Master Violins from Workshops in the Northern Alps

The   Italian violins were not the only ones that met the highest standards. High-quality stringed instruments were also made in the German-speaking countries. Until around 1800, the violins by Jakob Stainer, an instrument maker who worked in Absam near Innsbruck, were even more favoured than those by Antonio Stradivari. For example, Mozart played on a violin which was modelled after Stainer’s instruments. The sounding body of Stainer’s instruments is higher and more arched, which results in a comparably lighter sound. The Musikinstrumenten-Museum possesses a violin by Stainer from 1654.

The Alemannic School represents a regional but important tradition of violin making, located at the Southern Black Forest (workshops of Joseph Meyer and Frantz Straub) and in the Bern area (workshop of Hans Krouchdaler) in the 17th century. Their richly embellished instruments document a construction technique that was represented from Poland to England, in part until the early 20th century. Different to the violins of the masters from Cremona, those instruments were made without a supporting mould; the »garland« of ribs was freely attached to the back plate. In the museum’s collection there are seven instruments and fragments of instruments of the Alemannic School - a stroke of luck for scholars. The instruments were thoroughly studied and the results of these research activities have been published in a fundamental   publication and displayed in an exhibition. Furthermore, the Alemannic violins have been recorded for the CD-series   Klingendes Museum.

Alemannic Violins, Cat.-No. 4519 among others (Flash)