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FoxMitchell

Arpeggione Help!

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So I got something a bit more exotic to work on this time!

It's an Arpeggione!

20190108_185307_Arpeggione.thumb.jpg.a1617dd16f1e5d35acb1885f49022a0f.jpg

 

Having never seen one of these before, I have a few question I was hoping someone could help me with!

Currently it has mystery strings on, and their thickness doesn't seem to indicate they're in the right places. Wikipedia says it's tuned in EAdgbe' . So, what kind of strings does it use?

And the setup, there is a soundpost in there but it's like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Do I just set it like a cello soundpost?

Thanks!  :) 

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Nice one!

I have never seen, much less played, an Arpeggione - but I do own and pretend to play a viola da gamba. I use Kurschner gut strings on mine, which is tuned one step below the arpeggione (I use D-G-c-f-a-d' instead of c-e-a in the middle, since I'm already used to having the third there from guitar). 

I would suggest a set from here: https://www.kuerschner-saiten.de/saiten-nach-instrumenten-strings-for-instruments/viola-da-gamba/tenor-bass/

I would also suggest getting one grade lighter (or maybe two) strings than a VdG with the same mensur, to tune it up one step.

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You can contact a gut string maker (for instance Kürschner, or Aquila, toro, Dlugolecki) directly. If you tell them which pitch and string length, they will calculate the ideal diametre and send you a well adjusted set. Do not forget to mention that you play at a=442 or so. It usually does not cost more. 

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2 hours ago, Felefar said:

I have never seen, much less played, an Arpeggione - but I do own and pretend to play a viola da gamba. I use Kurschner gut strings on mine, which is tuned one step below the arpeggione (I use D-G-c-f-a-d' instead of c-e-a in the middle, since I'm already used to having the third there from guitar). 

Noob question here: Which in EAdgbe' are we talking about? Like, ...Hz, which ones are they?

 

46 minutes ago, baroquecello said:

You can contact a gut string maker (for instance Kürschner, or Aquila, toro, Dlugolecki) directly. If you tell them which pitch and string length, they will calculate the ideal diametre and send you a well adjusted set. Do not forget to mention that you play at a=442 or so. It usually does not cost more. 

What do I do if the owner wants 'modern' strings on it (ie. not gut)? Do fractional size cello strings fit these things perhaps?

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5 minutes ago, FoxMitchell said:

What do I do if the owner wants 'modern' strings on it (ie. not gut)? Do fractional size cello strings fit these things perhaps?

I'm sorry, I have no idea. Maybe tell them These Things were made for gut strings? I think fractional (or any string made for the usual Cello Tuning) size Cello strings are not made for These pitches, and will be varieing too widely in Tension to be well playable.

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If the owner insists on "modern" strings, then - hmmm. I have tried modern strings from two different makers on the VdG, and the instrument didn't like them at all. I think the elasticity is different, so the frets were all wrong. On the VdG the frets are movable so in theory I could adapt to it, but that is hardly feasible on an arpeggione. 

You might find suitable strings by mixing different strings for fractional cello, but I will very strongly recommend gut. 

 

Here's a tuning chart for guitar; the arpeggione uses the same tuning (from Wilkipedia):

image.png.7526df85c0a6baf4072ba2cd709a0759.png
 

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5 hours ago, baroquecello said:

 Do not forget to mention that you play at a=442 or so. It usually does not cost more. 

Why 442?  Why not 432??

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Cool!  New to me too! :)

So - do you hold it like a little cello?

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8 hours ago, FoxMitchell said:

So I got something a bit more exotic to work on this time!

It's an Arpeggione!

20190108_185307_Arpeggione.thumb.jpg.a1617dd16f1e5d35acb1885f49022a0f.jpg

 

Having never seen one of these before, I have a few question I was hoping someone could help me with!

Currently it has mystery strings on, and their thickness doesn't seem to indicate they're in the right places. Wikipedia says it's tuned in EAdgbe' . So, what kind of strings does it use?

And the setup, there is a soundpost in there but it's like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Do I just set it like a cello soundpost?

Thanks!  :) 

Tuned EADgbe exactly like the modern guitar, Appears to have classical guitar tuning machine heads and headstock style. Interesting and something I've never seen before.

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The instrument you have pictured does not look like the arpeggiones that I have seen. Also the fingerboard seems to be askew.

By the way, the Schubert is FAR easier on its intended instrument than on the cello. That alone is reason enough to own one.

 

https://youtu.be/do9UgdfwM5Q

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I was under the impression that it was tuned like a guitar.  I like the Schubert "Arpeggione" sonata and am currently working on it in viola transcription.

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43 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

Thanks!  That was handy!  Cool to see.  

4 minutes ago, Johnmasters said:

I was under the impression that it was tuned like a guitar.  I like the Schubert "Arpeggione" sonata and am currently working on it in viola transcription.

