Anders, I was very interested to read about your background.
Apart from being fascinated by Hardangers (I have an instrument by Sveinung Gyovland) I'm also gradually becoming aware of Norwegian violin makers and the tap tone methods developed in your part of the world. Was your grandfather influenced by the work of Ivar Orestad or Gunnar Sanborn? I've heard of these books in another context, but as far as I know they haven't been translated, and I just have the most basic sense of them. I'd love to know more about these writers - I have a feeling their work would be worth revisiting ....
Martin Swan Violins
I think my grandpa got most of his ideas through discussions with his father in law, my great grandpa, Hans Johnsson Tjønn. He had Otto and Max Möckels books when they came, but worked on tap tuning methodes before that book came in 1930 (He probaly got it in 1938). We have his experimentation journal. He had access to the Zeitschrift für Intermumentenbau, and thus probaly Herman Meinels articles. For a while a german maker attended the workshop. His name was Hans Brückner. Maybe something came from there?
Great grandpa was working on tap tuning methodes long before Orestads first book came out in 1944. But he tried to publish his theories in the same time as Orestad, but did not succeed in getting it published. Hans Johnsson tap-tuned the plates on the ribs. Grandpa used the back plate on the ribs, the top free, and used four to five tap tones of each plate to match. Quite differnt from what is known from other literature, but the mode 5 is one of the modes I believe he was tuning and paid attention to.
I have not seen other makers in any literature use the tap tones of the free top and the back on the ribs like grandpa did. And I haven't seen anybody use the same harmonic series as he did. He also had separate systems for Guarneri and Strad, the first with thicker back plates than for the Strad type. He was constantly developing his system, if it can be called 'a system'.
None of them had direct access to old cremonese instruments. But they both produced mainly Hardanger fiddles, and Hans Johnsson and his son John H. Tjønn had acess to the greater Hardanger fiddles of its time, from the players that did frequent their workshop. I guess mainly from Telemark.
My uncle Hauk has continued the making and the last 25 years or so he has been making instruments. He has instruments among many of the best young and older players, today. He is (and used to be) a top player, and has been better known for that.
Grandpa also worked on violins, maily regraduating them. I have a couple of them here. He used reverse graduation and strong ennd block regions of the plates in the tops. The bassbar was short and low, more like the baroque style. My fathers and uncles fiddles probaly have that short bar in most of them.
Sveinung Gjøvland was a fine maker.
There are not many pro Hardanger makers. Salve is one of them, but he also makes baroque instruments, violins violas and chellos. There are two recently educated makers, Bård Riise Hoeal at the Ole Bull Academy at Voss and Ottar Kaasa at the Bø Museum. He also is the current Norwegion champion on the Hardanger fiddle. Both these have learnt from Sigvald Rørlien which has now retired. Then we have the makers at the valdes folkemusum at Fagernes, Knut Oppheimsbakken (also a decent plyer) and Oddrun Hegge. Olav Vindal with his workshop at the Utne mueum in Hardanger is another important name. He is no longer working as a pro, but is still in business in his spare time.
I guess some of the Norwegian violin makers are known from this site. Magnus Nedregaard and Jacob von der Lippe. Other noteable names are Rolv Aukrust (apprenticed for a while with Sam Z), mainly doing repairs now and bow making, Urs Wenck Wolff (Ragins brother, she is a fairly well known player, plays a Strad), Jørn Nygaard, all in Oslo, Bergnor in Vågå, then there are some makers in Trondheim and possibly Bergen.
One of the more sucessful is Harald Lund at jessheim. He is both making Hardanger fiddles and violins. He know Henning Kraggerud well, and do have access to great insturments, but not as a repair person, I think. He is working mainly following self developed theories.
"If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts". A Einstein