Violino grande (It.: ‘large violin’)
- Hugh Davies
(It.: ‘large violin’)
A bowed string instrument that expands the sonority and range of the violin. It was constructed by the chemist, engineer, and luthier Hans Olof Hansson (b 1919; d 16 June 2003) of Sollentuna, Sweden, in 1963–6 for the Polish-Swedish violinist Bronisław Eichenholz. Early experiments directed to similar ends were carried out by Hansson’s former teacher Otto Sand, who constructed the unsuccessful ‘E-viola’ (an ordinary viola fitted with a fifth string) in 1961. The violino grande unites elements of the violin and viol families, and is similar in size to a viola but shaped like a viol; its five strings, tuned in 5ths from c and played with a normal viola bow, give it the combined range of the violin and viola. A gently arched bridge facilitates multiple stopping. In making the instrument Hansson utilized the results of many years’ research into the purported ‘secrets’ of old Italian varnish, concentrating in particular on the wood primer used before varnish was applied. Music for the ...