Carleen Hutchins Violin, 1983

Carleen Hutchins (b.1911, d.2009) was born in Massachusetts but lived the majority of her life in New Jersey. At a young age she was taken with science, woodworking, and music, eventually studying at Cornell University, earning a degree in biology, and working as a science teacher. Years later Hutchins employed her woodworking skills when she took up the viola and found herself dissatisfied with the instrument’s quality. Her passion for instrument making then grew into a career. She studied for several years with Swiss luthier Karl A. Berger and both Rembert Wurlitzer and Fernando Sacconi. Hutchins’ collaborative work led to her discovery of a new tuning method and the establishment of a society for the development of new or improved musical instruments. Her scientific work and innovation left indelible marks on the industry and Hutchins won many awards and gained tremendous recognition for her contributions. She continues to be one of the most famous American makers.

Hutchins invented a new family of eight proportional instruments – the violin octet. This family of instruments reached new harmonic intervals, extended traditional ranges, corrected age-old acoustic imbalances, and allowed multiple pieces to sing together. This violin measures longer and more shallow than a traditional violin, giving it better sound projection and simplifying the tuning process. Apart from its lovely flamed maple and fine-grained spruce construction or golden-hued varnish, this violin embodies Hutchins’ spirit of innovation and advancement. Its sound is all its own and ready to be appreciated by any accomplished musician.


 

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