Posted by Ken on October 30, 1997 at 08:21:52:
In response to Chin support, written by Ann on October 30, 1997 at 01:30:46
] ] I was looking at one of the Sharpe episodes the other night, and I noticed that John Tams (Coporal Hagman) plays his violin in the crook of his arm, not under his chin.
] ] When you look at old paintings of violins they don't seem to have chin pieces attatched.
] While I have little real knowledge on this subject (so I don't really know what I'm talking about), I thought that chin rests still aren't used on high quality violins, but that the musician uses a piece of cloth to cushion their chin. I would doubt that you would want to screw/bolt/glue something like that onto a Strad.
Probably not. (On the other hand, there are no unaltered Strad violins in existence, except maybe one; they all had their necks lengthened to accommodate Baroque demands for range. The one I'm thinking of either skipped this treatment or got altered back again; my sievey memory won't say which!)
EM (early music) stringed instruments outside of violins usually get played 1 of 2 ways: held in the lap a la viol or modern cello, but with the bow held from underneath, or held in the crook of the arm (mostly small instruments like rebecs). If the back is curved or bulbous, playing under the chin isn't really an option. I don't know when the underchin style became adopted for violins, but securing the instrument this way would obviously promote faster fingers with greater range, as they wouldn't be called on to grasp the instrument. So that all argues for a Baroque change, as the Baroque promoted individual virtuosity everywhere. But, of course, that covers a good 150 years, so isn't too helpful to you!
I don't recall seeing any folk fiddlers holding a violin with the arm; that is an interesting & believable tidbit in terms of tradition & history.
Paintings & sculpture are good sources of HIP (historically imformed performance)ideas; I love to roam museums looking for such clues. However, they have to be taken CGS (with a grain of salt) because the artists weren't musicians and aren't necessarily showing us true, contemporaneous performance practice. It requires expertise I haven't got as an amateur to make this work reliably!
EM folk today when called on to pluck their viols sometimes hold them cross-lap, as if they were giant guitars (-: This strikes me as a combination of affected & cool, but I like it anyhow; it makes me smile. I *think* I've seen a violinist do this as well, but the recollection of time and place escapes me. . . .
And that is about all from--
Earlymusicman & Snarkhunter
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