From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad


Steven Smolian wrote:

> I wrote about these in some depth in my article, "Which Amercian Orchestra
> Recorded First When" in Classic Record Collector.  It appeared retitled as
> "Strohs in the Wind."  
> Short answer to this specific question is that the Strohs were mostly used
> in the ensemble and that real instruments were used by soloists. 
> Exceptions
> were the D'Almaine records that demoed the instrument as the "viol-horn"
> and, perhaps others of equally less-than-virtuoso rank, Stroh-identified
> on
> the label or not.

----- I note that the illustration to Steven's article was entirely wrong, 
and I suspect that the editor did not want to pay for a correct ensemble 

The fact is that the type used for recording was equivalent to a violin in 
every respect, except it was somewhat heavier and felt "lopsided" to the 
performer. At least that is what "my" violonist and arranger said when I 
reconstructed acoustic recording in 1986. We used an acoustic trio consisting 
of upright piano, Stroh violin and Stroh cello and original recording horns 
that I had borrowed from the EMI Music Archives. And the repertoire was 
chosen from salon music from the period. Elgar's Salut d'Amour featured 
prominently,and it still haunts me and my family. All played according to 
contemporary performance practice (plenty of vibrato, portamenti, and rubati) 
for such repertoire, studied by means of numerous acoustic recordings pre-
1920. The only non-authentic about it was that as the experiments were made 
in one of the ensemble rooms in the Royal Danish Music Conservatory, the 
upright was in tune and at a=440 Hz.

And oh, the private foundation that contributed to the experiment and the 
subsequent exhibition at the Danish Museum for Music History also paid for 
restoration at a violin maker of the Stroh cello. Both Stroh instruments are 
on display.

Kind regards,


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Maurice Mengel
> Sent: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 7:21 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Stroh violins
> I heard somewhere (but this might not be reliable) that these "violins
> with
> horn" were made especially for recording since a normal violin was a) not
> loud enough to record them conveniently together with an ensemble and b)
> they sounded differently on an old recording; the argument b) implies that
> the Stroh violin had a better sound when recorded than a normal violin.
> By the way, in Romanian folklore this violin is used until recently or
> even
> up to this day and is known for a specfic region (Bihor).
> ----------------------------------------------
> Maurice Mengel
> Music Archive
> Ethnological Museum
> National Museums in Berlin
> ---------------------------------------------
> On Wed, Oct 14, 2009 at 12:20 PM, Paul Charosh <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > A query passed on from another list:
> >
> > Stroh violins were commonly used in orchestras during the acoustic  era.
> > But when celebrities recorded (e.g., Maud Powell, Fritz Kreisler) as 
> the
> > featured artists on a disc, did they also use them?
> >
> > Paul Charosh
> >
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