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  • Monteverdi violins
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  • The story of the Monteverdi violins
    size and method of construction were by no means standardised One of the cornerstones of the early music movement is the use of instruments as closely matched as possible to historical models and the Gabrieli Players have always taken this very seriously This is not for the sake of authenticity or correctness per se but because we have always found that when we do so the music speaks that much more strongly to us and the idioms and expressions of the period fall more naturally under our fingers As soon as the Monteverdi recording project was mooted we realised that the violins we had 1 belonged to a different era and if we were to pursue the Gabrieli philosophy we would need to be somewhat more adventurous This is why we took the bold move with the support of P aul McCreesh and the Gabrieli management and a generous loan from the Gabrieli Trust of commissioning a pair of violins strictly following historical principles from George Stoppani This might seem an unduly radical move even for dedicated performers we have after all been playing this repertoire for many years are our current instruments really so wide of the mark In fact when we look back to the time of Monteverdi the answer is a surprising Yes Although there are many violins in circulation ideal for music of the 18th century a handful for the later 17th century and another handful for the 16th century the early 17th century seems to have missed out I believe the reason for this is the vast range of music that period performers have been required to master We have had to play everything from Monteverdi to Mozart and since it is much easier to play Monteverdi with a Mozart violin than vice versa the

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  • The original
    and this one is thought to be possibly made or part made by the young Nicolo Amati It also may be the first or a very early example of a model that they used from that time on The National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota has a smaller Brothers Amati violin of 1604 which has a great many features in common with the 1595 We felt it a reasonable assumption that Brothers Amati violins were more like these two than the 1629 one Despite the beauty of the 1629 we felt that the 1595 was the best choice for the intended usage The Brothers Amati original 1595 Photo George Stoppani The 1595 has a similar corpus length but is a little narrower than the 1629 and has different archings and graduations The style of the f holes is a good illustration of the differences Brothers Amati 1595 Brothers Amati 1604 Brothers Amati 1629 Hieronymus Amati II 1695 Photos George Stoppani Deriving working drawings When making a copy of an old instrument it is not enough simply to attempt to duplicate the dimensions and shape as it is now Account must be taken of distortion particularly of the archings of the back and front due to wood shrinkage and the forces exerted by the string tension over the centuries The measurements have to be interpreted in a way that points to how the instrument might have been originally Therefore there is no scientific method for doing this that is any more reliable than informed guesswork based on observations of distortion in instruments of different ages It is generally believed that the Amatis used an inside mould to form the rib garland Though it seems likely that they had a geometric system of constructing the outline or the mould it appears that they did not adhere to it with rigidity There are therefore asymmetries and variations from one instrument to another that were made using the same mould The process involved regenerating that mould and building the instrument with similar deviations The intention is not an exact replica of the dimensions of the original but of keeping very close to the original with some natural deviation commensurate with the working methods of the time allowed If this is not done then the copies will look too geometrically perfect and therefore not in the style of the Brothers Amati or any other early Italian maker The original is now set up as a modern violin and we turned to various sources to decide what sort of bass bar neck fingerboard tailpiece bridge and stringing would be appropriate One of the pleasures of this project was working with Oliver Webber on resolving issues about set up He has a very serious and scholarly approach to the history of music instruments and stringing We were able to sift through all the information we could lay hands on and discuss its implications We don t think we have made any serious mistakes but

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  • Making the violins
    sawn and smoothed Next saw kerfs are made to facilitate removing wood from the peg box cheeks and the volutes When this is complete the flutes are sunk round the back of the peg box and round the head and the peg box can be hollowed out When the neck and scroll are finished the ribs are removed from the mould and the neck glued and nailed in place after which the back can be glued to the ribs also with an allowance to be trimmed later The neck was not shaped yet to assist in holding a vice The belly was then glued on and the purfling made of pear wood dyed black and poplar for the white strip was inlaid The fingerboard was made and fitted and then it was strung up to see if there were any problems All was OK the edges were shaped and the neck smoothed Varnishing was the next step A ground layer made up of very fine mineral particles in a pine resin and linseed oil varnish was applied followed by a few very thin coats of the same varnish but with added resin dyed with madder The temporary pegs were replaced with the final ones and adjustments to bridge and soundpost made the violins ready to show to Oliver and Catherine Needless to say the strings were Real Guts Equal tension was the only option which put the g string at a diameter just over 2mm Before I delivered them I went back to the RNCM to see how the copies looked and sounded compared to the original The legendary yellowish colour of the Amatis can be very difficult to emulate and I had been concerned that I had not managed to get the colour anything like the original When laid

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  • Hear the Monteverdi violins
    recording of Monteverdi s Vespers Sampl es played with permission of the copyright owners All rights reserved Click title to play from Sonata sopra Sancta Maria 27 seconds 1 Mb from Sonata sopra Sancta Maria 29 seconds 1 Mb from Ave Maris Stella 19 seconds 1 Mb from Ave Maris Stella 19 seconds 1 Mb from Ave Maris Stella 29 seconds 1 Mb from Ave Maris Stella 24 seconds 1

