A violin (or viola, cello, etc) is more than a musical instrument -- very often it is also a work of art in itself. And sometimes, makers go beyond the boundaries of "normal" and create elements on the instrument that are very unique.
I thought about that idea this week when writing about the beautiful Turtle Fiddle, just completed this year by luthier Andrew Carruthers. The amount of craftsmanship, creative thinking and artistic work that goes into just one handmade stringed instrument -- just a normal one -- is staggering. Then to go outside the boundaries and do something extra-special like Andrew did - it's very impressive.
Have you encountered an instrument with a unique element that really impressed you? It could be something you saw in person, or in a book, online, in a magazine, etc. And the element could be the surface texture - as it is with the Turtle Fiddle -- or with the carving of the scroll, the fittings, the overall shape of the instrument or something else.
Beyond Andrew's Turtle Fiddle, I've seen a number of really unique instruments, including the funky-shaped Rivinus 'Pellegrina' viola pictured above. It is shaped that way for ergonomic purposes, but certainly it evokes a modern and adventurous aesthetic. I also once had a violin with very unique varnish, in which the luthier had actually mixed in some amber crystals. It was very yellow - with some subtle but definitely-there sparkles!
Not surprisingly, a lot of interesting carving elements -- like the scrolls that are carved into heads or unicorns -- can be found in Baroque instruments of the string family. The aesthetic of the time simply inspired those kinds of touches.
What interesting decorative elements have you found in stringed instruments? Please participate in the vote and then describe what you saw, the instrument where you saw it, as well as anything else you would like to add about the idea decoration that goes beyond the parameters of a "regular" violin.
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