Passing Tones


In 1911, German graphic artist Ludwig Sütterlin was commissioned to create a new handwriting to be taught in schools. In 1915 it became the national handwriting taught in Germany. The really remarkable thing about this particular script is most of the individual  letters do not bear much superficial resemblance to any other script existing at the time.

In 1915, the script, now called Sütterlinschrift after its creator, became the national handwriting of Germany. Then, in 1941, the Nazis, after initially embracing Sütterlinschrift as exemplifying German virtue, banned it.

It’s a very difficult script to learn. It’s kind of a secret language, a Captain Midnight decoder ring script for those who can manage it.

The accompanying illustration shows a document written in a Sütterlin font designed to look like handwriting. It is not in German. It is in English and is, in fact, the text of this article.

You’re alone

In 1720, Bach returned home after a long road trip to find that his wife had died and had already been committed to the cold ground. Shortly after, he began composing the six suites and partitas for unaccompanied violin. The completed final manuscript in his handwriting is titled, “Sei Solo. Violino senza Basso accompagnato.” Most of us take that to mean in Germanish Italian, “Six solo pieces for violin, without accompaniment.” But in Italian, “Sei solo” means, “You’re alone.”

Pascal Taskin, the Stradivarius of Harpsichords

Pascal Taskin (1723 to 1793) is the Stradivarius of harpsichords. While there are 244 Stradivarius violins that survive to us, of Taskin harpsichords there are six. Of these six, none have pinblocks of koa wood.

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