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Omobono

Any thoughts about this instrument?

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Has it been cut down? The upper shoulders seem small in proportion to the lower.

And the lower corners seem less curved (less C-Like) than the upper corners. Gives the impression that the upper half of the c-bout and the lower don't match.

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It looks French to me too, Vuillaume School? Strad model, I think, but I wished the photos were better.

The f holes are a bit too distant from each other, but I don't know the size of the instrument.

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As soon as I saw it, I thought the upper halfe of a violin had been "grafted" to the lower half of a viola. Very interesting. Far to perplexing to try to catalogue in this inexperienced brain of mine!

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Wow! I'm impressed with the initial response.

Some very perceptive and insightful comments too.

It's not exactly a quiz - but it may as well be.

It is a curious enough instrument

to raise all sorts of interesting questions.

I won't say any more

till other would-be contributors have a chance to post.

(If anyone thinks they know exactly what we are looking at

please hold off for a while till we analyse it a bit more.

I will try for some better pics - but don't be too hopeful.)

Omo.

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With those protruding cheeks, that looks like a viola scroll. So, I assume we're looking at a viola, which has pretty much the proportions, but not necessarily the dimensions, of a violin, and is a little larger, proportionately, in the lower bouts. I'd guess this is a fairly small viola 15.5 to 16 inches.

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Looks like it's had a cheek graft; also looks like someone thought they'd "enhance" the scroll carving a bit, then slipped up. The little exra lobe thing on the bottom of the volute says "viola", or it would if wood could speak. Knowing as little as I do, it's time to remain silent. Maybe past time.

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This is a Strad viola, at least much of it. :) I first thought it was the 1715 "Russian" viola, I have some unhappy memories aout that one, after seeing it at an exhibition in Cremoma I thought: "hurra, here's a Strad viola model I can use!" but alas, I found out it wasn't a very good model either!

But of course the "Russian" this is not, it is the "Castelbarco". Can't remember year, but is should be a little later than the "russian". I think David Rattray says it was originally built as a viola d'amore, but later twisted into a viola by Vuillaume I think (?), and that explains some of the oddities... I am not certain but the back should be Vuillaumes, and that explains some of the "french" feelings here perhaps, allthoug the style and varnish of Strad is very nicely "recreated" here.

I suppose the rather broad spacing of the f-holes can give it a frenchie look too, I reckon they are a little wider than usual to accomodate the viola d'amore bridge with I don't know how many strings! The head is a Cremonese viola head, isn't it? Quite a mixture! Thanks for bringing this one up Omo!

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I am not certain but the back and head should be Vuillaumes, and that explains some of the "french" feelings here perhaps, allthoug the style and varnish of Strad is very nicely "recreated" here.

That makes sense to me. The back looks a lot more French than the front does to me.

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The link didn't work for me... here it is again:

Cozio Link

"A sale held in London in 1862 of the Stradivarius owned by collector Count Castelbarco of Milan listed and sold two cellos, two violins, and a viola "transformed from a viol". The latter instrument was in fact designed and made by Stradivari as a viola d'amore. It was converted into a viola by J B Vuillaume, removing the orginal flat back and replacing it with a new swell back, in keeping with Stradivari's style.

The instrument was originally made with sloping shoulders, which were cut to form the conventional viola shape, while the ribs were lowered by around 15 mm. It now has a beautiful 'Brothers' Amati head, with a heavy blackened chamfer no doubt added by Vuillaume to give a more Stradivarian feeling. Fortunately the original viola d'amore head, which accomodates 12 pegs, found its way to the Museé de la Musique in Paris, where it was identified by Charles Beare."

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How's that scroll look, on it's own?

The scroll's the only part of it that looks "of a piece." And now we know why. It's a brother's Amati...

I really like the very deep cut of the throat.

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Interesting that this is called a Stradivari viola. The head is by brothers Amati, the back by Vuillaume, the original ribs have been lowered by 15 mm, and the upper bouts of the top have been reshaped. So there's not one piece of the essential parts that is the way Stradivari made it, but it's still a Strad. Magic.

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Interesting that this is called a Stradivari viola. The head is by brothers Amati, the back by Vuillaume, the original ribs have been lowered by 15 mm, and the upper bouts of the top have been reshaped. So there's not one piece of the essential parts that are the way Stradivari made it, but it's still a Strad. Magic.

Yeah! It is rather odd... or is the Strad personality in the table strong enough to make it all into a Strad? :)

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