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Music instrument's timber identified

A music instrument thought to have been made out of mahogany gets its rightful wood-type.
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A musical instrument that has been copied by generations of craftsmen has finally found its right tune – 300 years after it was first made.

The seven-string viola da gamba, made in 1683 by Michel Colichon, was thought to have been made out of mahogany, reported the Guardian.

In fact, such was the belief in the instrument's mahogany composition, that as recent as 1990, the Museum national d'Histoire naturelle confirmed it as so.

However, when instrument maker Shem Mackey was given permission to study the original, which is housed in Musee de la Musique in Paris, hefelt something was amiss.

Mr Mackay told the newspaper: "The more I looked at it, the less it looked to me like mahogany, but I thought I must be going mad. I took hundreds of photographs showing the grain in microscopic detail, and when I got back to my own workshop compared them to every piece of timber I could lay hands on."

After painstaking research he identified the wood as cedrela odorarta, a type of timber native to the US and still used on cigar boxes.

After crafting a new viola, the instrument will get its first proper outing when Ibrahim Aziz puts it through its paces.

Cochin was a renowned instrument maker in 17th century France. Musicians of the days, including Sain-Colombe and De Machy, would regularly visit his workshop.

ADNFCR-2133-ID-801053166-ADNFCR Posted on 11 Nov 2011 10:21 to category : Instruments News

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