Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Is Heron-Allen a good book?


Recommended Posts

15 hours ago, Don Noon said:

Violinmaking as it Wasn't and Isn't

Funny and the guy who told that had a point. But there is always another point of view. 

The book is still a jewel in the violin making bibliography. 

Allen won the battle with the time. Not because he wrote an analytical technical manual on how to make a good violin, but because he passed his "flame" and sheer love for the art of Violin making.

What is more important? The "flame" or the right mm on projection?? I would choose for my childen the 1st. 

 

Archimedes spoke about the lever that will move the earth. If you start analyzing that fragment a lot - you miss the point...

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 51
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

At the recent Sydney Royal Easter Show (think agricultural show on a big scale - a Sydney institution not held last year but but back with numbers limited to 60K a day) there was a violin in the woodwork competition - it came second.  I don't want to sound like a smart ass, and I'm the least qualified to comment on another amateur's work, but it left a bit to be desired in several areas.  However, non-violin judges clearly thought well of it.  Like Heron-Allen's work, I'd rather people had a go than not.  It's the best way to learn and hopefully improve.

Regards,

Tim

Link to post
Share on other sites

I really like Heron-Allen's violin book. I (eventually) gave up trying to make a violin from his directions, but had fun making some of his varnish with dragon's blood--I used it to paint "Harry Potter" wands I made for my kids.

It's true the book is impractical, and summarizes or even reprints material from various sources (like his including Charles Reade's material about varnish), and that it's hopelessly outdated, but his enthusiasm (Goran's "flame") and his style generate real excitement in many readers.

His quirks--preferring "fiddle" to "violin;" those poems of his, in several languages!!; his sense of humor--tend to charm rather than irritate, as they might from someone else.

Dude's fun, fer gawd's sake.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Diddle Diddle.... love that Fiddle book! 

The H-A was my first book about fiddles and loved the read. Sure, it is way outdated, but I did not know that then, and it did inspire me to keep digging deeper.... Been a lot of fun over the years!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/14/2021 at 11:19 PM, Don Noon said:

It has been decades since I looked in there, so I can't recall much specific other than the somewhat strange back graduations.  My general recollection is that it's not a how-to book, but more of an exercise in prose of the time.

I have graduated a few backs according to the chart in this book and they have turned out decent. What is the accepted "correct" measurement pattern for back graduation? 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Fiddler45 said:

I have graduated a few backs according to the chart in this book and they have turned out decent. What is the accepted "correct" measurement pattern for back graduation? 

Sacconi's pattern is closer to what I think most folks do these days.  There are lots of Strad posters with actual measurements around, too.

Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Larry F said:

 

If one can figure out how to make a fiddle from his directions and outlines, it will be OK.  The varnish chapter is full of confusing stuff that will lead the beginner down many dark rabbit holes.

Much has been learned about varnish since those times. They didn't have the technical abilities for physical and chemical analysis that we enjoy in recent times.

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Bill Yacey said:

Much has been learned about varnish since those times. They didn't have the technical abilities for physical and chemical analysis that we enjoy in recent times.

I would have thought that the best varnish was 1700ish, and that we have been going downhill since then

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

I would have thought that the best varnish was 1700ish, and that we have been going downhill since then

I didn't mean we were making better varnish, just getting closer to what the  Cremonese used, or didn't use, with modern analysis.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/14/2021 at 7:51 PM, PhilipKT said:

 I’m inclined to buy it anyway because it’s beautiful, but I’d love to know what the crowd has to say.

Did you read the chapter about how gut strings were made yet?

You probably already know this but Chanot, the violin maker Heron-Allen learned with, has a grandson who shows up here on the forum every blue moon or so, or he used to show up. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I find this book useful for violin research because it compiled many violin making "ideas" from an bygone era. 

Whoever called it "Violin making as it wasn't and isn't" is a genius. :P That clarifies a lot for me.

These may not have been the truly insightful ideas from that era, because many expert makers would never share their trade knowledge. But I am think Heron-Allen should be applauded for recording some common ideas floating around about violin making. Most violin experts don't like to commit their opinions to writing/publication because one could be easily proven wrong later. However, real progress can be made by proving that the previous experts were wrong. That's how knowledge advances, through accumulation and error correction. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Bruce Tai said:

I find this book useful for violin research because it compiled many violin making "ideas" from an bygone era. 

Whoever called it "Violin making as it wasn't and isn't" is a genius. :P That clarifies a lot for me.

These may not have been the truly insightful ideas from that era, because many expert makers would never share their trade knowledge. But I am think Heron-Allan should be applauded for recording some common ideas floating around about violin making. Most violin experts don't like to commit their opinions to writing/publication because one could be easily proven wrong later. However, real progress can be made by proving that the previous experts were wrong. That's how knowledge advances, through accumulation and error correction. 

I'm thinking of Herron-Allen as someone who was obsessed with the sound of their own voice, and a literary style which used too many words, as if being paid according to the word-count.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, David Burgess said:

I'm thinking of Herron-Allen as someone who was obsessed with the sound of their own voice, and a literary style which used too many words, as if being paid according to the word-count.

I hope that's not me in the future.

At least I was not paid for the word-count. It costs about $1500 to publish a scientific paper in PNAS and an extra $1500 to make it open-access (paid by my research grant). This is so absurd that some people think scientific papers nowadays should be called paid advertisements. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

I'm thinking of Herron-Allen as someone who was obsessed with the sound of their own voice, and a literary style which used too many words, as if being paid according to the word-count.

He still tells you how to wind the strings onto the pegs properly, if you could be bothered to read it, although he would have needed an illustrational of some young girl in a wet T shirt, desperately trying to tune her violin, to have got your attention for that:)

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

He still tells you how to wind the strings onto the pegs properly, if you could be bothered to read it, although he would have needed an illustrational of some young girl in a wet T shirt, desperately trying to tune her violin, to have got your attention for that:)

I have't yet abandoned hope that you will someday send me photos of you in a wet T-shirt. ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, uncle duke said:

Did you read the chapter about how gut strings were made yet?

You probably already know this but Chanot, the violin maker Heron-Allen learned with, has a grandson who shows up here on the forum every blue moon or so, or he used to show up. 

In the Reverend Morrow’s book, there’s a large write up about how to make strings, it’s completely fascinating.

I assume that the process mentioned in this book is similar. Can’t wait to get it.I assume that the process mentioned in this book is similar. Can’t wait to get it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

In the Reverend Morrow’s book, there’s a large write up about how to make strings, it’s completely fascinating.

I assume that the process mentioned in this book is similar. Can’t wait to get it.I assume that the process mentioned in this book is similar. Can’t wait to get it.

Does either book come with any bows? ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.




×
×
  • Create New...