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actonern

chin placement throughout the history of violin playing

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Many old instruments have a wear area on both sides of the tailpiece, where I gather sweat, beards 'n whatnot wore the varnish away before chinrests were commonly adopted.

Some of these instruments have a wear area on the right side that is just as prominent as the left, implying that it was common to hold them under the chin in this way, which seems ergonomically counterintuitive.

Can any of you with knowledge of such things comment about styles of play that would have led to this "right side" wear?

Best regards,

Ernie

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Thanky you Addie!

In this connection, are there modern "baroque" players that use this setup?

E

I play my 18" viola on the right.

It works for me.

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Thanky you Addie!

In this connection, are there modern "baroque" players that use this setup?

E

Here are a couple of players from Bach Stiftung in Swizterland:

chins.jpg

Here is a novel approach for viola.

capture2pt.png

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you can check

and see that a chinrest sometimes is not even an option. Also I saw few videos of players in north Africa playing with the violin under the chin and the scroll on the floor. Seems to work fine for them.

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Aside from being able to more easily get to the tip of the bow, what reason would a player have to hold the instrument this way? It looks like the right arm would have to do a lot more work to play the G string.

E

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you can check

and see that a chinrest sometimes is not even an option. Also I saw few videos of players in north Africa playing with the violin under the chin and the scroll on the floor. Seems to work fine for them.

In my avatar, Neapolitan street musicians, c. 1790, the guy has a shoulder strap.

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I always found it fascinating that a lot of "antique" finishes for violins create/d a lighter area on the right of the tailpiece. Never knew people played that way - Addie, thanks for the image, which I've been staring at for most of my life (is it Scott Skinner?). I knew there was something wrong (like the angels' legs in Botticelli's Venus) but I never noticed it was his chin position!

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In my avatar, Neapolitan street musicians, c. 1790, the guy has a shoulder strap.

I have just realised it! :)

Ernie, if you look for bysantine lyra on wikipedia there is a picture that dates 990-1100 and shows how they were probably holding the instrument.

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I always found it fascinating that a lot of "antique" finishes for violins create/d a lighter area on the right of the tailpiece. Never knew people played that way - Addie, thanks for the image, which I've been staring at for most of my life (is it Scott Skinner?). I knew there was something wrong (like the angels' legs in Botticelli's Venus) but I never noticed it was his chin position!

Ahem, I am not a fan of J. Scott Skinner. wink.gif

Niel Gow is the man. Strong up bow, shouting HEUCH !!!

The Gows, Wm. Marshall, now those were fiddlers!

Here is Niel, with his brother on the 'cello. Notice the characteristic yellow finish of early Scots instruments.

post-35343-0-43917900-1307046765_thumb.jpg

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I've actually had a couple of fiddles with holes where the strap was screwed to the body!

Yes Neil Gow of course - Scott Skinner was a bit of a Jessie, with his courtly squiggles and all that ....

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I occasionally see players who place at least the point of the chin to the right. They usually don't realize it until it is pointed out. The reason I have seen (maybe here) for baroque players doing that is that without a chin rest that position gives much better control of the fiddle.

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Aside from being able to more easily get to the tip of the bow, what reason would a player have to hold the instrument this way? It looks like the right arm would have to do a lot more work to play the G string.

The tailpiece acts like a 'hook' and makes it easier to hold the instrument on the collarbone without it slipping out. It can make things feel difficult for the left hand. When I've tried this position the G string was the least of my worries, although in general a baroque hold can easily result in the instrument being a bit more horizontal if that's what you mean.

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Leopold Mozart, in his Violinschule, says the chin goes to the right of the tailpiece. Geminiani doesn't mention it, if I recall correctly.

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That's from orchestral players holding the violin upright on their knee for long periods while not playing!

I guess that reply was for my question...in that case, big thanks! It makes sense now...I go for the four light areas, then. ;)

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