Sunday, September 23, 2007

Strings and Piccolo


I ordered new strings! They'll take a while to get here (from the States). I ordered all Pirastro Olive (silver wound gut string) for my wooden cello. It has been years since I have used gut on it! That should be fun! I know that my cello likes it.

For the carbon fibre I ordered Jargar Forte a and d and Obligato G and C.

Those Obligatos sound great on the Luis and Clark, but terrible on my Mirecourt! It is always interesting to see that it makes such a huge difference from one instrument to the next! What sounds great on one cello, sounds really terrible on another. It is trial and error. Too bad that my pocketbook doesn't allow me to keep experimenting unlimited!

I also took my Mirecourt to my luthier, still with the Eva Pirazzi on. The instrument has been sounding very tight lately, especially on the top. He moved the sound post and I have to say that it is a huge improvement! I look forward to the gut strings on it.

While looking for the right strings to order, I came upon some interesting string making sites. Check this out:

Piccolo Update

The saga of the piccolo continues. While I did get a response from a builder in the States that he is willing to build a viola da Spalla/ pomposa; this is not the instrument for me. Only violinists and violists can play it. It has to be played using violinists' fingerings and will have to be held against the shoulder. Not very practical or useful for us, cellists. Siegiswald Kuyken, a phenomenal baroque violinist, has taken this instrument on.

I touched base with a friend form university and asked her if she could recommend some luthiers in the Netherlands who might sell or even build a piccolo (and what does it look like?!).

This is the response I got from one builder:

"Hello Josephine,

I make two models of violoncello piccolo, a small Castanieri en a larger Stradivari model.

Currently I only have the larger model available, but it has 4 strings. And of course you do need a C string!

It costs 8000 Euro and I could change it into a 5-string instrument.

(BTW: It sounds very beautiful!)".

While this is all nice: I don't have 8000 Euros laying around (too bad!) and I would have a slight preference for the smaller size. The larger size has a string length of 68 cm (instead of 72 cm for a regular cello). The smaller size has a 63 cm string length.

At least I am one step closer to understand the actual size. Or am I?!?... My friend in the Netherlands wrote me the following:

A short while a go I played a gorgeous little piccolo cello at a colleague's house. She had the instrument on loan for a little while, which was exceptional, since the particular luthier does not habitually loan out instruments. Only Anner Bijllsma has been able to borrow it from time to time. It was a very small instrument; almost as small as a half size, looking absolutely awful but it sounded heavenly!"

A half size eh...

So the search continues.

I may need to take the suggestion to purchase a small regular cello and have it rebuilt to a piccolo. I don't know yet.

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