His wood, his forms

Stradivari’s Tonewoods

For the monumental publication Antonius Stradivarius by Jost Thöne (2016) we analyzed the belly woods of more than 300 instruments by Stradivari. The aim of the study was to exclude from the publication incorrectly-attributed instruments and also to gain insight into the use of woods during Stradivari's creative period. All results can be found on the DVD attached to Volume V-VIII. The essay in Volume V goes into detail about the trees used by Stradivari Information about this high-quality publication can be found here.

Same tree connections in Stradivarius' oeuvre

The dendrochronological method can be used to determine whether the plates of different instruments come from the same tree. Among other things, this allows conclusions to be drawn about the dry season and the material loss of tonewoods during the construction of stringed instruments. Stradivari's oeuvre is particularly suitable for such analyses because of the prolific production and the long career of the master. See the timelines below for a small selection of our results. Simply sort the instruments by the tree used!

Stradivari’s Moulds

The workshop of Stradivari and his sons was active from about 1666 to 1743. During this time, many violins, violas, cellos, violas, guitars, lutes and harps were created there. In the process, Stradivari experimented with different models for his instruments. The moulds used were marked with letters. Twelve of the moulds from the Stradivari workshop are in the Museo del Violino in Cremona. The numbers with "MS" in front are the inventory number of the collection. In the timelines of the individual instruments you will find, as far as this was ascertainable, the matching moulds. The instruments can also be sorted according to the moulds used.

Literature Dendrochronology

  • Baillie, Mike G.L., Tree-Ring Dating and Archaeology, Croom-Helm, London, 1982.
  • Baillie, Mike G.L., A Slice Through Time, Routledge, 1995.
  • Beuting, Micha, Holzkundliche und dendrochronologische Untersuchungen an Resonanzholz als Beitrag zur Organologie, Verlag Kessel, 2004.
  • Hollstein, Ernst, Mitteleuropäische Eichenchronologie, Verlag Philip von Zabern, 1980.
  • Klein, Peter, Pollens Stewart, The Technique of Dendrochronology as applied to violins made by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù, Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù, Peter Biddulph, 1998.
  • Ratcliff, Peter, A Dendrochronological Evaluation of Classic Spanish Instruments, The Golden Age of Violin Making in Spain, Jorge Pozas, Tritó Edicions, 2014.
  • Ratcliff, Peter, Dendrochronological analysis, The Girolamo Amati Viola in the Galleria Estense, Scrollavezza & Zanrè—Jan Röhrmann, 2014.
  • Schweingruber, Fritz H., Der Jahrring, Paul Haupt, 1983, reprint Verlag Kessel, 2012.
  • Antonius Stradivarius. (2016). Deutschland: Jost Thöne Verlag.
  • Baillie, Mike G.L., Pilcher, J.R., A simple cross-dating program for tree-ring research, Tree-Ring Bulletin 33, 1973, 7-14
  • Grissino-Mayer, Henri D., Sheppard, Paul R., Cleaveland, Malcom K., A dendrochronological re-examination of the ‘Messiah’ violin and other instruments
  • attributed to Antonio Stradivari, Journal of Archaeological Science 31, 2004, 167-174
  • Grissino-Mayer, Henri D., Sheppard, Paul R., Cleaveland, Malcom K., Cherubini, Paolo, Ratcliff, Peter, Topham, John, Adverse implications of misdating in dendrochronology:
  • Addressing the re-dating of the ‘Messiah’ violin, Dendrochronologia 28, 2010, 149-159
  • Ratcliff, Peter, A Messianic connection, Cozio Carteggio, online, 2016
  • Ratcliff, Peter, The Tree of Knowledge, The Strad, February 2012, 49-51
  • Topham, John, McCormick, Derek, The Dating Game, The Strad, August 2001, .846-851
  • Topham, John, McCormick, Derek, Ring of Truth, The Strad, July 2007, 24-30
  • Topham, John, McCormick, Derek, A Dendrochronological Investigation of Stringed Instruments of the Cremonese School (1666-1757) including ‘The Messiah’ violin attributed to Antonio Stradivari, Journal of Archaeological Science 27, 2000, 183-192
  • Topham, John, McCormick, Derek, A Dendrochronological Investigation of British Stringed Instruments of the Violin Family, Journal of Archaeological Science 25, 1998, 1149-1157
  • Versteeg, Arjan, Bloodbrothers, The Strad 2011, 42-44
  • Wenk, Carola, Algorithmen für das Crossdating in der Dendrochronologie, Diplomarbeit Freie Universität Berlin, 1997, www.cs.tulane.edu/~carola/diplom.pdf

Literature Stradivari's Forms & Moulds

  • Variations on a Theme, Philip Ihle, Andrea Zanrè, The Strad, May 2019
  • Stradivari's lost moulds, Philip Ihle, Andrea Zanrè, The Strad, June 2019
  • Antonio Stradivari. Disegni, modelli, forme. Catalogo dei reperti delle collezioni civiche liutarie del comune di Cremona. Con DVD. Ediz. italiana e inglese. (2016). Italien: MdV-Museo del Violino.
  • Pollens, S. (1992). The Violin Forms of Antonio Stradivari. Vereinigtes Königreich: Peter Biddulph.