In Upper School, Class 9/10 are making Savart Trapezoidal Violins as part of their work for the Certificate of Steiner Education. Our Woodwork Teacher, Mike Morgan, brought his prototype in to School today for Violin Teacher, Elin, to try out…read more below the photos…
Most string instruments, except the guitar, had their shapes and sizes determined by the late 1600’s, so for 300 years a violin has generally been violin shaped. There have been many attempts to ‘improve’ on the classical baroque shape of violins.
The Trapezoidal violin is based on the work of Felix Savart in Paris in 1819. The post-revolution climate of Paris was particularly open to a re-appraisal of everything including the violin. Savart was a scientist who was fascinated with the acoustics of musical instruments, and among other things invented the ‘Savart’ – a unit of measurement for musical intervals; ‘Savart’s Wheel’ – a device to measure the range of human hearing, and his trapezoidal ‘rationalised Violin’.
Though most attempts to redesign the classical violin shape have been have unsuccessful, Savart’s design met with the approval of the Academy in Paris. They declared its tone and timbre pretty much indistinguishable from classically shaped violins. Though Savart’s Trapezoidal Violin was not taken up widely in the classical world it has shifted successfully into folk music use.
Violin teacher, Elin, and pupils were impressed with the tone and quality of Mike’s prototype and look forward to seeing and hearing the end results of Class 9/10’s project.