The Campanula is a new family of resonating string instruments made as violin, viola, and cello.
In the 1980’s the German instrument maker Helmut Bleffert had a vision to combine the resonant sounds of the Indian sarangi with the classical string instrument.
For its shape he used the outline of a Bellflower blossom, botanically also known as „Campanula“.
The new instrument’s basic form also gave it its name, Campanula.
After many years of development, the instruments have now been perfected. The Campanula provides a fascinating new world of overtone sounds within a classical frame. The quality and the resonance create new soundspaces and lead to new musical inspiration.
The resonating sympathetic strings add additional levels of resonating sounds within which the player can move.
The Campanula is created as a supplement and a variation to the classical string instruments. Using the same playing techniques, the player can create and experience a fascinating new soundworld on a Campanula.
The availability of a homogeneous family of stringed instruments with sympathetic strings is new in the history of violin making. The combination of these instruments in chamber music always leads to surprising sound effects.
The Campanula Cello
In addition to the traditional four strings, 16 resonating sympathetic strings have been added to the Campanula Cello.
These 16 sympathetic strings run over the surface of the cello’s body across separate bridges.
Through the masterful shaping of the instrument’s proportions, the strings located on the lower and upper section can be tuned in perfect whole tones, creating a resonant oscillation in total harmony.
The sympathetic strings are tuned at the neck with a tuning key to different pitches according to the player’s choice or the key of the work being performed.
The Campanula Viola
In addition to the four playing strings, eight resonating sympathetic strings are added.
The resonance effect on the Campanula Viola is very balanced and produces a very warm and vibrating sound.
Because of the additional overtones, the Campanula Viola has increased capabilities and vitality.
The resonating strings are tuned using a tuning key at the peg box.
The Campanula Violin
In addition to the four playing strings, seven resonating strings are added.
The sympathetic strings create a shimmering and brilliant color.
The extra strings are tuned using a tuning key at the peg box.
The history and tradition of resonance instruments
The first known documentation in Europe describing string instruments with sympathetic strings comes from England. In 1608, a patent-pending was applied for violins and violas with additional strings to improve sound quality.
In fact, by the early 17th century, other countries were describing instruments with sympathetic strings and its particular sound qualities under such names as „Viola all’inglese“ and „English Violet.“
The most well-known European resonant string instrument, the „viola d’amore,“ was created around the same time. This very popular instrument was often used by composers for sensitive and intensely moving moments within a composition.
Antonio Vivaldi especially loved the instrument and wrote 6 concerts for it!
The viola d’amore lost its popularity for a period of time but has recently regained increasing attention and fans.
The bass counterpart to the Viola d’amore was the “Baryton”. On this instrument the sympathetic strings run through the neck of the instrument, making them accessible from the back of the neck with the left thumb. In this way, they could be plucked as a bass line while tunes were played on the traditional strings with the bow.
The Baryton was a favorite instrument of Prince Esterhazy (1714-1790), who actually instructed his court composer Josef Haydn to compose 175 compositions for the instrument. Nowadays the Baryton is only very rarely played.
On „folk instruments“, which are often played in the open air, there are sometimes additional sympathetic strings to intensify the sound without the aid of amplification. Detailed pictures of the Campanula can be found in the gallery