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Sympolin - has anyone heard of/seen one of these before?
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Jim Dunleavy
United Kingdom
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August 26, 2020 - 8:18 am
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This popped up on my YouTube suggestions just now. There's remarkably little online about these instruments - does anyone know what the idea behind the design and extra strings is and when it was invented? It's apparently a 'sympolin'.

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Bob
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August 26, 2020 - 8:35 am
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Jim 

I found this reference on John Gardner's web pages:

https://www.john-garner.info/t...../sympolin/

"What better a way to celebrate today than with a themed album release! Earlier in the year, I worked with composer Louis Mander on this set of original compositions and arrangements, largely inspired by the English folk tradition and, of course, this beautiful country in autumn. It was also the first opportunity I had to bring my new instrument, the ‘Sympolin’, to the outside world. This very special violin, commissioned by me and designed by David Bruce Johnson, is based on the Hardanger fiddle of Norway and the viola d’amore: whilst it plays like a modern violin, it also has 8 sympathetic strings which give it a ghostly, glassy sound."

Bob in Lone Oak, Texas

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Jim Dunleavy
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August 26, 2020 - 9:35 am
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Thanks @bob - that's a good link. So it's relatively modern but based on a traditional instrument.

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ELCB
Michigan, USA
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August 26, 2020 - 10:30 am
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Brain Is Fried EmoticonsI haven't ever seen a Hardanger Fiddle "On Steroids"! 

Makes sense that both John and Marie play the "Sympolin" - probably both use the exact same instrument  (they're Married).  ...haven't seen them both playing one, together. 

John said he had his "Sympolin" custom made - most Hardanger fiddles only have 4, maybe up to 6 sympathetic strings.  I'm actually surprised he's not using at least one more main string. 

The "Sympolin" almost reminds me more of a "Viola d'amore" except it doesn't look to have a viola body. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/....._d%27amore

Hmm Thinking Here SmileyJohn seemed so excited about this instrument (and it sounds GREAT)... so why's there's only one video with him playing it - in 7 years?

Maybe he ran into a snag with the harmonics while trying to get the most from his Jazz improvisations?  Or, maybe he hasn't explored enough different tunings?  Hardanger Fiddle players are big on tunings & droning - yet, I'm pretty sure Marie showed the "Sympolin" sounded wonderful with the main strings tuned GDAE/regular violin!

Maybe it will become more popular now that John's wife seems to enjoy it? 

Jim Dunleavy - Thanks for sharing this! 

Thank You Smiley Emoticons- Emily 

You can check out Norwegian Hardanger in the "Scandinavian Fiddle" thread. 

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ELCB
Michigan, USA
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August 26, 2020 - 10:50 pm
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Jim Dunleavy, Bob, Gordon Shumway -

I just posted a wonderful PBS Special (26 minutes) titled, "Sympathetic Strings" on Page 3, in the "Anyone Interested in a Scandinavian Fiddle Genre?" thread.  It's from May this year & you might find it very interesting - very relatable to this current thread. 

You may also be interested in information/music played on a 5-string "Violoncello Da Spalla" (including a comparison w/viola) - also on Page 3 in the "Anyone Interested in a Scandinavian Fiddle Genre?" thread.

- EmilyEye Alien Walking Caterpillar Monster Emoticons

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Jim Dunleavy
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August 28, 2020 - 10:38 am
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Thanks Emily, I'll have a look. 🙂

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 3, 2020 - 8:48 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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I've never heard a sympolin before but I like it's resonation.
Must be heavy on the hand with that head and scroll.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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