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Handbook of violin playing by Carl Schroeder - PDF ebook

Handbook of violin playing

Handbook of violin playing


Excerpt:

the invention of stringed instruments is certainly of great antiquity, but exact information concerning the origin of the violin has not come down to us. Although stringed instruments were in use before Christian times, we know that these had nothing in common with the violin, or that at any rate the bow was not then known. 

It is therefore presumed that its invention and use in connection with stringed instruments occurred in the first century of the Christian era. Many are, notwithstanding, of the opinion that the use of the bow was known in pre-Christian times, in India and in Persia. Pictures of Indian and Persian bowed instruments exist, but the period when they were employed is not exactly known. 

. The oldest violins known are those of the Tyrolese Lute maker Gaspard Duiffopruggar (Tieffenbrucker), made in the 16th century. A few of these instruments remain to the present day, and are noticeable on account of their fine, clear tone, as well as for the neatness and elegance of their work- manship. Schroeder, Catechism of Violin playing. Development of the violin. 

Another invention has been produced recently by Herr Christopher Scheinert in Berlin. It consists of a vibrating hammer or tongue for stringed instruments. 

This is a little instrument placed under the bridge of the violin, so that, (it is furnished with a slender hammer), elastic metal tongues vibrate freely between the upper table and the strings. The vibrating hammer is set in motion through the strings by the bow, through which simultaneous movement the power of the instrument is increased, and the tone color elicited. Experts have tested the contrivance, declaring it to be a happy idea. Professor H. Ritter's invention of the normal three-footed bridge must also be mentioned. Assuming that the bridge in use for centuries, with its prescribed feet, does not fully convey the vibrations of the strings to the upper table, the two middle strings sounding feebler than the outer, Prof. Ritter has made a middle point of contact between the bridge and the upper table. This inner support is intended to make the middle strings sound with the same intensity as the outer ones.

For a long period, violin making was restricted (deviations such as the experiments explained above, notwithstanding) to imitating the first Italian masters of the art and endeavoring to equal them. But so conscientious and true in all their parts and contents is the workmanship of the Italian instruments that this has not been attained. 

A very general opinion is, that certain secrets in instrument making were known to the Italian masters but have become lost, and many have made the attempt to re-discover these secrets. A maker in Aix la Chapelle, named Niederheitmann, a violin amateur, possessing a collection rich in valuable old violins, believed the mystery to be discovered, and that it consisted in impregnating the wood. The substance used as a species of pine found in the vicinity of Cremona, or the instrument was mainly built of this wood. This pine (balsam pine) be-came quite decayed by the drying up of its resin, and thereby the key to the enigma why despite the closest imitation the old Italian tone was not arrived at, was found. This pine exists no longer in Italy and thus was to be explained the reason why notwithstanding the closest copying of existing instruments, the old Italian tone quality was not reproduced.

Author: Carl Schroeder

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