Earlier this month teaching a group of musicians and violin makers the lost art of free-hand acoustic design, the Master's way, something even the Italians happily forgotten in the mid 18th century, as you can see when you read the first ever written treatise on violin making ever written, by an Italian.
And, yes, I can hear your thoughts if you are a violinist or violist or a maker, potentially you are thinking, "And so what? Does it work?"
On one hand this is the reason why you see some internationally renown musicians ordering not just one, but 2, 3 and up to 6 instruments of my work.
On the other hand, a better question you might be asking is this, "Where are we heading if we do not look at violin making as a cultural heritage but rather something purely mechanical: just get those plans, measurements, and viola! – make and sell as fast as possible what the market wants."
Violin as cultural tradition has many enemies. And I think, this thing called violin-making as we know it, is coming to an end.
Schools of violin making and violin makers are… the biggest enemies.
Nourishing the idea that the only way to make a violin is get that damn 1:1 poster of a Strad be it for 19 pounds quid or a collection of posters for 5000 ponds quid and make that damn "copy". Great. But if violin making is all about copies get that damn 3d printed violin or a Chinese one. LOL, those are copies of the same posters.
This is the #1 reason an overwhelming majority of younger professionals trying to enter the trade of violin making today have almost no chance.
And I have great news! It's getting worse! Yuppie!
If you potentially though, "I never cared about the living tradition or the living makers anyway"…
See, here is the problem with that. If today there are not enough youngsters who can establish themselves in the trade, tomorrow there will be a really, really bad shortage of skilled hands to maintain those antique instruments that you care about.
So, think what will happen?
An ocean of those antique violins, majority of which aren't great instruments, will be in a terrible condition, because the handful of skilled restorers will prefer to focus on instruments priced at hundreds of thousands.
Ahha… The rich will get richer, and the poor will get poorer. Sounds like deja-vue?
If you thought music is a valuable cultural tradition that will suffer too. Correct me if I am wrong but I noticed, we add music everywhere where we want to enhance experience: dinner, wedding, sermon, funeral, public events, cinema, video games etc etc etc. And hey, violin family is firmly the core of much of our music, which is why it is important, yes or no?
Authentic Instrument Makers Academy Lanzarote event was a milestone to change that fate of violin making as cultural tradition. And we are planning more. I'd love to do it in Tokyo, because I noticed Japanese really really tend to appreciate cultural values. Maybe because they know what happened with their own traditional cultural values in the last century.
People from USA, Belgium, Japan, Spain, UK joined in Lanzarote and we can certainly repeat it on Lanzarote too.
Till now the Italians exhibited max resistance to learning the cultural roots of violin making. "Don't you know that Strad has set the standards and the only thing we can do is try to make better copies?" LOL. Nope. It's not about abolishing the authority of great masters. It's about learning their philosophy and their sources of inspiration so you can perhaps one day make your name synonymous with the violin, just like that of Strad… It's about keeping cultural traditions alive.
Does this inspire, yes or no?
Then I want you to write this down and stick it in a visible place.
"I am not just another professional in music. I am an ambassador for ancient traditions to stay here alive and enrich."
Happy New Week!