Posted by Jessamyn on November 03, 1997 at 23:49:28:
In response to Illustrated history of violin-holding, written by Jessamyn on November 03, 1997 at 23:34:58
] It was the Baroque era--which just means after the Renaissance (1500s) and before the Romantic period (1800s). Both upper-chest and under-the-chin styles of holding the violin coexisted for a while, with the French hanging on to the upper-chest position for longer than everyone else.
There was an exception to the rule: dancing-masters' violins. Built in various ingenious ways to be light and portable (since dancing-masters were usually both poor and itenerant), they were impossible to play under the chin. They were actually meant to be played in the crook of the arm, because the dancing-master had to be more free to move around as he played and also to speak commands to his pupils.
On the right is a beautiful little dancing-master's "kit" (that's what these little violins were called) from Dublin. I don't know the year, but it's probably Regency or earlier.
On the left is that amazing invention, the walking-stick violin. The master could use it as a stick when walking to his pupil's house; once there, he pulled off the front panel to reveal a long, skinny violin. He also unscrewed the handle and a small bow slipped out from the inside (just as if the violin were a poster-tube!). If you're having trouble picturing it, realize that the brass handle went in the crook of the elbow, and the tuning pegs, just below which the player fingers the notes, are those little slivered-almond looking things. In other words, it's upside-down.
I have no idea of the year on this, but I'm sure it's at least 150 years old, and quite possibly much older.
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