HOW TO MAKE
VIOLIN NOTES by OLE BULL
WILLIAM REEVES Bookseller Ltd.
la Norbury Crescent, S.W.I 6
Printed in Great Britain by
Lowe and Brydone (Printers) Limited, London, N.W.io
THE demand for this little work on the
construction of the violin has con-
tinued steadily for years and for a short
time has been out of print. This present
edition has been considerably improved and
has had the advantage of being revised by
one of our well-known violin makers.
With a view of further improving this edi-
tion the outline illustrations of the models
of Stradivarius, Guarnerius and Amati have
been re-drawn and that of a Maggini added
to the list.
The Parts of the Violin
On the Selection of Wood
The Tools Required
The Back ...
The Thickness of the Back and Belly
The Bass Bar 66
The Purfling 61
The Neck 67
The Fingerboard V6
The Nut cand the Tail Piece Nut 77
Varnishing and Polishing 79
Varnishes and Colouring Matter 82
The Varnish 91
A. Mathematical Method of Constructing the
The Remaining Accessories of the Violin (in-
cluding Violin Notes by Ole Bull) ... 113
List of Illustrations.
''Le Mercure " Strad
Plane, side view 14
Plane, bottom view ... ... 14
Plane showing loose pieces detached ... 14
Plane ready for use ... 15
Side view of small rounded plane 16
Bottom view of small rounded plane ... 16
Scraper ... ... ... ... ... ... 17
Steel compasses ... ... ... ... 17
Steel trace 18
Bending iron ... ... ... 18
Hand-vice ... ... 19
Wooden hand screw ... ... ... ... 19
Clip of wood 20
Sound-post setter ... ... ... ... 20
Sound-post setter used by Spohr ... ... 20
Large folding plate of outlines of an
Amati, Stradivarius, Guarnerius and
Maggini At end of volume
Outline of a violin 23
Model for the curve of the back and belly 24
Model for the curve at its greatest width 24
Vlll LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
22. The curve over the / holes 24
23. Model for the curve at the widebt part of
the neck end ... ... ... ... ... 24
24. Model for drawing and placing the / holes 25
25. The mould 28
26. The counter mould 29
27. The upper mould with pieces in position 31
28. Mould with the blocks 32
29. Maple piece 41
30. The two maple pieces in position 41
31. Another view in one piece ... 42
32. The back-plate 44
33. Purfling tool 62
34. Cutters 62
35. Purfling tool 63
36. Chisel-sharpened awl 66
37. The neck 68
38. A view of the foot of the neck ... ... 72
39. Outline with measures marked ... ... 104
40. Arc 108
41. Outline showing the position of the bar ... 109
42. Outline showing varying thickness ... 110
43. Bridge of a viol with seven strings, the
body of which is not cut out except at the
two sides ... ... ... ... ... 126
44. Bridge of a viol with five strings cut
through in every part ... 127
45. Bridge of a small pattern violin of the
ancient school of Anthony Amati 126
46. Bridge of a Nicholas Araati ... 128
47. Bridge of a Stradivarius ... 128
So much has been written upon the
violin, its history, its development, its
beauties as a musical instrument, its
musical literature, etc., that a collection of
all the works to which it ha^ given rise
would form almost a library of themselves.
Its history has been ably treated in a Ger-
man work called "Die Violine, Ihre Ges-
chichte und Ihr Bau." The oiily work, how-
ever, as yet given to English readers, I
believe, which treats fully and concisely of
the numerous details involved in making a
violin, is the very fine but expensive work
of E. Heron-Allen — a work complete in
itself, but perhaps too costly for some who
would like to try their hand at fabricating
a fiddle. Hints are given in many books,
and in some of them a general outline of
the process is furnished; the best I have
seen is contained in " The Violin," by P.
Davidson. By far the greater part of that
interesting work is devoted to theoretical
and historical matters, which, however, at-
tractive in themselves, are not strictly con-
nected with the making of the instrument
My object in writing this book is to afford
the amateur detailed information respect-
ing the various processes to be gone through
in the workshop, from the time when the
wood in the rough lies on the bench to the
moment when the finished article is ready
to be fitted with strings for playing. I do
not think I have allowed any detail to es-
cape me, if I have I shall be grateful to any
reader who will communicate with me, so
that the defect or defects may be remedied
in a later edition. I do not for a moment
suppose that my work is perfect, but I have
tried to make it as full and complete as
possible, and to explain in detail every
operation necessary to construct a violin,
It is presumed that the amateur is suffi-
ciently enthusiastic to make the attempt,
and that he means not merely to make a
common box of wood which will sound
when played upon, but to produce instru-
ments which will live after him, and to put
his best work into every violin he finishes.
Violins are turned out by the thousand
every year, but cheap as they are, most of
them are dear at the price paid for them
because they are made without artistic in-
telligence, without enthusiasm, without love
for the beautiful, and without that minute
attention to each particular instrument
which alone can secure a perfect work. So
many backs, so many bellies, so many necks,
so many finger-boards, so many bass-bars, so
many sound-posts, are shaped to a given
pattern, fitted together, varnished, and sent
into the market as so many violins; but
this is not the way to produce one good in-
strument. The amateur who reads this
book doubtless knows all that can be learnt
about the old masters whose names are
household words in the violin world, and if
SO, he knows that they did not work on this
plan, but bestowed loving care on every
single instrument, regarding the one work
in hand as quite enough to tax all their
energies and absorb all their artistic know-
ledge and experience for the time being.
This is the spirit in which to work, the
spirit which will regard every detail as
equally momentous, and bestow as much
time and trouble on the inside v/ork which
will never be seen, as on the outside work
which will be seen. I would call the
reader's attention to the remark of the
eminent sculptor to the effect that "Trifles
make perfection," but I would at the same
time caution him against misunderstanding
the quotation. In the making of a violin
there are no "trifles," everything seen or
unseen, great or small, beautiful or not
beautiful, is of the first importance. The
mason who carved elaborate details on
figures, in a cathedral, placed so high that
the beauty of his work could not be seen
and admired, made his work perfect because
the gods would see it ; does the amateur who
is about to begin to make a violin know
what such enthusiasm means ? Is he pre-
pajed to produce a perfect work, not merely
to make a profit by it, not to win admiration
for it, not to gam celebrity by it, but because
the doing of genuine work, for the reason
that it is genuine work, is the highest and
purest pleasure known to the enthusiast?
This is enthusiasm. The work will not of
necessity be bad if profit or fame result
from it, but it will certainly be bad if this
particular kind of enthusiasm do not inspire
every step taken in the process of doing it.
Few stories have been told oftener than
that which tells how Sir Joshua Reynolds
informed an inquirer that he mixed his
colours with brains. That is the one single
commodity with which I cannot undertake
to supply the amateur violin-maker. No
amount of instruction will enable a fool to
make a fiddle.
No number of difficulties will prevent a
man "with a head screwed on the right
way about" from working through failure
to success. These instructions are only
meant for people of the latter sort. For
them the directions here given will be ample.
Theories have been abundantly dealt with
by other writers : this work is meant to be
HOW TO MAKE A VIOLIN.
THE PARTS OF THE VIOLIN.
TAKEN to pieces, a violin would be
found to consist of the following
♦Back . . . ,
(4 Corners and i top and
* The back is sometimes made in one piece. It is
then called " a whole back." The same remark also
applies to the belly.
t Bottom side is sometimes one piece only.
I The purflings are the narrow black ornamental
double lines running round the outer edge of the
back and belly. They are sometimes omitted.
How to Make a Violin.
Finger Board .
Tail Piece .
Button for ditto
String for ditto .
Tail Piece Nut .
Pegs . . . .
Four kinds of wood are used ; maple,
pine, ebony and rosewood.
Maple is used for the back, the neck, the
side pieces and the bridge.
Pine is used for the belly, the bar, the
blocks, the side linings and the sound post.
Ebony is used for the fingerboard, the
nut, the tail piece, the tail piece nut and the
Rosewood for the pegs . )
ON THE SELECTION OF WOOD.
THE maple and pine are the sounding
woods of the violin, and the tone of
the instrument depends chiefly upon
the quality of wood chosen. It is a pity to
waste good work on bad wood, and the fol-
lowing points must be carefully observed
in selecting both the maple and pine :
Q The tree should have been cut in Decem-
ber or January. At that time the sap has
ceased to flow, and wood cut down then is
always richer in sonorous qualities than that
cut at any other time^
It must have been seasoned for six or
seven years before use, more, if possible, but
never less. Artificial means have been em-
ployed to hasten the effects of seasoning,
and make the wood tough, elastic and reson-
ant, but seasoning is the only genuine, be-
10 How to Make a Violin.
cause natural mode of attaining this end,
and I advise the amateur to avoid baked
wood, or wood dosed with chemicals, as he
would the plague. The longer the wood has
been seasoned by being kept in a dry and
airy place and protected from extremes of
heat and cold, the better will it be for violin
y he wood must be perfectly free from
knots, quite sound, not worm eaten, and
without flaw of any kind. The grain must
be perfectly straight and run lengthwise.
The maple must not be too hard or too soft,
in the first case the tone will not come freely
at the touch of the bow, in the second, it
will be dull, muffled and entirely without
brilliancy.^ This, like many other matters
in connection with our subject, is a question
of judgment and experience. Vuillaume, of
Paris, travelled in Italy and Switzerland for
the express purpose of procuring pine wood,
and bought chairs, tables and other articles
of furniture whenever he found the kind of
wood he wanted. As it is not possible for
every would-be maker to follow his example
On the Selection of Wood. il
I recommend the amateur to buy the wood
he requires from a violin-maJcer of repute.
These are to be found in London, Paris,
and even at Mirecourt, the French town
where so many common violins are made by
machinery to order. For good material a
high price will be asked, and very valuable
pieces of back and belly wood are wortli
almost their weight in gold. A maker in
London once showed me two pieces of
maple sawed into shape for a back, which
he said he would not sell, even in the rough,
for twenty pounds apiece.
Tt is not of course necessary or desirable
that the amateur should make his earliest
experiments on costly wood, on the other
hand, I recommend him to make his first
fiddle of cheap material, so as to familiarise
himself with the tools ^nd the way to use
them. When this experience has been ac-
quired, it will be soon enough to try to turn
valuable wood into an artistic and really
( The wood must be cut from the south side
01 the tree. The old Italian makers took
12 How to Make a Violin.
great care to select wood of this kind,
because they found it more sonorous and
brilliant in tone. The maple should be free
from red or brown patches, that which is of
an uniformly whitish tint is the best.
The pine should be white and of perfectly
straight grain throughout the length of the
instrument.^ The very finest grain is not so
good as that which has an open space be-
tween the hbres. The least knot, fault, flaw
or curve in the grain will render the piece
useless. No other wood but pine is ever
used for the belly, though the back has
occasionally been made of other woods than
maple. Figured wood is advisable if its
sonority is not interfered with, as the beauti-
ful and the useful may readily be combined.
Some of the backs of Stradivarius combine
beauty of appearance and excellence of tone
in the highest perfection.
THE TOOLS REQUIRED.
SOME of the tools used in violin making
are commonly used by cabinet-
makers and carpenters, and others
are peculiarly fitted for their special pur-
poses. They may be bought at a good tool
The work-bench or table, need not be
larger than 4 ft. by 2 ft. A wooden vice
should be attached to one end. The surface
should be quite smooth and kept scrupulously
clean. The following tools are required :
Three saws one of the usual kind for
sawing the larger pieces (24 inches of blade
will be plenty), a hand saw for the more
How to Make a Violin.
delicate work, and a bow saw for outline
Three chisels, ^ inch, § inch, and i inch
Eight gouges, ranging from \ inch to
I inch broad, will be necessary.
A flat-bottomed plane 8 inches long. The
illustrations show the kind of plane re-
quired. Fig. 2 is the side view of the body ;
The Tools Required. 15
Fig. 3 is the bottom view, aa being the slit
for the blade; Fig. 4 shows the loose pieces
detached, which, when fixed, keeps the blade
in its place; and Fig. 5 shows the plane
ready for use. The blade must be kept very
sharp, or it will tear the wood instead of
taking off a thin clean shaving.
If the maker buys his wood in the tree,
and decides to season it himself, he must cut
his maple for the necks into pieces 12 inches
long, 2\ inches deep, and if inches broad,
the grain running on the broadest side. Stack
the pieces so that the air gets freely to them.
The pieces of maple and pine for the back
and belly must be 16 inches long, 6 inches
broad, but conical in shape, the broader edge
being i^ inches and the narrower \ inch.
Authorities are divided as to whether the
heart wood or the outer edge should be joined
How to Make a Violin.
in the middle of the instrument. Mauzin, a
French author, says : *' II faut avoir soin . . .
de mettre la partie du coeur de Teirbre c*est-a-
dire les veines les plus rapproch^s, dans le
centre de la table." Mr. Davidson, in the
work referred to in the introduction, says
the "two thickest edges" should be "the
bark side of the tree," and yet he says later
on, after giving directions for planing and
joining the thicker edges to make the back
and belly : " It will thus be seen that the
centre of this joined plate contains the in-
terior or heart wood" If, as he says, the
two thickest edges are the bark side^ it is
impossible that the centre of the joined plate
can contain the interior or heartwood*
• Aa » matter of fact the bark side is in the centre
or jointed part of the iD6trument, this applies to
both back and belly.
The Tools Reauired.
Three small planes, with rounded bottoms.
Figs. 6 and 7 show what these tools are like.
The smallest should be of the size shown;
the second half as large again; the largest
twice the size of the smallest.
