From the Archive: April 1920

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Towry Piper (1859–1925) recalls some of the more unusual habits of violinists, observed during his many years of writing for The Strad

An old friend of mine—an excellent performer and enthusiastic chamber musician — has a curious habit, when trying the tone of a violin, of solemnly pacing about the room, at intervals stopping to paw the ground, after the manner of a restive steed, with his feet.

He was going through a performance of this kind not long ago in my study, forgetting that the room, in place of the ordinary carpet, is furnished with mats, superimposed upon oilcloth. He executed a few flourishes, advanced a pace or two, and then began the customary business of “marking time”; away flew the mat, and before I had time to realise what had happened, he had sat down with a crash in the middle of the floor…

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