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Sarah11

Help With Violin Identification

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3 hours ago, Sarah11 said:

I did find some very old rosin with a Lyon & Healy logo in the case. Interesting, but hardly definitive.

Please share!

:-)

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I believe that this is the violin listed in the catalog. But most likely an 18th century S. German or Austrian instrument.

Reading through these old catalogs is like reading the funny papers. But its a cheap shot to make fun of them, after all this is 1901. There is a lot of misinformation that has been corrected over the last 100 years and plenty more to go.

BTW they have a "Paula Albani" no. 1187 in the same catalog. Listed as a Palermo maker and pupil of Amati

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1 hour ago, deans said:

BTW they have a "Paula Albani" no. 1187 in the same catalog. Listed as a Palermo maker and pupil of Amati

Paula's sister Shirley made a mean fiddle too.

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They also have a Mathias Albani from Botzen #1368

And a 1702 Albanus #89

Everyone check your inventory numbers.

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I have a question for the crowd. There is an inventory sticker inside this Violin of 1253. Why are we so sure that this violin, 120 years later, is the same Violin that was in that catalog back then? I’m not being skeptical I’m just wondering why we are sure?

“Extraordinary claims need extraordinary proof.”

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31 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

I have a question for the crowd. There is an inventory sticker inside this Violin of 1253. Why are we so sure that this violin, 120 years later, is the same Violin that was in that catalog back then? I’m not being skeptical I’m just wondering why we are sure?

I'm not 100% sure of anything especially when it comes to violins. Yes, this could be a different violin. 

My gut feeling is that it is the same. The print looks right for L&H and the violin is the type of thing that, in the past, was often referred to as "Tyrolean".  The size of the instrument pushes me over the edge.  In this particular case it seems that the most plausible situation is that its the same.

Not saying that L&H was correct, in fact I'm going on the assumption that they were wrong, which seems to have been often. 

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30 minutes ago, deans said:

I'm not 100% sure of anything especially when it comes to violins. Yes, this could be a different violin. 

My gut feeling is that it is the same. The print looks right for L&H and the violin is the type of thing that, in the past, was often referred to as "Tyrolean".  The size of the instrument pushes me over the edge.  In this particular case it seems that the most plausible situation is that its the same.

Not saying that L&H was correct, in fact I'm going on the assumption that they were wrong, which seems to have been often. 

Thank you very much, I don’t really care that the claim in the catalogue is incorrect, I just think it’s fascinating that it is possible to pinpoint a fragile violin to a very specific place, a very specific time, and apparently, to a very specific buyer. I think that’s cool.

I was wondering if it was a dutzenarbeit because of the BOB( which I think is indicated by the one piece bottom rib) the inlet saddle, the F-hole notches, and the ribs being flush with the edges, and the ends of the purfling as well.

I don’t know what those things mean, but I did notice them, and maybe they mean something.

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It is cool when things match up. I had a couple L&H numbers that seem to fit the description nicely. I have another one, 2923, that I cant find though, it would be in a catalog in the early 1900s, if it is one, sure looks like the same print. I know what the violin is, but I would like to see if it fits the description.

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6 minutes ago, deans said:

It is cool when things match up. I had a couple L&H numbers that seem to fit the description nicely. I have another one, 2923, that I cant find though, it would be in a catalog in the early 1900s, if it is one, sure looks like the same print. I know what the violin is, but I would like to see if it fits the description.

Is this from the Earhart book? Or from the actual catalog?

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25 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

I was wondering if it was a dutzenarbeit because of the BOB( which I think is indicated by the one piece bottom rib) the inlet saddle, the F-hole notches, and the ribs being flush with the edges, and the ends of the purfling as well.

I don’t know what those things mean, but I did notice them, and maybe they mean something.

Phillip, you've been registering the information a bit incorrectly. A one-piece bottm rib suggests inside-mold construction, not BOB, although there are exceptions. An inset saddle suggests Mittenwald, but can also show up on earlier Saxon violins as well as in some other places. BOB does not mean Dutzenarbeit. Dutzenarbeit means lower quality/high volume Saxon work. There were also higher quality, "artistic" Saxon makers who Built On the Back. BOB was also used by the Gaglianos, Grancinos, Testores, Maggini, Cappa, Pierray, Boquay, Jacobs, Rombouts...in other words, it's a method, not an indicator of quality. Small rib overhangs can be an indicator of certain makers or schools of making, but one has to take plate-shrinkage into account when looking at an older fiddle. If the bottom rib is still in one piece, the ribs probably haven't been shortened, so the overhang was probably larger when the violin was made. Rib mitres flush with the plate corners usually means BOB, but it's important to look at how the ribs are joined, and with an older instrument with lots of wear at the corners, it's also possible to get rib mitres almost flush with the corners starting with an inside-mold construction.

