed they are heterodox about baroque set: they used chinrests, shoulder rests, ebony fingerboard (a bit longer than the baroque, I think) and produced a big, dark, marvelous sound. After the concert I went to the backstage to try to see their instruments but they were very willing to get out of the Theatre (I Milanese sono di poche parole...)

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A "period sound" requires an appropriate technique first and foremost. Such a technique can make even an entry-level Palatino with steel srings and a cherry-wood bow sound "authentic".

But I know this is not what you mean - what you mean is what will make it easier to achieve this sound if you already have the required playing technique. Apart from the strings and bow which you've mentioned, the bridge is the most important "exterior" feature which will contribute to getting the sound you want.

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Thanks for the replys. I'm still in very early stages of thinking about this, I suppose I'll take it in steps and see how it goes. The violin I have in mind to set up this way is due for it's annual inspection soon, I'll talk with the luthier about a bridge then. Maybe a baroque violin will be in my future!

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What is the difference between the modern setup bridge and the barouqe setup bridge? Wouldn't the neck need to be replaced as well? I don't know much yet about the tradtional baroque instruments but I thought I seen that the next was at not such an angle and thicker???

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I don't remember reading any threads regarding the differences in a baroque bridge and a modern bridge. And, I do remember reading in that time that the neck is different (thicker and at a lesser angle) on the barouqe instruments which is why I wondered why nobody mentioned that in this thread . . .

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What the actual differences in the bridge would be I am also curious to know... and what the expected tonal effect of those differences are.

However, Brian, if you check my original question, I'm thinking about this from the standard of not making structural changes to the violin. I just paid for a neck reset on my other violin and don't want to go there on this one, it's not worth it, plus it is fine for modern play. Better to sell it and buy a new "baroque" violin with the proceeds.

From finally reading the "fittings" thread though, the info may be here just hiding as "Tony Strad's Bridge Template" or something like that.

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Nobody mentioned the neck because Sreizes said "short of baroquing it" and "what other non-structural changes" etc.

This will roughly illustrate the difference in shape between modern and what is considered "typical baroque".

Bridges

It comes from a page with some interesting claims which I would take with a grain of salt for the moment.

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