New Book Shows Classical Violinists How to Stand Out with Da Spalla

Award-winning author and luthier Dmitry Badiarov has released his new book titled “Da Spalla: How Violinists Can Find Their Unique Voice & Open New Career Opportunities in 14 Days.” The book celebrates the rebirth of the violoncello da spalla, a small bass violin resembling both a cello and a viola that was played by violinists, including Bach, in the 17th and 18th centuries. Drawing on his 20 years of experience in crafting this unique instrument and reviving a lost page in the history of classical music, Badiarov has created a must-read for any violinist, violist, or string teacher at a conservatory or academy of music who wants to expand their horizons and unlock new career opportunities in the highly competitive field of the music industry. “Da Spalla” offers a refreshing new approach to creating connections through culture and unlocking new possibilities in musicians’ careers. The book is available on both Amazon and the book’s website:


The violoncello da spalla is a fascinating instrument with a rich history dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. It is considered a prototype of the modern cello, and during that time, important cello composers like J.S. Bach referred to it as a violoncello, without the modifier da spalla. Today, we use the term to differentiate the instrument from the standard cello.

Bach may have used it extensively in his works. However, due to the emergence of narrow specialization among instrumentalists in the second half of the 18th century, they did not have to swap instruments as frequently, leading to the gradual decline of the violoncello da spalla in professional use. Additionally, instrumental cello concertos of the Haydn and Boccherini type also contributed to its decline.


Despite this, the book’s website lists dozens of composers who created over two thousand works in which the violoncello da spalla may have been used, along with an extensive list of historical documents showing that the cello was not always the instrument we know today and has been historically played by multi-instrumentalists like J.S. Bach. In a world where global issues like war and energy crises often dominate the news, this book offers a refreshing new approach to creating connections through culture and is set to make waves in the music industry.


The book on “Da Spalla,” tells the story of the research and reconstruction of the violoncello da spalla, which began in Brussels in 2003 at the request of a leading Baroque orchestra director. The book is rich in stories that engage the reader on a deep, emotional level, making them participants and witnesses to how this instrument was brought back to life, with all the challenges, pitfalls, and victories.


“I found my own voice in it, and it enriched my career — and this is the ultimate book about it.”~ Dr. Koji Otsuki, conductor, cellist da spalla, Bach specialist


“Now I no longer want to play Bach anymore on my viola. I am so smitten by my Spalla!” ~ Dr. Madeleine Darmiento, Professor of strings and Artist/Teacher of 

Violin & Viola at Millersville University of Pennsylvania


“Fascinating instrument and a great story of its rebirth. Get this book! It’s a rosin for the soul.” ~ Sergey Malov, multi-instrumentalist, violoncellist da spalla, conductor


Sergey Malov’s words are reminiscent of musicians such as Felix Mendelssohn and Pablo Casals, who revived the general audience’s interest in J.S. Bach’s music. Today, virtuoso violoncellists da spalla play the instrument, including Sergey Malov, Ryo Terakado, Artie Dibble, Dr. Koji Otsuki, and Dr. Madeleine Darmiento. Additionally, award-winning composer and filmmaker Bryan Senti believes that with its renewed popularity, the violoncello da spalla is poised for a comeback in the film and TV music scene.


In 2023, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the revival of this lost musical tradition. “Da Spalla” is a book that vividly recounts 20 years of experience in making and playing the violoncello da spalla. This instrument was the preferred choice of many important cello composers of the past and has made a dramatic comeback to the cultural stage. It is a must-read for any violinist, violist, or string teacher at a conservatory or academy of music. The violoncello da spalla is a small bass-violin that resembles a large viola and can be easily mastered and used in a vast repertoire across genres by violinists and violists in Europe, the USA, Asia and other places. The repertoire for it encompasses not only the cello works by J.S. Bach but also those of dozens of other Baroque composers. Many contemporary players have taken the instrument far beyond the realm of just Baroque music, into Romantic, Contemporary, and folk genres. The book is available on Amazon, but it can also be accessed on the book’s dedicated website, which includes special bonuses for readers. These bonuses include a dedicated Da Spalla Master-Class, a series of 12 pre-recorded video lessons, full-color and full-resolution illustrations, spalla in the works of art, a list of repertoire, a list of surviving instruments, and much more, including an unabridged digital copy of the book, currently available for free at


Dmitry Badiarov is the award-winning author of “On Fine Violin Making,” with a foreword by New York Times Bestselling Author, accomplished luthier, violinist, and violoncellist da spalla. He has made a name for himself as a member of various Early Music groups in Europe and Asia, as well as a mentor who has shared the stage with speakers such as Paul O’Mahony, Marcin Marzak, and Chris Rowell. In 2022, he was awarded “The Leader in Luthiery Award” for the publication of his book on Fine Violin Making. He is the founder of Badiarov Violins and the Elite Luthiers Academy, and he specializes in creating exceptional baroque violins and violoncellos da spalla for world-class musicians. He lives in The Hague, The Netherlands, with his wife and enjoys sailing with his sons.

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