Sunday, 15 January 2017

Another Cello

SR 2016

Of course we dream and then plan our next instrument carefully. A cello in particular represents a substantial investment in time and for me at least the procedures need to fit into the cycle of the year.

Sibylle Ruppert 2016

For this latest cello I decided to go for a low top arch of no more than 24mm such as Sacconi describes in his pivotal book "I secreti di Stradivari". I do not have access to a classic Stradivari cello and in spite of using a 1717 Stradivari outline - purportedly off the Amaryllis Fleming Stradivari -I have never seen a Strad cello from this period life.

The Canada Council Instrument Bank owns a gorgeous 1696 Strad cello -the "Bonjour",which has an impressive 32 mm top arch. However crafting an arch of minimal height yet strong and resilient was to be my challenge .

lower long arch curve,Vuillaume at Sound Post,Toronto

Instead I decided to look at two Vuillaume cellos in Toronto for inspiration. Jean Baptiste Vuillaume was a talented craftsman and the earliest consummate copyist of classical Cremonese instruments, who as a dealer also would have had the originals next to him.

Thanks to the Sound Post and to Roman Borys for letting me spent a couple of hours measuring investigating and photographing their cellos ,incidentally made on the same outline in 1869 and 1868 respectively.

 I focused on the arching curves and the positioning of the sound holes. I admire the sculpting of these lean archings,which might have settled ,but have not distorted or sunken.

the muscular arch of a 1898 Vuillaume

Sibylle Ruppert 2016
Understanding and assimilating three dimensional curved structures is the aim, but I also took note of some seemingly pedestrian measurements such as edge heights and rib heights.
 With the help of a Hacklinger gauge I  found the dimensions of the blocks, the thicknesses of the plates near the edges and around the ff 's in comparison with the average dimension.

With a low top arch I needed to recalibrate, as the ensemble is affected by everything. It is the beauty and the curse of the art.

SR 2016
In many ways the sound responded to my imagination: A velvety sound with an easy even response.The Canadian Red Maple back became the wild card bringing extra depth and darkness.