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London based dealers, makers and restorers of fine stringed instruments Bridgewood & Neitzert argue the case for the Baroque violin and seek to explain why it’s finding so many new players despite the strong popularity of the modern violin.

From the beginning of 17th to the middle of the 18th century the development of Baroque ‘classical’ music and the instruments it was played on formed much of the familiar creative bedrock of today’s classical music and instruments.

Despite the scarcity of unaltered original Baroque violins modern players are still keen to find out just how the original music of the Baroque era would have sounded and felt like to play. Although challenging for many musicians it seems that the rewards are well worth it.

“The physical differences in Baroque violins from the modern instrument require a different approach to playing” says Gary Bridgewood of Bridgewood and Neitzert. “I’ve met so many musicians who’ve taken up the challenge of learning to play the Baroque violin and found that it’s given them a much greater understanding of the violin itself, of their own versatility and potential as player, and therefore it has advanced their playing skills on the modern violin.

The Baroque violin has a shorter, thicker neck set at a shallower angle with less tension placed on a flatter bridge than the modern violin. The Baroque violin also has no chin or shoulder rest and the lack of a neck grip and the need to play it at a more parallel angel to the floor are just some of the challenging points of playing it.

“It really needs gut strings and a lighter bowing style to get those wonderful nuances and rich overtones. The more convex bow is a different experience too and the whole playing style is a bit more relaxed” says Gary Bridgewood. “I love playing the modern instrument in many different styles but playing those classic pieces using a Baroque violin really is a unique and rewarding experience. It’s a great feeling and I can totally understand why they are still so popular”.

Today’s musicians are most likely to able to find either an older violin that has some original and some re-converted Baroque features or a more modern replica of the Baroque violin.

“The vast majority violins from that period were converted to the modern form but we know enough about how they would have been made and set up to be able to make restore and repair Baroque violins that produce a very authentic and enjoyable sound and playing experience. We have a selection of fine Baroque violins for sale many of which are from the 17th and 18th century” says Gary Bridgewood.

For more information about Baroque violins and other fine stringed instruments call Bridgewood and Neitzert of London on 020 7249 9398, send an email to enquiries@vivaceviolin.com, use the online contact form, or visit http://www.vivaceviolin.com

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