Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Left-handed Violins ...


JimMurphy

Recommended Posts

Dunno, but I saw a violin ad in the Strad mag for a modern antiqued violin which was set up left handed even with a left headed chin rest.

I thought I was seeing things, perhaps it was just a printing error.

Since the orchetra is generally set up for right handed players, I doubt that Strad had in mind the leftie market.

Good question though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well in that time there wasn't a whole lot to change to make it left handed since the chinrest wasn't in use. The only changes would have been to put the pegs in differently and switch the positions of the bassbar and soundpost. I think that a normal righthanded pegbox configuration would work with unwound gut strings if strung up lefthanded. I also think that a normal righthanded bassbar and soundpost would work pretty well if strung up left handed you would just need to try different string gauge combinations to balance the strings with each other. So I think that a baroque style violin is naturally ambidextrous if you don't mind cutting a new bridge.

The question that I'm more interested in is whether a musician at the time would have played lefthanded in public.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The harpsichord, virginal, organ, piano, violin, viola, 'Cello, Bass, all are right handed beasts.

If one person out of 25 in an orchestra played left handed on a left handed set up, you'd have asymetry,

and the sound would not project into the audience.

Here's a leftie from the Strad mag.

As you can see, there is a printing error in the photo of the front, since the photo of the violin from the side is correct and as normal.

post-24957-1218055541_thumb.jpg

post-24957-1218055612_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, I hear you about the Orchestral righthanded performer scenario.

Back in the day they had Soloists, Court Jesters, etc. too ... perhaps

lefthanded.

I'm thinking more along the lines of an authentic instrument

brought in for internal repair [years later] with either:

lefthanded bassbar installed; or righthanded bassbar

installed and visible glue-line suggesting a lefthanded bassbar

may have been previously installed.

Only the fortunate few [sacconi, Hill, Jeffrey Holmes ???] who have

examined the inside of these fine instruments may know.

Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, I hear you about the Orchestral righthanded performer scenario.

Back in the day they had Soloists, Court Jesters, etc. too ... perhaps

lefthanded.

I'm thinking more along the lines of an authentic instrument

brought in for internal repair [years later] with either:

lefthanded bassbar installed; or righthanded bassbar

installed and visible glue-line suggesting a lefthanded bassbar

may have been previously installed.

Only the fortunate few [sacconi, Hill, Jeffrey Holmes ???] who have

examined the inside of these fine instruments may know.

Jim

In those days left handed people were labeled as heretics and burnt at the stake. :) :)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I presently know left handed violinists and knew a few old left handed violinists - I actually learned from a lefty. They all played "over the base" or left handed strung standard. It always amazed me how they do it but all left handed violinists I have known played a standard violin. I have never seen a left handed violin.

Very interesting question.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I presently know left handed violinists and knew a few old left handed violinists - I actually learned from a lefty. They all played "over the base" or left handed strung standard. It always amazed me how they do it but all left handed violinists I have known played a standard violin. I have never seen a left handed violin.

Very interesting question.

Lefties are cool :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have tried to play the violin left handed, it's a nightmare, it's like driving in Ireland.

I can cut f holes, badly, left handed, I try to use the left hand and the right side of my brain,

it's good for the mind and the left hand....actually.

My right hand is like a baseball mit compared to my left hand, these days.

Ok, if a client asked me specifically to make a leftie fiddle and gave me a deposit would I say yes ?

Ummm, yes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Being left handed and having studied violin to a fairly high standard (playing it the normal traditional way) I always felt I had a positive advantage over my right handed colleagues..After all it’s the left hand that has to be most agile.

Like Ben says holding and playing the other way around real mucks up the look of an orchestra and would make it a nightmare to share a desk with someone playing backtofront.

When I worked with Roger in Germany we built two left handed instruments for professional classical musicians who had had to totally relearn playing because of injury, one was a rank and file viola player and the other was the baroque violinist Reinhard Goebel.

Both instruments where totally back to front from bas bar position through to peg positions.

neil

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of all the hundreds of historic violins made by these four Great Masters

[including both Andrea & Nicolo Amati], has any one Model ever been

authenticated as an original 'lefthander' ?

I'm not sure how we'd know one of these instruments was originally left-handed, unless something unusual could be noticed about the peghole bushings. Left-handed violins seem to work fine with the bass bar and soundpost in the normal, "right-handed" locations. Wear wouldn't necessarily be an indicator, because a normal violin might have been played left-handed, even if the peg locations interfered somewhat.

