It appears to be the key of the first violin of the Italian Renaissance (late fourteenth-century). In the early twentieth century, the American sculptor Robert Hohenberg (1888-1975) and German violinist Fritz Lang (1868-1948) began creating sculptures using the same model as the first violin.
The first two examples below, the two “violin-like” models, have been found in Germany. The others can only be distinguished from each other in regard to the “wirgle” in the upper neck area, but otherwise appear similar to the first violin, as well as being in the middle of that class (Classes 1 and 2).
The two examples below have been found in Italy. The first is a replica, made of a metal, of the first violin and is identical to all the originals in every other regard except for the unique wirgle in the upper neck. The other is a reproduction of the original instrument, and appears to be in good working order.
Although the two examples are very different in quality from the first violin, they all share in one vital thing–their unusual instrument neck design. A violin neck gives the instrument distinctively different tonal properties.
What is the “wirgle” in the upper neck of the violin? How does it contribute to making the first violin more than a mere musical instrument? We have to ask.
The wirgle of the violin may be thought of as a sort of stylus. To hear a violin with a wirgle, you must hold the instrument in your hand (and you are probably in pain for a few attempts in doing so) and notice that the neck area, which is normally smooth and even, seems to be smoothed by a series of grooves (more specifically, the “wirgle” of the violin). The wirgle’s texture acts like a stylus to shape the sound of the violin.
These grooves are actually formed by the strings, which are wound on the violin’s four strings. With only a few exceptions, the tuning of a violin strings is the same from a first to a fourth, though of different pitch in a fourth interval from its natural pitch.
In the original violin, the wirgle was an exception to natural tuning. There is no inherent difference between a first and a fourth interval from the natural pitch (just a difference in degree) between the upper and
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