Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Down the rabbit hole...


Recommended Posts

9 hours ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

So they don't have historical value when some poor schmuck posts a "violin ID" of their family heirloom, but they do now that y'all can dump on me?

No, for those of us who like Vogtland-style violins (not everyone does), they always have historical value.  Assisting our dumping operations is just lagniappe.   :ph34r: :lol: ;) :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 61
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

9 hours ago, Violadamore said:

Many a discussion has established that, just like a "Saxon" violin doesn't need corner blocks for any structural or acoustic purpose, neither is an inserted bassbar any structural or acoustic improvement over an existing well-carved integral bassbar.  It's simply a different traditional way of making.  :)

This makes sense.  I would like to point out that the OP did not describe a "well-carved" bar.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

This makes sense.  I would like to point out that the OP did not describe a "well-carved" bar.  

No, they photographed it.  Though I've seen much better, the one that's in there looks quite acceptable.  I've seen a great deal worse.  IMHO, the real test is how the violin sounds.

Good-integral-bassbar.thumb.jpg.9e3efd2434a3bdd6719ceeeb5b64d983.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have seen much, much worse.  The work is fairly clean, but the dimensions are obviously very undersized.  With all respect to the men who built these instruments, we know the primary concern was speed of construction and marketability, not sound.  Perhaps they would have left a standard size bar had they had the leisure to do so.  In this case they didn't, and the risk of ensuing tonal deficiencies was just too much for me to keep my fat mouth shut.  The standard size for bass bars exists for a reason.  

Leaving it as-is is probably a safe option, and I would be much more confident doing so after hearing the input from the experts here.  My training and opinions aside, I do back the consensus here for the OP.  Leave it be.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, uncle duke said:

1870 to 1930.  I have the 1722.

I am confused.

What is an authentic Strad label?

Is it that:

A ) Strad had a pile of spares sequestered in his workshop, that someone eventually acquired and proceeded to use in fakes or...

B ) Someone took the labels out of original strads and then inserted them into fakes...

...or, is there an option C?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

I have seen much, much worse.  The work is fairly clean, but the dimensions are obviously very undersized.  With all respect to the men who built these instruments, we know the primary concern was speed of construction and marketability, not sound.  Perhaps they would have left a standard size bar had they had the leisure to do so.  In this case they didn't, and the risk of ensuing tonal deficiencies was just too much for me to keep my fat mouth shut.  The standard size for bass bars exists for a reason.  

Leaving it as-is is probably a safe option, and I would be much more confident doing so after hearing the input from the experts here.  My training and opinions aside, I do back the consensus here for the OP.  Leave it be.  

Wrt bar size, check out Ben Hebbert's blog post on baroque bars. Take a gander at the 1668 Stainer in the NMM if you can - both it and the 1679 chronicled on Hargrave's website have very slight bars. You can hear the NMM one on an album (available on Spotify) called Jakob Stainer's Instrumente. It sounds pretty good with that tiny original bar.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Wrt bar size, check out Ben Hebbert's blog post on baroque bars. Take a gander at the 1668 Stainer in the NMM if you can - both it and the 1679 chronicled on Hargrave's website have very slight bars. You can hear the NMM one on an album (available on Spotify) called Jakob Stainer's Instrumente. It sounds pretty good with that tiny original bar.

 

And gut strings.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That said, not all gut and not all steel are the same. You will find steel es that apply more or less pressure, likewise with gut. Please forgive me - despite there being a wealth of well researched facts out there, unfortunate myths persist in dominating the assumptions of most luthiers regarding "baroque" instruments and their setup. This is my specialty, whereas for most luthiers it is understandably a minor curiosity because of how tiny the market is. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for pointing that out to me.  However, the shorter neck on a baroque violin should result in a net decrease in string tension, no?  

Either way, the Stainer is set up as a baroque instrument.  Baroque instruments (correct me if I'm wrong) were simply unable to project well enough to keep up with modern demands, hence the modifications to strings, bridge, bass bar, etc.  If I were building a baroque violin, I'd put a little bass bar in it.  But that isn't the question here.  

And I hate to sound like a baroquen record, but if tiny bass bars are in some way superior to standard modern ones, please explain to me why modern makers do not install them this way in their new instruments.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

Thank you for pointing that out to me.  However, the shorter neck on a baroque violin should result in a net decrease in string tension, no?  

Either way, the Stainer is set up as a baroque instrument.  Baroque instruments (correct me if I'm wrong) were simply unable to project well enough to keep up with modern demands, hence the modifications to strings, bridge, bass bar, etc.  If I were building a baroque violin, I'd put a little bass bar in it.  But that isn't the question here.  

And I hate to sound like a baroquen record, but if tiny bass bars are in some way superior to standard modern ones, please explain to me why modern makers do not install them this way in their new instruments.  

First, let's touch on the "shorter neck" idea. It's helpful sometimes to consider violin making as having two major periods - pre and post standardization (roughly contiguous with pre and post industrialization). We do have neck and fingerboard templates presumed to be from the Stradivari workshop in the Museo Stradivari. These suggest that Stradivari violins were made originally with shorter necks than we are accustomed to in the post-standardization period. 

Interestingly, the two known Stainer violins that survive in almost completely unaltered condition, however, have "modern" neck stops. This is accomplished in a way that is easy to miss - the neck itself is shorter, but the nut is positioned almost 9mm higher into the pegbox to achieve the ~132mm we're accustomed to now. 

