A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Bridge

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BRIDGE. The strings on the instruments of the violin tribe are stretched over a small piece of wood called the bridge, which transmits their vibrations to the body of the instrument. The shape and details of the bridge, as finally fixed upon by Stradivari, cannot be altered in any single respect without injury to the tone of the instrument.

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If a plain piece of wood is substituted for the bridge, the instrument has absolutely no tone; by cutting out the feet the tone is made to appear to a certain extent, and it increases in proportion as the bridge assumes its normal shape. It is generally made of spotted maple. Its height, width, and thickness depend on the qualities of the individual instrument which it is to serve. As a rule its height must not be more than two-thirds the height of the Soundpost. The thickness is of the greatest importance, for if too thick, it will not readily transmit the vibrations of the strings. The left foot must stand exactly over the middle of the bass-bar, and both feet must be at an equal distance from the f-holes.

[ P. D. ]