Charles Ervin Violins, Inc.

Viola by Charles Ervin Violins, Inc.

Modeled after Antonio Stradivari, 1690

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In 1690 Stradivari designed and built a new form of contralto viola as part of the quintet of instruments ordered by Ferdinand, Grand Prince of Tuscany. The new viola's length (414 mm, 16 5/16") and slender outline (TB = 186 mm, BB = 242 mm) made it easy to play and to blend with the timbre of Stradivari's violins.

Dr. Ervin made tracings for this new model from the original wooden form that has been preserved in the Stradivari Museum in Cremona. In preparation for creating his own Stradivari-model violas, Dr. Ervin also studied the Tuscan Stradivari viola of l690, the original instrument built for the quintet, as well as the MacDonald viola of l70l and the Cassavetti of l721 based on this model.

An interesting discovery made during preparation for this project was that the MacDonald viola is shorter than the Tuscan by some four millimeters. Stradivari apparently decided to shorten the form by removing wood across the top before building the famed MacDonald, which was formerly the concert instrument of Peter Schidlof, violist of the Amadeus Quartet. The form in its current state nicely fits the outline of the MacDonald as well as the Cassavetti. Dr. Ervin based his viola illustrated here on the shortened form.

This instrument was made for Professor Gail Rein of Rochester, New York.

This model can be commissioned now. Please inquire.

Charles Ervin Violins, Inc.

6508 Shoal Creek
Austin TX 78757
(512) 467-2277
(575) 613-5677

Website: http://www.ervinviolins.com/
E-mail: crervin@ervinviolins.com