Much more radical alterations, such as "cutting down" the size have been done on many valuable instruments to make them more acceptable to the mainstream market, so it would surprise me if an original left-handed instrument from that period survived.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have tried to play the violin left handed, it's a nightmare, it's like driving in Ireland.

... My right hand is like a baseball mit compared to my left hand, these days.

Hi Ben,

Bowing with my lefthand, fingering with my right just seems natural to me.

Then again, my violin playing is about as good as my singin' in the shower

[not too bad] :) :) :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...

When I worked with Roger in Germany we built two left handed instruments for professional classical musicians who had had to totally relearn playing because of injury, one was a rank and file viola player and the other was the baroque violinist Reinhard Goebel. Both instruments where totally back to front from bas bar position through to peg positions.

Thanks Neil,

I had heard about Goebel's situation [injury]. Interesting, that Roger 'did' make the lefty changes.

Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure how we'd know one of these instruments was originally left-handed, unless something unusual could be noticed about the peghole bushings. Left-handed violins seem to work fine with the bass bar and soundpost in the normal, "right-handed" locations. Wear wouldn't necessarily be an indicator, because a normal violin might have been played left-handed, even if the peg locations interfered somewhat. ...

Thanks much, David. That all makes a lot of sense.

My next trip to the Library, I'll see if I can find that book I read

about the lefty bassbar glueline. Don't recall whose instrument it was.

[P.S. What's goin' on with that 'Symmetry' thread ... is it the car-buffs or blue&white scooter aficionados

running-up the "Views" ? It's just crazy, Man ... CRAZY !] :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I presently know left handed violinists and knew a few old left handed violinists - I actually learned from a lefty. They all played "over the base" or left handed strung standard. It always amazed me how they do it but all left handed violinists I have known played a standard violin. I have never seen a left handed violin.

Very interesting question.

Here's an example of a lefty using a standard strung fiddle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7Q8V1F1zSQ...feature=related

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've read that handing a left-handed violin to a right-handed player is an excellent technique for demonstrating the difficulties of the new student of the instrument, and may make teachers (and others) more sympathetic to, and aware of, the inherent difficulties.

For all the techniques that you may have developed for playing the "right" way will be of no use at all. It does not translate to a body that has never attempted such a feat. Perlman will be instantly transformed into, well, me, for example.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks much, David. That all makes a lot of sense.

My next trip to the Library, I'll see if I can find that book I read

about the lefty bassbar glueline. Don't recall whose instrument it was.

[P.S. What's goin' on with that 'Symmetry' thread ... is it the car-buffs or blue&white scooter aficionados

running-up the "Views" ? It's just crazy, Man ... CRAZY !] :)

You can only carry on a discussion of symmetry vs. asymmetry so far before attention spans are exceeded.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[P.S. What's goin' on with that 'Symmetry' thread ... is it the car-buffs or blue&white scooter aficionados running-up the "Views" ? It's just crazy, Man ... CRAZY !] B)

Whoa, I hadn't noticed....... 28 thousand "views" of that thread? :)

I wonder if a bunch of "scooter trash" sites linked to it? :)

Or the people from www.HillmanImps-can-kick-your-azz.com :)

Might be Yacey's jet truck too. Are you bringing that to the VSA convention, Bill? It could go in the "innovation" exhibit. Might get an award too.

Maybe Jeffrey has access to web stats like "referrers" and can find out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I presently know left handed violinists and knew a few old left handed violinists - I actually learned from a lefty. They all played "over the base" or left handed strung standard. It always amazed me how they do it but all left handed violinists I have known played a standard violin. I have never seen a left handed violin.

Very interesting question.

A lot of Cape Breton fiddlers play this way; Ashley MacIsaac is probably the most famous (or infamous) of the bunch but there are a lot of others. It's a solo fiddle tradition so there's a lot of room for individuality. You can't tell from listening that they're playing LH but it sure looks odd to watch them! -Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A lot of Cape Breton fiddlers play this way; Ashley MacIsaac is probably the most famous (or infamous) of the bunch but there are a lot of others. It's a solo fiddle tradition so there's a lot of room for individuality. You can't tell from listening that they're playing LH but it sure looks odd to watch them! -Steve
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...