Monday, April 25, 2016

Going Back to the Methods of the Old Masters...

I'm advocating for a new approach to making violins -- the revival of the old methods of design and build.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Curves of a Different Kind...

Violins, violas, and cellos share a wonderful curvy shape we all know.

And it's somewhat reminiscent of an even more sensuous shape:

But how can a maker draw those iconic violin curves?

Monday, April 18, 2016

A range of sizes

The classical Cremona makers produced violin family instruments in a wide range of sizes:

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Founding a Violin Family

Andrea Amati.  circa 1505 to 1577

Much begins with this founding member of the Amati violin making family.

Andrea Amati's instruments begin generations of violin making in Cremona.  His work refined and established the violin family we know today.  And, Andrea handed down the principles of construction and design that carried Cremona violin making to a pinnacle that still stands an unmatched height today, nearly 500 years later.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A beastiary of early bowed strings

Famously, Nero fiddled while Rome burned.   It makes for good theater, but probably didn't happen.  Bowed stringed instruments in Europe don't go back to ancient times!

China, India, and Mongolia might have had bowed strings in ancient times, but as far as is known, Rome, Greece, and Egypt did not.

The first evidence of bowed strings in Europe appears in the late medieval times, apparently from Arabic sources entering through Spain.
One of earliest European images of bowed string instruments. 
This is an illumination from a manuscript circa 950 A.D

Monday, April 11, 2016

A quick tour of some very special early violin family instruments:

The exact origins of the violin remain debatable and murky.

But most experts would agree that Andrea Amati played a central role in founding the violin family we now know.

The 'King' cello made by Andrea Amati in the town of Cremona:

King cello by Andrea Amati  -- made in 1500s

This cello has often been claimed to be the oldest existing violin family instrument.  The cello is believed to have been made sometime between 1538 and 1564.   That's approaching 500 years ago!

Remarkably, we can hear this cello played today.