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GlennYorkPA

Is this a Genuine PIROZZI?

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On 1/7/2017 at 6:21 AM, jacobsaunders said:

That sort of inference is evidently sufficient for the CIA, as we have recently seen. For the record, just because I couldn't be bothered to spend my weekend thumbing through old catalogues, I would not exclude some Markneukirchen „Historicism“. I would need the usual photographs to exclude such a possibility though.

 

 

I understand that you wouldn't want to spend time leafing through old catalogs but the fact that such an investment in time might be necessary speaks to the unusual nature of the instrument. I spent quite a bit of time reviewing your invaluable list of catalogs and turned up no comparable. This alone tells me I should proceed with caution before lopping of the head and replacing it with something nicer.

I'm taking a few more pictures in the hope they might assist with ID.

Regarding the edges of the rib corners, they don't seem consistent and each one seems to show a different amount of C bout end grain.

Unfortunately, the f holes (or should we refer to them as 'flaming swords of Islam'?) are too narrow to get a good view of the interior. They are even too narrow to insert a modern sound post. The maximum aperture is 5mm so no post diameter greater than 5mm could be inserted in the usual way. More later.

Glenn

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4 hours ago, GlennYorkPA said:

 This alone tells me I should proceed with caution before lopping of the head and replacing it with something nicer.

 

 

As a matter of principal, in such cases where one is not sure if the head is original to the body or not, I would strongly disaprove of „lopping of the head and replacing it with something nicer”. As it is, you are not sure if the head belongs to the body or not (I could imagine it does). After “Lopping it of” you will have the certainty that the instrument no longer has its original head.

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On 1/4/2017 at 5:15 PM, GlennYorkPA said:

 

Thanks Andrew.

It definitely has some age. Apart from the stain from the 'sweaty chin' there are two shims under the shoulder of the neck, the shape of the button has been changed and the pegbox has been grafted onto the neck with a 5 cut graft (usually a mark of quality as it is harder to do than the normal 3 cut graft). All indicators of age so your date of c. 1820 seems quite reasonable to me and I'm happy to accept it.

I thought the vanish looked more German than French but if it had been German, Jacob would have nailed it in a flash but even he seemed to point it in the direction of France. I've never heard of the French Baroque revival scene. Can you say a little more about that? Was it a period when they copied baroque instruments?

Glenn

 

Hi Glenn,

The reshaping of the button as well as a more sophisticated graft are both nice indicators to me as a player. Might not mean "value", but people have cared about the instrument over the years. Good signs!

The Baroque revival has its roots in the late 18th and early 19th Century. It's when players first became interested in revisiting Baroque music, and specifically with authentic instruments. To their great embarrassment, the French found that they had burnt most of those instruments during the Revolution, so they had to somewhat rebuild from scratch. Example instruments include Chappuy's rather fanciful restoration of a viol da gamba. 

The best way to look at it, is that musical culture in Europe had become sufficiently broad and deep, that it became interested in its own history. It was the first time that players explicitly brought out the old, dusty music and told audiences that it was just as valid as the 'Music Of The Now'. As part of that, revivalists looked to perform the old music on the instruments for which it had been written. Nothing like this had happened before in Western classical music, and it didn't take root immediately. The cult of The Now was the rule of music to that point, and beyond; for example, Mendelssohn found book one of J S Bach's solo violin partitas & sonatas being used as fish wrapping!

It's a mostly forgotten epoch, but it fed IMO into the formation of two very important facets to the 19th Century. One was it got French luthiers interested in scientific analysis of the best instruments of the past -- look at the fantastic collaboration between Felix Savart and Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume. The second was that the resurfacing and reinvigouration of Baroque music helped form the aesthetics and ideals of the Leipzig circle and proper Romanticism (eg Mendelssohn, the Schumanns, Gade, Bennett, et cetera, as opposed to the Nazi-approved Wagnerists).

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13 hours ago, Andrew McInnes said:

Hi Glenn,

The reshaping of the button as well as a more sophisticated graft are both nice indicators to me as a player. Might not mean "value", but people have cared about the instrument over the years. Good signs!

