From "Conte vitale"
(Andrea Guarneri, anno 1676)
to "Conte minimale"
(Gabriele Zeeck, anno 2021)
Compared to violinists, violists suffer more often from pain due to the size and weight of their instrment. This gave me the idea to develop a viola that is shorter and has its center of gravity closer to the body of the musician - but without influencing the sound and strength. The small violas that I have encountered during my professional life as a master violin maker were mostly unsuccessful. Often they corresponded to a true-to-scale reduction of their big brother, but this did not lead to the desired sound result.
And so, based on the famous "Conte vitale" of my esteemed colleague Andrea Guarneri, I developed an outline that makes the instrument shorter and lighter. I slightly modified the sound-giving or reinforcing viola parts as well as the arching architecture of the instrument in order to compensate for what was "left out".
And so my "Conte minimale" was created in 2021.
A long-time customer and orchestral musician kindly recorded a comparison between a 40.7 viola and my "Conte minimale". You can clearly hear that the bass of the "little one" is in no way inferior to a large viola. In the meantime I have sent the instrument on "chamber music and orchestral journeys" and I am happy about the consistent positive feedback.
Viola (body length 40.7 cm):
Conte minimale (body length 39.0 cm):