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Michael_Molnar

Stradivari Mould/Violin Identification

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Andres,

I got it all screwed up or I am confused by the cacophony of discordant researcher opinions.

Pollens (Stradivari) says the inscription is "G". I agree. I was wrong citing that the inscription is PG; it is G.

The shape attribution according to some researchers is PG as you note. Well, I cannot agree with a PG attribution. I am using the Ashmolean blueprint. The lower bout is too large for PG. The match for the middle and upper bout is very good but not the lower bout, which according to Denis differentiates the PG and G moulds. I concur. However, I am not an authority.

Stay Tuned.

Mike

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My point being that the word moulds here might be referring to 'patterns' made out of wood as well, unless Stradivari was a pack-rat and had a shop the size of Lake Michigan, I don't see 410 full sized moulds, some cellos, hanging around the shop. But hey that could be just me, as I may not have the imagination you do! :) Just razzin' you! :)

It's good to have you back! :)

Numerous patterns, templates, etc. (drawn on paper) are also mentioned. Were I to rely on my imagination I'd imagine that Stradivari was a craftsman who knew exactly what he was going to do the next work day. Very few instruments are recorded as having exactly the same dimensions, and the few forms that remain are slim pickings for those who assert that a particular instrument came from a particular mould.

Expert (W) says that the Messiah was made on the "G", expert (X) says it was made on the "PG". Expert (Y) says the letter G is in the pegbox and expert (Z) says it isn't there. Which ever way the wind blows has become the order of the day.

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Hi Mike,

FWIW again: A quick peek at some references shows that Pollens has on several occasions linked the Messiah outline to the PG form, and apparently so did Cozio (you have that in your book).

Also interesting is that in the article in The Strad, Dilworth mentions that the 'G' has stars adjacent to it, and Hargrave in a letter to The Strad also mentioned this.

The real question would be whether the difference in shape is something the ribs off the PG mold could have taken on, i.e. is the total amount of rib compatible? If the lower bout is both wider and longer then this would indeed make one wonder.

Then again I am not very confident of most mold/instrument associations at this stage.

.

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According to correspondence between concerned parties (during the transition of ownership) 410 wooden moulds were counted amongst the artifacts in Stradivari's shop. How many of these were classifed as violin moulds is not known.

Hello jmannsback,

Can you please cite the source of the correspondence you refer to? If possible it would be instructive to see the specific phrase in Italian.

Thanks,

Bruce

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Is it possible the Messiah was constructed from various leftover parts by a hand other than Antonio's? This would explain the mismatch, would it not?

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Hello jmannsback,

Can you please cite the source of the correspondence you refer to? If possible it would be instructive to see the specific phrase in Italian.

Thanks,

Bruce

Italian Violin Makers, 1964 revised edition, Karel Jalovec.

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Italian Violin Makers, 1964 revised edition, Karel Jalovec.

Hi jmannsback,

I managed to find the original citation to which you made reference in the Jalovec. It is a note made by Dr. Illemo Camelli who, at the time, was Director of the Civic Museum of Cremona. The note is dated 21 october 1930 where Camelli lists and quantifies the material received from Giuseppe Fiorini (ex della Valle, Cozio collection).

"Modelli and modellini in carta n. 475, modelli and modellini in legno n. 410, modelli in madreperla n. 13, utensili in legno n.10, utensili in ferro n.46, sigilli in cera n.8, etc. etc."

"modelli and modellini in legno n.410" cannot be interpreted as 410 forms as the instrument forms (or moulds) are actually only a small part of this number. A less misleading translation would be forms (or moulds) and patterns of wood n.410. Dr. Camelli was the director of a Museum and not a violinmaker. The violinmaker would have known the correct and less ambiguous terminology.

The number 410 would include all the instrument forms (moulds) the corner block, neck block and lower block patterns, fingerboard patterns, tailpiece patterns, cello bridge patterns, etc. etc.

Unfortunately translations can be misleading and it doesn't help if the original is only a general description.

Thanks for your help on this.

Bruce

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Is it possible the Messiah was constructed from various leftover parts by a hand other than Antonio's? This would explain the mismatch, would it not?

Why not Antonio himself? Or if another hand, what then? Other hands are said to have worked on the instruments we consider to be Antonio's as it is, so it wouldn't necessarily be anything different.

I don’t see that the mismatch really needs explaining. It was their system, it was their decision whether to follow it or not.

Doesn’t it seem a little odd to put so much weight on the apparent departure from a “system” which in fact we know hardly anything about? It's all conjecture, and surely carries far less weight than all the other aspects of the instrument which lead experts to say it is from Stradivari.

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Hi jmannsback,

I managed to find the original citation to which you made reference in the Jalovec. It is a note made by Dr. Illemo Camelli who, at the time, was Director of the Civic Museum of Cremona. The note is dated 21 october 1930 where Camelli lists and quantifies the material received from Giuseppe Fiorini (ex della Valle, Cozio collection).

"Modelli and modellini in carta n. 475, modelli and modellini in legno n. 410, modelli in madreperla n. 13, utensili in legno n.10, utensili in ferro n.46, sigilli in cera n.8, etc. etc."

