instruments
viola da gamba (viol), lute, bamboo flutes, piano

Our viola da gamba (viol) quartet is composed of a treble (soprano) viol, two alto viols and a bass viol, which is also called tenor viol.

The viol is the predecessor of the violin and the cello, which have four strings and which are tuned in fifths. Gamba is Italian for leg, viola da gamba therefore means leg viol, because you keep the instrument between your legs (the alto and the bass viol) or on your lap (the treble viol).
The viol has frets, like the guitar and six (sometimes seven) strings. The viol and the lute are, just like the guitar, tuned in fourths with one third. On the viol and the lute the third is in the middle. The sound of the viol is, also because of the gut strings, soft, softer than the violin and the cello.

All four viols and bows are built by
Amit Tiefenbrunn from Israel. He also plays viol and gives viol lessons at the conservatory in Jerusalem. We met Amit at the Oude Muziek Markt from the Festival Oude Muziek in Utrecht in 2007.

He was immediately enthusiastic about our way of living and making music. Leonoor has talked a lot with Amit about music, sound and way of playing. Amit has a clear idea about the wood and the form of the bows he makes. His bows are, compared to most other musical instrument makers, lighter and more bent, so we can play soft and search for a light, clear and warm sound.



Leonoor asked Amit to build a treble viol with a warm and clear sound and she is happy that it worked out. After that he made two alto viols and a bass viol for us. Amit is also happy with the instruments he made for us.
photo, four of our violas da gamba (viols)
viola da gamba (viol) quartet

photo, our four lutes
lute quartet
Our lute quartet is composed of four renaissance lutes, the treble lute (soprano), two alto lutes and a bass lute, just like the viol quartet. All our lutes are built by Carel Huiskamp from Velp, the Netherlands, who also plays lute. The rosettes are made by his sister.

The lute is a very old instrument, it originates from the Arabic ud. Al ud means the wood.

We play 6-course lutes, which have 11 strings: 5 double strings and a single one, the highest string, which is called chanterelle (the singing string).
There are also 8- and 10-course lutes. More strings means more bass strings, to play in parts on one lute and to play more chords.
We chose to play on gut strings, because the sound is deep and warm. Especially with humid weather it's sometimes hard to tune the strings well, but we like to do it for a beautiful sound.



















photo of the rosette of one of our lutes
rosette

Since February 2010 we have had the treble lute, which Carel made for us. There are only two or three of them in the Netherlands. The sound is warm and bright, everyone who hears it becomes happy of it. Children have lessons on the small lute in our house.


Since January 2011 we have had the bass lute, which Carel also made for us. The bass lute sounds warm, deep and clear. Now our lute quartet is complete. We play quartet only with the same instruments, which is called unbroken consort, a term which was especially used in England in the 16th century for ensembles of the same family. From the end of the baroque the string quartet (four instruments of the violin family, two violins, a viola and a cello) originated out of that.

The
strings of the viol quartet and the lute quartet are tuned the same. The gut strings on the lute are thinner than the gut strings on the viol, the lute is a more refined instrument. We thus can play the music we play on the viol on the lute as well, but music on a stringed instrument sounds very different from music on a plucked instrument.



From 2009 we build one-tone bamboo flutes. Leonoor got the idea to make bamboo flutes of one tone to be able to play melodies and songs with children and adults, who know nothing about music.

Children learn to read music with the teaching materials with coloured notes we made and the one-tone bamboo flutes.

With our four we play two-part music with the one-tone bamboo flutes, while we sometimes pass flutes to each other. People are often impressed of the beautiful and soft sound of the flutes.



photo from the piano

Since March 2013 we have the piano, that Leonoor's mother bought for her from the money she earned with handicraft lessons.
photo, 16 one-tone bamboo flutes arranged in half a circle on the grass
one-tone bamboo flutes




photo from rebec with bow
rebec with bow
We have a rebec on loan from Wiebe, an acquaintance of ours, who is a cabinet maker. During a musical instrument making course he made this little stringed instrument from the middle ages. The rebec has three strings.