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Article

Herbert Heyde

This article discusses trends in organizing the production of European instruments from the 15th century to the mid-19th.

1. Introduction.

2. Craft workshops and guilds.

3. Towards free craft.

4. Entrepreneurship and the factory system.

During the 15th century European instrument making entered a new phase with the rise of polyphonic instrumental music. Previously, folk and minstrel instruments had been made mostly by the players themselves. The intricacies of polyphonic music and the social context in which sophisticated instruments such as clavichords, trombones, lutes, and viols were played demanded craft refinement and specialization. The professional traditions of organ building and bell founding provided precedents upon which the new branches of trade could build. While the production of folk instruments continued as it had previously, the new, commercial approach to instrument making gradually evolved into two major forms, which were first observable in the processes of both bell founding and organ building. These forms were small craft-workshops and entrepreneurial businesses. These two forms sometimes intersected; small workshops would sometimes grow and develop into entrepreneurial businesses....