Virtual Tour of
"Beethoven & Berlioz, Paris & Vienna:
Musical Treasures from the Age of Revolution & Romance
Violin by Johann Georg Stauffer, Vienna, December 1826
NMM 10028. Violin by Johann Georg Stauffer, Vienna, December 1826. Experimental model, in original condition. Because one is so used to seeing violin upper bouts more narrow than the lower, Stauffer's equalized upper bout appears wider than it actually is, an optical illusion. Board of Trustees, 2001.
Pegbox and Scroll
The design for this experimental model was published in the Allgemeine musicalische Zeitung in 1808, signed "P.", which Stauffer interpreted as designating "Pagatella," or Antonio Bagatella, a Paduan luthier who published his Memoir, or Rules for the Construction of Violins - Violas - Violoncellos - Double Basses in 1782. Similar experimental instruments by Stauffer are in the
Musikinstrumenten Museum, Leipzig (violin, 1828), and the Yale University
Collection of Musical Instruments, New Haven (violoncello, 1828).
Stauffer is also remembered as a guitar maker and as the inventor of the arpeggione, a hybrid 'cello/guitar with frets, for which Franz Schubert wrote a sonata (D821).
Front and back views of the Stauffer violin pegbox.
Paper label handwritten in black ink: Ad Normam inviationis Antonii. / Pagatella, Ioannes Georg: Staůffer / fecit. Wiennae Mense Decemb i826.
Body: symmetrical on both axes, with viol-shaped corners and without overhanging top and bottom edges.
Top: one-piece, quarter-cut spruce, medium grain.
Back: one-piece maple cut off-the-quarter, with narrow, horizontal curl; knots and irregular figure in lower bout; five birdseyes in upper bout.
Ribs: maple cut off-the-quarter, with narrow curl; one-piece lower rib.
Head and neck: maple with narrow, prominent curl.
Edging: slightly scooped; edges capped with stained fruitwood, continuing around body outline over back button.
Fingerboard: black-stained spruce veneered with ebony; slightly wedge-shaped; minimal curvature; no channel over neck position.
Tailpiece: pearwood veneered with ebony; tailgut passes through two holes drilled in face; no saddle; keyhole-shaped string holes; minimal curvature.
Tailgut: brass tailgut soldered to a small, rectangular brass plate, engraved with a starburst in a rectangle, that fits over a portion of lower face of tailpiece.
Pegs: two black-stained boxwood with mother-of-pearl eyes, the heads with a round-oval shape, the edges not rounded off; two ebony pegs with mother-of-pearl eyes, the heads with rounded edges.
Saddle: ebony; lower, rounded edge extends into top portion of rib.
Endpin: stained pearwood inlaid with mother-of-pearl circle; flat end with slightly rounded edges.
F-holes: crescent-shaped; small notches; undercut.
Corner blocks: spruce. Original, narrow bassbar. Chin wear to varnish on bass side.
Back length: 375 mm.
Upper bout width: 189 mm.
Center bout width: 110 mm.
Lower bout width: 189 mm.
Lower bout rib height: 31-32 mm.
Vibrating string length: 323 mm.
Original neck length (bottom of nut to ribs): 132 mm.
Lit.: John Koster, "Inventive Violin
Important Acquisitions Enrich Museum's Holdings," America's Shrine to
Music Museum Newsletter 28, No. 3 (August 2001), pp.
André P. Larson, Beethoven & Berlioz, Paris & Vienna: Musical Treasures from the Age of Revolution & Romance 1789-1848, with essay by John Koster, exhibition catalog, Washington Pavilion, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, September 12-November 2, 2003 (Vermillion: National Music Museum 2003), pp. 19 and 38.
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