Although this violin has had a rough life and has had some serious damage to it, I think it started out as a better quality, luthier made instrument, and not what I'd call a "dutzenarbeit,"  "when you've finished a dozen, send them over." It looks like southern German work, but there was a period when violins from Mittenwald and Markneukirchen could look pretty similar just from exterior photos, so trying to figure out how this violin was made could help narrow done the possibilities of its origin.

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3 minutes ago, Michael Appleman said:

Phillip, you've been registering the information a bit incorrectly. A one-piece bottm rib suggests inside-mold construction, not BOB, although there are exceptions. An inset saddle suggests Mittenwald, but can also show up on earlier Saxon violins as well as in some other places. BOB does not mean Dutzenarbeit. Dutzenarbeit means lower quality/high volume Saxon work. There were also higher quality, "artistic" Saxon makers who Built On the Back. BOB was also used by the Gaglianos, Grancinos, Testores, Maggini, Cappa, Pierray, Boquay, Jacobs, Rombouts...in other words, it's a method, not an indicator of quality. Small rib overhangs can be an indicator of certain makers or schools of making, but one has to take plate-shrinkage into account when looking at an older fiddle. If the bottom rib is still in one piece, the ribs probably haven't been shortened, so the overhang was probably larger when the violin was made. Rib mitres flush with the plate corners usually means BOB, but it's important to look at how the ribs are joined, and with an older instrument with lots of wear at the corners, it's also possible to get rib mitres almost flush with the corners starting with an inside-mold construction.

Although this violin has had a rough life and has had some serious damage to it, I think it started out as a better quality, luthier made instrument, and not what I'd call a "dutzenarbeit,"  "when you've finished a dozen, send them over." It looks like southern German work, but there was a period when violins from Mittenwald and Markneukirchen could look pretty similar just from exterior photos, so trying to figure out how this violin was made could help narrow done the possibilities of its origin.

Thank you very much, that’s really valuable information. One correction, however.

I wasn’t intending to suggest that BOB represented a low level of quality. And I didn’t know that Dutzenarbeit instruments weren’t usually good quality. I thought they could be quite good. One of my dear students has one, actually.

I really appreciate your clarification. One additional question: the ribs flush with the edges on this Violin have resulted from shrinkage, and don’t indicate BOB?

If that’s that case, how can one tell the difference?

And what about the F-hole notches? Is that a false lead?

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1 hour ago, PhilipKT said:

Thank you very much, that’s really valuable information. One correction, however.

I wasn’t intending to suggest that BOB represented a low level of quality. And I didn’t know that Dutzenarbeit instruments weren’t usually good quality. I thought they could be quite good. One of my dear students has one, actually.

I really appreciate your clarification. One additional question: the ribs flush with the edges on this Violin have resulted from shrinkage, and don’t indicate BOB?

If that’s that case, how can one tell the difference?

And what about the F-hole notches? Is that a false lead?

To my understanding, it is only the worst of the worst that are considered "dutzendarbeit," such as the sunburst varnish fiddle that popped up recently on one of the other threads. It is important though not to classify all commercial Saxon work as dutzendarbeit because they also made some really nice violins, take for example Roth or John Juzek.

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1 hour ago, PhilipKT said:

I really appreciate your clarification. One additional question: the ribs flush with the edges on this Violin have resulted from shrinkage, and don’t indicate BOB?

If that’s that case, how can one tell the difference?

And what about the F-hole notches? Is that a false lead?

I'd be careful not to make a hasty judgement based on this one factor, especially since the ribs don't seem to have been shortened. I think it's important not to get too much into a simple check-list mentality, especially with older instruments.

Already, look at the difference between the edge overhangs of the back and the top, since the top usually shrinks more than the back. Looking at these photos, I get the feeling the back overhang is relatively "normal" if a little narrow. The top, on the otherhand looks like it barely makes it over the ribs in some places. That looks to me more like shrinkage than a construction feature. (also, the ribs have moved and distorted a bit it looks like)

F-hole notches can be meaningful, once you've narrowed things down quite a bit and are comparing examples between a couple of makers. As an isolated trait, you could get pretty lost if you tried to use them to try to identify a country or region of origin.

