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16 January 2011

The difference between baroque and modern violins

This is a reply to a private message by a friend of mine Amin Pour Feizi.
I felt urged to re-post my response on my blog as well, specially because I had published my opinion some time ago in a video which I incidentally deleted from my youtube channel.

Here it goes:
"Thanks, Amin, I know the video and this kind of videos make me sad or even angry sometimes. You know well, Amin, that the difference is not in those few millimeters here and there. Let me ask, who would ever bother about baroque violin and the early music as a whole if the whole thing was about millimeters, necks, keys etc? The true and really huge but unmeasurable difference is
in the heart/head of the performer/maker. A modern player will never be able to play in baroque style even on the best baroque violin without the proper education and experience. A modern violin-maker will never be able to make a fine baroque violin if all he knows is the difference in millimeters but knows nothing about Baroque, history of the violin, music styles, playing techniques etc. It takes a little more to become a good baroque player - not just owning the baroque violin. Equally, it takes a little more to become a good baroque-violin-maker, don't you agree?

May your creative spirit thrive! Wishing you all a brilliant year. Dmitry B."


Pooya Radbon said...

I agree totally. For certain the heart and soul of a baroque violin is not that of a modern one.
Even transforming a modern one to a baroque one sometimes does not change the main thing...
And it is for certain a lot depending on the soul but also technique and study of the baroque violinist.

Dmitry Badiarov said...

Yes, Pooya. As a matter of fact, I never recommend transforming modern violins into baroque, cats into dogs, or males into females though everything is possible nowadays.

As for the violins: lots of priceless information has gone forever through constant modifications, "improvements", restaurations. I am an advocate of conservative restauration where every bit of original information MUST be preserved no matter what, and every, even a minor modification must be documented.

Some time ago, when I lived in Tokyo, a lady from Korea visited my studio for the purpose of transforming her 19th century French violin into a Baroque violin. When I saw the violin I told her this violin would not become baroque no matter what we do, and I would never do it anyway - for no amount of money - because, firstly, transforming cat into a dog is not nice, secondly, because priceless original information would be destroyed for ever. Unfortunately, only a handful of makers-delers ever cared about this or even gave it a brief thought.