Three or four knives of the shape shown
in Fig. 8, with blades ranging from i inch
to 3 inches in length.
Two or three scrapers, like those used by
cabinet-makers, but with rounded edges.
The necessity for this difference will be seen
later, when the use of the scraper is ex-
plained. One scraper will be required with
the edge shaped as Fig. 9.
How to Make a Violin.
A pair of steel compasses for measuring
the thickness of the back and belly, shaped
as in Fig. lo. These must, of course, be
large enough to allow the back and belly
pieces to be measured with equal facility
from any point of the edge.
A steel trace, with one leg shorter than
the other, Fig. ii.
A bending iron, for giving shape to the
The Tools Required.
side pieces and side linings, Fig. 12. The
body (B) is of an oval shape (C), Fig. 12,
and 6 inches long, the length of the oval
being 2 inches and the width i inch. The
handle (A) should of course be long enough
to prevent burning the hand when the body
(B) is heated.
A hand-vice, Fig. 13; the opening from A
to B should be about 3^ inches, and the
breadth, C to D, about i inch.
Sixteen or eighteen hand-screws, made of
wood, of the shape shown in Fig. 14, and
How to Make a Violin.
measuring 3 inches from A to B. C should
be I inch thick. In using these hand-screws,
a piece of cloth must be put on the violin to
prevent marks of any kind.
A clip of wood shaped like a clothes-peg,
Fig. 1 5, I inch wide at A, 2 inches from point
to point at B, its length is 9 inches and its
thickness | mch, and is used for glueing in
the bass bar, five of these being required.
It should be made of hard wood.
Another clip of a similar kind, but only
2 inches long. The inner surfaces of these
The Tools Required. 21
two little tools must be as smooth as pos-
sible, so as not to " chafe '* the violin.
A sound-post setter, which is made of
steel and shaped as in Fig. 16, where A
shows the surface, and B the bend of the
tool. It should be 8 or 10 inches long.
Another form of sound-post setter was
used by Spohr. Its shape is given in Fig.
17. The bend B enables the setter to be
applied to the head or foot of the post at
The best tools should be procured whicii
it is possible to buy ; the art of violin making
is not an easy one, and its difficulties are
indefinitely multiplied by bad tools.
BY " a model " is meant a flat piece of
wood, Fig. 19, about | inch thick,
which affords a means of drawing
the shape which any part of the violin is to
take. Great care will be required in shaping
these models, as upon them the accuracy of
the finished work depend?.
While the amateur will naturally wish to
copy the outline of an instrument by one of
the great masters, it is not to be supposed
that he will possess a back or belly by Amati,
Stradivarius or Guarnerius. I therefore give
the outline of a violin by each of these
masters : see large folding plate.
A model of either may be made as fol-
lows : draw the outline on tracing paper, or,
better still, cut out the model chosen from
The Models. 23
the woodcut, and paste it on a thin piece of
mahogany, having first made the straight
edge representing the centre joint quite
smooth and even with the plane. Then cut
out the mahogany the required shape, with
scrupulous care, filing out the corners and
inlet with a fine file. The shape thus ob-
tained will answer very well if it is carefully
done, and can be kept for future violins.
The name of the maker of the ori|jinal in-
strument taken as the model should be
written on the mahogany in ink for identifi-
How to Make a Violin.
cation. If it is preferred, the full model can
be made in the same Nvay by cutting out
another piece of paper, the shape of that
taken from the wood-cut, the following will
then be the form of the model :
Fig. 20 shows the model for the curve of
the back and belly taken lengthwise.
Fig 21. ^
Fig. 21 shows the model for the curve of
the instrument at its greatest width, and
Fig. 22 the curve over the / holes.
Fig. 23 shows the model for the curve at
the widest part at the neck end
The Models. 25
Fig. 24 shows the model for drawing and
placing the / holes. It will be observed that
the position and shape of the / holes varies
in different instruments, and a model must
bf* made to suit each style adopted.
The four models shown in Figs. 18, 19, 20
and 21 can only be properly made by ad-
justing them to the back of another instru-
ment. If the amateur cannot obtain access to
a good violin for this purpose, he should pur-
chase a copy of a Stradivarius, which can be
bought tolerably cheap. If it seems strange
that I should recommend a trashy copy as h
model for the arching of a good violin, it
must be remembered that the Mirecourt
copies — those, at any rate, of the better kind,
are made accurately to a scale taken from
26 How to Make a Violin.
the instruments of the best period of Stradi-
varius, and are correctly made so far as shape
is concerned. If the amateur prefers to
make these models of arching by his eye
alone, he must bear in mind that Stradi-
varius, following the example of the Amati
family, began with a high arching, especially
between the / holes, but as he gained ex-
perience he found that the lowering of the
arch contributed to fullness and brilliance of
tone, and the violins of his best period have
the lowest arching of all. The chapter on
the mathematical method of finding the out-
line gives a mode of determining the shape
of the arch lengthwise; this being once ob-
tained and the model made, the transverse
arching will of course be determined by
that, as the arches at the upper and lower
widths and also at the / holes must neces-
sarily fall from the given height of the
lengthwise arch to the level near the edges.
The scroll must also be formed from a
good pattern. A good neck and scroll can
be bought at all instrument dealers and kept
as a model. Directions for carving the
The Models. 27
scroll will be found later on. Various
methods have been devised for making a
model of a scroll without a pattern, but those
methods are very cumbersome in operation
and uncertain in result, and I recommend
the amateur to buy a scroll from Hart, Hill,
Chanot, or some other London maker of
repute. He can work from this pattern,
always knowing that his model is as good
an one as can be obtained.
THE mould, which, properly speaking,
is a " tool *' as much as those men-
tioned in the chapter on tools, is a
piece of wood cut in such a shape as to allow
the blocks, side-pieces and side-linings to be
fixed in their proper places, so as to form the
true foundations on which the violin is to be
built up. This mould is represented in Fig.
25. At A A are the inlets for the two top
The Mould. 29
and bottom blocks, and the four pieces
marked B are for the corner blocks which
fill up on each side of the two circular inlets,
for the solid Jaasis on which the back and
belly are afterwards glued.
The mould is begun by making a model
exactly the shape and size of that for the
back and belly, Fig. 19. Lay on the bench
the piece intended for the mould and put
upon it the model already made, Fig. 19;
mark the outline with the point of the tracer,
and with the saw and knife clean away the
wood, and then with the file dress the edges
until they correspond exactly with the pat-
tern (the four corners may be left sharp).
This piece will then be of the shape of Fig.
26, and is called the counter mould.
30 How to Make a Violin.
Now take a piece of hard wood (walnut is
the best for the purpose) \ inch in thickness
and a little larger than the model in Fig. 19.
This piece is meant for the mould itself. . . .
Lay it on the table, and the centre mould
upon it, and trace on it the outline of the
latter with the tracer. Then, with a rule,
trace the inlets A A and four inlets at
B B B B, as in Fig. 25. The dark line
shows the shape of the mould; the dotted
lines at'B represent the corner blocks. Re-
move the superfluous wood with the saw and
knife, finishing off with the scraper and file.
It is absolutely necessary that the sides of
the mould, in all their extent, should be
perfectly square with the surface. Any
deviation from this rule will throw the side-
pieces out of the upright when they come to
•be fixed, the edges of the mould being the
only means of enabling the side-pieces to be
glued to the corner blocks in an upright
Next pierce the eight holes shown in Fig.
25. The top and bottom holes are to be
TJie Mould. 31
respectively i\ inches (or 15 lignes French
measure) from the inner edge of the inlets
A A, the four marked C i inch from the in-
lets B B B B; and the two in the centre i
inch from the inner edge of the C curves.
Eight other pieces must now be added to
This figure shows the upper mould sur-
rounded by the eight pieces in question.
They must also be of walnut, and of the
precise depth of the side-pieces, viz., \\
inches, and must be dressed with the scraper
and file till they fit perfectly close to the
sides of the mould.
The next figure shows the mould, with the
blocks (A A) (B B B B) fitted in their places.
32 How to Make a Violin.
These blocks must be of pine, of perfectly
even grain and a trifle over i^ inches high to
allow for trimming. The blocks should fit
perfectly in their inlets, and their grain and
that of the corner blocks also must run
across the instrument This gives solidity
to the body.
The blocks being prepared, put a mere
spot of glue on the edge of the mould in
each of the six inlets, and fix the pieces of
pine so that they all stand exactly at the
same height. They should project beyond the
surface of the mould underneath, but only
■j^ of an inch.
When the glue is dry, trim off with the
knife and file the projecting -^ of an inch,
The Mould. 33
and file the blocks perfectly level with the
underside of the mould, this being the side
on which the back will be glued. The
ruler must be used to ascertain that the
surface corresponds perfectly with that of
Lay the upper mould on the mould so
that the outlines of the two are quite square
with each other, and trace out the shape of
the former on the blocks. Then cut away
the extra wood with a suitable gouge and
trim with the knife and file till the blocks
are the exact shape of the upper mould. The
mould and blocks will then be of the shape
of Fig. 26 (page 29). Work slowly and
measure constantly with the square to see
that the outer edges of the blocks are per-
fectly square with the surface of the mould.
It is now time to speak of glue, which
must be of the best quality and made with
the utmost care. This is the more important
because no other material is used for hold-
ing the parts of the violin together. The
best glue is that known as Cologne glue.
It is pale in colour and sold in pieces 6 or
34 How to Make a Violin.
8 inches long and 2 wide; it is very brittle
and whitish at the broken edge. Common
glue is of no use at all. Break a quantity
in small pieces and put it in cold water for
four hours, which will soften and swell it
up. Then take a small glue pot of the or-
dinary kind, but with the inner vessel
enamelled. Add water slowly; when the
glue is all dissolved it should be of the con-
sistency of very thick oil. Take care that it
never boils. The glue should always be
used very hot, but never boiling. While
making, stir it gently with a stick of pine
wood, and in using it apply it to the wood
with a large camel hair pencil. In summer,
glue will dry in four hours; in winter it
needs twelve, and, in the latter case, the
edges of the wood should be carefully
warmed before the glue is put on. When
two pieces are glued together, scrape away
with a chisel any drops which escape, while
they are hot^ or with a pencil dipped in warm
water. It cannot be too often repeated that
only the very best glue obtainable is of any
use for violin making.
THE SIDE-PIECES AND SIDE-LININGS.
SAW out a piece of maple 30 inches long,
4 inches wide, and ^^j inch thick. The
grain should run lengthwise. Lay it
on the bench at one end and clamp it down
with the hand-vice. Plane the surface all
over (going away from the vice), then un-
clamp it, turn it round, clamp the clean end
down, and plane the rest. This time a flat
bit of wood must be put between the hand-
vice and maple to prevent the planed surface
from being marked. Plane the other side in
the same way, till the piece is reduced to a
thickness of ^ inch.
On account of its peculiar grain maple is
very difficult stuff to plane, and ,the plane
iron must be dressed so as to project very
36 How to Make a Violin.
slightly, or it will tear the wood and not
smooth it. The most wavy and ornamental
pieces are at the same time the most difficult
to plane, and best suited for the side pieces.
The piece is still too thick, but it must be
carefully scraped till all inequalities left by
planing are removed and the strip is
smoothed to a nice polish on the surface
which will be outside the violin.
Now take the tracer and mark your piece
into three strips of equal width. Divide
them carefully with a knife. Take the
plane bottom upwards, between your knees,
and, holding each strip in your hands, move
the edges along the plane iron till each is
exactly i^ inches wide.
To divide them into proper lengths,
measure with a strip of paper round the
upper curve of the mould from the point
where the neck is to join the block to the
corner of the block. Allow for trimming
and join at this comer. In the same way
measure the inlet, allowing for trimming
and joining at both ends. Then measure
from the lower comer to the centre of the
The Side-pieces and Side-linings. yj^^
lower block. Cut two strips to each length.
Cut the pieces long enough. The next opera-
tion is to bend the strips, which is done with
the bending iron. Heat it in a stove, but not
hot enough to char the wood. Fix the
handle in the bench-vice, and, taking one of
the strips, dip it in cold water and bend it to
the required shape very gradually. If you
are too hasty you will certainly break the
strip. Keep the strip damp by frequent
dipping. A little practice soon renders this
operation easy, but care must be taken to
curve square with the width, in other words,
when bent, the side-piece should touch the
bench at every point of its edge.
The side-pieces can now be fixed. At the
four corners and at the point where the sides
meet at the lower block the joint must be
trimmed and filed till it is perfect. The
eight pieces of walnut before mentioned, of
the depth of \\ inches, will now be wanted.
Fig. 27 (p. 31) shows them in their places,
and their use is to hold the sides to the
blocks to which they are to be fixed by
means of glue. Rub the edges of the
38 How to Make a Violin.
mould well with soap, taking great care
that the soap does not touch the blocks.
Glue the two blocks in the C inlet, put the
side-piece in its exact place, fix upon it the
walnut block, take a hand-vice, and, putting
the beak in the hole nearest the C inlet, fix
the screw on the outside of the walnut block
and tighten screw until the side-piece
presses firmly against the soaped mould and
the glued blocks. So for the other C
Glue the upper block and the corner block,
lay on the side-piece, add the walnut blocks,
clamp up with hand-vices as before, using
the holes nearest to the glued block. The
side-pieces will, of course, be level with the
mould on the under side, and project
on the upper surface. At the upper block
leave a space of \ inch, at the lower
block the joint must be perfect. To do
this properly, run the corner end first,
glue the block and clamp, and do the same
with the other side-piece, leaving the two
ends free. Then bring them together at the
lower blpck and make your joint perfect
The Side-pieces and Side-linings. 39
before gluing the block ; glue the block and
clamp up. It is now clear why the eight
holes were made in the mould.