In the end, I think trying to identify a violin comes down to something fairly simple. Have I seen something like this? If yes, do I know what the example(s) I've seen are? If yes, do all the detail features fit? If so, I think I know what this is. If I hit a "no," anywhere along the chain, I have to accept that I don't know what it is, and I try to look for similarities to narrow things down a bit. I try to retain the features and details for future reference, but I keep in mind the simple fact that I don't know who made it. 

In the case of the OP fiddle, I have seen things like this, not just in the generic sense, but with the all-important details of arching, outline, f-holes etc. that make me pretty confident the examples I've seen come from the same circle of makers that this one comes from, maybe the same workshop, who knows, maybe the same maker. Unfortunately, I don't know who made those fiddles, either, so other than suppose it has something to do with the south-German Fussen diaspora tradition, I can only admit I don't know and hope to one day see one that has its original label and/or the well-founded opinion of someone who really knows what he's talking about, like Jacob Saunders, for instance.

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46 minutes ago, Michael Appleman said:

, I don't know who made those fiddles, either, so other than suppose it has something to do with the south-German Fussen diaspora tradition

If you are talking about the OP violin, certainly not, far more the Saxon/Bohemian area. The OP hasn't answered my question from the previous page yet

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3 hours ago, JRyn said:

To my understanding, it is only the worst of the worst that are considered "dutzendarbeit," such as the sunburst varnish fiddle that popped up recently on one of the other threads. It is important though not to classify all commercial Saxon work as dutzendarbeit because they also made some really nice violins, take for example Roth or John Juzek.

No. The term Dutzendarbeit refers to the fact that they were usually sold per dozen for a certain sum, what started in the ca. 1800 period; there are enough documents from the wholesalers to prove it. This prices could be all over the place, from very cheap to rather expensive "Dutzends".

Also Roth and Juzek had very different business models, Dutzendarbeit (how they bought the violins from the shops) would apply to Juzek, while the EH Roth firm made and sold their products usually per piece.

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4 hours ago, Michael Appleman said:

Although this violin has had a rough life and has had some serious damage to it, I think it started out as a better quality, luthier made instrument, and not what I'd call a "dutzenarbeit,"  "when you've finished a dozen, send them over." It looks like southern German work, but there was a period when violins from Mittenwald and Markneukirchen could look pretty similar just from exterior photos, so trying to figure out how this violin was made could help narrow done the possibilities of its origin.

You seem to have the same misconception about Dutzendarbeit. The Vogtlandishs sold them per Dozen to the whole world even 200 years ago. In my eyes it's an euphemism (dealer's trick) to call a 343 mm violin something like "7/8, small lady size", it's a simple three quarter meant for kids and beginners in a catastrophic condition.

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2 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

If you are talking about the OP violin, certainly not, far more the Saxon/Bohemian area. The OP hasn't answered my question from the previous page yet

Then I'm happy to be edified on this type of violin. I remember one that stood out in my mind. It was used by a top level violinist (who's name came up in another thread recently) who came to "the West" from Roumania many years ago and used it to win a major concertmaster job. It was in worse condition than this one, and I have no idea how he managed to make it sound as good as he did! 

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9 hours ago, Three13 said:

Paula's sister Shirley made a mean fiddle too.

Brother, I think. Shirley was a male name until Charlotte Bronte’s 1849 novel of the same name popularised it for female use. (With the notable recent exception of Shirley Crabtree.)

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10 hours ago, Michael Appleman said:

I'd be careful not to make a hasty judgement based on this one factor, especially since the ribs don't seem to have been shortened. I think it's important not to get too much into a simple check-list mentality, especially with older instruments.

Already, look at the difference between the edge overhangs of the back and the top, since the top usually shrinks more than the back. Looking at these photos, I get the feeling the back overhang is relatively "normal" if a little narrow. The top, on the otherhand looks like it barely makes it over the ribs in some places. That looks to me more like shrinkage than a construction feature. (also, the ribs have moved and distorted a bit it looks like)

F-hole notches can be meaningful, once you've narrowed things down quite a bit and are comparing examples between a couple of makers. As an isolated trait, you could get pretty lost if you tried to use them to try to identify a country or region of origin.

In the end, I think trying to identify a violin comes down to something fairly simple. Have I seen something like this? If yes, do I know what the example(s) I've seen are? If yes, do all the detail features fit? If so, I think I know what this is. If I hit a "no," anywhere along the chain, I have to accept that I don't know what it is, and I try to look for similarities to narrow things down a bit. I try to retain the features and details for future reference, but I keep in mind the simple fact that I don't know who made it. 

