Journal of Undergraduate Research


viola d'amore, violist, Garth Knox, music


Fine Arts and Communications




The viola d’amore, a unique instrument that many are not familiar with, is more important than we give it credit for, not only musically but also for the research opportunities it presents. I was first introduced to the viola d’amore two years ago when I received my mission call to the Scotland/Ireland mission. As a music major and violist at BYU, I became deeply interested in Scottish and Irish music both before and after my mission. Around that time, I learned of Irishborn Garth Knox, a prominent violist/viola d’amore player and composer who has written many Scottish/Irish pieces for the viola d’amore. After watching videos of him performing these pieces and through contact and collaboration with him, I decided to learn to play the unique instrument I had seen him play. The only problem was I had never even heard of a viola d’amore, let alone seen one in person. But I decided to try to learn it anyway, and found that BYU owned one that I was able to check out for the semester. Through Dr. Claudine Bigelow, the viola professor at BYU, I was able to get in contact with Dr. Gordon Childs, a viola d’amore expert and teacher who is retired and currently lives in Orem, UT.

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