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I am currently in the process of completing a comprehensive study of the early history of stringed instruments. I am particularly looking at the Middle Ages and pre-Middle Ages period to try and fill in some of the gaps in knowledge about how our current families of instruments began.


I'm an anthropologist & ethnomusicologist who has studied and written about culture from a wide range of peoples. I'm also an amateur string musician who has experienced first hand the power that these instruments can have.


That last major research project along these lines was in the 1930's. Internet research has helped tremendously, but there is a still a tremendous amount of information not available online. In particular, I am trying to find:


1. I have already gathered online information and information from published books and articles. The remaining information is going to be from out of press manuscripts and public art.


If anyone has any pictures or public or private art that have a specific date or date range attached, I am looking for copies of those. In particular, I am tracing the early history of the violin family of instruments, but not exclusively this category.


This can be from art in galleries or private ownership of from public works of art. It could also be from out of print books and manuscripts.


2. I am mostly trying to scour libraries and art galleries around the Mediterranean coast of Europe. That said, I am open to finding clues from any source where they may arise.


3. I am also doing a separate study on regional strings past and present. I am virtually working my way around the world, starting with the Celtic nations. See the other study page for more information on that project.


Thanks for your time and help with this project!


Michael Hollis, Ph.D.

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