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Why are Strad's B form cellos called B form? Any thoughts?


David Beard
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33 minutes ago, Dwight Brown said:

There is some workshop materials at the museum in Cremona but I haven’t a clue.

DLB

Sorry. I should have been clearer.   The only cello moulds.

There are many violin and some viola molds in Cremona that are associated with Strad.  But the Paris museum has 2 cello moulds that were bought from Vuillaume's estate as 'from Strad's workshop'.  However, even these are uncertain.

My real question is about the 'B' deisgnation with Strad moulds generally.

'Buono' is the most common suggested reading.  But, I don't think anything about the violin moulds really compellingly confirms this reading.

I don't know however if there might better reason to read the cello B form as meaning Buono.

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Sacconi reconstructs the B model from a drawing which indicates the position of the f holes. If you look at the original drawing the ‘B’ looks almost as if added later. :ph34r:

In the end, someone who worked as systematic as Antonio Stradivari, something was certainly needed to distinguish forms in the shop. 
 

But maybe Stradivari thought of ‘B’ like ‘bastardo’ because it was in the end a small (or cut down?) model. Who knows. maybe you make a call to Sacconi who is sitting now to the right of Antonio Stradivari somewhere in violin makers heaven.

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My absolutely baseless theory is that the B stands for "bislunga" or "bislonga", a term from the Cremonese dialect which means long and narrow. But I don't know if this term was in use back in the 17th / 18th century. This is quite evident in the B forms for violin which are long and narrow (one of the two is the one used for long pattern violins) and the shape of the cello B form also reflects these characteristics.

The term "bislungo" is also part of the Italian language and is found in the dictionary, the English translation is "oblong".

A most reliable theory is that we will never know the meaning of these letters, and neither if they were conceived by Stradivari himself. In fact, the analysis of the inks and calligraphy on the letters written on the forms and inside the pegboxes attributed these letters to Count Cozio di Salabue, not Stradivari. I do not know if it has been established whether Cozio invented its own letters or if he reported on the forms and inside the pegbox of the violins in his possession the letters he found written by Stradivari on the templates and paper findings, the second hypothesis seems more realistic to me.

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16 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Sacconi reconstructs the B model from a drawing which indicates the position of the f holes. If you look at the original drawing the ‘B’ looks almost as if added later. :ph34r:

In the end, someone who worked as systematic as Antonio Stradivari, something was certainly needed to distinguish forms in the shop. 
 

But maybe Stradivari thought of ‘B’ like ‘bastardo’ because it was in the end a small (or cut down?) model. Who knows. maybe you make a call to Sacconi who is sitting now to the right of Antonio Stradivari somewhere in violin makers heaven.

 

11 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

My absolutely baseless theory is that the B stands for "bislunga" or "bislonga", a term from the Cremonese dialect which means long and narrow. But I don't know if this term was in use back in the 17th / 18th century. This is quite evident in the B forms for violin which are long and narrow (one of the two is the one used for long pattern violins) and the shape of the cello B form also reflects these characteristics.

The term "bislungo" is also part of the Italian language and is found in the dictionary, the English translation is "oblong".

Was it Sacconi who proposed B as in Buono for M.B, Model Buono??

Now we have votes for B as in Bastardo, and B as in Bislunga.

My personal wild guess is B as in Brescian.

 

 

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1 hour ago, David Beard said:

 

Was it Sacconi who proposed B as in Buono for M.B, Model Buono??

Now we have votes for B as in Bastardo, and B as in Bislunga.

My personal wild guess is B as in Brescian.

 

 

I‘d go with the explanation of Davide, mine was half way joking anyway.

i would dismiss Brescian on the ground that there is nowhere any mention of other city names (or any other names) on Stradivaris drawings. For example Francois Denis found out that the PG mould matches a model by Andrea Amati, and there is absolutely no reference to him.

Some abbreviations with double letters give IMO the best conclusions of their descriptive purpose. ‘TV’ seems to refer to tenor viola (Davide, correct me if this isn’t correct in Italian). It makes also sense to interpret ‘PG’ as prima grande.

Furthermore if ‘B’ stands for ‘Brescian’ why then have his cellos more in common with Goffriller? 

In the new catalog there is this document pictured. In a quick search I couldn’t find an explanation in the text and it is also confusing that there is a second ‘Fig 27’ in the catalogue.

403D3847-38E2-411D-96B5-A10CFB026FBE.jpeg

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2 hours ago, David Beard said:

Was it Sacconi who proposed B as in Buono for M.B, Model Buono??

MB could also be an abbreviation for Milton Bradley, or Mercedes Benz. Often, the name precedes the product. ;)

 

2 hours ago, David Beard said:

Now we have votes for B as in Bastardo, and B as in Bislunga.

My personal wild guess is B as in Brescian.

The B probably stands for Burgess. Really. (No, not really, but I thought it might be entertaining to claim that, and see who has a cow.) :lol:

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9 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

MB could also be an abbreviation for Milton Bradley, or Mercedes Benz. Sometimes, the name preceded the product. ;)

 

The B probably stands for Burgess. Really. (No, not really, but I thought it might be entertaining to claim that, and see who has a cow.) :lol:

I'm with you. Obviously the letter of the S form stands for Sora:D

 

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57 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Some abbreviations with double letters give IMO the best conclusions of their descriptive purpose. ‘TV’ seems to refer to tenor viola

Yes.   We have have the pair of TV and CV strongly associated with the Medici Contralto and Tenor violas.

And, we have the series of P, S, T, and Q strongly suggesting Prime, Second, Third, Fourth.

Further, we have the modifiers L and G for long and grand.

All these seem relatively clear.

But, we also have B used in multiple instances, and M used with the M B.

For me, Davide's suggestion makes the most sense for the B.  

 

 

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1 hour ago, Davide Sora said:

I'm with you. Obviously the letter of the S form stands for Sora:D

 

OK, we've got a deal. :)

 

33 minutes ago, David Beard said:

You're both so helpful today.

While I've known a few successful people in the trade who didn't have a playful or bizarre sense of humor, they were much more the exception than the rule.

The "R" obviously denotes instruments made while the maker was in a Recumbent position.

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4 hours ago, David Burgess said:

MB could also be an abbreviation for Milton Bradley, or Mercedes Benz. Often, the name precedes the product. ;)

 

The B probably stands for Burgess. Really. (No, not really, but I thought it might be entertaining to claim that, and see who has a cow.) :lol:

Just a pity that the form of the model ‘DB’ got lost. (Makes me wonder how you feel when riding a train in Germany?)

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On 11/11/2021 at 5:25 AM, David Beard said:

Someone, I think Sacconi, said in modern times that they believed MB probably meant Good Model, B meaning Buono.

I was hoping someone in the MN community might have more details on this story and why.  

Didn’t david Segal get a lot of materials from Sacconi? Though I don’t know if he knows anything about Sacconis interpretation of those letters. 
 

In the end we don’t even know if the b in ‘B’ means the same as the b in ‘MB’. 
 

Molto Bene? = better  = improved? (From whatever model he used before?)

I find it rather interesting that Stradivari apparently numbered a set of forms and this leads me to the suspicion that he always(?) worked on a set of four violins. To satisfy different clients all would have variations of measurements to each other. After a while he would see what sells best and maybe replace one mould of not so well selling violins with a better one. This would also explain the huge total number of moulds. 

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