When dry and firm, remove the vices and
trim the blocks to the level of the side-
pieces. It is hardly necessary to say that
this must be done slowly and with exceed-
ing care, lest the side-pieces should be dis-
It is usual to have the sides slightly nar-
rower at the neck end. This narrowing
must now be done. With the knife and file
take off the neck block and side not more
than tV of an inch\ the height of the sides
must then be graduated all round, starting
with \\ inches at the lower end and finishing
iV inch less at the upper end. This opera-
tion requires great care.
The side-linings may now be made and
put in. They are of pine, ^ inch broad,
1*1 inch thick at the thicker and -^ inch
at the thinner edge. They are bent
by the same means as the sides, glued
in with the thicker edge level with the
edge of the sides and held in their places
40 How to Make a Violin.
with wooden chips. When these are dry,
take a fine knife and separate the blocks
from the mould, round off the blocks with
a gouge, and the outline of your violin is
THE back and belly are made in the
same way, save that the latter is
left thinner than the former, of
which hereafter. In form and arch they are
precisely the same.
Take two pieces of maple shaped thus,
and of the size previously indicated, Fig. 29.
Plane the surface and the thicker edges,
and lay the two pieces together on the table
thus, Fig. 30.
These two when glued together will form
the back of the violin, the ridge being the
42 How to Make a Violin.
position of the arch. If you decide to have
your back in one piece, its size must be that
of the other two laid together, and its shape
thus, Fig. 31.
If you use two pieces, plane the thicker
edges until they join perfectly. Glue them
together. When the glue is dry, your back
is ready for work.
Lay the two pieces (now practically one)
on the bench, and having planed both sides
perfectly, take the model (Fig. 19), place it
on the flat side, taking -particular care that
the joint corresponds with the centre of the
model. With the tracer point draw the out-
line of the model. Rigid accuracy is in-
Saw round the outline with the bow saw,
not going too near the line, as the knife and
flle have to follow to give the exact outline
of the model. See that the edges are at all
points square with the flat side.
Open the tracer \ inch, take the back be-
tween your knees, and work a line all round
The Back. 43
the edge at that distance from the flat side.
This is the thickness the edge is to be.
Put the back on the bench, fix it with
hand-screws, and with a large gouge give to
it a rough resemblance of the shape which it
must ultimately take. Do not hurry over
this work. It is hardly necessary to remind
the careful workman that when all the
gouging, knifing, scraping and filing have
been done, a certain thickness of wood must
be left, and that one cut too deep at the out-
set will necessitate a fresh start. Begin by
working along the ridge, so as to give to
the joint a rough resemblance to the model
of the arching lengthwise. Take short and
shallow strokes with the gouge, cutting off
only very small chips at a time, and be sure
and leave enough wood for the operations
which are to follow. When this is done
there will, of course, be a cavity, like a minia-
ture railway cutting, getting deeper as you
get further away from the centre.
Now 'begin again from the centre, and
work out in the rough the arching down to
the middle of the C inlets.
How to Make a Violin.
Next clear away from the point where the
two archings meet, four sloping Imes diagon-
ally, to the middle of the upper and lower
curves. The back-plate will now resemble
the following figure. Fig. 32.
Next clear away all the spare wood from
the centre to the edges, and then with the
smallest round-bottomed plane, make the
whole surface tolerably smooth, until the
two models fit with accuracy. The place
where the shorter model should fit must be
The Back. 45
found by taking the model of the / holes
and marking through it the two notches on
their inner edges. The highest arch must
be across these notches.
Now take the same plane and clear out
the groove or slight depression round the
edge, so that the arching of the instrument
falls away all round to the bottom of this
little valley, from the level of which there
will be a slight rise to the level of the outer
Having thus got the outside of the back
to the proper shape, as far as the small plane
will do it, finish it off with the scrapers and
You must now turn the plate the other
side up. Before doing this, however, put a
piece of cloth or green baize on the bench, to
prevent the outer surface of the back from
being scratched. Under this cloth pieces of
wood must be fixed all round, of such a
height as to support the outer edges, and at
the same time allow the middle of the back
to rest upon the bench. The reason of this
is obvious; if this precaution were not taken
46 How to Make a Violin.
the back would not remain still while the
outer side was being hollowed out. In
hollowing out the inner surface, care must
be taken to leave level places where the
blocks will have to be attached, and to leave
more wood all over than will be the case
when the back is finished. The compasses
referred to m Chapter III, Fig. 10, will
enable you to obtain the requisite thick-
nesses, which are of such vital importance
that I have treated the matter fully in a
Now turn to Chapter IX, and reduce the
back to its proper thickness all over as
there directed. Having carried through this
operation with great care, the outer edge
of the back should correspond exactly in
outline with the side-pieces, which are
already fixed on the mould, and the back
should project over the side-pieces A inch
all round. Now take a good, fine, biting
file, and bevel very slightly round the whole
inside of the edge, using a round file where
the short curves render it necessary, and a
flat one everywhere else; finish off with
The Back. 47
medium sand-paper. If the fit is accurate,
the back is ready to be glued on, which is
done as follows : lay the back upon the
side-pieces, in the exact place it is to occupy.
Mark with a pencil on the edge of the back
the joint where the side-pieces meet at the
broad end of the instrument and also make
marks at the four corners where the side-
pieces are joined at the extremities of the
C inlets. These markings are to enable you
to lay the back in an instant, and without
hesitation, in the place where you want it
to be. The glue has to be used as hot as
possible without boiling, and unless you
can lay down the back in its exact place
the moment the glue is put on it will lose
its heat and its tenacity while you are
shuffling the back about to find its place.
Have everything ready, therefore, for a
rapid and precise operation, so as to be in
readiness the moment the glue is laid on.
When you are ready, take the camel-hair
brush, and lay the hot glue upon the side-
pieces, put the back in its place, and secure
it with the wooden hand-screws, putting two
48 How to Make a Violin.
on the upper block, two on the lower, one
at each corner, and as many more as you
can place round the edges. Each screw
should have a piece of cloth placed upon
its surface, to keep it from bruising the wood.
The glue which has been forced out by the
pressure must be at once removed with a
camel-hair brush dipped in the hot water of
the glue-pot. Let it stand till it is per-
The belly is fixed in the same way when
it is completed by the fixing of the bass bar
as shown later on. When both back and
belly are glued on, any variation in the pro-
jection of either beyond the side-pieces must
be adjusted with the knife and file, so that
the projection is perfectly symmetrical all
OF THE BELLY.
IF the operator has succeeded in making
a good back, either whole or joined,
he will meet with no great difficulty
in making the belly; the cutting out
of the / holes being the only differ-
ence, and, moreover, the little projection
at the smaller end of the back is not re-
quired for the belly. It must be remem-
bered, however, that pine is much more
fragile than maple, and will therefore
require proportionately increased care in
working ; it must be worked with very sharp
tools, and, as it is liable to split along the
grain, the tool must be used both ways in
getting out a curve, lest the wood split.
" Measure twice before you cut once," cut
lightly and delicately, and be content to
take off a very small piece at each stroke
jo }low to Make a Violin.
lest one unlucky gash should at the same
time spoil your labour and your temper.
Take care that the joint follows exactly
the grain of the wood, which should be
perfectly straight from end to end, and that
you get a faultless joint before glueing the
pieces together. It is of great importance
that the heart-wood — in other words, the
part which grows nearest the centre of the
tree, and consequently is of closer grain,
should be on the side furthest from the joint.
In regulating the thickness of the differ-
ent parts of the belly, follow the directions
given in Chapter IX.
THE / HOLES.
Before these are cut out the belly should
in every other respect be finished. Place
the model of the / holes upon the belly,
having, of course, first laid the latter upon
the bench, taking care that the position of
the model is accurately adjusted. Then
with a pencil sharpened to a very fine point,
carefully trace out the interior of the /
holes in the model.
Of the Belly. 51
First of all, pierce the round holes above
and below somewhat less than the tracing.
Then introduce a very sharp penknife blade
and cut away, little by little, all the wood
within the tracing.
THE THICKNESS. OF THE BACK AND BELLY.
WHEN the belly has been finished
all but reducing it to its proper
thickness, draw a line across
the centre from the two in notches of
the / holes, and draw by measurements.
a similar mark on the back. The middle
of this line will in each case be the
starting-point of the operation for reducing
the wood to its proper thickness. This
operation requires the most scrupulous care,
as upon its successful performance the
vibrations of the instrument, and conse-
quently its quality of tone, will entirely
The lines above mentioned must be drawn
upon the inside of the belly and back. Now
open the compasses exactly J inch, and,
putting one leg of the compasses on
The Thickness of Back and Belly. 53
the centre of the line, mark off that distance
on either side from the centre point. These
two points will therefore be \\ inches, or
double the distance between the compass
points apart. Now with the ruler draw
through these two points lines parallel with
the joint 3 inches towards the top and 2
inches towards the bottom. Join these lines
at their extremities, and you thus have a
rectangular space 5 inches long and \\
inches wide. All the wood of the belly in
this space must be \ inch thick.
This thickness must be diminished gradu-
ally from i^ inch (or \\ lignes French
measure) at the edges of the rectangular
space down to nearly ^ inch at the points
where the belly joins the blocks,* and the
same thickness must be left all round the
under surface of the belly where the groove
or valley runs just within the outer edges of
its upper surface. Take care that this dim-
inution is gradualy and not by jumps and
• Some makers advise \\ lignes all over, but a
little thicker by the soundpoet.
54 How to Make a Violin.
The thickness of the back is obtained in
precisely the same way, but the hack must
be throughout a trijie over A inch thicker
than the belly. In other words, the rec-
tangular space on the back will be -h inch
thicker than that on the belly, the groove
round the edge *h inch thicker, and the
gradual diminution from the one to the
other A inch thicker at the corresponding
To ensure these thicknesses being cor-
rectly obtained, make a small wedge of some
hard wood \ inch thick at the broader edge,
Tti inch at the centre, and -^ inch at the thin
edge. This will serve to adjust the com-
passes, the buttons of which must be put at
the thickness required, and fixed at that
position by the screw. Work with the small
plane and scraper.
Note the following : the strokes of the
plane will take away your pencil lines, and
fresh ones must be drawn at each measure-
ment. Do not trust your eye, but work
rigidly to the exact rectangular shown by
the pencil marks.
The Thickness of Back and Belly. 55
The plane and scrapers must not reduce
your wood to the given thickness; these must
be finished and brought down to their proper
gauge with glass-paper. The glass-paper is
the last " tool " to be used on the wood, and
when the rectangular is thus finished, the
compass buttons should move quite easily
over it, but touch it at all points.
Make a second hard wood wedge for the
back, of course 21 inch thicker in all parts
than that for the belly.
THE BASS BAR.
THE making and fixing of this impor-
tant member will finish the interior
work of the violin. It is made of
pine, fixed parallel to the joint and between
it and the left / hole. Its purpose is to
give depth and power to the third and
The bar should be lo^ inches to io| inches
long, i inch thick, J inch deep at its centre,
and tapering off to the thinnest strip at
the ends. The edge glued to the belly is,
of course, curved to fit precisely, the other
edge is straight. The centre of the bar falls
on the line joining the inner notches of the
/ holes. The grain of the bar must corres-
pond with that of the belly.
The measurements here given are for
the thickness of belly and back above in-
The Bass Bar. 57
timated; but the proportions of the bar
differ in different violins.
Take care that the bar is at right angles
to the surface of the belly and that the
curved edge fits the belly with the greatest
possible exactitude. Glue that edge and
fix the bar parallel to the joint, so that the
outer edge of the bar is -^ inch from the
inner edge of the upper circle of the /
hole on the bass side. Clip it with the
clips shown in the chapter on tools (Fig.
15), and let it dry, first removing the super-
fluous glue with a wet camel-hair brush as
Some writers contend that the bass bar
would be of greater service if glued dia-
gonally to the grain. The amateur who
wishes to do so can easily test this for him-
self. The following opinion of an American
maker (Mr. W. H. Colton) is not without in-
terest. Mr. Colton was a friend of Ole Bull,
and the "note" is from the life of the latter,
published at Boston in 1883:
"The oblique position of the bar has not
been generally adopted. The bar is ordin-
58 How to Make a Violin.
arily placed with its outer side on a line
parallel to the centre line or glue joint of the
top, and at a distance from it about equal to
one-half the width of the bridge, measured
from the outer extremities of the feet. A
slight spring is given to the ends of the bar,
so that when glued to the top it produces an
upward pressure at the centre, under the foot
of the bridge. This pressure should equal
the downward thrust of the bridge, the force
of which will depend upon the angle of the
strings over its top. Practice soon discovers
a certain medium of spring which agrees
fairly with a certain height of bridge.
An entirely successful result is not always
insured, but a positive failure is avoided.
But in the case of the oblique bar, no such
common factor can be found to fit all cases,
even averagely well. Each instrument pre-
sents its own particular problem. The
spring at each end must be accurately de-
termined by mechanical means, which will
take into account both the resistance of the
top, due to its comparative strength of fibre
and the resistance due to the form of
The Bass Bar. 59
modelling. The same degree of obliquity
and position relative to the foot of the
bridge which it supports, will not answer
equally well in all cases. But when the
required conditions are fulfilled, the oblique
bar does beyond doubt very greatly in-
crease the depth and volume of tone,
particularly of the lower strings. Mr. Bull
spent many years in attempting to formu-
late the rules which govern this most per-
plexing part of the organism of the violin.
