Here’s something I hadn’t seen before: an asymmetrical viola. Its owner, Rivka Golani, showed it to us when Bob interviewed her for Putney Music society this week.
Rivka explained that the maker of the viola, Otto Erdesz, believed that the unusual cut-out on the treble side of the viola (that’s the left-hand side as we look at the back) creates a shape which benefits its upper register acoustically. Rivka feels that she has a whole octave in the upper register of this particular viola which resonates better than the equivalent octave on a traditionally-shaped instrument. The cutaway also helps the player’s left hand to reach up to the high notes more easily, though Rivka said this was a subsidiary point. I have several friends, small in stature, who love the viola but find its large size a challenge, so it was interesting to see this unusual solution.