A rational look at the classical Italian coatings

This article appeared in the VSA papers, summer 2005, and it really is one of the best I have seen. I follow the author, Koen Padding's advice quite closely in my own work. The article is downloadable in PDF format for registered users here.


This article describes the author’s thoughts about varnish and his approach toward understanding the puzzle that classical Italian varnish has become. Significant clues were derived from both the physical appearance of the surfaces of classical Italian violins and observations of the visible fluorescence from their varnishes when irradiated by an ultraviolet lamp. To illuminate the influence of earlier painting techniques on the surface coatings applied by Italian violin makers from ca. 1550 to 1750, the author refers to two historical documents from the 12th and 15th centuries that describe varnish composition and methods of application. Correlation of observations, scientific studies, and historical records has led the author to the conclusion that the Byzantine finishing system is the likely original conceptual basis for the classical Italian coatings.


A solution for cash strapped orchestras...

Here is a novel solution for some cash strapped orchestras to save lots of money by halving (!) the number of string players they need. Simply brilliant!




A fair idea gone slightly awry…

This was posted yesterday on Maestronet...


Guide to choosing and using strings for violins, violas and cellos

With the large selection of strings available nowadays, it is becoming increasingly difficult for a string player to choose the right strings for his/her needs. And with rising costs and economic woes experimentation is also not a realistic approach. I came across this guide that might be useful to narrow down your list of potential string choices. This article is by Richard Ward of Ifshin Violins in Berkeley California.  It first appeared in Strings Magazine several years ago and has been updated and posted on the Ifshin Violins site at http://www.ifshinviolins.com/features_guide.html


Every string player's nightmare...

A priceless 250-year-old viola broke during a classical musical performance last Thursday in Torino, Italy. Famous Russian viola player Yuri Bashmet was playing a "Carlo Testore" viola made in 1758 when the unthinkable happened. The viola broke in his hands. During the concert broadcasted on Italian television, the viola's tailpiece gave way, meaning the instrument's bridge fell down and all four strings gave way. Bashmet took the disappointment like a champ.


The violinist, the architect and the chauffeur...

Alma tnHere is a story that I first became aware of when it was covered in the BBC series, 'Infamous murders'. It is a tragic tale of love, murder and suicide. One of the main protagonists, Alma Rattenbury, was a gifted violinist. Her life story reads like a novel with all the ingredients: love, music, war, tragedy, bravery, adultery and, finally, murder and suicide. This article appeared in Dorset Life and was written by John Walker.





Bournemouth’s most sensational murder

In his book, Murder at the Villa Madeira, eminent lawyer-author Sir David Napley introduces the Rattenbury murder as follows: ‘The sensation of the year 1935 was the trial at the Old Bailey on charges of murder of Alma Rattenbury, an attractive woman of perhaps 39 or 40, and her lover, George Stoner, who had been employed in her house as a chauffeur-handyman.’ It was certainly the biggest local sensation in Bournemouth that year, and the biggest ever on its East Cliff.


The Strad Launches Lost and Stolen Database

ThiefThe Strad magazine has started a new database to help reunite stringed instrument owners with their prized possessions.

If your stringed instrument has been lost or stolen in the last few months, it’s simple to add your details to the register. Go online at www.thestrad.com/lostandstoleninfo and fill out our form. The information will then appear to the public on our website from May so that readers of The Strad and www.thestrad.com throughout the world can be alert to specific instruments when they surface.

The Strad Lost and Stolen Database is in association with Axa Art.


Schoolboy stabs violin teacher

ImageA 13-year-old schoolboy stabbed his music teacher with a kitchen knife, leaving the blade stuck in the teacher`s back as he made his escape. The pair had just finished a private violin lesson at a
middle school near Venice when the pupil allegedly turned on him, stabbing him once in the back. Teacher Fabio Paggioro, 36, had reportedly told the boy, 'See how you manage to do well when you put the effort in'.

Police said the stabbing was premeditated, as the boy had brought in a large kitchen knife from home. After the boy fled, Paggioro managed to alert a piano teacher in the next room who removed the knife from her colleague`s back and called an ambulance.

Paggioro is expected to make a full recovery and told hospital staff he did not want to speak to the media.


Ricochet bowing, anyone?

Gun in caseOr maybe it is just a case of somebody interpreting the term 'coffin case' a bit differently. The only problem I can see is that you'll have to ask your victim to wait while you assemble your 'instrument'. Look at the screwdriver...




Zeitgeist and violinmaking

AchemistOne of the leading proponents of the scientific approach to violinmaking is Martin Schleske. In this article he touches on the subject of the state of scientific discovery around the time of the Cremonese era.

The full article in PDF format can be downloaded by registered members here. 


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