His observations and experiments demon-
strated to him the correctness of the oblique
position; and though, as was his wont, he
frankly owned to more failures than one,
his instances of success illustrated by his Da
Salo and many other instruments, bore most
convincing witness to the truth of his
Ole Bull's own opinion on the matter is
thus expressed in his " Violin Notes " :
"The principal object of the bar is to
resist the pressure of the strings upon the
top. All old violins require to be rebarred,
owing to the height of the present musical
6o How to Make a Violin.
pitch over that of one hundred years ago.
The old short bars are no longer adapted to
the greater strain, and more powerful ones
are needed. From long-continued strain, the
pulling of the two extremes towards the
centre, and the downward pressure of the
bridge at that point, the tops of many old
violins have bulged up at the ends and sunk
down at the centre. The adjustment of a
new bar will tend to remedy this. As the
bar was originally placed by Caspar Da
Salo, so it should be placed now, that is, not
in the direction of the fibres of the top, but
obliquely, the end under the fingerboard
being nearest the centre. In this position it
appears to give ample support to the bridge
and to allow a fuller and richer tone.
THE purfling is the ornamental black
lines running round the outer edge
of the back and belly — made of two
lines of black with a strip of white wood
The wood for the purfling can be bought
ready made at any violin maker's, and it is
better to buy it than try to make it, as good
machinery is needed to do the work well.
The grooves for the insertion of the
purfling are made with a purfling tool. The
distance of the purfling from the edge is a
matter of taste. When decided, open the
tracer to the required width and fix it with
the screw; put the violin on your knees,
and trace the first line, running one limb
along the outer edge (which is still square,
How to Make a Violin.
the rounding off comes later). Then trace
the second line in like manner. The purfling
tool is then adjusted to the required dis-
tance. The following description of an
excellent purfling tool, directions for use are
from Mr. Davidson's book on " The Violin."
" By this instrument, it will be perceived
we can vary the distances from the edges,
to imitate any model chosen. The two
cutters are thin pieces of steel, sharpened at
an angle, with a shoulder left of the neces-
sary thickness, so that the groove cut may
fit the indenting strips. The two cutters are
kept in position by the screw a. Fig. 34a
represents one of the cutters, seen edge-
ways; Fig. 34^ shows the form of blade
and point. There is a small screw for ad-
justing the shoulder piece to any required
distance the purfiing may be intended to be
placed, Fig. 33t5'. This tool may be made
from iron — with the exception of the cutters,
of course — and fixed in an ordinary tool-
handle. Another purfiing tool, but much
simplified, is shown in Fig. 35. The body of
this tool may be formed from a piece of
beech, having two cutters the same as the
preceding, fixed by a binding-screw. This
simple tool answers admirably, and may be
easily made by any amateur, or can be pur-
chased for about three shillings and six-
pence. The angular parts of the blades
must be made thin, and the edges kept very
keen. Either of those two tools is to be held
64 How to Make a Violin.
quite steady, and a double cut of the propef
depth run round the margin of the back and
breast, the interior wood is afterwards to be
cleanly cut out with a chisel-sharpened awl.*
The indenting groove must be cut gradually
and carefully, never allowing the tool to
tear the wood, or slip from the proper place.
At the parts of the back and belly opposite
to the extremities of the neck, where the in-
denting tool does not reach, two pencil lines
may be drawn through the spaces, and the
groove cut to such lines with a thin pointed
knife, and the wood cut out as previously.*'
When the purfling tool has been run twice
along the intended groove, take a sharp
knife and cut away enough wood from the
groove to allow the awl to enter. The next
figure shows the shape to which the awl
should be bent and the way the point should
be ground. A shows the side view, and B
the front view of the point. When you have
* By a " chisel-sharpened awl " is meant a cob-
bler's awl, narrow enough to run easily in the width
of the groove made by the purfling tool but ground
to a fiat and sharp edge.
The Purfiing. 65
cleared away with a knife a starting-point
for the awl, begin with the point of the awl
and turn up the strip of wood intended to be
brought away just as a ploughshare cuts
underneath the soil and turns it up so as to
leave a furrow. This must, of course, be done
slowly and with great care, seeing that the
groove required is extremely shallow and
the wood from which it has to be cut has
already been made very thin.
Glue the strip of purfling to be inserted,
or both strips if two are desired, and gently
squeeze both together into their grooves, care
being taken that the small ridge of wood
between the grooves is not broken. Make
neat joints at the four corners, and remove
66 How to Make a VioliH.
any superfluous glue with the camel-hair
brush. When the glue is dry, take away the
projecting surface of the purfling with a very
sharp knife, and finish off with the scraper
TAKE a piece of maple lo inches long,
2 J inches wide and i§ inches thick,
and plane it smooth on all four
faces. The maple for the neck is usually
selected from wood well marked and
figured, so as to be as ornamental as possi-
ble. The purfling of the body, and the
scroll of the neck are the only parts of the
instrument which are simply ornamental
without being useful, but there is no reason
why the useful parts should not be as orna-
mental as possible.
Take the finished neck which you have
bought as a model, and draw the outline of
the model on the piece of maple. Then with
the T square, draw a line all round the wood
5j inches from the end where it is to be
fastened to the body. This line will be
How to Make a Violin.
at the point G, Fig. 37, which is the place
where the peg-box begins.
Take the compasses, open the points f
inch which is half the width of the narrow
side; mark a point at each end and draw on
each of the narrow sides a pencil line the
whole length of the piece. Open the com-
passes \\ inch, place one point at the angle
where the long line meets the transverse
Ime at G, and mark on that transverse line
on both sides of the line which cuts it, a
point W inch from the long line, between
which points there will, of course, be iJ inch.
The Neck. 69
This W inch shows the width of the neck at
the beginning of the part held by the hand,
and also the width of the nut (the small
piece of ebony __Qyer which the strings pass
out of the peg-box).
Open the compasses f inch, and put
one leg on the angle made by the long
line and the cross line on the narrow side
opposite to that on which you have been
working, and mark as before upon the cross
line two points on either side of the long
line, the distance between which will be i\
inch. This i^ inch is to be the thickness of
the neck at the point where it joins the
Now fasten the neck to the bench with the
hand-vice, the broad side upwards, so that
the scroll end projects over the edge of the
table, and cut away with the bow-saw ail
the superfluous wood. Begin at point G
(Fig. 37) and proceed along the line F E up
into the corner; then start from C and work
past D round the curve to the corner point;
start again from C, work round the top past
B down to A. This gives a rough outline.
70 How to Make a Violin.
from G round to A, which must now, by
means of chisel, knife and file, be brought
to proper shape.
Then take your measurements from the
model ; cut away the wood from the point A
to the part where the neck joins the body,
and give to that part, and to the neck proper,
which is to be held by the hand, its proper
shape, finishing it off to the greatest nicety
with scrapers, files and glass-paper.
Now fasten the neck down to the bench as
before, and carve out with gouges, knives,
etc., the curves of the scroll, beginning at the
central " button " which, in Fig. 37, is crossed
by the line B C and the dotted line aa^ bbt
the point where these lines meet being the
centre of the button. Begin with the
smallest gouge, and take a larger tool as
the spiral requires it. Finish it with great
care with the knife, scrapers and glass
paper. Before beginning to carve one side,
you will, of course, draw on both sides the
lines B C and aa, bb. If this precaution is
not taken, you will find it difficult to make
the centres of the buttons correspond. Be
. The Neck. 71
careful, in widening down from B to A, to
maintain the gradual increase of thickness
which you will find in your model, taking
constant measurements as you proceed.
Having finished off the sides, work out the
two grooves round the edge A B C D. • The
heck is now finished, except hollowing out
the peg-box, and preparing the foot to join
the body. This foot will be glued on to the
block, and level with it at the top, while the
bottom will be glued to the projecting semi-
circle on the back of the violin, and must,
therefore, be filed until its shape exactly
corresponds with it From this point ths
foot will gradually increase in size until it
attains the width already marked out. Draw
down the foot of the neck a line in continua-
tion of that already drawn, which divides it
into two parts. The foot of the neck, or in
other words, the surface which is glued to
the block, will determine the height which
the finger-board is to be above the body of
the violin, and before you glue the neck
finally in its place you must finish your
finger-board according to the directions
How to Make a Violin.
given later, and, holding it with one hand in
the place in which it is intended to be, adjust
the foot of the neck so as to give to the
finger-board its proper height when glued
on. Fig. 38 gives a view of the foot of the
neck (A B C D) the part above the line A B
being the part which projects above the level
of the block.
The mortising of the peg-box and the
placing and drilling of the peg-holes ought
to present no difficulty. The conical shape
of the peg-holes is obtained by means of a
small tapered gouge.
In gluing on the neck, regard must be had
to two points : The central line of the sur-
face to be attached to the finger-board must
make a straight line with the belly-joint, and
that surface as well as the end or foot must
The Neck, 73
be so adjusted that while the proper height
is given to the finger-board the centre of the
scroll-buttons is intersected by an imaginary
line drawn in continuation of the level at
which the back is glued to the sides.
The time has now come to fix the neck.
When the side pieces were put on, more wood
was left at this place than was required, this
must now be cut away, so as to allow the
neck to fit in exactly. An inlet \ inch deep,
must now be cut in the block — \ inch deep,
that is to say, from the outer surface of the
side-pieces, enough wood having, of course,
been left at the end of the neck to allow for
Before gluing the neck every precaution
must have been taken to ensure its correct
shape and position, and the neck should fit
into the inlet so accurately as to require some
little force to get it to its place. You will
now want a piece of cork \ inch thick and 2
inches long by i mch broad* Glue thoroughly
* Felt is preferable as it is not so liable to leave
an impression on the wood.
74 How to Make a Violin.
the inside of the inlet, put the foot of the
neck in its place, but the piece of cork on the
back so as to cover the button, and, placing
this cork on the beak of the hand-vice, screw
down the screw on to the end of the neck.
In half an hour unscrew it and see if the
finger-board is at the right height. If so,
the glue can be left to dry; if not, it must be
readjusted, and the operation gone through
until it is. In damp weather the end of the
neck should be warmed before it is put in,
and the glue will have a more binding effect
if a good number of holes are made with a
knife in the end of the neck, and in the small
surface which fits upon the button.
THE finger-board is so simple and so
easily made that the best way will
be to purchase one as a model. The
amateur who has followed me thus far will
have no difficulty in making one exactly like
it from a piece of eb^py . It is hardly neces-
sary to say that its width at the narrow end
must be adjusted to that of the neck, and
that it must fit the neck accurately at the
sides, and should join it so closely that they
both appear as one piece. Be careful in glu-
ing it on, not to mark the neck or the finger-
board with the hand screws. The height of
the finger-board varies according to the
model of the instrument; its mean height at
76 How to Make a Violin.
the middle of its upper curve should be ^
inch from the belly joint, but this will all
depend upon the height of the bridge and
the depth of touch required for the strings.
THE NUT AND THE TAIL PIECE NUT.
THE ny ^t is the _sgaalL^iece of wood
over which the strings peiss ou t o f
the peg-box, and the ta il piece nut
is the piece which^esists th^ action of the
string by which the tail piece is held to the
button. Take a piece of e bony of the size
for the nut, as to which the eye will be a
sufficient guide. Its length will be deter-
mined by the width of the neck, with which
it should exactly correspond. Its curve must
correspond exactly with that of the finger-
board, and its upper surface be ^ inch
higher. Its front, against which the finger-
board IS glued, will be perpendicular to the
neck, and the upper surface in which the
slits for the strings are cut must slope gradu-
ally down towards the peg-box, so as to
78 How to Make a Violin.
present a rounded surface on which the
strings may rest.
The string-guard is usually a small piece
of ebony about i inch long and \ inch square,
which is glued into an inlet made in the
block at the lower end. Its outer surface
must be level with the side pieces, into which
it must fit accurately. An edge should be
left upon it to stand yg- inch above the belly,
and it should be trimmed to the surface of
the latter. The edge over which the strings
pass must be rounded so that they are not
cut. The four slits in the nut should not be
cut, but filed out with a rat-tail file.
The making of the button presents no
difficulty. It is a sort of drawer-handle on
a small scale, made of ebony, with a project-
ing limb about i inch long, and | inch in
diameter, which fits accurately into a hole of
that size bored through the sidepieces and
into the block, and we are now ready to
begin to varnish.
VARNISHING AND POLISHING.
HOWEVER carefully the work has
been done, it is almost certain
that on looking it over closely
you will hnd some slight roughness or
unevenness, some place where glue has
trickled out, some part of the edges not
nicely rounded, or some other fault over-
looked. These faults must now be searched
for and remedied by fi.le, glass-paper or
other suitable means. When all is perfect,
polish with very fine glass-paper the whole
Now take a clean sponge, dip it in cold
water, squeeze it nearly dry, and gently
damp (not wet) the instrument all over.
Then polish as before until the surface has
the appearance of having been covered with
a very thin coat of poor varnish.
8o How to Make a Violin.
The making of the varnishes, both spirit
and oil, is treated in the next chapter.
The best tool to lay on the varnish is a
flat camel-hair or sable brush, about an
inch wide, and which has never been used.
The -varnish being ready, take a small
quantity in a glazed earthenware vessel.