In the case of the OP fiddle, I have seen things like this, not just in the generic sense, but with the all-important details of arching, outline, f-holes etc. that make me pretty confident the examples I've seen come from the same circle of makers that this one comes from, maybe the same workshop, who knows, maybe the same maker. Unfortunately, I don't know who made those fiddles, either, so other than suppose it has something to do with the south-German Fussen diaspora tradition, I can only admit I don't know and hope to one day see one that has its original label and/or the well-founded opinion of someone who really knows what he's talking about, like Jacob Saunders, for instance.

Michael, thank you again. I went back and looked at the photographs, and although it is difficult to compare the overhang of the top and the bottom based on these photographs I could see the difference, and I appreciate your pointing this out to me.

regarding the rib mitre, These photographs don’t show it, or don’t show it well enough, but although I realize there’s a difference in how the ribs are joined,  i’ve never seen the different ways side-by-side. Sometimes they are referred to as clamped or pinched but I don’t know what that means because I’ve never seen an illustration to associate with the word. On my own cello, one rib end appears to fit into a slight recess on the outer rim end. Very elegant, but I don’t know how one would describe that particular method.

 Your point about the F-hole notches is very well taken.

Thank you again I really appreciate the information.

If you made some videos about casually identifying instruments, I would like them and I would share them…

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14 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

Michael, thank you again. I went back and looked at the photographs, and although it is difficult to compare the overhang of the top and the bottom based on these photographs I could see the difference, and I appreciate your pointing this out to me.

regarding the rib mitre, These photographs don’t show it, or don’t show it well enough, but although I realize there’s a difference in how the ribs are joined,  i’ve never seen the different ways side-by-side. Sometimes they are referred to as clamped or pinched but I don’t know what that means because I’ve never seen an illustration to associate with the word. On my own cello, one rib end appears to fit into a slight recess on the outer rim end. Very elegant, but I don’t know how one would describe that particular method.

 Your point about the F-hole notches is very well taken.

Thank you again I really appreciate the information.

If you made some videos about casually identifying instruments, I would like them and I would share them…

You are mistaken to focus on one or two single points when trying to place an old violin. One has to collect 7 or 8 features that come together to be able to form an opinion. Trying to identify something from a photograph is always frustrating, since there are invariably details that one cannot see. Hence it is particularly disappointing that the OP doesn’t answer questions.

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16 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

You are mistaken to focus on one or two single points when trying to place an old violin. One has to collect 7 or 8 features that come together to be able to form an opinion. Trying to identify something from a photograph is always frustrating, since there are invariably details that one cannot see. Hence it is particularly disappointing that the OP doesn’t answer questions.

Yes, I know that, and I have saved Addie’s quiz and read it often.Soon as I saw the original post I looked at the scroll to see if the fluting went all the way. And I also looked for the ribs flush with the edges, or at least very little overhang, and the purfling very close to the edges. Michael clarified that top shrinkage can cause that appearance, which is a new thing to know( thanks, Michael!)I don’t know whether you or Addie,  or someone else, perhaps Martin,  said that you start with no preconceptions, and you go through the checklist, and every item present or absent increases the likelihood that it is from this place or that place, when you come to an item that is out of place, you scratch your head and go on, and at the end you make your best guess based on what you have discovered. 

My mention of the F holes was just because they are distinctive, I have seen those kind of notches many times before( forgive the mention of the name, but they are certainly present on every top-line Juzek, for instance)and they are not mentioned in the quiz. Neither is the inlet saddle, although I see that very often as well. Michael Reminded me that the one piece rib indicates a method of construction and not necessarily a quality level or a location, but quite a lot of the German instruments we see here do have one piece bottom ribs, So I have come to think of them as German. My student’s cello As a one piece rib, and it sounds great I really like that cello.

Edited by PhilipKT

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On 6/22/2020 at 4:55 AM, jacobsaunders said:

Are the centre bout linings let into the blocks, and does the fluting of the scroll go all the way to the ebd of the throat?

I don't know enough about violins to answer your question. If you can give my some guidance, I will try my best to get you the information.

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1 hour ago, PhilipKT said:

My student’s cello As a one piece rib, and it sounds great I really like that cello.

You will obviously have to look for a Jusek (Juzek?) with a one piece bottom rib:)

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