Eric Aceto with his fadolín, and Ljova with Eric's famiola, in 2008

Ljova’s interactive BABY naming.

What in the horror world is this? — Why, it’s a picture of my brand new baby.
But what should we call it? That, my friends, is up to you – see below, and thank you!

This new baby is a 6-stringed acoustic instrument, made by the excellent Eric Aceto of Ithaca, NY. On its belly, it carries the strings of a viola (C-G-D-A), the violin (G-D-A-E) and a super-low string (F), one pitch higher than the bottom note of the guitar. Size-wise, it’s taller than a violin but shorter than a viola, clocking in at 14 inches.

So what should we call it? I’d like to propose a baby-naming contest.
I’ll be taking names in the comments below
, until midnight Eastern Time (GMT -5) on February 29 May 31, 2008, at which point I’ll put all of the entries up for a vote.
Winner will receive a signed copy of my debut CD, Vjola: World on Four Strings, and a signed copy of the upcoming CD release by Ljova & the Vjola Contraband, which will be ready in the late summer. You’ll also have my eternal gratitude, which you can not (as yet) pawn on Ebay..

Possible suggestions already include:
— mezzo violin
— hexañola (or hexagnola)
— viola da samba
— six-e beast
— the beast

To inspire and a-muse you, I’m including the first two recordings I made on the new instrument:

Want to see more pictures of the new instrument? Sure you do –

Several pictures below:

Enjoy the music, and thank you for any input!

–Ljova (& Eric Aceto), pictured below


  • masaccio says:

    Гамба да браччо.

  • Anonymous says:

    Names from Misha. Enjoy!

    Violon D’amore
    Ultimate Viola
    I love viola bastarda but that’s old…
    Viola Da Lijova
    Lijova D’Amore
    Superfiddle (huh?)
    bariton viola
    bass viola
    viola di basso
    I kind of like the vihuela, but the Russian connotations are questionable

  • tadziu says:

    soprano viol da braccio

  • telemann says:


    Congrats on thenew instrument. If you play viola d’amore, I have a bunch of performing editions in the works featuring Christoph Graupner’s orchestral suites for that instrument 😉

  • artnouveauho says:

    Hi there. We’ve never met– I got here via the Classical Music community.

    It seems obvious to me that your baby’s name is Sebastian: Viola’s brother.

    Happy playing!

  • gruyere says:


    (I recommend that people name all sorts of things after me.)

  • trebor_ says:

    mezzo violin already means something (actually a regular violin) in the New Violin Family. What gave you the inspiration for commissioning this instrument?

    I too am experimenting (though in a much more amateur way!) with instruments, see, though there’s not much info on there yet as I’ve only just started on the website.

    • admin says:

      that’s very cool, amigo! I wish you lots of fun with that — what kind of case do you lug it around in?


      • trebor_ says:

        To be honest I haven’t got as far as getting a hardcase for it yet. I’m still trying to figure out how to play the thing! 🙂

        By the way, I noticed on your web site that you’re working with Yo Yo Ma; he recorded the Bartok concerto on a New Violin Family Alto, so is obviously a fan.

        I need to take some cello lessons first, as the bow-hold is essentially a cellist’s rather than a violist’s.

  • lilusako says:

    Wandered onto here via the classical_music lj community. the recordings are beautiful! I’m not very good at coming up with names, but for some reason i really like the D’amore part. Perhaps Vi D’amore? Good luck with the naming of your baby! It took me years before I finally settled on a name for my horn. But most of the time I call her my baby or my love anyway. 🙂

  • supercow36 says:

    Marjory Stewart Baxter

  • Anonymous says:


  • gurdonark says:


    I grew up on a small town in the south of Arkansas in the USA. This southern region featured rolling hills and pine trees.

    In a river bottom, where wild horses escaped from Spanish explorers till roamed, a small town of a few hundred people stands. It’s a quiet town of polite people

    Every year, thouygh, a tornado appears, and livens things up. Buildings move, and shift. Nothing remains the same.

    The name of this town is:

    Whelen Springs

    I propose that your instrument be called:

    Whelen Strings.

    best, robert, who records as gurdonark

  • Anonymous says:

    not to hijack the thread..but

    Whatever it is..don’t call it an “extended tenor bass”; that is the worst name I have ever heard for an instrument. It is also what I am having made for me, and I need MORE help than you do in naming it..obviously… so..maybe this is the lost instrument naming depot section of the blog?

    Anyway, give it a try..a 5 string, fretted, 30″ scale electric guitar/bass like instrument tuned from “A” on a standard bass to “f” in fourths. I play James Brown stylee’ bass and guitar parts on it the same time.



  • Anonymous says:


    •The Equalizer
    •Tiny Ljova
    •The Peacemaker
    •Shostakovich’s Promise
    •The Zhurbinator
    •Ljova’s Weird-Looking Violin Thing (That Can be Used to Kill Dracula)
    •The Decider
    •Violence Cougar
    •The Six String Serenador

  • Anonymous says:

    •V.I.O.L.A. Force 6
    •Mezzo-thetical Nite Destroyer
    •Ljova’s Hex
    •The Better Viola

  • admin says:


    hi all, just to update —

    1) as I neglected to mention it in my last newsletter, the contest is extended until May 31st!

