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John Rosselli

(bc 1625–6; d Rome, 1713).French-Italian theatre builder and impresario. A French nobleman from Orléans, he became secretary in 1662 to Queen Christina of Sweden (resident in Rome after her abdication), in whose service he remained till her death in 1689...

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Robert B. Winans and Jonas Westover

(b Holyoke, MA, Jan 17, 1871; d Newfane, VT, Nov 18, 1948). American banjoist and banjo maker. He began his career playing with a medicine show and a Wild West show, then from 1890 to 1915 performed in a vaudeville act with his wife. He studied with ALFRED A. FARLAND in the mid- 1890s and about ...

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Laurence Libin

(b Bronx, NY, Oct 22, 1946). American luthier, notable for handmade archtop jazz guitars. In childhood he learned woodworking from his father, a skilled cabinetmaker, and music from an uncle, a violinist; his grandfather had worked for Steinway & Sons. A visit to the Gretsch guitar factory in Brooklyn fueled his interest in the instrument; he played a Chet Atkins model 6120 guitar from ...

Article

Botul  

Margaret J. Kartomi and Gini Gorlinski

Gong chime of the Pakpak people of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. Its five to nine small bossed gongs are placed horizontally in a wooden trough, somewhat like the bonang of Central Java. Unlike the bonang, which is played by a single musician, the botul may be played by as many as three men. It is the leading melodic instrument in an ensemble that also includes three suspended gongs, ...

Article

Caroline Polk O’Meara

(b Dumbarton, Scotland, May 14, 1952). American Musician, visual artist, and filmmaker of Scottish birth. He has worked across a range of media, attracting much critical admiration. With drummer Chris Frantz and bass player Tina Weymouth, in 1974 he formed Talking heads, one of the best-known bands of the early punk-rock movement in the 1970s. With Byrne serving as the primary songwriter and front man, they made their first public performance opening for the Ramones at CBGB & OMFUG. On their second album Byrne worked with English producer Brian Eno, which marked the beginning of a productive and longstanding relationship. Eno recorded the band’s next three albums and collaborated with Byrne on the albums ...

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Mareia Quintero Rivera

(b San Juan, PR, July 10, 1910; d Carolina, PR, July 21, 1996). American Puerto Rican composer, singer, percussionist, dancer, and drum-maker. A master of traditional bomba and plena, he was one the most prominent figures of Afro-Puerto Rican musical folklore in the 20th century. He is also known for his commitment to passing down these traditions to subsequent generations. Together with his wife, Caridad Brenes, a gifted dancer, he raised a family of skilled practitioners and maintained a lifelong practice of teaching in the community of Villa Palmeras, Santurce, the working-class area where they lived....

Article

Richard Johnston

Guitar, mandolin, and ukulele manufacturer. It was founded in Houston, Texas, in 1976 by Bill Collings (b 1948), who had moved from Ohio to Texas following a failed attempt at medical school. After building a few guitars and some banjos, Collings moved to Austin in ...

Article

Laurence Libin

(b Napier, New Zealand, May 14, 1946). Intermedia artist whose transdisciplinary practice includes video/sound work and installations, experimental instruments, graphic scores, and improvisation. He studied at Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland (DipFA Hons, 1971) and the University of West Sydney, Nepean (MA Hons, ...

Article

Laurence Libin

(b Jirapa, Ghana, June 22, 1958). Ghanaian xylophone maker, player, and teacher. Born into a family of gyilli makers and players in northwest Ghana, Doozie began playing at six years of age. When he was 12 his father taught him to make his first ...

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Duo-Art  

Reproducing piano mechanism that made it possible to record on paper rolls the nuances of dynamics, tempo, and phrasing; introduced by the Aeolian Co. in 1913 (see Player piano and Aeolian).

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(fl Russia, mid-16th century). Russian bell and cannon founder. Of unknown origin, Ganusov might have come from Germany or the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to Moscow, where in the mid-16th century he worked at the court of Ivan the Terrible. A very large bell cast at the Moscow cannon foundry in ...

