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7/7 arched back Viola d'amore
Paul Hilaire, 1950

The above instrument is a modern variation built in France by Paul Hilaire in 1950, and according to the label is his instrument number 36. Supposedly, Hilaire is mostly known for cellos, some basses, and a very limited number of violins/violas. Allegedly he made two violas d’amore. If anyone has any details, please send them to the webmaster.

It is one with seven playing and seven resonance/sympathetic strings. It is a round-back, with flame f-holes, no rosette, the top and bottom protruding violin-style over the sides, the head is that of a young French country-woman (no wings), and the underside of the pegbox has an oak-leaf design, making it appear quite pagan. The bridge has a grooved slit for the sympathetic strings, not the more common individual holes. The sympathetic strings are attached with three pull-out buttons, not the more common hooks. See below for some images of these details.

The original gut tail-gut has been replaced with a modern one made from nylon.The instrument is strung with gut stings (Pirastro, Damian Dlugolecki), except for the top d", which is a Thomastik-Infeld Dominant string.

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