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  • The Baroque violin
    a fixed frog This made for a crisper articulation increased agility and a greater variety of detached bow strokes These factors combine to make a clear distinction between the Baroque and the modern designs In the early days of experiments with period instruments this was sufficient to make serious inroads into the use of period instruments to enhance musical understanding The tonal technical and expressive differences were plenty and the fruits of these experiments could be seen in the vast flourishing of ensembles and recordings in the 70s 80s and 90s This flourishing however brought its own problems Problems Problem 1 the growth of the early music movement and implications for performers As the idea of authentic performance caught the public imagination it was gradually extended from its core of the high Baroque backwards to the 17th century and forwards to the classical and early romantic periods This was a very exciting time in the profession as new repertoire was discovered and new approaches to familiar music inspired sparkling performances For violinists this was an especially rewarding phase as the violin repertoire of the 17th century proved to be a veritable gold mine However this fruitful period in history was unsurprisingly one in which many changes to the design of stringed instruments took place in part inspired by musical developments The implication of this is of course that the idea of one Baroque form of the violin from say 1600 to 1760 loses validity and further classification becomes necessary As players were increasingly expected to cover repertoire from the early 17th century to the late 18th century and beyond many were inspired finances allowing to buy or have made more than one instrument and early violins began to be categorized as Renaissance Baroque and Classical This in turn brings us to Problem 2 the limitations of labelling Clearly the periods thus labelled are not precisely demarcated there was no general notice published in 1760 say announcing the beginning of the classical era and inviting musicians to update their equipment accordingly And it would be very hard indeed to find agreement on any date for the end of the renaissance and beginning of the baroque On the other hand the distinctions have some validity and can be useful the differences between Monteverdi s and Mozart s violins are substantial and significant It is very difficult to play Mozart on a violin set up for Monteverdi and while it is easier to play Monteverdi on a violin set up for Mozart it is also therefore easy to lose sight of what is lost by doing so This means that we need to study carefully the evolution of the violin and to understand it as such It is vital to recognize that we are not dealing with simple progress towards modern perfection 2 instead we are looking at an instrument which has at each stage adapted to suit the prevailing musical style and which in turn has influenced that style 3 In some

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  • Strings
    which developed around the same time higher bridge and angled neck larger bass bar etc The system in place before the middle of the 18th century was equal tension each string had the same tension Note that the tension is the horizontal stretching force in the string this is not to be confused with the vertical force acting through the bridge onto the belly of the instrument In practice equal tension means much thicker strings at the lower end of the instrument as the following table shows Comparative gauges of modern and historical Baroque violin strings Comparative tensions of modern and historical Baroque violin strings Another way of imagining the difference is in terms of pitch the standard system of tension is roughly equivalent to tuning the A string down to G the D down to B and the G down to Eb So this is by no means a subtle refinement but rather a radical re think of the sound and balance of the instrument click on image Equal tension stringing on the bass violin by Stoppani used in the Vespers recording Note the colour translucency and thickness of the lower strings Photo James Gilham Wound strings Wound strings were invented in the 1650s for use on the lowest strings of bass instruments the basses of viols violins and lutes according to Playford in 1664 Ryan Getzlaf Jersey Corey Perry Jersey Jonas Hiller Jersey JHenrik Lundqvist Jersey Rick Nash Jersey Marc Staal Jersey louis vuitton borse Los Angeles Kings Jerseys nike free run pas cher christian louboutin pas cher NHL Hockey Jerseys goyard pas cher Louis Vuitton Outlet nike free run pas cher Christian Louboutin Pas Cher louis vuitton outlet sac goyard pas cher La Femme Prom Dresses Seattle Seahawks Jerseys Montreal Canadiens Jerseys John Playford s advertisement in An Introduction to the Skill of Music 4th edition London 1664 They were an attempt to solve the problem of resonance often associated with very thick bass strings especially those of lesser quality This is perhaps best illustrated by the bass violin the largest instrument in the regular violin band often tuned like the modern cello but also sometimes especially in France and England a tone lower There are two approaches to getting sufficient string tension to achieve a good bass sound on this instrument you can have a large instrument with a long string length or a smaller instrument with thicker strings The larger instrument succeeds better tonally but is awkward to play especially in fast passages the smaller instrument gains agility but loses resonance in the bass It was not possible to achieve a ringing bass tone and a truly manageable size Winding a gut string with metal increases the density which means a thinner and or shorter string can do the same job this means it is possible to have a manageably sized instrument with a good rich bass tone It has been convincingly argued by Stephen Bonta 1 that such an instrument became known as the

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  • Acknowledgements
    pas cher La Femme Prom Dresses Seattle Seahawks Jerseys Montreal Canadiens Jerseys The Monteverdi violins of the Gabrieli Consort Players Acknowledgements We d like to express our gratitude to the following people and organisations who have helped make this project possible The Gabrieli Trust without whose timely loan there would have been no violins Margaret Cordell for a generous loan and unfailing support through thick and thin The management of the Gabrieli Consort Players for their vision and support The Royal Northern College of Music for kindly making available the original 1595 violin David Rattray custodian of the musical instrument collection at the Royal Academy of Music for kindly allowing access to the 1629 brothers Amati violin The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology for kindly allowing access to other priceless and historically significant instruments James Gilham photographer for his splendid shots of the violins in action Jill Gunsell Linden Lea Associates web designer for her enthusiasm sympathy sound advice incredibly quick work and wonderful designs COPYRIGHT NOTICE Text 2006 Oliver Webber and George Stoppani Images by James Gilham Oliver Webber and George Stoppani All rights reserved Music tracks played by kind permission of the copyright owners If you own

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