Prof. Dr. med. Dipl. Mus. Horst Hildebrandt

Comments on the New Chin-Rest Model Zuerich

The newly developed chin-rest model Zuerich is attached centrally to the instrument. In contrast to the Augsburg model, its contact surface with the chin, as well as the jawbone and its transition into the neck is predominantly lateral. Nevertheless, the small surface located over the tailpiece can be used anytime – a playing style known to have been adopted by many renowned soloists using comparable wooden chin-rest models (e.g. the Guarneri, Varga, Wendling or also Berber chin-rest).

The new shape of the Zuerich model also permits a flexible choice between different contact points from central to lateral when playing for a prolonged time. Due to these changes, strain on the neck muscles and the masticatory apparatus, as well as on teeth and eye muscles can be minimised.

Important adaptations of the chin-rest’s lateral inclination are possible by choosing different heights of the base components. Further variation can be achieved by defining the chin-rest’s tilt in its longitudinal axis (i.e. away from the violin’s top). This is possible by using additional parts inserted between the chin-rest’s upper surface and its base components. These parts (obtainable up to 3,5mm in thickness and in a hard or soft version) permit either a stable or cushioned adjustment of the chin-rest.

The gently sloped shape of the Zuerich model helps to avoid the instrument’s tendency of slipping away. By doing so, a reduction of clamping reflexes of the head and shoulder is achieved, particularly in a stage setting.

Due to the chin-rest’s advantageous shape, above-mentioned adaptation options, anti-allergic material and light weight (→beneficial for the overtone spectrum), the Zuerich model is also up-to-date with current medical standpoints. The product has been developed for violinists and violists, both professional and amateur.

The successful cooperation between WITTNER and the Zurich Centre for Musicians’ Hands (ZZM) and the subsequent development of the new Zuerich chin-rest is based on results from research carried out at the Zurich University of the Arts. As part of the project, this research investigated how different violin positions influence the degree of objectively recorded muscle tension and subjectively perceived effort.

Prof. Dr. med. Dipl. Mus. Horst Hildebrandt
Zürcher Zentrum Musikerhand der Zürcher Hochschule der Künste ZHdK
Leiter MAS und Bereich Musikphysiologie / Musik- und Präventivmedizin
Pfingstweidstr. 96, Pf, CH-8031 Zürich
Telefon +41 43 446 51 20, Mobile +41 79 305 13 63

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