Like our FB fun page

31 October 2011

iPhone model for a baroque violoncello da spalla

A few weeks ago I have been to a concert in Belgium.

Big orchestra, many soloists... In addition to the bass violin there was also a viola da spalla player.

After the concert I congratulated the spallist with her impressive playing and asked what was the source of her instrument.

26 October 2011

The unpublished violins

The unpublished earlier baroque violin no.62 and the ornamented violin both made in 2009.


Very unfortunately, earlier in my career I never paid enough attention to documenting my work photographically so pictures of a large number of instruments are not available. Additionally, many of the earliest violins were even not properly labeled.

20 October 2011

VIDEO: Setting the sound-post into the new violin

Rainy day, birds singing in the park outside the studio, no apprentice in the studio today and only a few clients visited during the day. 

Strung this brand new "modern" violin (no.74) with gut strings  "Tricolore" g and d', and synthetic and metal "Evah" a' and e''. It sounds well, however my varnish - although it is only one very thin layer - takes about a year to dry. The instrument can be used immediately - for example, Ryo Terakado used one of his two Badiarov violins, the brand new then a violin with the grotesque ornament in one of his recordings, however the sound will ripen gradually, as the varnish gets drier and the instrument get's played-in. 

I will certainly play it in for a few days from now on and make the necessary adjustments, if any. 
It is almost always rainy or stormy when I string a new violin. Feels like the last days of autumn, soon - no birds singing till the spring.

19 October 2011

VIDEO: Viola da spalla - difficult made easy

The muses of Musicology and Performance practice do not like to cross the roads. They are too different. When they meet they are rarely happy. Both are busy. There is time either for one or for another but rarely for both. When I wrote my 40 pages article about the viola da spalla for the Galpin Society Journal I knew this. Actually I wrote it for myself however I still wanted the message get through to a larger group of performing musicians, not to just musicologists. After all, violin-makers do not make instruments for musicologists (sorry!)

So, some time after the article was published, I thought about a 5 minutes entertaining video (here it is below)

5 October 2011

Learning the craft of violin-making

While my website needs much more time and work for the updates I decided to publish a quick note to reflect the changes which took place in my apprenticeship program during last year. Please, subscribe if you want to receive an update when the website will be renewed too.

1 October 2011

What does it take to make a violin?

What does it take to make a violin?
Alberto Bachman, in Encyclopaedia of the Violin (1st ed.1925), wrote that the surest way to make a fine violin is to trace a master's model. Perhaps for the world as it was in 1929 it was the surest way indeed, but the knowledge unearthed since then would be wasted if not used.

Making violins require a creative mindset with a subtle swing of fantasy and order, precision and spontaneity: one needs to know the rules, where and why they come from, how to enjoy bending these rules or even - why not - break them if it gives an extra spice to the design and the sound of the violin, an extra inspiration to the musicians and the audiences. 

It also requires a complete command of tools, knowledge of wood and acoustics, specially as the latter was addressed by the european predecessors, violin-makers from the end of the 16th century till the end of the 18th century. I do not believe in computers, sophisticated software or hi-tech which anyway did not exist in the period when the violin was born - the Baroque period. I believe in fairly simple hardware, time-tested intelligence