Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Violin Octet, Carleen Hutchins, Stelzner, Dixtuor, Violotta, Violin Acoustics, Tenor Violin

Major Advisor

Dr. Glenn Stanley

Associate Advisor

Dr. Alain Frogley

Associate Advisor

Dr. Solomiya Ivakhiv

Field of Study



Doctor of Musical Arts

Open Access

Open Access



This dissertation traces the early evolution and standardization of the string family, and subsequent attempts to address the perceived gaps in coverage resulting from this standardization. These efforts were shaped and driven in the nineteenth century by changing musical aesthetics, and also enabled and emboldened by the emerging field of acoustical science. In the twentieth century, the use of electronic testing equipment by Frederick Saunders produced further advances in string instrument research. Such research became a critical component in the realization in 1965 of the Violin Octet, which had been envisioned by avant-garde composer Henry Brant. Constructed by luthier Carleen Hutchins utilizing a scaling model devised by physicist John C. Schelleng, the Octet represents the first attempt at a homogenization of the string family since the era of the viols, and the only effort in the 500 year history of violin-making to be based on a consistent theory of acoustics. Recognized in the musical world primarily for its research contribution, and often ignored or unknown in the performance realm, this dissertation seeks also to examine and explore the octet’s early performance history, and the possibilities its instruments offer for practical musical implementation. The challenges represented by the introduction of a new family of string instruments into a largely conservative musical culture are also examined, with an eye to their implications for the octets future.

Available for download on Monday, December 14, 2026