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(b Luxembourg, Aug 16, 1884; d New York, Aug 19, 1967). American writer, publisher, and inventor. In 1904 he emigrated to America, where in 1908 he founded the first of a series of radio magazines (including Radio-Craft) which he wrote for and edited. He later turned to science fiction magazines (from ...

Article

J. Bryan Burton

(b New Mexico, 1829; d Fort Sill, OK, Feb 17, 1909). Native American instrument maker, singer, medicine man, prophet, and military leader. He is better known in Western history for his military leadership of Western Apache resistance to reservation life during the 1880s. Goyaałé (“One who yawns”) was given the name Geronimo after an attack on a Mexican village on St. Jerome’s day when terrified Mexican soldiers cried out “Jeronimo” appealing for help from St. Jerome. After his surrender he was held as a prisoner of war, first in St. Augustine, Florida, then in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, until his death. His celebrity was such that he often made public appearances, including at the ...

Article

Hugh Davies

(b Rheims, France, 1899; d La Varenne St-Hilaire, St-Maur-des-Fossés, France, Nov 9, 1963). French engineer and physicist. He was one of the pioneers of electronic instruments and especially of the electronic organ in the 1920s and early 1930s; some of his instruments were constructed in collaboration with the organ builder Edouard Eloi Coupleux. In ...

Article

Daniele Buccio

(b Redwood City, CA, April 19, 1954). American composer, guitarist, instrument builder, educational technology specialist, and media designer. He attended classes with Robert Sheff, robert Ashley , and terry Riley at Mills College (1972–3) and studied at Canada College in Redwood City (...

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Thomas Owens

(b Milwaukee, May 20, 1931). American accordionist and musical equipment manufacturer. He began accordion lessons in Milwaukee at the age of 11 and from 1944 to 1949 studied the instrument in Chicago. Harry James heard him in a club in Milwaukee in 1951...

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Joe Wilson

(b Watauga Co., NC, Oct 13, 1911). American Banjoist, folksinger, and instrument maker. He was born into a family of Appalachian folk musicians; his father, Roby Monroe Hicks, taught him to make banjos (the first ofwhich he built when he was 15) and Appalachian dulcimers, and from his father and his mother, Buna Presnell Hicks, he learned Anglo-American ballads and instrumental techniques. His grandfather, a storyteller, taught him “Jack tales,” Appalachian stories of German American origin. Hicks also learned to dance in a flat-footed, “jumping jack” style. His instruments, which are notable for their high level of craftsmanship, are made from cherry and walnut wood grown near his farm in Vilas, North Carolina; the heads of his banjos are made of groundhog hides. He also produces a number of folk toys. Hicks has appeared at the North Carolina Folk Festival, the National Folk Festival, and the Smithsonian Institution’s Festival of American Folklife. Hicks received the Brown-Hudson Award from the North Carolina Folk Society in ...

Article

Herbert Heyde

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

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....

Article

Barbara Owen

(b Boston, 1708; d Boston, May 8, 1767). American organ builder, music engraver, craftsman and musician. In 1739 he led the singing in the Brattle Street Church, Boston, and was paid for singing in King's Chapel in 1754–6. He was active as an ornamental painter and japanner, and as an engraver of maps, certificates, trade cards, music etc.; he is also regarded as Boston's first professional organ builder. He is recorded as having tuned and repaired some of the imported English organs in Boston, which presumably served as his only textbook in the craft of organ building. In ...

Article

Harry B. Soria

(b La‘ie, Oahu, Hawaii, 1874; d Dover, NJ, Jan 016, 1932). American steel guitarist, teacher, and inventor. The Hawaiian steel guitar’s invention is largely credited to Joseph Kekuku. Joseph and his cousin, Samuel Kalanahelu Nainoa (1877–1950) were raised in the rural village of La‘ie, Oahu. By the age of 11, the close companions had become skilled musicians under the tutelage of the elders of La‘ie. Prior to the creation of the Hawaiian steel guitar, Hawaiian musical combos featured primarily violin, flute, “Spanish” guitar, and ‘ukulele performances. Sam played the violin, while Joseph spent much of his time trying to make his guitar sound like Sam’s violin....