Before the Chinrest
Paperback Original

Before the Chinrest

A Violinist's Guide to the Mysteries of Pre-Chinrest Technique and Style
Stanley Ritchie
Distribution: World
Publication date: 6/25/2012
Format: paper 168 pages, 260 music exx. and 1 b&w illustration

8.5 x 11
ISBN: 978-0-253-22318-0
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Drawing on the principles of Francesco Geminiani and four decades of experience as a baroque and classical violinist, Stanley Ritchie offers a valuable resource for anyone wishing to learn about 17th-18th-and early 19th-century violin technique and style. While much of the work focuses on the technical aspects of playing the pre-chinrest violin, these approaches are also applicable to the viola, and in many ways to the modern violin. Before the Chinrest includes illustrated sections on right- and left-hand technique, aspects of interpretation during the Baroque, Classical, and early-Romantic eras, and a section on developing proper intonation.

Author Bio

Stanley Ritchie is an internationally recognized violinist, teacher, and recording artist. He is a professor at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University Bloomington and the 2009 recipient of the Howard Mayer Brown Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Field of Early Music.


"Professor Stanley Ritchie shares his extensive experience distilled from 40 years of performing and teaching early violin, adding his thorough knowledge of historical sources on 17th and 18th century performance practice. He writes in an elegant, easy to follow style, using terms which a modern violinist can easily relate to. . . . . The book is practically based and best read with a violin in hand—in fact the last section, which amounts to one third of the book, consists of an extensive exercise system for left hand intonation and technique. Here is an exceptionally useful resource for all violinists." —Stringendo

"Violinists will . . . find in this book much that is useful and valuable, since it is drawn from Ritchie’s many years of experience playing and teaching the instrument." —Early Music America

"Useful and elegantly written, Stanley Ritchie's book will be a most valuable resource to accomplished modern violinists wishing to learn to play the baroque violin." —Marc Destrubé, violinist

"[Ritchie's] book is accessible and authoritative, and moves what was once specialist information into the mainstream. Moreover, he may just inspire us to spice our music-making with the kind of informed variety and contextual fidelity that would do justice to one of history’s most diverse and fecund periods of invention." —
Early Music

"Before the Chinrest includes many thoughtful suggestions on both technique and musical expression, and its numerous musical exercises . . . will no doubt greatly assist violinists seeking to perform the Baroque and Classical repertoire in a stylistically appropriate manner." —Performance Practice Review

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