1:00AM somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, just after crossing the Dateline at about 33,000 feet I put the pochette fiddle through its paces – with a mute. The aircraft – a Boeing 747-700 had plenty of room in the door bay by the galley for a few quiet tunes. I had no problems using the short ¼ size bow – even for slow airs. And the mute was very effective in ensuring the sound didn’t get over the ambient sound of the engines.

pochette fiddle on aircraft

The flight attendant was concerned that it may be noisy as the other passengers were asleep, but after the first few notes those concerns were quickly allayed. Perhaps this is the first ‘mile-high’ pochette? Maybe this will be the start of a new movement – let’s see how many unusual places become pochette fiddle moments 🙂

The only difficulty I had was actually getting the thing back in my backpack afterwards – I dislodged the bridge and the sound-post fell over. It took me the best part of 45 minutes to re-seat it. Luckily the two sound holes were just big enough to get two fingers in to manipulate the sound-post. For future design modification I would enlarge these holes a little – my left index finger was rubbed raw. The alternative would be to provide struts like inside a mandolin, but the sound-post I think works better to carry the sound through to the back plate for extra volume.

Also, if I narrowed the body a little I could fit it inside a PVC tube thus ensuring there would be no knocking against the bridge.

With the scroll removed the overall fiddle length is now down to 22cm which just brings it within the international standard for a carry-on bag without sacrificing playable string length or the traditional placement of the tuning pegs.

At no time did I have any difficulty with Australian or US security checks on the bag – even with the tip of the fiddle poking out of the top of the bag.

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