Prima di Cremona, mi sono laureato come violinista e ho lavorato per tanti anni in un orchestra proffesionaledi "camerata" di Tbilisi .
ormai quasi 20 anni che faccio strumenti a corda,ma purrtroppo non mi e mai capitato a fare la viola a dimensioni cosi grande, percio non sono "atrezzato"per questo.
a Maestro Claudio gia avevo chiesto suggerimenti diverse volte e ho avuto delle risposte preziose sui argomenti.
Ecco, in poche parole la mia presentazione. Se avrete altre domande sarei lieto a risponderVi.
Per il tuo formato di viola di 43cm potresti intanto procurarti il quaderno di liuteria "La viola e i suoi formati", dove puoi trovare tutte le misure necessarie, soprattutto per il manico e i diapason. Tra i formati di viola c'è anche quella da 43cm.
Una volta viste le misure puoi procurarti un poster di The Strad di una viola di Andrea Guarneri e quindi realizzare una nuova forma adattando stile e dimensioni. Io ho fatto così a suo tempo e i risultati sono stati molto buoni.
- Messaggi: 1970
- Iscritto il: lunedì 29 novembre 2010, 0:00
- Località: Cremona
Te lo chiedo perchè anche io non ne ho mai fatte, e mi domandavo se i violisti richiedono solo il formato della cassa più grande o se vogliono anche la corda vibrante più lunga.
Io con le viole di solito non vado oltre i 370/375 mm di corda vibrante e ho fatto al massimo viole 41,5.
Bravissima Lisa Batiasvhili, la ascolto ogni tanto su youtube.
L'ho fatta con la corda vibrante di 375 mm, secondo i consigli di Renè Morel in un articolo della STRAD di molti anni fa. Morel consiglia una corda vibrante di 375 mm e un manico di 15 sia per una viola di 40 o una di 43. Ne ho fatto viole di 39.6 con queste misure che hanno suonato bene. Il ponticello va nel posto necesssario per ottenere questa corda vibrante.
La viola 43 è assai dificile di vendere....
Qui l'articolo di Renè Morel:
The secrets of viola sound
Master luthier René Morel shares his insights into the vexed question of
viola size. He argues that string length, rather than body length, holds
the key to sound and playability
In the 1500s, craftsmen started trying to construct instruments with a
sustained as opposed to a plucked sound, which would compare nicely with
the human voice, With the variations of the human voice in mind, bowed
instruments were built in different sizes. The musical demands of the
16th century made the alto-tenor the most important of the stringed
instruments, which explains why more violas have survived from this
period than either violins or cellos. (Readers interested in the origins
and development of the viola should read Maurice Riley’s classic: The
History of the Viola, 2 vols.)
Among the masters of the period, Andrea Amati produced the most violas,
their body sizes varying from large patterns (including the tenor at 18
1/2 inches) to small patterns (16 inches). The reasoning at that time
was, the longer the body, the longer the string length, and the shorter
the body, the shorter the string length. However, these approximate
proportions are very wrong for the viola, as we shall see. The viola has
raised problems for luthiers over the past three centuries, the most
1. finding a size which produces the ideal voice;
2. avoiding too great a string length for ease in playing;
3. focusing the sound so that the viola can fit into a group or an
No standard measurements were recognised, only the tuning of A, D, G and
C. Because of this, when the violin overtook the viola in popularity,
the viola was nicknamed by many luthiers the ‘bastard’ of stringed
Until 1780 the viola was played mostly as an accompanying instrument,
very much like the cello (maybe up to the third or fourth position). In
the 19th century, however, the greater tech-nical facility demanded by
the music, along with the extension of the pitch range in the orchestra,
brought about the need for longer necks and fingerboards. The angle of
the neck was changed, resulting in a higher bridge and of course more
pressure on the top. This in turn demanded a stronger bass bar.
The viola proved difficult to perfect. Large violas had too much volume,
a good A string but a hollow C, and no projection on the bass side.
Small violas did not have enough volume but were easy to play: the A
sounded like a violin; the C was well focused but had no quality or
depth. The increase in musical pitch in the 19th century, and
improvements in the production of strings (which became thinner and
harder), helped somewhat, but problems remained.
Around 1833-34 Paganini developed a special feeling for larger violas,
and even contemplated giving up the violin in favour of the viola. In an
attempt to find an instrument with a big and even sound throughout its
register he visited Vuillaume’s workshop frequently. We can assume this
is why Vuillaume built an extremely wide contralto viola – as wide as it
is long, A little later, the German viola virtuoso Herman Ritter
campaigned for the acceptance of the large viola into the concert hall.
In 1898 he added a fifth (E) string, to eliminate the necessity of
playing above the third position over the right upper bout – a natural
difficulty for the left hand.
At the start of the 20th century, the repertoire for the viola increased
greatly. Almost every virtuoso had his own ideas on how to construct a
viola – each favouring a different shape and size. The preferred viola
of Lionel Tertis, the father of the English viola school, was not as
large as Ritter’s, but the string length was still too long – which is
why he used four metal strings.
Today we still have players asking makers to build violas to their own
specifications. Some makers construct violas with narrow upper bouts to
allow clearance of the left hand over the instrument’s shoulder. But in
this case the A string is seldom
viola-like. The same happens if the middle bout is narrowed to clear the
bow; the A string sounds like a violin. I have even witnessed an
asymmetrical viola with the neck purposely off-centre to make it larger
on the bass side and narrower on the treble side for ease of playing.