Have as little varnish as possible at a time
in the brush, and take only two strokes, one
up and the other down, over each part of
the wood. Take care and " lay it off "
evenly, as a painter would say — that is, work
so that the marks of the brush are invisible,
and as if the varnish had all been put on
with one simple stroke. Try your hand first
on two pieces of maple and pine, both
treated and prepared for varnishing just like
the violin, and do not touch the instrument
with varnish until you have put two coats of
oil varnish on each piece as an experiment.
When you have succeeded in getting a
brilliant surface, from which brush-marks
are totally absent, you can venture on your
violin. After each coat of spirit varnish,
polish with a linen cloth, the older the
Varnishing and Polishing. 8 1
material, and the softer its texture, the better
will it be for your purpose You cannot
obtain a really brilliant lustre with spirit
varnish unless you polish with linen cloth
after each coat.
VARNISHES AND COLOURING MATTER.
HAVING completed the violin, the
next step is to varnish it, and
there are two modes of carrying
out this process. The one is genuine,
the other is a sham; and if the amateur
has succeeded in making an instrument
worth varnishing at all, I strongly advise
him to varnish it that it may pass for
what it is, a new instrument, and not pretend
to be what it is not, an old one. New in-
struments are made to look old by colouring
the wood before the real varnish is applied,
and leaving those parts uncoloured which in
an old violin shows the effects of wear and
tear. This fraud is on every ground to be
deprecated, for nothing will be gained by it,
while the genuine workman, who cares more
for turning out a good violin than he does
Varnishes and Colouring Matter. 83
for making money by dishonest means, will
feel that by such a fraud he loses what
money can never buy, self-respect. The
proper way to varnish the violin is to varnish
it all over without any previous colouring.
This may be done either with plain or
coloured varnish. Both are equally genuine ;
the fraud consists, as I have said, in making
the violin look as though coloured varnish
had been originally used, but worn away by
long use. I shall now proceed to give precise
directions for making the two kinds of var-
nish used for the violin, viz., oil varnish and
spirit varnish, as well as the mode of colour-
ing the varnish in various tints when colour-
ing is desired.
The best, though most troublesome, is
This is vastly better than spirit varnish, as
it is more beautiful, more durable and more
elastic; moreover, it needs no polishing.
Two coats, properly applied, will generally
be found sufficient, whereas spirit varnish
requires six or seven applications.
84 How to Make a Violin.
The ingredients of good oil varnish are
three : amber, spirits of turpentine and lin-
seed oil. The latter, however, is such a bad
drier, that it must be used in the form known
as "boiled oil." The operator could, of
course, perform the operation of " boiling " it
himself, but as it is very dangerous unless
carried out with great care, and as boiled
oil can be purchased ready for use without
any trouble or risk, I think it better not to
give any recipes for rendering linseed oil a
I strongly recommend that varnish that is
sold, in any quantity, ready for use, by
Messrs. Winsor and Newton, artists' colour-
men, London, who prepare boiled oil
of the very finest quality for artists, so
that the violin maker may rely upon obtain-
ing the best procurable. Cheap common
boiled oil is nearly black, and is worse
than useless for the purpose under con-
The following is the way to prepare oil
varnish. The materials required are ;
Varnishes and Colouring Matter. 85
Amber 4 ounces.
Boiled oil 2 ounces.
Oil of turpentine . . .4 ounces.
Break up the amber into pieces the size of
peas, and having prepared a charcoal fire,
put the amber mto a glazed iron vessel
never before used, and with it a spoonful of
the turpentine, and put the pot on the fire
and the cover on it. A quarter of an hour's
warming will suffice to melt the amber, but
ii must now and then be stirred with a strip
of pine wood. When the amber is melted
down, take the pot from the fire, stir it till
cool, and add the oil very slowly, stirring all
the time so as to thoroughly mix the in-
gredients, and then add the turpentine, to
which you have previously given the colour
The colouring matters must simply be
powdered and put in the turpentine to dis-
solve, some time before it is wanted for
making the varnish. The colouring matters
are here given :
Yellow. — Aloes, gamboge, turmerics or
saffron; these will give various tints of
86 How to Make a Violin.
yellow, from light golden to deep, as may be
desired. The effect of golden varnish is very
Red. — Dragon's blood or Saunder's wood.
By mixing with yellow any tint of light red
can be obtained.
Brown. — Madder or logwood.
It must be remembered that each coat adds
a slight depth of colour to the previous one.
These colouring matters are suitable for
colouring either oil or spirit varnish. It is
sometimes the practice to make a quantity of
any colour in as small a portion of turpen-
tine as will dissolve it, and keep it for dilu-
tion to the requisite tint when required.
The following are recipes for oil var-
nishes of different kinds :
Amber, coarsely powdered
. 2 oz.
Venice turpentine .
. 2 fl. drs
. li fl. oz
Oil of turpentine .
. 2 fl. oz.
. 2 oz
Oil of turpentine .
. 5 „
. 6 „
• 4 „
Varnishes and Colouring Matter. 87
Lac ...... 1 oz.
Drying linseed-oil . . • 4 ,,
Oil of turpentine . . . . 8 ,,
Dissolve the lac separately, then add the
amber and thoroughly dissolve by heat.
Clear and pale African copal . 1 lb. y
rty ( Pale drying oil '. . . .1 qt. P>
^^^ Rectified oil of turpentine . . 3 pt.
Boil the copal and drying-oil until stringy,
then thin with the turpentine, and strain
immediately into the store jar. This varnish
is hard and durable, and dries hard in from
twelve to twenty-four hours.
Clear pale rosin . . .3^ lbs.
Oil of turpentine . . .1 gal.
Dissolve. This is the varnish generally
used on the cheap violins.
Colourless Copal Varnish. — To prepare this
varnish the copal must be picked, each piece
then broken, upon which a drop or two of
rosemary oil is to be poured; the pieces
which become soft upon the application of
the oil are those only to be used. Those
pieces having been selected are to be ground
88 How to Make a Violin.
to a fine powder, and then sifted. Place the
powder in a glass vessel and add to it a
corresponding volume of the rosemary oil;
stir for a few minutes, when you will have a
thick liquid. Leave the liquid to rest for
two or three hours, then add a few drops of
pure alcohol, and mix slowly, after whicb
reduce with alcohol until the required con-
sistence is obtained. This is a clear and
The following are recipes for spirit-
varnishes of different kinds :
. \ oz.
Mafitic in tears .
. \ »
. 1 »
. 2 „
. 1 „
Powdered glass .
. 1 n
. 16 „
5 fl. oz.
Varnishes and Colouring Matter. 89
Benzoin in tears
Powdered glass .
. 4 oz.
. 2 „
. 1 »
. 1 „
. 4 „
. 2 „
. 32 „
. 5 ,j
. 2 „
. 2 „
. 5 „
. 24 „
glass of each .
Alcohol (64 0. P.)
Heat the mixture (with frequent stirring) in
a water bath, so that the bubbles may be
counted as they rise, until solution is com-
plete, then decant the clear portion.
Mastic . . . .
. 2\ fl. oz
Alcohol . . . ,
. 1 pt.
90 How to Make a Violin.
This is the spirit-varnish so often seen
upon the clear German violins.
Colourless Spirit Varnish. — Dissolve 2\ oz.
picked orange lac in a pint of rectified
alcohol, and boil well for a few minutes
with 5 oz. of well burnt and recently heated
animal charcoal. A small quantity of the
solution should now be filtered, and if not
colourless add more charcoal. When colour-
less press the liquor through a piece of silk,
and filter through fine filtering paper. This
varnish must be used in a room where the
temperature is about 60 degrees Fahr. It
does not chill or bloom, and dries in a few
THE MS. "Violin Notes" left by Ole
Bull, contain the following inter-
esting observations :
" In a search after an elucidation of this
so-called lost art, three facts immediately
present themselves : first, this varnish was
employed by the very earliest of the Italian
makers as well as the later; second, its use
was common only in Italy ; third, it ceased to
be applied to violins after A.D. 1750-60.
" In texture this varnish is extremely supple ;
it will yield to pressure, but breaks or scales
off under a sudden blow. It is entirely trans-
parent, and of all shades of brown, red and
yellow. The vehicle in which the gums and
colours arc dissolved is an oil. Applied to a
violin, it compacts the tone together, without
92 How to Make a Violin.
rendering it shrill or harsh, and gives addi-
tional beauty to the wood. That its in-
gredients were indigenous to the Italian soil
is out of the question. It is well known that
much of the maple used by the violin-makers
of that day came from Turkey. Imported
to Venice, it was employed in the construc-
tion of oars, etc. The extremely curly
pieces, owing to their liability to fracture
under rough usage, were consequently re-
jected, to be appropriated by the violin-
makers. Venice and Genoa held great com-
mand over the entire Eastern trade, and un-
doubtedly through these ports came the
various gums and colouring substances of
which this varnish was made.
"Turning to other countries of Europe* —
Germany, France and England — and exam-
ining the productions of their most cele-
brated violin-makers contemporaneous with
the Cremonese school, scarcely a trace of the
Italian varnish is to be met with. In Ger-
man instruments the varnish is distinguished
by extreme hardness, a glassy lustre, and
an absence of all delicate shades of
The Varnish. 93
colour. The vehicle or menstruum, more-
over, is alcohol. In France, the colouring
was sometimes good, but in general too pro-
nounced. The- varnish of the old English
makers lacked transparency. In both these
countries the vehicle was oil, but the varnish
in quantity and texture differed essentially
from the Italian.
" Three questions occur : first, was this
manufacture a secret? second, how was this
secret lost? third, are there any clues for
perusal and examination? Answers to these
questions should clear up the mystery of
this so-called lost art.
"To begin, then, with the first question,
was the manufacture of this varnish a secret?
There is no reasonable doubt that it was,
but only in a certain way. For a period of
about two hundred years, from the time of
Caspar da Salo to that of the Bergonzi, the
varnish was common to every Italian violin-
maker. Cremona had no monopoly, for the
knowledge and use of it extended to Padua,
Venice, Rome and Naples. It is impossible,
therefore, during this long time to say that
94 How to Make a Violin.
the selection of ingredients or the method
of preparation employed in the manufacture
of this substance, so well known and widely
used, were in any sense a secret. But a little
later quite a change is observable. From a
hundred Italian instruments of this later
date, only a notable few can be selected
as possessing the true varnish; and that
this marked characteristic in the case of these
few is not the result of mere chance is ap-
parent from the fact that the artists who
made them have consistently applied it to
all their productions. From about 1745 to
about 1760, then, the manufacture of this
varnish may be properly called a secret, as
being confined to a chosen few.
" A bitter rivalry had always existed
between the Neapolitan, Venetian and Cre-
monese schools. Alessandro Gagliano, pro-
bably a pupil of Stradivarius, had estab-
lished himself at Naples. Dominico Mon-
tagnana and Sanctus Seraphino were the
masters of the art in Venice. The Cre-
monese makers seem to have relied on
their sonorous, well-selected wood, their
The Varnish. 95
established principles of construction, and
their ancient reputation; the Venetians, on
the beauty of their wood, and careful finish;
and the Neapolitans on their exceedingly
" As a knowledge of the varnish became at
last confined to a few, instances are not
wanting of the persecution of such by their
less fortunate fellow-workmen. It is quite
evident, that, apart from any considerations
of beauty, the importance of the varnish as
an acoustic element was well recognised.
" The second question now presents itself :
how was the secret lost ? A careful and re-
peated examination, extending to a vast
number of objects, reveals the fact that the
varnish of the Italian violin-maker of the
time of Stradivarius and before him was
common to the painter, the varnisher, and
the gilder as well. Let an ancient piece of
Italian furniture, a chair, a cabinet, the case
of a spinet or harpsichord, be examined,
and provided it has escaped modern retouch-
ing, the varnish might be by Stradivarius
himself. Generally it is colourless, then the
96 How to Make a Violin.
quality and texture are the indications, but
occasionally it is of brilliant hues, and then
it proclaims itself to the eye at once. Let
specimens of a later date, say, 1760, be ex-
amined, there is no such varnish. This is
smooth, fairly lustrous, hard and durable.
The chair of 1725 presents a surface broken
and worn away, that of 1760, one compara-
tively smooth, and fairly able to endure
further vicissitudes of time.
"Between the years 1740 and 1760, great
changes in the manufacture of varnish were
introduced. The old soft gums and their
menstrua, capable in themselves of dis-
solving them, were discarded in favour of
newer and more complicated processes pro-
ducing a result more durable and unchange-
able under exposure and rough wear.
" The old fashion of ornamenting all ar-
ticles of furniture, whether of ornament or
utility, with carvings, had given place to a
more sober style. Broad, unrelieved surfaces,
depending on the intrinsic beauty of their
material, were found a relief to the eye tired
with unravelling the mazes of complex
The Varnish. 97
carving or painted arabesque. The old,
soft, badly wearing varnish no longer
sufficed for protection and covering of sucli
surfaces; hence the new processes, and, for
such utilitarian purposes, superior results.
The hard copal gums, hitherto undissolv-
able, or only partially so, were found to
yield entirely upon proper heating and
fusion. In 1750 a patent, covering a period
of twenty-fi.ve years, was granted by the
King of France to one Simon Martin, a fan
painter, for the process of making varnish
from amber, by driving off the succinic acid
by means of heat, and the subsequent com-
bination of the residue with oil. From that
day to the present, various improvements in
this art hav^e gone on uninterruptedly. The
field of discovery, the gates to which were
opened by such pioneers as Simon Martin,
being once entered, the problem of dura-
bility, hardness and unchangeableness was
soon solved. But with the laying aside of
the old recipes, the Italian varnish became a
lost art. The knowledge of its composition,
naturally confined to the general manufac-
g8 How to Make a Violin.
tures, was forgotten. There is no doubt that
some of the Cremonese and other makers
knew how to prepare it, but, as has been
shown, its use was not confined to them.
