VIOLA DA GAMBA/RENAISSANCE INSTRUMENTS

Division Viol after a treatise by Christopher Simpson.

The division viol remains a fantasy instrument. This is surprising considering that the instrument represents a conceptual aesthetic of sound dating back to the mid 17th Century when pedagogue and scholar Christopher Simpson wrote a treatise outlining in great detail not only the playing technique of this instrument, but also many details of its construction.

Simpson in his treatise gives two possible forms for this larger corpus bass instrument. One is in a classical English form whose general gestalt is familiar to us.

The other form resembles violin family instruments, and is perhaps particularly  remarkable as Simpson refers to this form as being “more sprightly and responsive ”  ( Prima Resonantior). Simpson also alludes to the top plate being carved, similar to violin family instruments,  “the Bellyes being digged out of the Plank” as opposed to the common method of gamba construction with a bent top.

division viol Christopher Simpson outline Gamba - violin form

Work on this instrument should commence in the Winter of 2018; it will be located in Vienna, Austria for trial and sale.

Lyra da Braccio after Giovanni Maria Brescia

A project to build a Lyra da Braccio after the famous instrument of Giovanni Maria is forthcoming, however delayed due to current commissions.  While the original instrument has a body length of 38.7cm, I would  be excited about the possibility and resonance of an instrument with a much larger corpus as in the iconography below. This would be an unfretted instrument,  with special care allotted to the arc to the bridge thus allowing triple and quadruple stops to be played chordally.  Please contact me for a dialogue should you have interest, work may begin in any case during the Autumn of 2018 in Vienna.

Lyra da braccio renaissance period instrument