Gaetano Sgarabotto was one of the most admired violin makers of the first half of the 20th century. He revealed his ‘secrets’ to his son Pietro, who recorded them in several notebooks, and in 1936 compiled the first manual in modern Italy about the construction of bowed stringed instruments. Here the ‘secrets’ are published for the first time. The book retraces the activity of Gaetano as a restorer, imitator and scholar as he meticulously gathered fragments, casts and notes. In Pietro’s writings, classical violin making comes to life, foreshadowing the ‘secrets’ of Simone Fernando Sacconi many years later.
About thirty-five years before the publication of The “Secrets” of Stradivari, Gaetano and Pietro Sgarabotto were busy drafting the first modern manual illustrating the classical methods of making stringed instruments. The manual, never published, was the result of decades of work involving analysing, restoring and copying instruments by the principal seventeenth and eighteenth-century Italian luthiers, first under the guidance of the Milanese expert Leandro Bisiach, and then independently. The diaries of the two violin makers, enhanced by their personal comments and meticulous sketches, enable us to retrace their long experience as they studied for the purpose of setting down on paper techniques of violin making, repairing, and sometimes of altering and counterfeiting.
In addition to publishing this material for the first time, I Segreti di Sgarabotto reconstructs the family’s biographical events over a period of more than a century and provides the opportunity to admire the more personal aspects of Gaetano Sgarabotto’s research into violin making and ingenious work as a copyist.
• Over 50 replicas and 35 new instruments illustrating the careers of Gaetano, Pietro and their followers.
• Comprehensive biography and historical context, with new archival research.
• Extensive coverage of materials from the Sgarabotto workshop: notebooks, casts of classical parts, and the violin making manual “Teorico e pratico di liuteria”, drawn in 1936 and previously unpublished.
• Scientific analyses by the Laboratori Arvedi (Museo del Violino) of the coatings of classical instruments’ parts collected by Sgarabotto.
• De Luxe edition only, 656 pages in 32 by 23,5 cm format.
• Printing limited to 400 numbered copies, texts in Italian and English.