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I am currently in the process of completing a comprehensive study of all stringed instruments through the world (past and present). I am tracing their lineage and how they spread and evolved over time. More importantly, I am trying to learn about their impact on local cultures. It is fascinating how much impact these small, fragile instruments have had on so many different cultures. It is equally fascinating how many different types of music have been produced with similar instruments.


I'm an anthropologist & ethnomusicologist who has studied and written about culture from a wide range of peoples. I'm also an amateur string musician who has experienced first hand the power that these instruments can have.


I've already gathered up descriptions, images and sound clippings from most of the major instruments from this region. Their early history and evolution is still a bit of a mystery as the music spread around the world. I am focusing on each region one at a time. I am starting with Celtic music and moving on to other regions around the world once I feel that I have a full understanding of which instruments have had the greatest impacts on the local culture and what the music truly means to the people who play and listen to it.


That last major research project along these lines was in the 1930's. Internet research has helped tremendously, but there is a still a tremendous amount of information not available online. In particular, I am trying to find:


1. Personal stories of anyone aware of how certain instruments or styles came to the Celtic nations. Along with stories of why and how they are impactful on local cultures.


2. Any images or scans of pages from early books that might explain how each instrument or style first came to this region.


3. Any public art that might depict early string music culture in the region.


For the sake of this particular study, I am focusing on Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Isle of Man and Brittany. I'm aware that Celtic culture extends way beyond these five however, so any relevant information you may have would be helpful.


Thanks for your time and help with this project!


Michael Hollis, Ph.D.

Mellow Cello

A Collection of Short Stories for Cellists


by Gill Tennant of Orkney County

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