Challenging the small viola.

Some instruments keep recurring in Violins and Violinists and my favourite small viola is one of them. Helen Michetschlager is renowned for making small violas that work fabulously, so I wanted to show her the extraordinary Matthew Hardie viola made from recycled parts of an old bass viol by Richard Meares of about 1670. At 15 1/4 inches its far too small for most musicians to take seriously, but the sound is transcendent and the bottom strings make a fabulous tone (no – it’s not for sale, I love it too much). Helen joins the ranks of those who have become enchanted by it, and she has risen to the challenge of how to transform the concept into a modern-made instrument without cannibalising a seventeenth century viol to achieve it.

Helen’s blog is here:

The viola is constantly on loan, and at length I’ll get it back and properly write about it myself. In the meantime a couple of images that say a thousand words…



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