The new ingredients, the copals, amber, etc.,
would naturally supersede the old as ar-
ticles of import, and so by degrees those
who possessed the secret, for a secret it was,
certainly regarded by its latest possessors,
would find increasing difficulty in obtaining
the old constituents. Moreover, the days of
violin-making in Italy were over. England,
France and Germany were eager competi-
tors, the stolid build of the first, the gaudy
colour of the second, the baked wood of the
Mittenwalder, or artist of the Black Forest,
and the general cheapness of all, held the
market. And so it has happened that the
art of the old varnish is not lost, but buried
in the dust under the wheel of progress.
For two hundred years it was in the hands
of a nation; and though now a desire for
this forgotten knowledge is confined to only
a few, it would be absurd to say that per-
sistent inquiry must fail to unravel a skein
of so many ends.
The Varnish. gg
" The third question now presents itself :
are there any writings or clues for perusal
and examination? There are many. An
ingenious Frenchman, who long ago wrote a
treatise on varnish, has given the following
list of authors who have treated upon this
"Alexis, Piedmontese (real name of
author, Hieronymus Ruscellai), ' Secrets des
Arts,' Milan, 1550.
" Tiavoranti : * Miroir Universel des Arts
et des Sciences,* Bologna, 1564.
" And a : ' Recueil Abr6ge des Secrets Mer-
veilleux; — , 1663.
"Zahn, Jean, 'Oculus Artificialis, etc.;
"Morley, C, 'Collections'; London, 1692.
" Coronelli, Vincent, ' Epitome Cosmo-
graphique'; Venice, 1693.
" Pomet, * Histoire Generale des Drogues ' ;
Paris, 1694 (reprinted 1736).
" Buouanni, Phillipe, 'Traite des Vernis';
Rome, 17 1 3
"Here is a succession of treatises, the
earliest written about the time of Caspar da
100 How to Make a Violin.
Salo, and the latest during that of Stradi-
varius. Here are hundreds of genuine re-
cipes. Is any one of them the right one?
Patience and perseverance are necessary,
much fitting of old names to their nomen-
clatures and many tiresome comparisons, but
these once made, the desired result may be
obtained, and the new varnish may possess
the old coveted lustrous softness and sup-
pleness. And the colours? the brown, the
red, and the yellow ? — hidden under quaint
and obsolete names, they are all indicated
by one and another of these authors, and
all are soluble in the one vehicle, forming
a coloured oil varnish, clear and transparent,
which, however long kept, will let fall no
" There is still another branch of this sub-
ject which has never, or very rarely, been
specified, and this is the ground-toning. In
all Italian instruments the wood appears to
be permeated with a colour varying in in-
tensity from pale yellow to almost orange.
This colour is quite distinct from that of the
varnish ; for, however faded by exposure and
The Varnish. lOi
other causes the latter may be, the ground-
tone almost always retains its colour. The
violins with red varnish afford the finest ex-
amples of this ground-toning. On such its
tawny yellow is the most intense, and offers
a splendid foil to the superimposed colour,
toning and giving life to it. How it was
composed or applied, whether as a wash or
stain, or as a distinct varnish, none of the
authors give any information. But from their
miscellaneous lists of the drugs, dye-stuffs
and colouring matter common to the Italian
markets, it is quite possible that a selection
could be made, which would fulfil all the
required conditions of colour and stability.
" But though supplied with the ground-
tone, another element is needed before the
exact reflex of the Italian varnish can be
reproduced, and that is the natural colour
of the old wood.
"The problem of the old varnish is solv-
able by anyone who deems the reward worth
the trial of patience and perseverance, two
elements most effective in the task of inter-
lining the broken sentences of tradition."
A MATHEMATICAL METHOD OF CONSTRUCTING
IN constructing an outline according to
the directions now to be given, it is
necessary to observe great accuracy in
the working, to ensure a satisfactory
First draw a perpendicular line 14 inches
long, and divide it accurately into 72 equal
parts. Then draw at right angles to line,
A line through
Constructing the Outline, 103
A line through
Open the compasses to the width of 9
parts, put one of the feet at point b^ and
draw the two little curves aa.
Open the compasses to the width of 24
parts, place one foot on point 24, and draw
the arc aba.
Open the compasses to the width of 2
parts, and mark off this distance upon each
side of the perpendicular, as at cc.
Put one foot of the compasses at r, open
Constructing the Outline. 105
to fl, and describe the curve at aa. Do the
hke on the other side.
Open the compasses to the width of one
part, and mark to right and left of No. 14,
on the line BB, two points ee\ make each
point the centre of a circle, as in the last
paragraph, with radius ^A, and draw the
arcs A D on either side.
On the Ime L L measure to a point 22J
parts from the perpendicular; put one foot
of the compass at each of these points h and
describe from the centre h with a radius of
1 1 parts, the arcs cutting the lines LL
In the same way find on line KK 2 points
23! parts from the perpendicular, and from
centres kk open the compasses to the point
whe^e the arcs last drawn, join the line LL,
and continue the arc from the line LL until
it meets the line HH.
Open the compasses to the width of 11
parts, place one foot upon point 72, and draw
the two small lines vVy then place one foot
on point 35, and the other on point 72, and
draw the curve between these two lines, vv.
io6 How to Make a Violin.
Open the compasses to the width of 6
parts, and placing one foot on point 55,
mark on the line SS the two points xx.
Take each point ;r as a centre from x to v
as a radius, and continue the curve from v
to the line VV.
Open the compasses to the width of 4
parts, place one foot on point 56, mark the
2 points to ZB.
Take each s as a centre, open the com-
passes to the point where the arcs last drawn
joins the line VV, and continue the curve
from the line VV to the line RR.
Mark off on line GG two points 00, each
distant from the perpendicular 24^ parts :
open the compasses from point to point /
on either side, and draw the curve from
point / to the line FF.
On line II mark on each side of the per-
pendicular at the distance of 14! parts from
the perpendicular 2 points mm; open the
compasses from m to where the curve joins
the line HH, and trace on each side the
curve from the last mentioned point to the
Constructing the Outline. 107
On line EE, find 2 points 22 parts from
the perpendicular on each side qq\ open the
compasses from point q to point p on line
EE, and draw the small curve from ^ to r
on each side.
Open the compasses from point 20, 16^
parts, and draw the two corners ss.
On line QQ open the compasses 24 parts
from the perpendicular, and mark on each
side the point bb\ from point bb^ open the
compasses to the poin^ where the line RR
is joined by the curve from V to R, and
continue the curve from cc to dd.
On the line NN open the compasses 16-J-
parts from the perpendicular, and mark on
each side the point /; open the compasses
from point / to the point where the line PP
is joined by the curve from the point i and
draw the small curve.
Open the compasses to the width of I9f
parts from point $0, and trace on each side
the comer dd.
We will now proceed to show how the
arch of the violin is made in the direction
of the perpendicular.
io8 How to Make a Violin.
Take a strip of hard wood, -2 inches widd,
a little longer than the perpendicular, and
thick enough not to bend too easily, and
find its centre, across which draw a line.
Open the large compasses 216 parts, that
is, three times the length of the perpen-
dicular, and, having fixed the strip upon the
table, draw upon the table a perpendicular
line in continuation of the line drawn across
the centre of the strip, place one end of the
compasses on the perpendicular line upon the
strip not too near to the upper edge, and the
other point upon the perpendicular drawn
upon the table, and draw upon the strip the
arc shown in Fig. 40. When cut away this
arc will give the proper arch of the violin.
The length of the / holes is 15 parts; the
incision on the inner side of each should
be exactly opposite point 40; the head
commences opposite point 32^, and the foot
ends opposite point 47^. The diameter of
the hole at the head is i^ part, that at the
foot I J parts; the inner edge of the upper
holes should be 9 parts asunder, and the
Constructing the Outline.
inner edges of the lower holes 23 parts, as
under (see Fig. 41).* For all measurements
required in this method a rule 72 parts long
and accurately divided into 72 parts will be
found of great service.
THE THICKNESS OF THE BACK.
Point 42 is the starting point for obtaining
the proper thickness of the back. With the
* Fig. 41. The position of the bar shown in the
above illustration is that found in old Dutch and
other early made instruments. The position of the
bar in modern instruments will be found under par-
agraph headed " The Bar."
How to Make a Violtn.
compasses describe from centre 42 a circle
having a radius of 4J parts; all the wood
contained in this circle should be precisely
I part thick. Then open the compasses 12
parts and draw another circle from the same
centre, the wood in which will gradually fall
off from I part thick at the edge of the inner
circle to f of a part at the edge of the outer
circle. From this line to the side pieces, the
thickness will gradually fall away in all
directions to ^ part (see Fig. 42).
Construcling the Outline. ill
THE THICKNESS OF THE BELLY.
Point 40 is the point of departure. Open
the compasses 4 parts and draw a circle with
point 40 as its centre. The wood in this
circle must be f part thick; open the com-
passes 9 parts, and draw another circle.
Then, as with the back, gradually thin off
from the inner circle till the wood at the
outer circle is \ part thick, and from thence
thin off again to the sides, where it should
be a good \ part in thickness.
The bar should be $6 parts long, i part
thick, 2 parts high in the middle, diminishing
gradually to f part at the ends. Its position
should be parallel to the joint, slightly in-
clining inwards at the top end, or about —
inch in its whole length, and precisely upon
the edge of the inner circle. The length of
the bar can be readily gauged by measuring
off \\\ inch (or 17 lignes French measure)
from the top and from the bottom of the
belly, the ends of the bass bar should come
to these points. The bar should never be
112 How to Make a Violin.
further away from the centre than 8^ lignes
at the top and 9^ lignes at the bottom. The
sHght slope at the present time given to the
bar should be in this proportion also.
The sound-post should be \ inch in dia-
meter, and placed behind the foot of the
bridge. Other particulars respecting this
important part have been given in previous
The bridge should have 8 parts between
outer edge of the feet; its height should be
The neck should be 27 parts long from
the extremity of the peg-box to the sides of
THE REMAINING ACCESSORIES OF THE VIOLIN.
THESE are the tail-piece, bridge, pegs
and strings, which can all be bought
of any instrument dealer.
I might give the amateur minute directions
for making the first three named, but as I
only propose writinp: on the making of the
violiriy I have expressly omitted matters
which merely pertain to the fitting-up of the
instrument preparatory to playing. When
Luigi Tarisio came to Paris with a number
of priceless Italian violins in his possession,
he brought nothing but the violins — a mere
assortment of wooden boxes, as turned out
by the master hands of their makers. Those
parts which gave a finished appearance to the
instrument were wanting. An old "Strad"
may in its time have had fifty tail-pieces
or a score of finger-boards; and however
114 How to Make a Violin.
essential they may be, the parts above-
named are only "fittings."
The tail-piece is fastened to the button by
a piece of violoncello D string, the knot of
which should be firmly tied. Different
modes of fastening are adopted. Some tail-
pieces have two holes pierced through them
and in this case the ends of the cord
should be put through and tied so that the
knot comes in the groove of the button.
Others have the holes pierced in the end of
the tail-piece, and a hollow scooped on the
under side to allow the knot to stand within
the level of the wood so as not to touch the
belly. The amateur will select the pattern
he likes best.
The strings are an important factor in the
production of the tone. They should always
be gauged before they are put on. A string
gauge can be bought for sixpence, and when
the thickness and quality of strings best
suited to a violin are ascertained, no varia-
tion should be permitted. The following
passage from Mr. Davidson's work will be
useful to the amateur:
The Remaining Accessories. 115
" A good violin string ought to be perfectly
cylindrical from one extremity to the other,
having a regular thickness throughout, and
possess the necessary elasticity. A packet
of strings upon being compressed, or bent
together, ought not to change colour, or the
united parts to break, but to quickly return
to their original shape. They ought also to
be transparent throughout their entire length,
like a thread of glass, and possess no wavy
or curled markings. The best second and
third strings are of a transparent white ; the
first not being so white, but perfectly
transparent. If the first strings are very
white, we may safely assume that they have
been made from the intestines of animals
which have been prematurely used by the
manufacturer. The strings should be now
and again oiled, preserved in oil-paper or
bladder, and laid aside in covered tin boxes,
in a dry place. For oiling the strings a
small piece of woollen or other cloth may be
used, upon which a few drops of olive or
almond-oil are poured. If olive-oil is used,
it should be purified by a mixture of lime
Ii6 How to Make a Violin.
and lead, until it is perfectly limpid. The
first string should require a tension of 15 lb.
to bring it to opera pitch; the second 17 lb.;
the third and fourth about the same as the
We must carefully observe that the tone
of any violin is very perceptibly affected by
the size of the strings, as if not in due pro-
portion the one to the other, no uniformity
of tone or power will be obtained. The
peculiarities of the strings which prove in-
dividually suitable to the different classes
of violins must also be judiciously studied,
as the instruments vary so much in this
respect that a string which is perfection to
one is destruction to another, but generally
speaking, all the ancient instruments require
to be lightly strung, in order to effectively
evoke their purity of tone and freedom of
vibration. If the strings are too thin or
light, the tone of such will be weak and
feeble, whilst on the contrary, if too thick or
heavy, the sounds will be hard and coarse,
and an unnecessary strain and pressure will
be exerted on the bridge.
