A Baroque cello is an instrument made to historical specifications of the Baroque era (c1650-c1750). At this time the cello was a relatively new instrument, the highpoint of technological advancement in its world. The way in which they are built and played is different from the modern instrument, and the sound palette is very different too.
The cello at the centre of the project is based on an instrument of 1695 by the Cremonese maker Francesco Ruggeri, which is on display at the musical instrument museum at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Luthier Adam Winskill delivered the cello to musician Siôn Dafydd Dawson mid September 2014.
documentation: image of templates, Adam Winskill
The process of making an instrument is a cumulative progression of decision making and simple actions based on, at the beginning, the raw wood. Each piece is attentively selected for its structural, acoustic and aesthetic qualities long before it arrives in the workshop. Selecting a suitable set of pieces means sourcing ones which will work alongside others to make a harmonious whole. Each piece dictates by its complex structure the position and orientation of the component, which will best allow it to fulfill its prescribed practical function and reach its aesthetic potential.
Wood, as a natural raw material, provides a vivid metaphor for what applied to every aspect of the instrument. The way one arch turns into another has an organic, mathematically prescribed path, which can be achieved through the thoughtful and sensitive use of the appropriate tool. These natural lines are not only intrinsically and undeniably beautiful, they are of the same principles that govern sound. Each line or shape flows organically, in three dimensions, into the next, dictated by its surrounding shapes and by the laws of geometry. And understanding of form guides the work. The visual aesthetic is achieved by following these principles and at the same time the function is realised; a great sounding, resonant and responsive instrument. Aesthetic and function are inseparable.