Music: The Strads of Montclair

For 200 years, the stringed instruments of the orchestra have changed hardly at all—and many musicians think they should. If there were more instruments in the family, they argue, with fewer gaps in range, modern composers might be tempted to write more music for strings.

Last week a plump Montclair, N.J., housewife was working hard at closing the string gap: aided by a Guggenheim grant, Carleen Maley Hutchins was devising the members of a new family of seven stringed instruments—including a vertical viola.

Beyond Belief. At 51, Mrs. Hutchins is a widely respected maker of violas and occasional cellos and violins (she makes...

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