‘World’s first’ vegan violin replaces animal hide glue with wild berries

17 January 2022, 17:47

The vegan violin replaces animal parts with wild berries and local spring water
The vegan violin replaces animal parts with wild berries and local spring water. Picture: Alamy

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

The violin becomes the first of its kind to be registered with The Vegan Society’s Vegan Trademark.

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An Irish luthier has created the world’s first ‘Vegan Trademark’-ed violin; an instrument entirely free from animal products.

Historically, violins have contained non-vegan materials such as animal hide glue, which is created from the skin, bones, and tendons of an animal. Violin strings and bows have also been known to contain ivory, horse tail hair, and animal intestines. While animal-free bows and strings do exist, this product is the first to be registered with the Vegan Trademark.

An amateur violinist himself, violin-maker Padraig ó Dubhlaoidh has long held the belief that animal body parts are not needed to create the instrument.

ó Dubhlaoidh told ClassicFM.com, “I started this project because I felt that the most ethical consumers in our society were being disenfranchised from playing the music they love, by the presence of animal derivatives.

“As this is a novel innovation at the moment, I'm very keen to let vegan musicians know that an ethical option finally exists for them.”

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ó Dubhlaoidh working on his vegan violin
ó Dubhlaoidh working on his vegan violin. Picture: Padraig ó Dubhlaoidh

The instrument maker also says his new violin is ‘an acoustic improvement’ to other violins.

Through his research, ó Dubhlaoidh altered the glue recipe used to hold the violin together. Now, instead of being made up of animal parts, his glue is made from wild berries and local spring water.

He says that the animal glue has been known to have harmful effects on violins, such as ‘powerful tensions on wooden components’. His glue does not cause these effects, thus, according to ó Dubhlaoidh, improving the acoustic properties.

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While ó Dubhlaoidh doesn’t think everyone will be switching to the vegan violin immediately, he does think there’s a bright future ahead for his instrument, and the concept of vegan instruments.

He said, “My expectation is that just as petrol and diesel cars are gradually being replaced with more eco friendly options, the same progression may happen with violins, and even many other hand crafts.”

ó Dubhlaoidh continues to make both vegan and non-vegan violins in two separate workshops, so as to eliminate any possible contamination.

His instruments have been performed all over the world, from the Royal Albert Hall to Carnegie, so we look forward to seeing where his vegan violins make their anticipated debuts.