In Focus: a seven-string bass viol by Michel Colichon

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Shem Mackey explores this quirky instrument by the French maker

Michel Colichon was born in 1641 into a family of instrument makers, prominent within Parisian musical society during the reign of Louis XIV. The second son of the prosperous lute maker Nicolas Colichon, he had one older brother and three sisters. He died at the age of 53 in 1694, the year before his father died. Their workshop (it is thought he may have shared with his father) on the Pont St Michel was a focal point for players. His seven-string viols are the earliest extant originals, and although Jean de Sainte-Colombe (c.1640–1700) is credited with developing the instrument, it is likely that Colichon was its originator.

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