    2) we’ve had three other great suggestions, which I add to the pile:
    — violo (or violof)
    — FEola (because it has a low F and a high E)
    — FAMIola (same reason, only in solfeggio)

    3) I’ve posted another track I recorded on the instrument, “Mad Sketchbook”, which you can hear here.

    THank you all – enjoy!


  • Anonymous says:

    It’s a Ljoviolin, Of Course

    There’s no other name possible for this instrument:

    It’s a Ljoviolin – or possibly a Ljoviola

    Harley Hill

  • Anonymous says:


    The Hex Kitten

    love, from Jennifer Charles

  • Anonymous says:

    If it has a lion’s head, perhaps the “leovjola” would work?


  • Anonymous says:


    Try saying that 5 times fast…or just shorten it to


  • Anonymous says:


    Great looking baby. I think you should name it the Mantichord, in homage to the mytheical hybrid Manticore, which has the head of a man, body of a lion, & sting of a scorpion…& inspired the title of a a dazzling novel by Robertson Davies. Hey, that’s a lot of footnotes. But doesn’t Mantichord sound just right? xon

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi leo! How are you?
    How about catgut soup?
    PS Enjoyed the videos from Joe’s Pub.

  • Anonymous says:

    Instrument name

    ARIELA, for the spirit of the air. I think it also is a Hebrew word for lioness, but could be mistaken.
    Marie Reynolds

  • Anonymous says:

    I was right…ARIELA is from the Hebrew words ARI for lion and ELA for goddess. It also has biblical references for cherubs (small angels), Ariel being the male and Ariela the female. So please compose and play more for your beautiful new lion goddess of music.
    Marie Reynolds

  • New Instrument


  • Anonymous says:

    Sextasaurus Rex

    Lev – with all those teeth, it’s a predator. Has a prehistoric (great!) sound. Leave off the Rex if you’re in a hurry. Sextasaurus. And Alta Ann says “Why not SextRex?” lv…sam parkins

  • Anonymous says:


    Thanks Ljova for your creartivity,your music and above all,the sun in your heart.

  • Anonymous says:



    There’s only one name for this one – LYOVA.

    Play on,

    Tony Conniff

  • Anonymous says:

    Mark G

    Although here are variant spellings, the instrument’s name should start with vi or vj in keping with accepted nomenclature: “Vjola” or “vijola”

    If you want to give it a personal name, let Inna name it..

  • Anonymous says:

    Viola de Elefante

    Sam Parkins sez: Viola de Elefante = Elelphant Viol

  • Anonymous says:

    Ljovacetola or Ljovaceptola

    What wonderful sounding and curious looking instrument!
    I wonder why no one has suggested the name, “Ljovacetola” or perhaps, “Ljovaceptola”..

  • Anonymous says:


    Hello Ljova!

    What a beauty of an instrument and such sound! Call it “Nola”.

  • Anonymous says:


    Hello Ljova!

    What a beauty of an instrument and such sound! Call it “Nola”.


  • Anonymous says:

    naming baby

    How’s about “Nyola” , the NY standing for New York?

  • Anonymous says:

    My compliments

    very nice site 🙂

  • appreheno says:

    do people still have problems naming a baby?


  • headspacej says:

    I realize that this is and old post and you are not updating your Livejournal any more…but I stumbled across your music today for the first time and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it.

    Also, this instrument is beautiful. Now that you’ve had it for a while, what do you think of it? I recently ordered a 5-string viola with the low F instead of the high E, and I’m terribly curious to hear it.

    • admin says:

      hi there — thank you so much! i appreciate it!
      It’s interesting to reflect on the subject now, because it’s been close to two years since I’ve had the Famiola.

      While I love the new instrument very much, I’ve quickly come to realize that the famiola cannot replace my viola, as it has a completely different sonority and tactile feel. The acoustic sound is more like that of a baroque viol, and the facility of getting around a much wider fingerboard than a standard viola’s, makes left-hand fatigue more of a factor — but of course it’s nothing prohibitive, certainly not in the short term.

      Also, on the logistical side, I’ve found that the famiola sounds at its best when played through an Acoustic Image “Corus” amp.

      And so, I love to play the famiola when the moment is right – when we’re playing my music, when I’m able to bring my own amp, and where I’m looking for a more “baroque”, or a less “romantic” sound.

      For most of my gigs, however, I still tend to lean on my 4-string viola. It does not require me to bring an amp, and sounds its best through a microphone. It has a magical and beautiful sound that I have had a loving relationship with for over 10 years.

      On a few of my gigs last year, i was able to bring both instruments and alternate between songs. That’s the ideal situation – but it’s not always possible, given the transportation and the logistics.

      I hope you enjoy your 5-string! I’ve never heard a 5-string viola with a low-F instead of a high-E, but all of the 5-string fiddles/violas I’ve heard in recent years sound much brighter than their 6-string siblings, and have more of a classical tone characteristic… and that’s just great.

      best to you!,

  • Anonymous says:

    Re: Laptop shortcuts

    hi there — sorry it took me so long, but here they are at last.

  • Anonymous says:

    very informative

    need to check

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