The design of this alto juxtaposes longstanding traditions with the contemporary
inspiration of stringed-instrument maker Mario Lamarre.
The soundboard, which displays the effects of time and the elements, is fashioned from Québec spruce. The back is entirely sculpted and chiselled from a piece of Québec maple. The facetted arch represents the ribs of a maple leaf. The openwork scroll, carved and finished using only a knife and chisel, represents rootedness and continuity through time. The sound holes are shaped like the head of a bird.Made from the same wood as the back, the ribs are textured by chisel marks mimicking sinusoidal waves. The Macassar ebony pegs represent four vortexes converging on the centre, thus evoking power and movement. The long and slender figures on the fingerboard, which is also made from Macassar ebony, wonderfully offset the lightened grain of the soundboard. The back of the peg box is adorned with leaves representing vitality. The instrument as a whole represents the cosmic tree, which the ancients regarded as the axis that ordered the physical and metaphysical universe: the roots = the world of darkness (scroll), the trunk = land level (neck), the branches and leaves = the universe (the facetted table). This tree was thought to be the ideal means of establishing contact with the great beyond.
Ref. : La mythologie des arbres, Jacques Brosse, Édition Plon
Photograph: CADCAM Productions