The Remaining Accessories. 117
Many of the common-class violins require
the strings to be <7Z'^r-tight ere they can be
brought to pitch, causing endless ruptures,
but a well-made violin never requires this
<?^'^r-st^aining or tightening in order to bring
it to pitch. The fingering also varies on
some violins, even although they may be of
precisely similar lengths of fingerboard.
From the preceding cursory remarks the
reader will easily discern that the strings
form an important item in the correct ad-
justment of the instrument.
The pegs must be accurately adjusted, and
when properly fitted the holes should fall
so as to allow the strings to run from the
hole to the nut without crossing each other.
A mixture of finely powdered chalk and
rosin will be found the best means of making
the pegs move freely and stay where they
are left without pressure.
The bridge is ably treated by Ole Bull
in his "Violin Notes," and the following
passage will afford the necessary informa-
tion on this point, and also with respect to
the sound-post and bow :
Ii8 How to Make a Violin.
" The position of the bridge should be such
as to affect the whole violin equally, and
not to favour one tone more than another.
"The centre of the bridge should be dir-
ectly over the centre line of the top. Whether
it should stand slightly backwards or for-
wards of, or directly on a line drawn across
the top from the inner notches of the / holes,
will depend upon the character of the instru-
ment, and can only be determined experi-
mentally. It should incline towards the tail-
piece in order to better withstand the
forward pull of the strings in tuning.
** The construction of the bridge has great
mfluence upon the tone. Thinness of the
centre of the bridge tends to make prominent
any nasal quality or shrillness latent in the
instrument. A proper solidity conveys sweet-
ness and compactness, but too great thick-
ness muffles the tone.
" High-built violins mostly require low
bridges, and such should be particularly
thick at the edges where the strings rest.
The Remaining Accessories. 119
"The bridge should be perfectly flat on
the side toward the tail-piece. It may be
slightly convex on the other side.
"The material of which the bridg e is
made should be invariably maple. That
which is known as the silver-grey maple is
preferable to the brown or yellow, as having
a more close and elastic grain.
"The incisions in the sides of the bridge
should extend each one third of the distance
tov/ard the centre. The French model of
Aubert, of Mirecourt, though open to some
objections in special cases, is one of the best.
These bridges are made of excellent wood,
and are thick and strong.
"The top of the bridge should.be thick.
Properly constructed, a bridge may be made
quite heavy, and so made it will always con-
vey a rounder and fuller volume of tone.
The distance measured along the top be-
tween the G and E strings, should be i-^^
inch. The G string should be \ inch above
the hnger board at its larger extremity; the
E string, ^ inch. The average height
of the feet of the bridge should be
120 How to Make a Violin.
about -j^ inch. The thickness at the base,
a scant ^ inch; at the top a full -^ inch.
The feet should be -^ inch long.
THE SOUND-POST .
"In general the sound-post should stand
from i to J inch to the rear of the right
foot of the bridge. Its outer edge should be
in line with the outer edge of the foot. From
this position its upper or lower end, or both,
may be moved with advantage to secure cer-
tain qualities of tone. It should in all cases
fit the curves of the top and back abso-
lutely. Moving the lower end toward the
centre favours the lower strings. If the
lower strings are weak and the upper at all
sharp or hard in tone, then a very loose post
should be used. If the reverse is the case,
a long and tightly fitting sound-post is
required. Moving the upper end outward
will help all the strings, if the tone before
was hard and shrill; but if the upper strings
happen to be dull and heavy, then the post
should stand a little inside the line of the
foot of the bridge, and a little further back.
The Remaining Accessories. 121
The sound-post should be made o f fine -
gr ained soft spr uce. The grain should cross
that of the top, as this will prevent the mar-
ring of the inner surface of the top in
putting the post in and adjusting it.
" I use a bow longer by two inches than the
ordinary standard, a powerful, heavy bow is
required for four-string passages and many
tours de force. The bow, while elastic, should
be extremely stiff, so that if dropped upon
the strings the rebounds are very rapid. It
should have weight to give force to these
rebounds, as in many passages the weight of
the hand cannot be applied to assist the
bow; as in the tremolo, arpeggio and stac-
cato volante. In this last example the bow is
thrown upon the strings and runs its length
in a series of little rebounds, neither the
hngers nor wrist having anything to do with
the result. In order to graduate, as it were,
the different colours of sound, we favour
certain overtones by causing the hair to act
122 How to Make a Violin.
at greater or less distances from the bridge.
The nearer we approach the bridge the more
the upper overtones, and the nearer the neck
the more the lower overtones will be fav-
oured. In the first instance, the resulting
tone resembles that of the trumpet; and in
the second, that of the horn and clarinet.
With a heavy bow, in forte passages, only
slight assistance is needed from the hand.
The wrist is not cramped or stiffened in pro-
ducing the pressure. In piano passages, the
little finger should partially sustain the
weight, and the stick should be inclined
toward the neck, so that only part of the
hairs act upon the strings.
" The great stiffness and elasticity of the
heavy bow gives a freer, cleairer tone than
can be produced by one of a lighter and
more sluggish nature.
" The length of the bow is 2 ft. 6 inches,
the length of the hair, 2 ft. 4 inches. The
number of hairs is about 160. Half the hairs
are put in one way, the other half the other.
It is known that the hairs, as seen when mag-
nified have little saw-like teeth running in
The Remaining Accessories. 123
one direction. By thus dividing the hairs,
they present the same friction on either the
up or down stroke. The best hair is from
Normandy. It should be round and even,
and not flat in places."
The importance of a suitable bridge is
paramount, and to further aid the amateur
in its selection I append the following quo-
tation from Mr. Davidson :
"The bridge plays a far more important
part than is generally attributed to it. Its
incisions and form have a great influence
upon the quality of the instrument. It
merits, therefore, all our attention. If we
take a piece of wood, cut like a bridge, and
glue it upon a violin, the instrument nearly
loses its sound. It gets a little better if we
form feet to the bridge; if we make lateral
incisions in it, the sound improves, which
improvement increases gradually until the
bridge assumes the ordinary form. It is an
astonishing thing that by trial we gradually
arrive at the form of bridge usually adopted,
and which appears to be better than any
other. A multitude of trials have been made
124 How to Make a Violin.
before this important piece arrived at per-
fection. Everything heis led to this result,
that we cannot depart from the established
form without detracting greatly from the
quality of the instrument. Bridges have
been made of deal with their fibres perpen-
dicular and parallel to the belly, but the
sound was found to be altered. The size
and shape of the openings have been altered,
but the beauty of the instrument has always
been impaired. Let us examine the move-
ment of the molecules of the bridge. If we
take a plain bridge with two feet and a
single string, the movement is tangential,
parallel to the face of the bridge. If we
make two incisions in it, the nature of the
movement changes, and the sand is seen to
move in several directions at once, while the
bridge itself experiences movements of oscil-
lation, and its molecules appear to execute
vibrations in a direction normal to the belly.
The effect appears to be to confirm the
normal movements of the tables. The bar
to which these oscillations are imparted, pro-
duces in the belly a similar movement over
The Remaining Accessories. 12$
its entire surface, and prevents it from
dividing into ventral segments by trans-
versal nodal lines. All the parts of the
instrument enter at once into vibration. Let
us see how we can modify the effects of the
bridge, by interfering a little with its oscil-
lations. By placing a mute on the bridge
the sound is almost null, and the bridge
seems no longer to vibrate. It even appears
to arrest the vibrations of the other parts of
the instrument. The mute arrests its oscil-
lations, and no longer produces the vibration
of the belly. If we clamp the right foot of
the bridge, the sound is weakened, but not
to so great an extent as with a mute. On
the other hand, if we repeat the experiment
with the left foot, which ought to communi-
cate its movement to the bar^ the sound is
incomparably weaker. It is evident that the
left foot of the bridge produces the shocks
which occasion the movement of the bar and
of the belly."
Fig. 43. bbioge of a viol with seven stbings, the body
of which is not cut out except at the two bides.
Fig. 45. bridge of a SMALL-rAXTERN VIOLIN OF THE ANCIENT
SCHOOL OF ANTHONY AMATI
Fig. 44. bridge of a viol with five strings cut through
in evert tart.
Fig. 46. bridge op a Nicholas amati.
Fig. 47. bridge of a stradivarius.
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THE TROUBADOUR AS MUSICIAN, Past and Present. By
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THE WORLD'S EARLIEST MUSIC. Traced to its Begimiings
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FROM MENDELSSOHN TO WAGNER. Being the Memoirs of
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MUSIC AND MUSICIANS. Essays and Criticisms, by Robert
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SOME MUSICAL RECOLLECTIONS OF FIFTY YEARS.
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STUDIES IN RUSSIAN MUSIC. Critical Essays on the most
important of Rimsky-Korsakov's operas, Borodin's "Prince
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ON RUSSIAN MUSIC. Critical and Historical Studies of Glinka's
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chief English authority on Russian music.
THE SYMPHONY WRITERS SINCE BEETHOVEN. Critical
Essays on Schubert, Schumann, Gotz, Brahms, Tchaikovsky,
Bruckner, Berlioz, Liszt, Strauss, Mahler, Mendelssohn,
Saint-Saens, etc. By Felix Weingartner. Translated by A.
Bles. Twelve Portraits. Second Impression. With Chapter
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WITH THE GREAT COMPOSERS. A Series of Pen Pictures,
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Deals with Chopin, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Paganini, Beethoven,
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HOW TO PLAY BACH'S 48 PRELUDES AND FUGUES. A
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OUTLINE ANALYSIS OF BACH'S FORTY-EIGHT FUGUES.
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BALFE, HIS LIFE AND WORK. By Wm. Alexander Barrett.
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10 BOOKS ABOUT MUSICIANS
BEETHOVEN. By Richard Wagner. With a Supplement from
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BEETHOVEN AND HIS PIANO WORKS (Sonatas, Concertos,
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BEETHOVEN'S PIANOFORTE SONATAS Explained for the
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NOTES ON THE INTERPRETATION OF 24 FAMOUS PIANO
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BEETHOVEN'S PIANO SONATAS. A Descriptive Com-
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A CRITICAL STUDY OF BEETHOVEN'S NINE SYMPHON-
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BEETHOVEN'S NINE SYMPHONIES Fully Described and
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BEETHOVEN'S SYMPHONIES in their Ideal Significance,
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BEETHOVEN'S SYMPHONIES Critically Discussed by Alex-
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BOOKS ABOUT MUSICIANS M
The Critical Writings of Hector Berlioz
A CRITICAL STUDY OF BEETHOVEN'S NINE SYM-
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GLUCK AND HIS OPERAS, with an Account of their Relation
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MOZART, WEBER AND WAGNER, with various other Essays
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The above three books form a full and readable translation by
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Berlioz issued under the title of "A Travers Chant."
BORODIN THE COMPOSER ANT) HIS MUSIC. A Descriptive
and Critical Analysis of his Works and a Study of his Value
as an Art Force. With many references to the Russian Kouchka
Circle of Five — Balakirev, Moussorgsky, Cesar Cui, Rimsky-
Korsakov, and Borodin. By Gerald Abraham. With music
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LIFE OF JOHANNES BRAHMS. By Florence May. Second
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This work still remains the most comprehensive single work on
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personal contact with and actual study under the great master.
HISTORICAL, DESCRIPTFVE AND ANALYTICAL ACCOLTST
OF THE ENTIRE WORKS OF BRAHMS. By Edwin
Evans. The Works are treated in the order of their Opus
Numbers, and every Composition is dealt with in detail.
Complete in 4 volumes with altogether 1,500 pages and over
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CHAMBER AND ORCHESTRAL WORKS OF BRAHMS.
First Series to Op. 67. By Edwin Evans. 35/-.
CHAMBER AND ORCHESTRAL WORKS OF BRAHMS.
Second Series, Op. 68 to the End. By Edwin Evans. 35/-.
PIANO AND ORGAN WORKS OF BRAHMS. By Edwin
VOCAL WORKS OF BRAHMS. By Edwin Evans. 42/-.
12 BOOKS ABOUT MUSICIANS
LIFE OF CHERUBESX By F. J. Crowest. (Great Musicians
Series.) Crown 8vo, cloth, 6/-.
CHERUBENJI. Memorials illustrative of his life. By E. Bellasis.
CHOPIN'S GREATER WORKS (Preludes, Ballads, Nocturnes,
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Kleczynski. Including Chopin's Notes for a "Method of
Methods." Translated by N. Janotha. Second Edition.
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HOW TO PLAY CHOPIN. The Works of Chopin, their Proper
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To admirers of Chopin and players of his music we should say this
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CHOPIN AS REVEALED BY EXTRACTS FROM HIS DIARY.
By Count Tarnowski. Translated from the Polish by N.
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In the above notes Chopin alludes to many of his compositions as
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FREDERIC CHOPIN, Critical and Appreciative Essay. By J. W.
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CHOPIN THE COMPOSER AND HIS MUSIC. An Analytic
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Porte. With portrait. 193 pages, crown 8vo, cloth, 10/6.
HANDBOOK TO CHOPIN'S WORKS. A Detailed Account of
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known Musical Authors. Chronological List of Works, etc.
By G. C. A. Jonson. Second Edition. Crown 8vo, cloth, 18/-.
"Here in one compact volume is all that is necessary to know
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HANDEL'S MESSIAH. The Oratorio and its History. A Hand-
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Notes on each Movement, as well as Numerous References
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Boards, 6/6 ; paper, 4/-.
LISZT, COMPOSER, AND HIS PIANO WORKS. Descriptive
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BOOKS ABOUT MUSICIANS 13
ANALYSIS OF MENDELSSOHN'S ORGAN WORKS. A
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way, Mus.B. Oxon. 127 Music Examples. Portrait and
Facsimiles. Crown 8vo, cloth, 12/6.
