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  • #4962 Reply

    LordRocksavage
    Participant

    Does the wood of a violin begin when the wood is cut away from the living tree? I know that aged wood is praised by the best makers. We all know that aged wood is preferred to the green (newly cut) wood that would be so much easier to put into service. Are the Cremonese violins reaching a point of doom? Does a Stradivari or an Amati have a life cycle that is nearing or living to a natural end? Would the great violinists of the 1800’s prefer their violins today because they are older? Will the great violins of today be (one day) a wooden box that used to be a treasure? What will happen when three hundred years turns into five or six hundred years?

    I’m very fond of my violin. It’s a German factory instrument that is a bit over a hundred years old. I know it will serve me well for the rest of my days. But, when will it become a useless piece of beautiful wood? Who will make that decision. The audience might still love it’s sweet tone (it’s a Stainer knock off) but who will call it a box?

    I guess my question is what is the life cycle of wood cut off from it’s life support? So far as tonal quality I mean.

    #4968 Reply

    Michael Sanchez
    Keymaster

    This is a great question! I’m not sure how to answer it though as I’m not an expert in this area. I just know how good a violin can sound when the right type of wood is used and has good craftsmanship. Hopefully someone else can shed some light.

    #5070 Reply

    Brad Stevens
    Participant

    It has always interested me that we treasure the old Cremonese instruments for their age, but their great value began when they were new. I’ve read a few great players admit a preference for modern instruments over their very old performance instruments — face it, we tend to get excited, knowing that a performer is going to be playing a Strad or a Guarneri del Gesu. No one promotes that an artist will appear in concert with his modern instrument.

    I used to participate in and haunt discussions on another forum with several makers and dealers, and the makers even admitted something intangible in the sound of the very old instruments versus their own creations. But as far as the wood holding up, as long as there is attention to humidity levels and temperatures stay out of extremes, I would think that the wood would hold up for at least several more lifetimes. And probably better in use than in storage.

    I know that those makers I mentioned earlier looked for well-aged wood, as any furniture maker would, too, unless using kiln-dried stock. Otherwise, the curing process might yield a warped instrument. And I understand that any real pernambuco wood for bows is very old stock anyway, for stability, but that it can no longer be exported from the rainforest sources.

    Anyway, I’ve often wondered myself at what point the great old instruments ceased just being old instruments and became highly treasured masterpieces. Were they so appreciated when new? Or did they become something more as they aged? And who influenced their level of appreciation? Was there a champion for these makers who brought them to prominence? Johann Sebastian Bach was nobody until Mendelssohn discovered and promoted him more than a century-and-a-half later. Then he became the standard for generations of composers and music theorists.

    Sorry, I ramble on and on.

    #17060 Reply

    kathyk
    Participant

    What is best

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