Travel fiddles are not new. Dancing masters of the 17th century needed a portable instrument that could be played in homes in order to teach dancing to young ladies and gentlemen. So the problem of portability has always been an issue. In these days of air travel, a compact travel instrument is a useful item. There are several modern ‘backpackers’ guitars and mandolins, and very few backpackers fiddles or violins.

When at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London I not only paid homage to the hardanger fiddle on which mine is based, but found these delightful instruments that might well serve as the basis for a decent backpacker violin.

The first were a couple of ‘pochette’ fiddles – designed to fit both fiddle and bow into a small leather tube which could be easily carried or placed in a deep pocket in one’s coat.

pochette violin

The bow appears to be about one quarter size.

And this one

pochette violin

But possibly the most practical and one I am tempted to model is this one – more box-like and closer to modern backpacker mandolins

pochette violin

Something like this with a half-size bow could well fit into a carry-on bag – ideal for those jet-lagged late nights in hotel rooms – a nice quiet instrument to play a few tunes on

Now this bears further thought!