Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Unusual violas

Jewish date:  26 Marḥeswan 5772 (evening) (Parashath Toledhoth).

Today’s event:  Start Your Own Country Day.


A musical instrument which gets frequent complaints that it is designed wrong is the viola.  The sound is weaker than it should be, and it is big enough to cause injuries played on the shoulder.  The obvious solution is the alto violin, which is essentially a large violin with viola tuning and played vertically like a cello.  The alto violin is not today’s weird thing, since the only real problem with it is that viola players who wish to take up alto violin may need to learn cello fingering technique in order to play it well.  Today’s weird things are the violas created by David L. Rivinus.  While the alto violin looks a lot like a traditional violin, only bigger and with a lower rib height, Rivinus’s violas are utterly bizarre in appearance, something like what would happen if Salvador Dali had designed violas.  The point of these strange designs is ergonomics, but the result has to be seen to be believed.  Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Side notes:  Further information on the alto violin can be found at The New Violin Octet and one can be acquired from Singing Woods Violin. The really weird thing is that the least expensive Rivinus viola costs about 7½ times the cost of an alto violin.


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