"modelli and modellini in legno n.410" cannot be interpreted as 410 forms as the instrument forms (or moulds) are actually only a small part of this number. A less misleading translation would be forms (or moulds) and patterns of wood n.410. Dr. Camelli was the director of a Museum and not a violinmaker. The violinmaker would have known the correct and less ambiguous terminology.

The number 410 would include all the instrument forms (moulds) the corner block, neck block and lower block patterns, fingerboard patterns, tailpiece patterns, cello bridge patterns, etc. etc.

Unfortunately translations can be misleading and it doesn't help if the original is only a general description.

Thanks for your help on this.

Bruce

You're welcome, Bruce. The text contained in the original letters seemed quite specific in stating there were 410 wooden moulds, aside from everything else. But there could be errors...

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You're welcome, Bruce. The text contained in the original letters seemed quite specific in stating there were 410 wooden moulds, aside from everything else. But there could be errors...

Dr. Camelli's original letter is vague but I don't think he ever intended it to be a exhaustive and detailed list.

"Modello" doesn't necessarily translate as mould nor "modellino" as small mould and these are the two words Camelli used in his original note. When I have done any translations into English for the Stradivari Museum I have had to use mould, counterform, peg or tuning peg, ink stamp, outline, pattern, mock-up, prototype and the like in order to be more specific, but with the advantage of seeing the item being described.

Bruce

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It could very well be that the messiah was built by Antonio's hand. I was just looking for a possible explanation why the pegbox mark doesn't correlate with the mold used for the rib outline, if I understand the discussion correctly.

When the old man died, I'm sure the boys would have used up any cast off parts and pieces to clean things up and generate some cash flow. I was suggesting that this may be how the Messiah came about, a partially finished instrument that the boys perhaps installed a neck that was kicking about the shop, and varnished it up.

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Perhaps the letter G on the Messiah neck refers to a specific neck length that originally came with the G model, but the various lengths could be varied somewhat? The difference between the different models could be very small indeed. Then a "G" neck could be fitted to a "P" model, for example, to obtain a specific string length. Just an idea. Or is that too far fetched?

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Dr. Camelli's original letter is vague but I don't think he ever intended it to be a exhaustive and detailed list.

"Modello" doesn't necessarily translate as mould nor "modellino" as small mould and these are the two words Camelli used in his original note. When I have done any translations into English for the Stradivari Museum I have had to use mould, counterform, peg or tuning peg, ink stamp, outline, pattern, mock-up, prototype and the like in order to be more specific, but with the advantage of seeing the item being described.

Bruce

And since I read that Stradivarius and his coworkers made about 1000 violins, making about 500 moulds (that is 1 mould every 2 violins) to make them would be quite time consuming... :)

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Perhaps the letter G on the Messiah neck refers to a specific neck length that originally came with the G model, but the various lengths could be varied somewhat? The difference between the different models could be very small indeed. Then a "G" neck could be fitted to a "P" model, for example, to obtain a specific string length. Just an idea. Or is that too far fetched?

Hi Torbjörn

Following my investigation The Messiah appears to have been made on the form MS6. I could show the evidence of that soon, if your are interressting in (just the time to replace my dead computer...)

francois

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Hi Torbjörn

Following my investigation The Messiah appears to have been made on the form MS6. I could show the evidence of that soon, if your are interressting in (just the time to replace my dead computer...)

francois

For those who don't know: The MS6 is also known as the P ( B )

Francois, many of us are very interested.

Stay tuned.

Mike

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Hi Torbjörn

Following my investigation The Messiah appears to have been made on the form MS6. I could show the evidence of that soon, if your are interressting in (just the time to replace my dead computer...)

francois

First of all, the Messiah MUST appears to have been made by Antonio ...

G

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Hi Torbjörn

Following my investigation The Messiah appears to have been made on the form MS6. I could show the evidence of that soon, if your are interressting in (just the time to replace my dead computer...)

francois

..............................

Very intereststed to hear your thoughts....

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Perhaps the letter G on the Messiah neck refers to a specific neck length that originally came with the G model, but the various lengths could be varied somewhat? The difference between the different models could be very small indeed. Then a "G" neck could be fitted to a "P" model, for example, to obtain a specific string length. Just an idea. Or is that too far fetched?

Good idea.

Mike

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Hi Torbjörn

Following my investigation The Messiah appears to have been made on the form MS6. I could show the evidence of that soon, if your are interressting in (just the time to replace my dead computer...)

francois

Someone have a extra computer they can spare? :)

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Hi,

Some troubles with my computer put me appart from the debate for a while.

So following the info I have (I guess a drawing done bu John Pringle)

the outline of the Messie fits with the P/B form Ms 6

(notice that the Ms 6 form has been retouched)

you will find as attached fills a superimposition with the MS6 and MS 49 outlines

Notice that asymmetries of both form and violin are rather significatives

Francois

Messie_sur_Moule_G_ms49.pdf

Messie_sur_Moule_G_ms6.pdf

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