Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/739

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STRADIVARI.

ments. The ornaments of the numerous instru- ments which he sent out inlaid with ebony and ivory were designed and executed by himself, and when finished he made rubbings of them for future use. A parcel of these, labelled ' Disegni delli intagli fatti sulli Violini, Violoncelli,' etc., and consisting of rubbings from the sides of scrolls and from ribs, forms no. 29 in the Delia Valle collection : and another parcel, consisting of cartridge paper models made for the metal locks and flap-staples for cases, is labelled ' Disegni e modelli di Serrature e cordini di Cassette.' The collection also includes Stradivari's tools for im- pressing arabesques, ' Stampiti per arabeschi.' Another fact revealed by these autographs is that Stradivari spelt, and probably spoke, his native tongue very imperfectly. In the year 1687 Stradivari executed another order for an ornamented concerto of instruments. This con- certo was made for the Spanish crown, and the violoncello is still in the possession of the King of Spain. The instruments were inlaid with ivory in the purfling, with intaglio work on the sides and scroll. A violin of this concerto, formerly belonging to Ole Bull, and afterwards in the collection of Mr. Charles Plowden, is engraved in Mr. Hart's book, plate 18. Mr. Hart describes this set of instruments as a ' quatuor,' but it probably consisted of at least five, like that of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, there being two violas, one a contralto, the other a tenor.

As Stradivari notes on some of his patterns that the instruments were made expressly to order ('alia posta,' or in some cases 'espressamente,') it may be inferred that he also kept up a stock for general sale. It seems that when he received an order for a new instrument from a customer of distinction, he would sometimes design an entirely new model, construct a wooden mould (forma) in accordance with the design, and make a complete set of working drawings, embracing the scroll, handle, soundholes, corners, bridge, and tailpiece. Each mould (a block of maple somewhat less than an inch in thickness, with spaces left in the outlines for the corner and top and bottom blocks), was carefully dated and marked with a letter or letters indicating the character of the pattern. The working draw- ings were marked with the same letters, and put away for future use. Thus a mould for a long tenor of the smaller pattern is dated ' A di 4 Ottobre 1690,' and marked CV. It is de- scribed, ' Forma nuova per il Contralto ossia Viola a quattro corde fatta alia posta per il Gran Principe di Toscana ossia di Firenze.' (Delia Valle Collection, no. 2.) The working drawings are dated four days later, and labelled thus : ' 1690, 4 8bre in Cremona, Antonio Stradivario. Misurep.li manici occhietti cantoni topette ponticelli e cordeli p. il Contraldo ossia Viola picola fatta espressamente p. il gran Principe della Toscana sulla forma CV.' Con- currently with this contralto Stradivari designed a large tenor on a similar principle : and it is not improbable that this contralto and tenor were

��STRADIVARI.

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���members of a second complete concerto of instru- ments for which he had received an order. The drawings for the large tenor, dated the same day, are labelled thus : ' 1690 4 8bre in Cremona. Antonio Stradivario. Misure p. li manici oc- chietti cantoni e topette ponticelli tavolette e cordeli p. il Tenore ossia Viola piu grande fatta espressamente p. il gran Principe della Toscana sulla forma TV.' The lettering CV and TV on these moulds evidently means ' Contralto Viola* and 'Tenore Viola.' Probably the maker in- tended these patterns to be his standing models, his contralto and tenor violas par excellence. A separate drawing for the soundholes of the contralto is inscribed ' Musura giusta per il occhi dello contrato fat to alia posta per il Gran Principe di Toscana A di 4 Octob. 1690' (no. 18).

The Delia Valle collection includes another tenor mould and no less than eleven violin moulds. One of the latter is marked ' SL ' and dated 'A di 9 Nov. 1691 ' (no. 3). This is long and narrow : ' SL ' probably stands for ' Stretto Lungo.' Another (no. 6) is marked ' B,' and dated ' 1692.' B probably stands for ' Basso,' or ' flat ' model. This mould of the B ' pattern was the maker's favourite. The surface of the mould is worn away with much use, and there is a memorandum that the maker used it for a violin as late as 1736, his 86th or 87th year. Another (no. 7) is also marked * B,' and dated 'A di 3 Giugno 1692.' Two others (nos. i and 5) are dated several years later : the first is marked ' S ' (stretto), andinscribed ' A di 20. 1 703. Settembre'; the other marked P,' and dated 'A 25 Feb. 1705,' with the maker's name 'Antonio Stradivari,' is somewhat shorter and more confined in design than usual, and the 'P' evidently stands for 'Piccolo* (small pattern). Another violin mould is marked 'T' with no date (no. 4). There is also a mould for a child's violin with the blocks at- tached, accompanied by an exquisite drawing of the belly on cartridge paper.

These long and narrow moulds, dated after 1690, lead us to an innovation in the pattern peculiar to Stradivari among the classical makers. It was about this time that he began to make instru- ments of greater length, which the French call 4 longuets,' and known in England as ' long Strads.' Mr. Hart says of these, ' We have a totally dif- ferently constructed instrument : it is less graceful, although there is no absence of the masterly hand throughout the work. It has received the title of "long Strad," not from increased length, as its name would imply, but from the appearance of additional length which its narrowness gives it, and which is particularly observable between the soundholes.' This excellent critic of violins here appears to fall into a slight confusion. These observations apply to the narrow violins made on the 'S' or 'Stretto' (narrow) moulds, of the normal length, but diminished breadth. These are less uncommon than the true ' long Strad ' (Lungo), specimens of which the writer has seen ; they are of the normal width or only a trifle under it, and at le;ist a quarter of an inch longer than the normal length, this extra length being

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