Viola Organista


“Reconstructing the instrument and reconstructing the repertoire are two parallel processes. Other aspects should be mentioned too: for example, developing and mastering the technique of playing, or performance style. The instrument which I built between 2009 and 2012 is not a copy of any historical instruments, as nearly all of them were lost, and no design plans survived. My instrument is a synthesis which has drawn on various sources – however, Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings and Michael Praetorius’s description played a leading role.
The fact that the viola organista was rejected and forgotten, but every now and then someone returned to it, and then it fell into oblivion again, was extremely motivating for me.
In my reconstruction work, I followed three clues. The first was an idea about its sound; the second – an idea about the potential repertoire, which would have to be almost completely recreated. Only then could I think about the structure of the instrument. I knew from Praetorius’ book that the sound had to be similar to the viola da gamba, but that it could also enter the range of the organ or wind instruments’ tone slightly.”