Talks with Tina
Posted by Ken on November 03, 1997 at 09:09:16:
In response to No, please go on!, written by Caroline on November 02, 1997 at 09:36:01
] Jessamyn, I'm fascinated, please go on! You havn't commented on Ken's point that it might have been the Baroque era that made the change...And where did they hold it in Regency times?
Here in DC the Folger Consort opened its '97-'98 season this Halloween. As 2 of the members are friends of mine, I got a chance to ask Tina Chancey, gambist, fiddler, & all-around bowed string player about this. She instantly said "Baroque", although she wasn't more specific. She added that she herself never used the arm style simply because her arms are too short to hold & play that way. (She does hold the rebec that way.)
Something else I remember now that has some relevance concerns the pardessus de viole. This instrument is uniquely French. (or almost so--I haven't seen any reference to it being used outside of France during the time.) It was developed for ladies to be able to play Italian violin works that became popular around the mid-Baroque or so. Don't recall exact dates, something like the 1670s or '80s. It looks like a violin, except maybe slightly thicker, with sides that seem glued up from different pieces of wood to form an interesting banded effect. And it has 5 strings; don't remember the tuning, but I would guess 4ths instead of 5ths. The point is that it was held upright in the lap like a viol or cello rather than under the chin; according to Tina it was considered rather indelicate for a lady to hold a violin under her chin! Why the delicacy of holding an object with a long pointed neck between the legs was not an issue I can't say--possibly this speaks more to *my* mental state than 17th century France (-: (Correct me if wrong, but in the later 18th century, I believe women's fashions would have been too tight to hold a violin under the chin comfortably as well.)
At any rate, this would argue that the under-the-chin style had become established for violinists no later than the last quarter of the 17th century.
(The concert? Wonderful, as usual. It was entitled "The Dance of Death" & they threw in some cheerful Playford at the end (-: )
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