It's possible, I suppose, that this was one of the factors that made Stainer's violins the most sought after in Europe even during Stradivari's lifetime. We will never know for sure. 

Then, let's touch on the assumption that "baroque" violins were unable to 'keep up' and had to be 'improved'. There is an element of truth to this - changing circumstances in where and how music was enjoyed, what kinds of music was being written, and the materials science relating to string manufacture as well as dozens of other factors all influenced new movements in aesthetic preference, which cumulatively demanded louder instruments. Hargrave has some very interesting things to say about this in a couple of his articles. We'd need to bring a host of dissertations to bear on this to have a proper conversation about it, but to be sure, it is not enough to say that "baroque" violins (perhaps more correctly "violins") had to improve. They merely had to change. 

But then consider now, with the prevalence of impeccably transparent and unobtrusive sound reinforcement being the rule rather than the exception, as well as a re-emphasis on chamber forms and spaces - we don't need to make the screamers anymore that were absolutely necessary at the peak of industrial society to fill the massive common spaces (such as Royal Albert Hall) where music was being concentrated. Why not, then, allow the pendulum to swing back towards sweeter, more densely populated color palettes and away from peak dB? 

To muddy the waters, some excellent experts in early instruments, such as Sarah Peck, prefer standardized bass bars of contemporary proportions. I cannot, and wouldn't want to, argue against her well reasoned arguments and the obvious results of her work. I believe there is a place for both this type of approach and a more conservative historicist methodology, such as that which I employ. 

Strange, in a way, that I am so conservative in this regard while being anything but in most other concerns!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want to point out that at no point have I claimed smaller bass bars are "superior". I don't believe that such a thing exists when subjective phenomena are being considered.  I know several makers that use bars many would consider unusual - note Christian Bayon's "upside down " bass bars with free floating areas. The man's instruments are celebrated, and rightly so - clearly his unorthodox bars do not present a barrier to his success. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know much about baroque instruments.  What I can tell you is that they are different (note I do not say worse) than what people expect when they pick up a violin.  Part of this difference is the bass bar.  

In my experience as a player, I have personally gravitated towards instruments with a more beautiful tone, perhaps at the cost of max projection.  However, all of the instruments that I have really loved the sound of have had standard bass bars.  You can find examples of instruments and makers that have been successful with unusual bass bars, and I wouldn't deny that they sound damn good.  But that is not a compelling reason to assume the bar on a run-of-the-mill Saxon trade fiddle was thus proportioned for any reason other than haste.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

I don't know much about baroque instruments.  What I can tell you is that they are different (note I do not say worse) than what people expect when they pick up a violin.  Part of this difference is the bass bar.  

In my experience as a player, I have personally gravitated towards instruments with a more beautiful tone, perhaps at the cost of max projection.  However, all of the instruments that I have really loved the sound of have had standard bass bars.  You can find examples of instruments and makers that have been successful with unusual bass bars, and I wouldn't deny that they sound damn good.  But that is not a compelling reason to assume the bar on a run-of-the-mill Saxon trade fiddle was thus proportioned for any reason other than haste.  

I think we've reached the point of talking at cross purposes - my fault, for going well off topic. 

I am not trying to defend the bass bar in question from a historicist perspective, and that is something that I have not made obvious. I regret that. Wrt the OP's bar, I only feel that "if it ain't broke (and let's be clear, it ain't baroque)..."

As regards so called "baroque" violins - I suspect you have about as much first hand experience with unaltered originals from the period in question as most - that is to say, none at all. I can only claim to be doing slightly better. There are not many that have survived, plainly put. I would ask only that you not form any solid perceptions of what fiddles were like as they were made in the 17th century based on the various and sundry later attempts that can be accessed readily in our current era. Simply putting gut strings on an otherwise "modern" violin is enough to make the experience "different"; add a historical stick and all bets are off. The other differences, and this is the chief point I would like to make, between the violins of then and now are almost insignificant by comparison to those two primary practical factors. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

  However, the shorter neck on a baroque violin should result in a net decrease in string tension, no?  

 

There is no way of knowing, without also knowing the diameter or mass of the strings they used.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Rue said:

I am confused.

What is an authentic Strad label?

Is it that:

A ) Strad had a pile of spares sequestered in his workshop, that someone eventually acquired and proceeded to use in fakes or...

B ) Someone took the labels out of original strads and then inserted them into fakes...

...or, is there an option C?

option C - cottage industry made violin, sent to U.S.A., Stradivarius labeled unlatinized.    

My label I have here is on the tight hand side column of the full sheet examples of Stradivari labels that I assume are not genuine - which I'm also assuming Brad really wanted to make sure that I didn't have a real one, which I don't.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Indeed, which tend to be higher in tension contrary to popular belief. Think about the diameter of a plain gut e for a moment vs the diameter of a plain steel E, then reflect on the pitch. 

The tension depends on the mass, not the diameter of the string.    (and string length affects the tension, too)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/27/2021 at 2:02 PM, Strad O Various Jr. said:

It comes down to whether you are a restorer of historical instruments that represent a piece of history, or a tinkerer that wants to put your footprint in everything with no concern for being historical at all.

Your choices are rather limiting.    As long as no one is advocating that every sloppily, hastily, and crudely finished violin interior deserves historical preservation....

Link to comment
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...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.




×
×
  • Create New...