Rebec after a 13th century model by Roberto Montagna
This rebec (ribeca) is hand-crated by Italian luthier Roberto Montagna. The design is based on a 13th century model.
Montagna has made this rebec exclusively from Italian wood: the soundboard is Val di Fiemme spruce, the body of the instrument is black poplar, the fingerboard and tailpiece is cherry and the button and pegs are jujube.
About the rebec
The rebec originated around the 10th century and was used throughout the medieval period until the early Renaissance. It started as a courtly instrument, but throughout the centuries its appeal to the courtly class lessened and it became more of a "rustic" instrument.
The rebec is typically depicted as having 3 strings, however variants are known to have had between 2 and 5 strings. We know from various sources that the rebec was usually tuned in 5ths, though less is known about the pitches. The sound is described in all sources as high pitched, and often compared to a woman's voice. By 1545, Agricola gives the pitches as G, d, a - the same as the bottom three strings of a violin. Other sources give the pitches as d, a, e - the same as the top three strings of a violin.
About Roberto Montagna
Roberto Montagna was born in Montagnana in 1981. Son of a musician father, he also developed a passion for music. In 2007 he made the acquaintance of an artisan carpenter and after he had learned the rudiments of carpentry, he began the project of building a guitar for himself. He realised he had a passion for building and at this point he began a personal study of stringed instruments. He met Maestro Fabio Chiari in 2009 and soon became a pupil in his workshop. In 2014 he graduated from the Tuscany School of Violin Making where he received recognition from his research on Quality of Sound. Today Roberto runs his own workshop making classical string instruments as well as medieval instruments.