A selection of letters The Strad receives each month from its readers around the world: May 2022 issue
Weird and wonderful
In 1903 Polish violin maker, sculptor and painter Antoni Hybel (1872–1946) attended the School of Wood Industry in Zakopane, Poland, studying sculpture. He applied for a science scholarship, which was not permitted by the Austrian Ministry of Science. He also studied painting in Kraków and Vienna. After 1911 Hybel lived in Ropa, Poland. Among other places, his works were presented in Warsaw and Berlin. The most popular of them was the Polish violin with a ‘winged’ soundpost – a group of interconnected elements combined into one soundpost, which is movable but does not fall over. It is inserted into the instrument before it is closed and cannot be removed.
From 1924 Hybel’s instruments were a sensation and created headlines such as ‘Polish violin – a triumph of mastery’, explaining that the ‘new winged soundpost’ provided completely new sonic possibilities.
There are four such instruments known. Thanks to the renovation of exhibits from the PTTK Museum in Gorlice, carried out in my workshop, they can now be played, but only one of them has a winged soundpost. I would like to conduct acoustic research on the soundpost and catalogue as many Hybel instruments as possible. If any readers of The Strad are aware of more instruments by Hybel, perhaps they could email me at email@example.com
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