Expertise portal University College Ghent


Violin technique in the nineteenth century, applied to the German repertoire.

Project: PhD-project

  • Cnop, Ann (PhD student)
  • Moccia, Alessandro (Promotor HoGent)
  • Maes, Francis , Universiteit Gent, Vakgroep Kunst, Muziek- en Theaterwetenschappen, Belgium (Promotor University)

Starting from the question whether the nineteenth century violinist played chin-on or chin-off and what the impact was on the violin technique, this research wants to come to both a representative sounding result in the form of concerts, sound and video recordings and to a general guide to the historically informed performance practice of the violin technique in the  covered period. 
The violin technique of the early 17th century to the late 18th century has been profoundly studied during the past 40 years, which has resulted in a strong and thriving 'early music movement'. The investigation of the 19th century violin technique, however, is still in its infancy, although the repertoire is frequently played by orchestras playing in a historically informed manner.

The lack of thorough investigation into the, according to my idea, very specific Romantic musical language, makes one choose for a performance practice which leans to either the 18th or either a postwar 20th century technique. In violin technical terms, this often results in a Baroque or modern violin technique.

Several books and articles have been published with regard to the 19th century violin technique, but they only talk about a general 19th century violin technique while there were real regional differences in terms of the basic posture (the way the violin was held) and also in the specific violin techniques. A practice-oriented research is also missing.  

There can also be no mention of “a 19th century violin technique” because the difference in repertoire varied widely among different regions. The aesthetic difference between the German and French 19th century repertoire is undeniable. The radical application of the romantic aesthetics of music is mainly documented in the development of the solo song, the piano music and the piano. The question arises whether the violin literature demonstrates in a similar manner such a romanticizing of the musical language. A better understanding of the violin technique might shed new light on the problem and demonstrate that the violin repertoire indeed developed its own form of " romanticizing ".

StatusIn execution