Matthew Zeller

Musicologist and Organologist

Organologist, musicologist, violin historian, and bow maker. Musical instrument research and writing, specializing in Italian violins from Cremona, the development of the modern bow, advances in woodwind technology, the bassoon and tenoroon, and material science and technology and musical development.

Current Research Interests

The Emancipation of Timbre: From Mahler to Varèse; Functional Orchestration, Syntax, and Planal Analysis (dissertation)

Musical analysis of timbre

Mahler, Strauss, Debussy, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Stravinsky, Varèse (and so many more!)

The Amati family of violin makers and Antonio Stradivari

Cremonese violin design

Historical units of measurement and the application of metrology to musical instruments

Iconography of musical instruments

Alteration and modernization of musical instruments during historical periods

The evolution of music, musical style, and performance practice with the emergence of new musical instrument technologies


"The King is in the Details: Recreating the Lost Decorations." Of Note. Metropolitan Museum of Art: August 2015.

"Deconstructing the King." The Strad, June 2015, 24-31.

"Andrea Amati: King Cello." Poster supplement to The Strad, June 2015.

The Violin-Family Designs of Andrea Amati: Reconstructing the Original Outlines of the King Cello and Propugnaculo Viola. ProQuest LLC, 2014, UMI 1561686.

"Unweaving the Rainbow." The Strad, April 2014, 42-47.

Recorder by Jan Juriaesnz van Heerde. National Music Museum: 2014. (Technical drawing)

Anonymous Viola Bow. National Music Museum: 2014. (Technical drawing)

additional Research

Musical modernism, visual arts and music, material culture and music

Symbolism in the visual arts

Historical architectural treatises

Anatomical wood identification in musical instruments

Fifteenth- and sixteenth-century varnish making

History of musical instrument restoration

Development of the modern bow

Bow makers of the Vuillaume shop

Music at the Court of Charles IX of France

Music at the Court of Charles IV of Spain

Royal patronage of instrument makers and instruments owned by royal courts

Instrument holding devices and Renaissance performance practice

Bassoon history and development

Tenoroon scaling and the bassoons of William Milhouse

Film music and the use of concert music in film