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martin swan

Violin ID help please

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The outline, del Gesu model, nice arch, no pins, the color, extended lower eyes and droopy wings on the fs and their inexplicable lack of any scoop, the weak pegbox and scroll with the center turn stopping short, the blocky look of the head from the front, the violinist's own location > Hungarian, 1920s-30s.

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The outline, del Gesu model, nice arch, no pins, the color, extended lower eyes and droopy wings on the fs and their inexplicable lack of any scoop, the weak pegbox and scroll with the center turn stopping short, the blocky look of the head from the front, the violinist's own location > Hungarian, 1920s-30s.

That is a nice looking fiddle. The Hungarians from early 20th, late 19th centuries definitely deserve a second look.

I'm not at all disputing the Hungarian origins of this fiddle. I have no idea what its origins are, but I wonder what "Hungarian" in the 1920s to 30s time period and a decade or two earlier means. After 1918 Hungary got the boundaries it has today. But before that date, Hungary would have included parts of present day Romania, Slovakia, Austria, and I've probably left out a couple of countries. Hungarian culture continued in those severed border areas right up to the present day. Is a violin made in Bratislava, present day Slovakia, in 1920 a Hungarian violin or a Slovak one?

A look at the Benedeck book on Hungarian makers reveals a lot of makers whose primary efforts occurred outside of present day Hungary.

I don't know if the styles of violin making in Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and other major cities of the Austro-Hungarian empire were very different from one another. If they were, this region would be an interesting puzzle and a potential danger zone for national attribution for violins made there in the first third of the 20th century.

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My wife's great-grandfather was Transylvanian, right on the border. As the borders moved, which they did several times, he moved with them--he was "from" a number of towns but always considered himself Hungarian, since he stayed on that side of the border when it moved.

OK, so let me say "Budapest", then, not Hungarian, since the violin shows some similarity, to me, with the Budapest makers.

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Thanks to both of you - I agree that national definitions are dodgy! I think I'd refer to something made in what's now Slovakia as "Bohemian", current boundaries of Austria as "Austrian", present-day Romania would be "Hungarian" as all the violin-making of note pre-Gliga happened in what was then Hungary (Romania acquired a large part of Hungary post WW2).

With this violin I would feel safest to follow Michael's advice and say Budapest or Budapest School - I think the date may be pre 1900, s I have a feeling the violin has been tarted up, maybe given a coat or two of clear after the f-hole repairs - looks newer than it is.

I haven't actually seen this violin in the flesh - it seems to have a very good sound, and I have to say i like the look of it a lot, though the scroll is a bit of a disappointment.

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If you're referring to Karl Muller the 20th century Markneukirchen maker, the 2 examples I've seen have been very precise, mid 1900s, very similar to EH Roth Workshop instruments, nothing like this, though both with broadly Guarnerius f-holes.

But I see in Jalovec that there was a Carl Muller, mid 19th century who made 20 violin - doubt this is one of them - and an earlier Markneukirchen Karl Muller working late 19th century.

It's something of a leap from "not Karl Muller" to "maybe Nemessanyi or Szepessy"!

Who told you it might be Carl/Karl Muller?

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I agree that national definitions are dodgy! I think I'd refer to something made in what's now Slovakia as "Bohemian", current boundaries of Austria as "Austrian", present-day Romania would be "Hungarian" as all the violin-making of note pre-Gliga happened in what was then Hungary (Romania acquired a large part of Hungary post WW2).

Should I buy you a map?

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I wonder what "Hungarian" in the 1920s to 30s time period and a decade or two earlier means. After 1918 Hungary got the boundaries it has today. But before that date, Hungary would have included parts of present day Romania, Slovakia, Austria, and I've probably left out a couple of countries. Hungarian culture continued in those severed border areas right up to the present day. Is a violin made in Bratislava, present day Slovakia, in 1920 a Hungarian violin or a Slovak one?

Bear in mind, when you are looking through you're new book, that Cremona was Austrian from 1701.

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Yes I would like a map of everywhere east and south east of Berlin from about 1750 to the present day, showing all changes in national boundaries however temporary - everyone interested in violins should have a firm grasp of these rather basic issues. Why anyone gets confused is beyond me.

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