Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/653

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��SOUNDHOLES.

��8OUNDHOLES.

��641

��One other form of soundhole requires notice. It is called by fiddle-makers the ' flaming sword ' (Fig. 8) : and as the crescent remained the cha- racteristic of the viola da gamba, the ' flaming

Fig. 6.

��sword* remained the characteristic of the viola d'amore, long after the /-soundhole had come into general use. Fig. 9, from an old English viola d'amore (about 1740), shows the flaming

Fig. 7.

���*

���sword with the terminations of the ordinary /-hole. Sometimes the flaming-sword termination is used at the top and the ordinary termination at the bottom. This mixed form was generally used for the Barytone (see the engraving in that article), and for the Lyra- Viol, though the tenor Lyra- Viol engraved in the article LYRE has fiddle soundholes.

��Fig. 8.

���Fig. 9.

��� ��inished vibration, which the peculiar stringing of the instrument demands.

The /-shaped soundhole has long been used for instruments of all sizes, from the kit to the double-bass, its size being proportionally altered with the scale of the instrument. It is found to produce the maximum of musical vibration, and it is therefore improbable that it will ever be altered in its main features. Uniform as aoundholes may appear, they are in fact sus- ceptible of infinite variety in detail, and in their setting in the instrument: and one glance at them is often enough to discover the maker. Dif- ferent classes of makers generally leaned to a particular form of soundhole. The Germans have

VOL. III. PT. 5.

����The rudimentary form of the ' flaming sword ' soundhole may be seen in Raffaelle's St. Cecilia in the Bologna Gallery (Fig. 10). It may be described as a 'flame' rather than a 'flaming sword,' and is evidently borrowed from the 'tongue of fire' of the Italian painters. The flaming sword harmonises well with the outline of the viola d'amore, and its shape conduces to a

Fig. 10.

��Fig. xi.

���made the ugliest. Up to the end of the iyth century there was considerable variety in cutting it : but most makers since Stradivari have copied his soundhole, which is purely geometrical. Those of the Amatis, of Joseph Guarnerius, and of Stainer, are equally familiar. The soundhole is a conspicuous feature in the physiognomy of the instrument. Many old fiddles have been spoiled by having their soundholes recut by unscrupulous vendors, so as to pass for other than they are. So gross a fraud is easily detected, and can therefore only impose on the inexperienced. The sound- holes are traced on the belly by means of one carefully-made pattern (Fig. n), which is re- versed for the second hole; they are then cut

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