Chanot Experimental Violin

Description (Brief)
This violin was made by François Chanot of Paris, France in 1818. Born in 1787, François Chanot was a naval engineer who worked with his father, Joseph, a violin maker in Mirecourt. François developed a violin in guitar form with flush edges and without corner blocks. His intention was to allow increased freedom of vibration along the length of the body. The strings were fastened to the table in guitar bridge fashion and the bass-bar was glued near the center joint of the table. The instrument enjoyed popularity in the first quarter of the 19th century among French musicians. This violin is made of a table of spruce in two pieces, “slit” soundholes edged with ebony and ivory banding, as is the body outline on table and back, bridge removed and replaced with traditional tailpiece, back of maple in one piece with even medium-fine figure descending to the left, ribs of similar maple, an original maple neck and pegbox, the original reversed closed scroll is missing, and a transparent, golden yellow-orange varnish.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Chanot, Francois
Physical Description
spruce (table material)
maple (back material)
overall: 23 1/4 in x 8 1/2 in x 3 7/8 in; 59.055 cm x 21.59 cm x 9.8425 cm
Place Made
France: Île-de-France, Paris
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Music & Musical Instruments
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

8/2/2015 5:55:21 PM
Francis Slyker
Hello, The Chanot violin has carved, domed, top and bottom plates, but without overlap at the edges of the ribs. Moreover, the plates appear to be edged with ivory and ebony, much like a guitar. Therefore, I am wondering, if the corner construction resemble a guitar rather than like a baroque violin? By that I mean that the ribs are thicker than a violin, ordinarily only about a millimeter, and the lining a 45 degree strip, probably slotted to enable bending. Thankyou. Frank
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