the viol come from?
follows is just a sbjective summary, as there are many images available
and almost as many assumptions...
instrument that we play today is the result of a long evolution.
Images on bas-reliefs showing musicians playing sting instruments can
be found circa 2500 B.C
Several types of string instruments can be seen on Egyptian bas
reliefs, among which the lute, the forerunner of the viol.
Circa 700 A.D. the Arabs brought a short-necked
lute to -omong other places - Spain
Over there, the lute turned into two separate
instruments : the vihuela de mano, and the vihuela de arco.
The vihuela turned into the viol.
The instrument was played either resting on
player's lap, or between his legs, hence the name, viola da gamba.
The viola da bracio rested on the player's
The instruments' shapes evolved through the use
of the bow.
The vihuela de arco spread throughout Europe
towards the 12th century, as indicated by many paintings and frescoes.
Subsequently, the viol evolved differently according to its
countries of adoption.
The English made the neck narrower, angled it,
which increased the height of the bridge, thereby allowing
more freedom for the bow.
The French are credited with addding a 7th string
(the low A) and threaded strings (Monsieur de Sainte Colombe ?).
The Italians are said to have left the viol
pretty quickly in favor of the violin, which gave the soloist a
With the French Revolution in 1789, the viol -
the nobility's favorite instrument - was rapidly abandoned in favor of
a more popular and louder instrument.
woods used for viol-making are mainly maple and spruce (for the belly).
Like the viol makers of the time,
I occasionally use other species : cherry, whitebeam or walnut, I like
using wood that has character,
each viol that I make being a unique piece that seeks to unite beauty
and acoustic quality.
Pursuing an ancestral know-how, studying the viol's repertoire,
imagining and experimenting are the many means through which I try to
make the ideal instrument.
In the baroque era, our forefathers tried everything : different
shapes, dimensions, degrees of thickness, materials... A few wonderfull
viols emain, remnants of a time when those men discovered everything.