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Author Topic: The Violesse  (Read 858 times)
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Petros Greenvale
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« on: 30 August 2007, 05:58:48 »

Yeah i know what your thinking..."not another one of Petros's instrument entries!" heart


A bowed stringed instrument with elegance,flare but most of all panache!. Although not the most extravagant of instruments this hollow box of musical delight can produce some of the most catchy little tunes imaginable. Its quirky wee triplets and slurs can truly brighten up anyones day!

Its sparkling timbre is produced by gracefully sliding its horse hair bow over one or a combanation of its 5 strings, while applying pressure with your finger tips onto its fretless finger board. Tuning is achieved by turning rough wooden pegs, on the bottom of the instrument. Unfortunatley this simple tuning mechanism is not always the most effective one, for even turning a peg ever so slightly may result in the entire tuning of the instrument going skew-wiff as it where, but the Violesseists are a hardy breed indeed, and endeavour by becoming very familiar with the requirements of their own unique instrument, before playing it heartily.

Its dance like melodies are much appreciated by folk musicians, and in this modern day and age, no folk group is complete without a Violesse! the downside is that this jolly instrument is regulated, to only happy, lively melodies, for its playful tone does not react well with sad, sombre pieces.


The Violesse is made by attaching a 1.5 handspan cedar neck, onto an ellipsical hollowed out box of the same material using small iron nails. The hollow ellipse has several "sound holes" carved into its top face, to amplify its sound, while also brightening its tone.

Although being relativley large, the Violesse mainly plays in the upper registers, its full pitch range being, Mid Ah - True Que. Because of this, it is often used to tune other stringed instruments, and it usually does so with great accuracy. The violesse is always tuned to Ey, although it is possible to alter the tuning using the pegs. This method is often used as an "easy way out" by Violesseists when they come face to face with an akward key.

Sadly the Violesse is an orphan , for it has no other family or relatives. Although every Violesse maker adds his or her own touch into their instruments, giving them a slightly altered sound or shape e.t.c so it could be said that it has many different types. Probably the most famous, and masterfull Violesse crafters was the legendary Marc de soleill. Although his short life is long over, a few of his exquisite fiddles still exist in musical circulation, and their top of the range design and tone is reserved for only the most wisened players.

This Graceful wee stringed instrument is not at all dynamically strong, infact a Horn or a Black Birch Baton could easily drown out its mouseish sound, even when playing quietly. So Violesseists over come this amplitude based problem by teaming together and playing in unison. An ensemble of 10 Violesses's could even give a booming Black Birch Baton a run for its money!


Hollow out some Arvins cedar, carve it into an ellipse shape, add a simple neck and scroll 5 gut strings, a couple of tuning pegs, and thats you got a jolly little violesse. So there is no doubt that the first creators of this painfully simple instrument, where in great shock when they heard the quality of sound that is produced from it!

Thanks to its devilishly simple production proscess, crafters have much more time to eleborate their instruments and develop them according to their own needs. For instance folk musicans will add an "extended fingerboard" so that the fingers what collide when playing fast trills, and contemporary instumentalists often add "Sound posts" inside the hollow box, to amplify their instrument further, so that the Violesse section in the orchestra has more "oomph" as it where. So unlike wind instruments, that have to be painfully strict in their construction proscess, the Violesse can be easily customised to fit its owners needs. Which while also increaseing the fun factor, of this instrument, the popularity factor is also increased. Its a win-win situation!


The sound is created by sliding an arch like horse hair bow over one or a combanation of its five strings. So the Violesse is capable of playing split chords, block chords or melodic pieces. So it is an extremely versatile instrument, although it is probably best if it sticks to its native "folky" tunes. Another thing that the Violesse is not suitable for is playing a harmonious accompaniment to a piece. For its light tone is meant be floating up on top of the melodious part, not moping around three notes lower! not only that, it doesnt sound musically correct either.

Changes in pitch are achieved by applying pressure with the fingertips, onto the strings via a fretless soundboard. So fingering is a key issue if fast playing is nescsarry. Because the instrument is propped under the chin, and held horizontally by the neck, by the left hand. The left hand fingers, pinky and occasionally the thumb, will apply the pressure.

Although crucial, the fingering for this instrument is SO simple, its infantile! The index finger is called 1, middle 2, ring 2, pinky 4 ,thumb 5, and the fingering just operates in a 1-2-3-4 basis, 1 ,playing the second tone from the open. In the rare occasions that the thumb (5) is needed, it is often used just as a damper, so that the sound will not resonate too much, resulting in a murky sound. Also it is used to play the root in some chords.


Because of the Violesse's fairy like tone, it is nearly always used in folk/dance music, and it is very well suited to this genre. Although, the Violesse is also a fully fledged orchestral instrument, and its dream like slurs, are much appreciated by contemporary composers aswell. Elfs and humans LOVE this instrument, because of its lively notes, inexpensiveness and portability, and is probably one of the most popular instrument among the students of the school of tunes. But Thergerim dont usually take a fancy to this prancing instrument.

Despite originating from Sarvonia, people from as far a way as Nybelmar are starting to give into its joyous sounds.

« Last Edit: 04 September 2007, 07:23:08 by Petros Greenvale » Logged

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Petros Greenvale
Petros Greenvale
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« Reply #1 on: 01 September 2007, 17:39:40 »

                                   grin heart FINITO!! heart grin

                             hug Comments welcomed muchly!! hug

___________"In the pursuit of happiness,___________
 the difficulty lies in knowing when you have caught up."

Petros Greenvale
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