If it has EADGBE strings...and they played the guitar in those days, I don't see why it wouldn't be tuned just like a guitar.  Be easier for musicians to play - they could use the same fingerings.  The sound of plucked vs. bowed instruments is different enough as is...

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33 minutes ago, Rue said:

Thanks!  That was handy!  Cool to see.  

If it has EADGBE strings...and they played the guitar in those days, I don't see why it wouldn't be tuned just like a guitar.  Be easier for musicians to play - they could use the same fingerings.  The sound of plucked vs. bowed instruments is different enough as is...

Rue, this may be the "guitar" you've been looking for. ;)

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12 hours ago, FoxMitchell said:

So I got something a bit more exotic to work on this time!

It's an Arpeggione!

20190108_185307_Arpeggione.thumb.jpg.a1617dd16f1e5d35acb1885f49022a0f.jpg

 

[Looks at the free guitar she hasn't gotten around to refurbishing yet, along with the German 3/4 student cello with the busted neck, and begins to formulate a plan............]

Thanks immensely for posting this!  :)

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1 hour ago, PhilipKT said:

The instrument you have pictured does not look like the arpeggiones that I have seen. Also the fingerboard seems to be askew.

By the way, the Schubert is FAR easier on its intended instrument than on the cello. That alone is reason enough to own one.

 

https://youtu.be/do9UgdfwM5Q

I think the bridge is "slid over" to the treble side a bit, not necessarily an issue with Neck/FB mis-alignment.

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25 minutes ago, Michael Jennings said:

I think the bridge is "slid over" to the treble side a bit, not necessarily an issue with Neck/FB mis-alignment.

 All right, I didn’t notice the bridge placement, however, That instrument does not seem to be an arpeggione, Unless there were multiple versions of the instrument. It looks to me like a modified cello, or perhaps a viola da Spalla

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The Arpeggione was one of many „inventions“ of the Viennese violin (but more guitar) maker Johann Georg Stauffer, born 1778, died 1853. There are plenty of records of his life (mostly of his debts). Of the many inventions he made, only the guitar tuning pegs and the adjustable Cello neck survived down to this day. We discussed the adjustable Cello neck here: 

One occasionaly sees nutty violins, which have scant use, except for hanging on the wall, and the Arpeggione is to be honest, only known by name through the Sonata from Franz Schubert.  One should not make the mistake of thinking that an Arpeggione is some sort of historic part of the violin making genisis, rather it is the Invention of a 19th C. maveric. As such the OP should execute his repair Job as a pragmatic excercise, rather than trying to be „authentic“.

Biograpical Details of Stauffer can be found in the Musiklexicon of the Austrian scientific Academy https://www.musiklexikon.ac.at/ml/musik_S/Staufer_Familie.xml

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Great info Jacob. Stauffer was also the teacher of Christian Fredrick Martin who immigrated to New York and founded the C.F. Martin Co. in 1833 [moved to Nazareth PA in the later 30's].

Considered the "Father" the American Acoustic Guitar.

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2 minutes ago, Michael Jennings said:

 

Considered the "Father" the American Acoustic Guitar.

Wheras Stauffer finished dying pennyless in the poorhouse in the 3rd. district of Vienna of turbuculosis, perhaps he should better have gone to America:)

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6 hours ago, AtlVcl said:

Why 442?  Why not 432??

Well, I was assuming it will be used in modern context. If you don't say anything they might assume 430 or 415. Though usually gut strings can handle a half tone higher in pitch without many Problems.

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38 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

Wheras Stauffer finished dying pennyless in the poorhouse in the 3rd. district of Vienna of turbuculosis, perhaps he should better have gone to America:)

I was thinking the same from your post. C.F. Martin&Co. still going strong and still considered the most desirable of Vintage instruments with some of their "Golden Era" [1930's] instruments selling in the 10's and 100's of thousand dollar range.

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6 hours ago, Michael Jennings said:

Tuned EADgbe exactly like the modern guitar, Appears to have classical guitar tuning machine heads and headstock style. Interesting and something I've never seen before.

I just noticed it has a gamba-type tailpiece, too!

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This is a nice recording.  The frets seem to be a complicated modern design perhaps to compensate for intonation problems.  I had a recording on Archiv from 40 years ago that my college viola professor hated because it was on a period instrument that was pretty out of tune.  I still thought it was kind of cool (but it was out of tune)  I have a feeling that bowed string instruments with fixed metal frets have inherent problems but I have no reference.

 

DLB

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9 minutes ago, Dwight Brown said:

 I have a feeling that bowed string instruments with fixed metal frets have inherent problems but I have no reference.

 

DLB

They do. Even gambas with movable frets have inherent intonation problems, and guitars really do too. It depends on what instruments you’re playing together with, and how they are tuned, and the elasticity of each string, and so on.

That’s why I won’t recommend «modern» strings on an arpeggione: They sound awfully out of tune on a gamba, and much worse with so many fixed metal frets. Use the kind of strings the instrument was made for: Gut.

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