HOW TO INTERPRET MENDELSSOHN'S "SONGS WFTH-
OUT WORDS" (the celebrated "Lieder ohne Worte").
A Readable and Useful Guide for All. Gives the Piano
Students helpful Insight into the first Principles of Form in
Music. By Charles W. Wilkinson. With portrait and
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MOZART: a Commemorative Address read before the Positivist
Society. By V. Lushington. 8vo, 2/-.
Mozart and Religion.
MOZART AND THE SONATA FORM; A Companion Book
lo any Edition of Mozart's Piano Sonatas, including an
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Treatment and Tonality, by J. Raymond Tobin, Mus.B.
Crown Svo, cloth, 15/-,
THE SOiNATA: Its Form and Meaning, as Exemplified in the
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QUESTIONS ON MOZART'S SONATAS. By F. Helena
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in the Piano Sonatas by Mozart." Paper covers, 2/6.
PURCELL. By William H. Cummings, Mus.Doc. (Great
RACHMANINOFF. An Exhilarating Biographical Study of this
Genius of the Keyboard. By Watson Lyle. Preface by Leff
Pouishnoff. Two Portraits and List of Works. Crown Svo,
FRANZ SCHUBERT, Man and Composer. A Vivid Story of
a Charming Personality. By C. Whtfaker- Wilson. With
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Schubert Songs, together with the Music for the Voice.
Portraits and Illustrations of Schubert and his Friends.
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HENRY SMART'S ORGAN COMPOSITIONS ANALYSED.
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WAGNER'S TEACHINGS BY ANALOGY. His Views on
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Speech, with Special Reference to "Opera and Drama." By
Edwin Evans. Crown Svo, cloth, 6/-; paper, 3/6.
14 BOOKS ABOUT MUSICIANS
WAGNER'S Ring des Nibelungen. The Story of Wagner's "Ring"
for English Readers. By N. Kilburn, Mus.Bac, Cantab.
Crown 8vo, paper, 2/-.
OPERA AND DRAMA. By Richard Wagner. Translated
into English . Opera and the Essence of Music, The Stage-
Play and Dramatical Poetic Art in the Abstract, Poetry and
Music in the Drama of the Future. 45/-.
HOW TO UNDERSTAND WAGNER'S "RING OF THE
NIBELUNG.*' Being the Story and a Descriptive Analysis
of the "Rheingold," the "Valkyr," "Siegfried" and the "Dusk
of the Gods." With Musical Examples of the Leading Motives
of Each Drama. By Gustave Kobbe. Together with a Sketch
of Wagner's Life. By N. Kilburn, Mus.Bac. Cantab. Seventh
Edition. Crown 8vo, cloth, 1 2/6.
Description and analysis go hand in hand with the narration of
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reader to turn up any particular motive instantly.
THE CONDUCTOR, THE THEORY OF HIS ART. By Hector
Beruoz. Translated by J. Broadhouse. With 41 Diagrams
and Examples. Crown 8vo, cloth, 8/6; paper covers, 5/-
HANDBOOK ON THE TECHNIQUE OF CONDUCTING.
By Sir Adrian Boult. Seventh Edition, revised. 5/-.
INSTRUMENTS AND ART OF THE ORCHESTRA. An In-
troductory Study. With Table showing Range of each Instru-
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METHOD OF INSTRUMENTATION. How to Write for the
Orchestra and Arrange an Orchestral or Band Score. Illus-
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Vol. I. How to Write for Strings, Arrangement of Scoring and
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Vol. II. How to Write for Wood, Brass and Drums, and
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NOTES ON CONDUCTORS AND CONDUCTING. By T. R.
Croger, F.R.G.S.y F.Z.S., also the Organising and Con-
ducting of Amateur Orchestras, with three full-page Illustra-
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ON CONDUCTING. By Richard Wagner. Translated by
Edward Dannreuther. A Treatise on Style in the Execution
of Classical Music. Fourth Edition. Crown 8vo, cloth, 12/-.
ORCHESTRAL AND BAND INSTRUMENTS. A Short Account
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Military Bands. By G. F. Broadhead, Mus.B. Dunelnt,
L.Mus.T.C.L. With 24 Illustrative Music Examples. Post
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ORCHESTRAL WIND INSTRUMENTS, Ancient and Modern
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plates illustrating 61 Instruments or Parts. 8vo, cloth, 25/-.
PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR THE CONDUCTOR and Useful
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ART OF ORGAN ACCOMPANIMENT IN THE CHURCH
SERVICES. What to Do and what to Avoid: being a Guide
to the Organist in the effective rendering of the Music. By
Walter L. Twinning, F.R.C.O. Boards, 3/6.
THE EARLY ENGLISH ORGAN BUILDERS and their Works,
from the Fifteenth Century to the Period of the Great Rebellion
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THE INFLUENCE OF THE ORGAN IN HISTORY. By Dudley
Buck. Crown 8vo, boards, 4/-; paper covers, 2/-.
INTERNATIONAL REPERTOIRE GUIDE (Historical, Educa-
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Works. By Herbert Westerby. 4to, cloth, 21/-.
Describes the best Organ Music of foreign countries as well as of
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A larjge and beautifully presented quarto work, fully illustrated by
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sixteen foreign organs, thirty-one portraits, and illustrations of the
houses of Bach and Handel,
LECTURE ON THE PEDAL ORGAN. Its History, Design and
Control. By Thomas Casson. With folding Diagram. 8vo
MODERN ORGAN BUILDING. By Walter & Thomas Lewis
(Organ Builders). Practical Explanation and Description of
Organ Construction with especial regard to Pneumatic Action
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vised. 116 Illustrations, including 76 Drawn to Scale and
Reproduced from actual Working Drawings. 4to, cloth, 35/-.
MODERN ORGAN TUNLNG, The How and Why, Clearly
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Evolution of the Diatonic Scale from the Greek Tetrachord.
By Hermann Smith. Crown 8vo, cloth, 10/6.
NEW ORGAN PRINCIPLES AND THEIR INTERPRETATION.
A Guide to and Suggestions on Phrasing and Registration
with a view to improved Organ Playing. By Terence White.
With 54 music examples. Demy 8vo, paper covers, 4/-.
THE ORGAN AS VIEWED FROM WTFHIN. A Practical
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THE ORGAN FIFTY YEARS HENCE. A Study of its Develop-
ment in the Light of its Past History and Present Tendencies.
By Francis Burgess, F.S.A., Scot., 1908. Demy 8vo, 3/6.
ORGAN OF THE ANQENTS FROM EASTERN SOURCES
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M.A., Ph.D., Carnegie Research Fellow. Foreword by Canon
F. W. Galpin. With numerous Illustrations. 8vo, cloth, 35/-.
THE ORGAN, WRITINGS AND OTHER UTTERANCES ON
ITS STRUCTURE, HISTORY, PROCURAL, CAPABILIT-
IES, ETC. By F. W. Warman. Four Parts (A to Nou, the
rest unprinted), royal 8vo, paper covers, 1 5/-.
TTie parts advertised above are all that have been published, as
the untimely death of Mr. Warman prevented the completion of
the work. The book is a mine of information for those keen on
organ subjects. The author devoted the best part of his life to
compiling the work and collecting material for his subject.
REFORM IN ORGAN BUILDING. By Thomas Casson. Demy
SOME CONTINENTAL ORGANS and their Makers. With
Specifications of many of the fine Examples in Germany and
Switzerland. By James I. Wedgwood. Post 8vo, cloth, 8/6.
TECHNICS OF ORGAN TEACHING. A Handbook which
treats of Special Points in Organ Teaching Examinations,
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TECHNICS OF THE ORGAN. An Illuminative Treatise on
many Points and Difficulties connected therewith. Special
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Extemporisation, Expressive Regulation of Organ Tone and
Accompaniment. By Edwin Evans, F.R.C.O. With over 100
Music Examples. 4to, cloth, 12/6.
THE APPROACH TO LTSZT. A Goone of ModoBi
Te-c-- ;'ir ^o' - ^ - - The form of Gmded Sofies ffom
-; \'. -:-}.:: ■ :--: V. . :.-;; B>' Herbert
AtSTExsi. ^.'-. .... . -... . F.R^C.O.^ c - "^ - ■ .\ 5 t).
^-' — -i:': ^;_ — ^ - "".:■-::- ^^ P"-_^ ■; ." all Keys.
Arpci;^.-^ vVo:k m the Blxk arc W-.-.e Key Pj -
A-'i-.-ec Nec-'ential Studies :". '..he B^^^'k K.e^s, ■^Mh
. j^fpts Iror'. -
THE ART OF TL'NTNG THE PLANOFORTE- A Nev. Corr.rr^-
--., -'•^i.ss S^'-- Nc- Ej '...'-. Revised. Crovrn
THE .ARTIST AT THE PLAVO. F-ivs .- :he An of Viu-vcaJ
THE BYRD ORGAN BOOK. '':- T\~ - n.- ^ ^ "
MSS.. ^— '■ : -^: r ..
^; Glnn. ~ -
dei tatrn "ts tht \rt of plxnoforte p1_\\tsg. on
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THE DEPPE FTN-GEH EXERCISFv -----•-, .-
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EXTEL.MPORJSTNG AT THE PIANO Nl^ADE E.AS\'. A Manual
•'or Be: ' '■' - - -. Hmis and Aids for
:he ••?; . .. • .. -s.....^.^ ^ ..poser. B> Rrv. E. H.
Si E LING, FJLC.O. 8vo, 2h'
HOW TO ACCOMPANY AT THE PIANO. By Edwin Evans.
(Plain Accompaniment, Figurated Accompaniment and
Practical Harmony for Accompanists.) 172 Music Examples.
Crown 8vo, cloth, 7/6.
HOW TO PLAY no FAVOURITE PIANO SOLOS. Being the
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to Play them with Understanding, Expression and Effect." By
Charles W. Wilkinson. Crown 8vo, cloth, 12/6.
HOW TO STUDY THE PIANOFORTE WORKS OF IHE
GREAT COMPOSERS. By Herbert Westerby, Mus.Bac.
Handel, Bach, Haydn, Scarlatti, Mozart, dementi, C. P. E.
Bach, Beethoven. With 123 Musical Examples. Crown 8vo,
The following issued singly, paper covers:
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INDIVIDUALITY IN PIANO TOUCH. By Algernon H.
LiNDO and J. Alfred Johnstone. Crown 8vo, 2/6.
INTRODUCTION TO RUSSIAN PIANO MUSIC. By Herbert
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NATURAL TECHNICS IN PIANO MASTERY. A Complete
and authoritative Manual, covering every Phase of Piano
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PIANOFORTE TEACHER'S GUIDE. By L. Plaidy. Translated
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REEVES* VAMPING TUTOR. Art of Extemporaneous Ac-
companiment, or Playing by Ear on the Pianoforte, Rapidly
Enabling anyone having an Ear for Music (with or without
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Equal Facility in any Key. Practical Examples. By Franos
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THE STUDENT'S GUTOE TO THE ART OF TEACHING THE
PIANOFORTE. By Cyril R. H. Horrocks, L.R.A.M.,
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A SYSTEM OF STUDY OF SCALES AND CHORDS. Being
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edition. 8vo, 3/-.
TECHNICAL STUDY IN THE ART OF PIANOFORTE PLAY-
ING (Deppe's Principles). By C. A, Ehrenfechter. With
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CohTTENTs: Position — Arm — Wrist — Fingers; Touch (Tone Pro-
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ment; Connection of Firm Chords; The Tremolo; The Shake
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TOUCH, PHRASING AND INTERPRETATION. By J. Alfred
Johnstone. Crown 8vo, cloth, 7/6.
TECHNICAL AND THEORETICAL
THE ART OF MODULATING. A Series of Papers on Modulating
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THE ART OF MODULATION. A Handbook showing at a
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22 TECHNICAL AND THEORETICAL
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TECHNICAL AND THEORETICAL 23
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24 TECHNICAL AND THEORETICAL
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ART OF HOLDING THE VIOLLN AND BOW AS EXEM-
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GERMAN VIOLIN MAKERS. By Fridolin Hamma. A Critical
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Translated by Walter Stewart. 64 pages of text and 80 plates
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26 VIOLIN AND STRINGED INSTRUMENTS
THE HISTORY OF THE VIOLIN and other Instruments Played
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HOW TO MAKE A VIOLIN. By J. Broadhouse. Revised
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Contents: Introduction — The Parts of the Violin — On the
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HOW TO PLAY THE FIDDLE. For Beginners on the Violin.
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AN IMPORTANT LESSON TO PERFORMERS ON THE
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MASTERPIECES OF THE ITALIAN VIOLIN MAKERS. By
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VIOLIN AND STRINGED INSTRUMENTS 27
NOTABLE VIOLIN SOLOS: How to Play Them. Three Series
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28 VIOLIN AND STRINGED INSTRUMENTS
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VIOLIN MANUFACTURE IN ITALY and its German Origin.
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VIOLIN TECHNICS, or How to Become a Violinist. Exact
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VIOLINIST'S ENCYCLOPAEDIC DICTIONARY. Containing
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WELL-KNOWN VIOLONCELLO SOLOS. How to Play Them.
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THE AMATEUR VOCALIST. A Guide to Singing. With Useful
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THE ART OF VOCAL EXPRESSION. A Popular Handbook
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THE CENTRAL POINT IN BEAUTIFUL VOICE PRODUC-
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OBSERVATIONS ON THE FLORID SONG. Or Sentiments
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