The Baroque revival has its roots in the late 18th and early 19th Century. It's when players first became interested in revisiting Baroque music, and specifically with authentic instruments. To their great embarrassment, the French found that they had burnt most of those instruments during the Revolution, so they had to somewhat rebuild from scratch. Example instruments include Chappuy's rather fanciful restoration of a viol da gamba. 

The best way to look at it, is that musical culture in Europe had become sufficiently broad and deep, that it became interested in its own history. It was the first time that players explicitly brought out the old, dusty music and told audiences that it was just as valid as the 'Music Of The Now'. As part of that, revivalists looked to perform the old music on the instruments for which it had been written. Nothing like this had happened before in Western classical music, and it didn't take root immediately. The cult of The Now was the rule of music to that point, and beyond; for example, Mendelssohn found book one of J S Bach's solo violin partitas & sonatas being used as fish wrapping!

It's a mostly forgotten epoch, but it fed IMO into the formation of two very important facets to the 19th Century. One was it got French luthiers interested in scientific analysis of the best instruments of the past -- look at the fantastic collaboration between Felix Savart and Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume. The second was that the resurfacing and reinvigouration of Baroque music helped form the aesthetics and ideals of the Leipzig circle and proper Romanticism (eg Mendelssohn, the Schumanns, Gade, Bennett, et cetera, as opposed to the Nazi-approved Wagnerists).

 

Hi Andrew,

Very interesting comments.

You are quite right about the structural hints of a good playing instrument. I always look for wear around the edges of the table especially where the chin and hands rub. On this instrument, the soft summer growths have worn away leaving the winter reeds conspicuously proud. The C bouts have also received enthusiastic bow strikes so this wasn't kept in obscurity for years but was put into service.

Your comments on the French baroque revival remind me of the decade succeeding the great fire of London in 1666. The wealthy merchants and cultured classes all lost their instruments in the great fire of England's cultural center and it took a decade or so for them to rebuild their homes and fortunes after which they went seriously shopping for replacement instruments. Many makers at home and abroad were happy to fill the void.

Glenn

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The more I look at this, I'm thinking the head is original. I'm also more convinced that it comes from Mark/Schoen trade.

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So...regarding the soundpost...

A very thin one is inserted through the little round hole portion of the sound hold?  Or through the main part of the sound hole?

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2 hours ago, deans said:

The more I look at this, I'm thinking the head is original. I'm also more convinced that it comes from Mark/Schoen trade.

You could be right. I'd just like some certainty before I remove it. If the instrument is nothing more interesting that MNK trade no one is going to shed any tears.

I'm still hoping might be able to shed some like on the Chambroes Pirozzi brand.

Glenn

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2 hours ago, Rue said:

So...regarding the soundpost...

A very thin one is inserted through the little round hole portion of the sound hold?  Or through the main part of the sound hole?

Rue, I think the SP might have been whittled down slightly to fit through the f hole but, as Deans points out, the treble f hole has been widened very slightly but it clearly wasn't the original maker's intention to use a standard diameter SP. 

Another point of entry could have been the end pin hole.

Glenn

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6 hours ago, GlennYorkPA said:

 

Hi Andrew,

Very interesting comments.

You are quite right about the structural hints of a good playing instrument. I always look for wear around the edges of the table especially where the chin and hands rub. On this instrument, the soft summer growths have worn away leaving the winter reeds conspicuously proud. The C bouts have also received enthusiastic bow strikes so this wasn't kept in obscurity for years but was put into service.

Your comments on the French baroque revival remind me of the decade succeeding the great fire of London in 1666. The wealthy merchants and cultured classes all lost their instruments in the great fire of England's cultural center and it took a decade or so for them to rebuild their homes and fortunes after which they went seriously shopping for replacement instruments. Many makers at home and abroad were happy to fill the void.

Glenn

Hi Glenn,

That was indeed a sad event in London. It's even more sad, given that the musical world in London had barely begun to rebuild after the Cromwell disaster destroyed British musical culture. He and his nutball fundamentalist supporters burnt many an instrument.

