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Experimental Cello with XPS Belly by Anika Beauquesne

12-Year-Old Celllist Inspired by Maker Tim Duerinck to Make Her Own Cello

After seeing Tim Duerinck’s styrofoam cello on TV and in the newspaper, 12-year-old Anika Beauquesne decided to build her own experimental cello for a school project. She said having a cello made out of styrofoam instead of wood:

is strange to me. That’s why I wanted to test this myself.

She cites Duerinck’s study which concluded that EPS or polystyrene foam is a good sound amplifier and notes that:

Tim ran into a number of problems in his experiment.

The main problem was that styrofoam can bend quite quickly under pressure. And with a cello there is a lot of pressure on the bridge because of the [tension of the] strings.

After that Tim started to make a cello with polystyrene foam himself . . .[and] . . . eventually had to glue some reinforcements such as veneer wood and carbon on top of the top of the cello.

Anika’s Solution

With the help of her father and his friend Bruno, Anika decided to try a variation in the materials Duerinck used. She said

Since the big problem was the softness of polystyrene foam, I replaced the EPS plate with an XPS plate . . . [but she did not know] . . . whether this would sound better.

She explained that

XPS is rigid foam. It is an insulation material that exists in sheet [form] and is related to EPS. XPS has a different structure than EPS (spheres). XPS plates are more pressure resistant [than those of EPS].

Anika’s Cello

She purchased a cello neck and fittings, and then – with the help of her father and Bruno – made her first cello.

Here is a comparison of her new XPS cello and her own cello that she made at age 12:

Anika Beauquesne

Anika Beauquesne at age 12 with her experimental XPS cello.

Anika Beauquesne at age 12 with her experimental XPS cello.

Born in 2004 in Singapore, now residing in Belgium, Anika Beauquesne is a young cellist and cello maker. At age 12 she built an experimental cello with an XPS belly for a school project.

Now 16, she still plays the cello. She has not made another cello . . . yet.



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