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violoncello da spalla: lower voice, higher purpose.

Violoncello da spalla Badiarov
Violoncello da spalla, often referred to simply as the "da spalla," is a captivating string instrument that dates back to the Baroque era.

violoncello da spalla:
WHAT IS it exactly?

The Violoncello da spalla, often referred to as the “cello of the shoulder,” is uniquely positioned against the shoulder, unlike traditional cellos held between the legs. This remarkable instrument empowers violinists to explore a wide range of repertoire, from the Basso Continuo to intricate solo and obbligato parts. With its rich resonance, ease of play, and the option of 4 or 5 strings, the Violoncello da spalla has become a favorite among both period-instrument enthusiasts and innovative musicians looking to push musical boundaries.

To truly appreciate the revival of this instrument, I’ve condensed two decades of expertise into a comprehensive guide titled “Da Spalla.” You’re invited to explore select chapters available for FREE download and immerse yourself in the world of the Violoncello da spalla. Embracing this revival not only deepens your musical voice but also gives you a higher purpose as a violinist on a mission.

"Fascinating instrument and a great story of its rebirth. Get this book! It's a rosin for the soul." ~ Sergey Malov, multi-instrumentalist, violoncellist da spalla, conductor

"This book is an authentic adventure in human technology and sound research. Reading it is as thrilling as reading a novel." ~ Mimmo Peruffo, string-maker, CEO of Aquila Corde

"I found my own voice in it, and it enriched my career — and this is the ultimate book about it.” ~ Dr. Koji Otsuki, conductor, Bach specialist

learn more from my new book:

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Виолончель да спалла

violoncello da spalla: smaller body, bigger bang.

The Violoncello da spalla, celebrated by J.S. Bach's contemporaries for its clarity, articulation, and ease of play, offers a unique musical experience. While its tone may be gentler compared to the modern cello, it captivates audiences, experts, media professionals, and culturally aware individuals with its ability to produce a rich and nuanced sound, leaving a lasting impression.

what makes the badiarov spalla special

What sets my violoncello da spalla apart is my 360 degrees full experience as luthier and musician, and the honor of collaborating with pioneering spalla experts in rekindling the instrument’s presence on the professional stage. ​
When the director of La Petite Bande, and da spalla’s premier ambassador, approached me in 2003 with a request to create this instrument, I couldn’t have foreseen that it would entail a cost of €72,000 just for crafting and refining the now-popular model.  

A Historical Approach to Luthiery

The conventional approach in luthiery often involves taking a picture of a Stradivari viola and simply enlarging it to the desired size using a printer. It’s undoubtedly a cost-effective method. However, I chose a more profound and historically informed approach, aligning with Historically Informed Performance Practice (HIPP).  

Incorporating Intriguing Features

I meticulously studied surviving instruments in collections across Europe, drawing inspiration from their most intriguing features. These features were then incorporated into my own model using the Old Masters T.O.N.E.S. Technique, rooted in the acoustic wisdom and cultural insights of ancient luthiers.  

The Role of Strings

As I pursued this endeavor, my dear friend and expert string maker, Mimmo Peruffo, was engaged in the research and creation of the first concert-quality strings. This was a time when the majority of string makers believed it was simply impossible, dismissing such an instrument as a foolish fantasy.  

A Culture of Dedication

Today, it’s more than just an instrument. It represents a new culture, a different attitude towards life, one where we, spalla players, put our faith in what we do above our fears. Spalla players do not give up. We are Spalla Players.  

A Unique Journey of Craftsmanship and Music

Now, here’s something you wouldn’t typically expect from a luthier. My diverse background: as a professionally trained violinist proficient in Baroque styles, I hold a distinct advantage. My ability to perform at a professional level on both the violin and the violoncello da spalla has not only influenced my instrument designs to meet professional requirements but has also afforded me the privilege of collaborating with exceptional musicians in countless concerts worldwide.
In these performances, I’ve had the honor of serving as a soloist on both the violin and the violoncello da spalla, as well as contributing as a Basso Continuo player.  

Musical Legacy

My musical journey has encompassed recordings on numerous CDs, including my rendition of Bach’s Cello Suites, marking the third recording of its kind and following in the footsteps of my initial clients. This tribute to J.S. Bach, a composer whose music has profoundly shaped my life, holds a special place in my heart.  

Commitment to Excellence

The wealth of experience and dedication spanning decades would hold no value if not for the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the lives of my clients, fellow musicians, and the broader community of music enthusiasts. This is the commitment and expertise you receive when you choose to work with me on your unique violoncello da spalla.


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виола да спалла верхняя дека

A Critical Choice

Unique Bow Requirements
While the name 'violoncello' might suggest compatibility with standard cello bows, this isn't the case for the violoncello da spalla. Traditional cello bows, regardless of their high quality and price, won't suffice due to their inward camber. Given the bow-string contact point on the da spalla is much lower than on the violin, an excessively long bow can feel unbalanced. A baroque bow with a clip-in frog, weighing around 58 grams to 72 grams and measuring approximately 620-675mm in length, will produce a professional, rich result.
Crafting Custom Solutions
When crafting custom violoncellos da spalla, I often create matching spalla bows, ensuring players have an optimal solution.

PLAYED-IN BEFORE DELIVERY: Your Guarantee of Quality

When I craft a violoncello da spalla, I oversee every aspect, from sound design to feel and playability. The final crucial step involves playing it in. Your violoncello da spalla won't leave my workshop until both you and I are 100% certain that it meets the highest professional standards and aligns with your unique wishes. And if it doesn't, you pay nothing. I hope you find this fair? If you do, fill in the simple form below to schedule a chat face-to-face now and let's turn your dream violoncello da spalla into reality. Your masterpiece awaits.
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insight from musicians

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what does badiarov spalla sound like in an ensemble?
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The excellent Violoncello, the Bassa Viola, and the Viola di Spala are small bass violins in comparison with the larger ones. ~ Mattheson, 1713
Violoncello is also called Viola di Spala.
~ Jakob Adlung, 1758
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