That one pleased the violinist, but violists who tried it didn’t like
the balance. It had a very pinched and strident A string, with a
beautiful but hollow C.
In my work as a restorer in constant contact with performers, I
experience the same problems over and over again. The string length is
the most important. I have found that most large-sized violas have a
string length in proportion to their body length. With an over-long
string length you will have a hollow C string and a nasal, metallic,
sometimes very strident A string. A viola of 16-18 inches with an
over-long string length is not only impossible to play for many, but the
sound is affected – there is poor projection and a difficult response.
You have a very ‘bassy’ sound, which at times has a kind of edge. If so,
it is almost always raspy or sandy. Of course there are exceptions to
these rules. Once in a while you get a ‘freak’ which breaks all the
rules and sounds terrific – but if you try to re-create it, all you get
By shortening the string length and correcting the neck in proportion
to that length, the instrument becomes easier to play and the quality of
the sound also improves. You increase the core, which automatically
gives a better response, more overtones and therefore better projection.
The viola’s voice and timbre is more baritone-like and the balance evens
up on the four strings. Instruments I have been able to improve in this
way include names like Amati, Gasparo da Salo, Stradivari, Testore,
Zanetto, Mariani, Gofriller, Mantegazza and many others. This is why I
feel that string length is the most important thing to consider in viola
In the 1950s when I was working under Maestro Sacconi, we had
difficulties understanding the viola. But as I get older and more
experienced, I have been able to gather information from Brescian and
Strad viola players. I decided that something should be learned from
these two great schools of makers. My idea was to construct an
instrument which would correct the problems of each model but keep the
good things (the quality of the Brescian, the ease of playing of the
Upon my arrival in New York I met Bill Carboni, a viola player in the
New York Philharmonic, who asked me to finish a violin he was making
under Maestro Sacconi. We became good friends, and on Tuesday and
Thursday we made instruments. We talked over the various problems of
viola construction, and I interjected my theory of string length into
his ideas. If the string length remains normal, the fingering for the
left hand remains normal. The size of the instrument may vary somewhat –
the only thing that changes is the extension of the left arm.
We designed an instrument based more on Gasparo than Stradivari. The
result was a success in terms of playability and evenness of sound. From
that model Bill constructed many violas – 16 1/2 inches, 17 inches and
17 1/2 inches – all with the same string length. Violists could play
them without difficulty. I predict that these instruments will be
recognised in years to come as an inspiration for modern viola making.
And now a few words about making. The cello, in proportion to its size,
is much thinner in wood graduations than the violin. The reason is its
place in the orchestra’s bass section. But if we look at the viola, we
realize it is much thicker in proportion to the violin or the cello. Why
– if the viola should be ‘bassier’ than the violin? More wood in the
back and top gives you shorter vibrations and higher frequencies
(soprano sound); less wood gives lower frequencies, which is what we are
looking for – a deeper and lower voice. Thicknesses of wood were
therefore a gross mistake, which explains why the early violas were so
large. The size was needed to lower the voice to the viola timbre, but
increasing the string length in proportion to that size made them
difficult to play.
For a given string length, which is comfortable for playing and gives an
even sound on the four strings, makers can find the proper graduations
for their model. For any choice of model, I would recommend the
- Length of viola body: 16-17 1/2 inches (408-445 mm)
- Diapason or stop (top of edge to centre of bridge): 8 3/4 inches (223
- Neck length (top of edge to below top nut): 5 7/8 inches (150 mm)
- String length: 14 3/4 inches (375 mm). This will vary slightly
according to the arching. A few millimetres will not hurt, but not more
than two one way or the other.
Wood and arching can also be chosen to produce a real viola timbre – the
same way we achieve those results in violin and cello making. If we
consider the violas we have to hand, we see that the old Brescians have
practically no waist; they are mostly large with full arching. The back
is made of maple cut on the slab, which is much softer than that of
quartered maple. This is the best choice for viola voice. Amati violas
are somewhat long and large; the arching is sometimes high but not as
full on the bouts as the Brescian violas. Amati used soft maple, mostly
slab cut (though not always). The C-bouts are narrower, making them
easier to play. Strad violas have almost a violin arching with beautiful
wood; they are much narrower in the C-bouts and easier to play; but the
wood is cut on the quarter, making the A string voice lean towards a
In a lecture in Washington DC’s Coolidge Auditorium, I once demonstrated
the difference in viola sound between a Zanetto (a Brescian pupil of
Gasparo da Salo) and a beautiful Stradivari. The Zanetto was played
first, then the Strad, then the Zanetto again, To the audience’s
amazement, the voice of the Strad sounded strident compared to that of
In conclusion, I would like to say how glad I am that the viola is now a
solo instrument. I sincerely hope that my work may help a little to keep
it that way.
This article is based on a presentation to the New York Viola Society.
Io in genere, quando possibile, scelgo corde vibranti sempre piuttosto abbondanti per la viola, anche nei casi in cui la cassa armonica per esigenze di maneggevolezza sia ridotta a 39 o 40cm.
Davide,Per la corda vibrante non mi sono ancora deciso, ma sicuramente bisogna discutere con musicista(lo vuole proprio questa misura della viola) per evitare confusioni dopo.
io penso che ancora ci riesco a convincerlo per avere la viola meno grande.
io sampre avevo fatto 41 e 41.5 e andavanno non male.
- Messaggi: 1970
- Iscritto il: lunedì 29 novembre 2010, 0:00
- Località: Cremona