Dutch and German Viols

Dutch and German viols, built to stouter dimensions than instruments of the French and English schools, give a powerful, well-focussed sound, rather 'cello-like in quality. Like 'cellos, these viols require vigorous playing in when new. The most powerful instruments have carved, reïnforced backs in the manner of Joachim Tielke of Hamburg.

'Cellists will feel most comfortable with these Germanic viols, as will players who regularly perform with modern instrument ensembles, for example when playing the Bach Passions. These instruments are admirably suited to the Germanic solo repertoire, with its vigorous bravura passages and fast-changing harmonies.

I make Dutch and German style instruments, using as models the work of Peter Rombouts and Joachim Tielke in large (71 cm) and small (67 cm) forms with six and seven strings. These viols are decorated in the manner typical of the original makers, with carved heads and pegboxes, applied floral relief on backs, marquetry and purfled borders, etc.

Tielke viol with inlayed fingerboard.

Bass viola da gamba after Joachim Tielke, 1699.