And then they "solved" the nutball problem by shipping them over to the colonies.... but that's another story. :rolleyes:

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21 hours ago, GlennYorkPA said:

A few more details

 

 

Good pictures. I like what I'm seeing!

I don't have an opinion about an original head or not, but I'd definitely agree with Jacob. Keep the silly thing, and roll with the fashion statement. If you still can't stand the appearance, call it Medusa and don't make eye contact. ;)

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15 hours ago, Andrew McInnes said:

Good pictures. I like what I'm seeing!

I don't have an opinion about an original head or not, but I'd definitely agree with Jacob. Keep the silly thing, and roll with the fashion statement. If you still can't stand the appearance, call it Medusa and don't make eye contact. ;)

The only opinion ventured so far is that this instrument is German trade in which case why worry about a head replacement?

Folks were happy to cut down Strad cellos and Maggini fiddles in the past to make them more comfortable for the players and, whereas I wouldn't do that to a valuable instrument today, I see no harm in modifying an element of an instrument that disturbs me and was never made by the original luthier. 

That said, I may have found an interim solution that avoids that thing looking at me while I play.......

Blindfold.jpg

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Aw!  Now I feel sorry for ?her!  She can't help how she looks! ^_^

I think it's the original head, grafted to a shorter neck, after it was turned it into a violin!  So I think it's all original parts!

 

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12 minutes ago, Rue said:

Aw!  Now I feel sorry for ?her!  She can't help how she looks! ^_^

I think it's the original head, grafted to a shorter neck, after it was turned it into a violin!  So I think it's all original parts!

 

17 minutes ago, GlennYorkPA said:

The only opinion ventured so far is that this instrument is German trade in which case why worry about a head replacement?

Folks were happy to cut down Strad cellos and Maggini fiddles in the past to make them more comfortable for the players and, whereas I wouldn't do that to a valuable instrument today, I see no harm in modifying an element of an instrument that disturbs me and was never made by the original luthier. 

That said, I may have found an interim solution that avoids that thing looking at me while I play.......

 

I propose changing the name from Medusa -- from whom one must shield one's own eyes -- to Justice -- who shields her eyes from everyone else.

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11 hours ago, Rue said:

Aw!  Now I feel sorry for ?her!  She can't help how she looks! ^_^

I think it's the original head, grafted to a shorter neck, after it was turned it into a violin!  So I think it's all original parts!

 

Awwe Rue, you missed the intent.  It's to shield HER eyes from the player...........sorry glenn

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Blind Cupid is a traditional motif.

Quote

Alas, poor Romeo! He is already dead, stabbed with a white wench’s black eye, shot through the ear with a love song, the very pin of his heart cleft with the blind bow-boy’s butt shaft.

 

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10 hours ago, Addie said:

This may be of interest: still life by the Leyden Master, c. 1635.

 

image.png

 

Thanks for this, Addie, it is hugely important.

This painting proves that there were four stringed violins with fancy outline in the 17thC. I rather assumed that mine was originally for more strings like a viola d'amore but I think this picture shows that it is modeled on an authentic early instrument. The biggest discrepancy between this on and mine (apart from the scroll) is the f holes which look fairly conventional in the picture.

Glenn

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Well, not necessarily.  There are scalloped violins as well, that never were anything but violins.  But your sound holes match that viola d'amore, and with the head grafted on the peg box grafted on the neck, I think it likely was cut down and remade into a violin.

Here's an eBay example:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Baroque-style-SONG-Brand-Maestro-4-4-violin-strong-rich-sound-3502-/322306641572?hash=item4b0af90ea4

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If it was a viola d'amore in the first place, it would have additional rib inserts due to the former broader neck, and probably much higher ribs (good to see at BC's photo). IMO more probable that it was meant as a violin featuring what Jacob named Historicism.

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3 hours ago, BassClef said:

Nice instrument! It is described as a chordophone, a type of lute unfretted and bowed with that ubiquitous blindfolded head.

Apart from a festooned body, it doesn't have much in common with my instrument which remains annoyingly free from comparables. 

Glenn

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