Incroyables and Merveilleuses, of the renewal of the Cane    

Case cane or Dance master cane

The Dance master

The Case cane or Dance master cane was also named Pochette fiddle or Kit violin cane

Dance masters where part of the instrument player community in Paris. Their headmaster was designated as the "King of violin"; from 1659 on, the Dance masters were controlled by approved status and confirmed by letters of patent . A Dance master was required to pass an exam and to pay to be admitted in the brotherhood; he couldn't practice his work, give lessons at home or in town, without to be one of them.

The Dance Master
Letters of patent signed by the King

"Royal Academy of dance founded in 1662"

From there, started many law suits that, for almost one century, occupied various courts of law; by the way, in 1773, the last "King of violin", named Guignon, decided to renounce to his suzerainty. From this day on, to be a Dance master by profession became free.

We understand that the so called Case cane, Pochette fiddle or Kit violin canes have had a certain popularity during the Century that followed the French revolution.

Pochette fiddle-cane of a Dance master

Case cane also called Pochette fiddle-cane. The left cane is in it case, the right is out of its case.


The canes

The figure opposite shows us the cane of a dance master, the case cane, also called Pochette fiddle because of the small violin that the dance master used to put into his pocket, in order to give his lessons in town.

"The Kit violin, or Kit (Tanzmeistergeige in German), is a stringed musical instrument. It is essentially a very small violin, designed to fit in a pocket — hence its other common name, the "pochette fiddle". It was used by dance masters in royal courts and other places of nobility, as well as by street musicians up until around the XVIII century." Source: Wikipédia

"The term "kit" is believed to first have been used in the first quarter of the 16th century, in England where is was mentioned in "Interlude of the Four Elements" (circa 1517)."Wikipédia

Below is an explanation on how it was used:



Unscrew the handle, take off the horn ring; by pulling the bridge hidden in flat under the fingerboard; place it at the level of the sound post and, after having removed the bow from the inside of the musical instrument, screw the cane handle back in order to raise the violin up to the shoulder.

It could give a sufficient note to accompany chasses-croises (set to partners) dance or steps of minuet .

This case cane, from the XVIII century, is one of M. A. Jubinal's collection.


Source: The Dance master definition is extracted from "Larousse du XXe siècle "en six volumes - Published under the editorship of Paul AUGE -"

The Case cane and his illustration come from the "Dictionnaire de l'Art de la curiosite et du Bibelot" (1883).

Some citations and illustrations are taken from Wikipédia free encyclopedia .

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