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The shortcut to perfection? Or tendinitis?

The British Pathé YouTube archive is proving to be a charming source of films about the violin, in all its forms.

Here is a soundless video from 1926, 'Trained Fingers', starring the dashing Albert Sammons. You might start to feel a little queasy around 1:24, when the special Ostrovsky training device comes out and Sammons puts his fingers in. The invention for double-stops looks a little less torturous, but does it really beat good old scales? Or is it tendinitis waiting to happen?

Here's a beautifully filmed short following the progress of Nice violin maker Gaggini as he creates a new instrument, with Gabrielle Devries playing Bach on one of his instruments in the background. A simple but effective way of presenting the luthier's craft, and made in 1960, well before Vimeo or Vine.

And we all know how hard it is to do comedy with a violin. I think this Stanelli clip from 1941 just about proves it ('If you don't mind, I'll take my applause in advance...')

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