Cimbalom music

First cimbalom of the third generation!

First cimbalom of the third generation!

We are talking about a unique new instrument from the cimbalom workshop „HOLAK“ which we call, with a bit of exaggeration, „the first cimbalom of the third generation“. The first cimbalom fulfilling concert requirements was created by József Schunda in 1872. His successor Lajos Bohák then significantly improved the structure of his instrument by widening the musical range (C-a3), by perfecting the pedal system, by adjusting the position of the sound post sticks (souls) etc. Since then all new concepts and designs (for instance Kozmosz or Artex brands) have more or less copied the construction of Bohák instruments.

 Genesis of the instrument

Our new instrument was constructed by Vladimír Holiš in his workshop in November 2012 with a significant contribution of his co-workers Jiří Krpec and Jan Pustka. This unique instrument was built for Daniel Skála and is the result of an intensive co-operation between Vladimír Holiš and several international cimbalom players.

What makes this cimbalom exceptional?

 This instrument is the result of an intensive 15-year-long dialogue. Slightly adjusted position of the sound post sticks (souls) in the instruments by HOLAK brand ensures a better balance of the sound at all pitches, lengthening of the strings at the mid-level height eliminates the issue of the under tension of the cimbalom (compared to concert pianos the under tension was reduced by half), specific and a well-thought-out numbering (thickness) of the strings guarantees a smooth sound transition between different heights of the instrument.

Daniel Skála also initiated the creation of a fundamentally innovative pedal system which used to be one of the weakest points of the cimbalom structure. This instrument possesses a muffle rail for its entire musical range including the highest pitches. This unique system of muffle rail for upper strings was designed by Jan Pustka and it has the advantage of being easily applicable to any other cimbalom of a similar construction type. The shape of the pedal lyre and the attachment of the pedal feet are entirely new as well. It goes without saying that the best quality of available resonance wood was used.

 Unique design

 The design represents another unique characteristic of the instrument. Daniel Skála in co-operation with Jitka Škopová, professional designer, created very rare, elegant draft designs of a concert type cimbalom. Unfortunately, given the financial requirements these drafts could not have yet been realised in practice. However, the final external appearance of the new instrument is inspired by them in many ways.

 Bigger musical range covered

Extending the sounding range down until the tone contra-A (A1 also designated A,) in the bass pitch represents another improvement. This also allowed us to achieve more regular sound of the lower bass tones. The issue of player´s orientation on such an instrument (wider musical range could represent a considerable technical problem especially for cimbalom players who are not used to such an extension) has been resolved by covering the extra strings with black felt cloth.

 Personal view

„As far as I am concerned, I have never seen a similar instrument neither in the Czech Republic nor abroad. The unique character of this beautiful cimbalom inspires me to discover still new sound and technique related possibilities. And believe me, it is far easier to make true, authentic music with such an instrument!“ Daniel Skala.


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