Text of the interview
Pavel, how is it that you, a guitar maker who has been repairing and building guitars for 20 years, became interested in such an extraordinary instrument?
I always really wanted to play the cello.
Ever since I was a kid.
But it didn’t work out.
When I was a kid I was taught the piano.
Then I studied guitar on my own.
But I didn’t have enough time to study the cello.
The guitar is an instrument that can be taught on the street.
Which is exactly what happened.
And with academic instruments, it’s more complicated.
You have to go a long way to become a classical musician.
They give you a small one first, then a bigger one.
You grow and torture your neighbors in proportion to the size of your instrument.
It happens, you have some idea in your head, and you’re slowly looking for a solution for it.
So of course I surfed the Internet and explored,
what ever it is.
I found out about the viola da gamba.
I see, oh, what an interesting thing.
Six or seven strings, almost classic guitar scale.
The instrument existed and was the prototype
of a group of all orchestral stringed instruments.
And somehow I found on the arpeggione.
Surprised. I think, oh, what a cool thing.
When did the idea of building this instrument begin approximately?
Ouch. I’ll tell you right now.
It must have been ’14 or ’15.
I basically invented this instrument for myself
a second time.
I made it and then only some time later I got hold of the drawings of the historical instrument,
which is in a museum in Berlin.
So you were intuitively close?
Actually, a musical instrument has a certain architecture.
It has a certain logic.
We understand that we have a certain length of string.
We understand where the bridge is located in relation to the body.
It gives us certain proportions
of the instrument in general.
Pavel, is it possible to play this instrument only with a bow? Or can you play it with your fingers, too?
This tool is universal. It is at the intersection of the bowed instrument family and the plucked instrument family.
We have the frets.
We have an equal temperament.
We have chords.
It’s just like a guitar.
You can play all the guitar music that exists.
Anything you can play on the guitar with your fingers, you can play here. We also have all the bowing techniques available to us.
This instrument is two in one.
And most importantly, any guitarist can take a step toward the cello sound.
The left hand technique is familiar. We just need to learn the technique of the right hand.
The history of this instrument is very interesting.
It could be that in today’s world
everyone would know this instrument.
But it didn’t.
There was a guitar and violin maker in Vienna.
He was a legendary person.
In the violin world, Stradivarius, Amati
and other pioneers of the modern violin.
There was a man like that in guitars.
And it was Stauffer.
He was the creator.
And the modern idea of the guitar belongs to him.
This is the kind of guitar that created the modern guitar
But the master himself was too creative.
He had an apprentice.
And the apprentice’s name was Christian Frederick Martin.
Does that sound familiar?
That’s right. .
Martin was a guitar master
of German descent.
And he was Stauffer’s apprentice.
When he went to the United States, he opened his own workshop.
And that eventually grew into guitar factory.
It’s exactly the same thing.
Martin was more interested in making guitars.
But if he was more interested in making arpeggione,
there’d be a world-famous Martin & Co that would make
Now, that’s a bit of irony.
And they were playing arpeggione in the yards today.
Three names are inextricably linked with the name of this instrument.
Franz Schubert and Vincent Schuster.
Franz Schubert. It is a name that everyone knows.
Few people know that Schubert was a great guitarist.
He loved the guitar very much.
There’s even a quote,
that the guitar is a beautiful instrument that very few people understand.
Vincent Schuster is a guitar virtuoso, a guitar teacher of the time. An experimenter, an innovator.
Apparently the first experimental instrument was made for him.
Schubert wrote a sonata for this instrument
Where did the name Arpeggione come from?
From the fact that you can play arpeggios on this instrument. Very easily. All kinds of chords.
it’s attached to this instrument
because of Schubert.
Because the sonata is called
“Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano.”
That’s what he called it.
The man the instrument was made for
just called it “cello-guitar,”
And the manual that Schuster put out
is called “the cello-guitar handbook”.
In simple terms.
And Stauffer himself
called the instrument “guitar de amour” —
the guitar of love.
It’s very lyrical.
The instrument was popular for a while.
It was interesting.
Then the popularity of the instrument gradually waned.
For many reasons.
Schubert didn’t live long after that.
Five years after this event, he was gone.
The maker began to have financial problems.
He ended his life in a poorhouse.
They took the studio away from him just for debts.
Not enough instruments and not enough composers
who would write something else for the instrument.
Maybe something simple to play.
Now the interest in such instruments is growing every day.
The violin sound of the instrument is all rock music. It’s an attempt to play the guitar with the sound of the violin.
I believe this instrument is necessary.
Composers need it.
Film composers, for example.
Experimental musicians need it.
Who are also in search of a sound.
You can practically have an entire string quartet on this instrument.
And if a person plays neither violin nor cello.
If he plays the guitar.
He can record a string part, understanding how the string part is arranged.
Not with samples, but with a live instrument.
That’s precious. You hear it when a live instrument is recorded.
Pavel, do you think that a person who has been playing guitar for a long time, but has never played the cello, would I be able to play something on the arpeggionе right now?
That’s what we’re going to check now.
Let’s try it.
First I need to understand how to get it right.
No tension. It needs to find a place between her legs.
Shall we try it with a bow?
Yeah, let’s make it harder.
Four fingers from the bottom and the thumb in the middle between the middle finger and the ring finger.
I’ll try to play the children’s song “the little Christmas tree is cold in winter”.
That’s a good one.
You know what? I’ll tell you, you’re doing a lot better than I did the first time.
There’s finality now.
You know what strings to use, what bow, what rosin.
It wasn’t the same for me at the time.
And I couldn’t figure out if my hands were all wrong or something else.
You’re doing so much better.
And there’s a sound and a melody I recognize.
The rest is a matter of practice.
You know what I realized when I started playing this instrument?
You can’t do that with this instrument. If you’re not in the mood, you can’t play anything.
There’s no sound.
Yes. There is definitely a connection with the emotional state of the player.
It’s pretty sensitive.
I’ve been looking for my instrument for 20 years.
Making different guitars. Acoustic guitars, electric guitars.
And after twenty years, I’m close to having found my instrument.
But not yet the ideal?
To move from that to the ideal.
The instruments that we are starting to make now have a chance to become perfect.
We will be the only company in the world that manufactures these instruments.
Are you planning to produce them in series?
Yes, of course.
Now the first series of instruments that will be based on historical drawings is already in development and manufacturing. But at the same time to be as if these instruments had evolved for 200 years.
After all, the guitar has undergone quite a few changes from what it was 200 years ago.
In the same way, I look at this instrument and wonder what it could be.
Comfortable, well-tuned, good-sounding. So that it would be possible to record the sound.
The most important thing is this. We are not locked into violin conservatism. No violin maker will experiment with shape or materials. No one will change the construction. Make the body thinner or thicker.
They need to achieve a perfect sound in a design that exists. I don’t have that kind of mission. My goal is just to be more experimental.
So it will be different materials. And some design changes in shape.
The “double top”, for example. The frame, inside the body. And so on.
Any other innovations that I think will give the sound an added advantage.
Maybe we’ll even do something helpful for the violin world. Maybe some of the things we find here will appeal to the listener.
We’ll work on that.
I wish you luck from the bottom of my heart and have faith in you!
Thank you! I believe in myself!
This is very important!