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Enrico Weller

German town famous for instrument production since the mid-17th century. It was named Neukirchen until 1858. Instrument making first developed there when Bohemian luthiers began settling in the area (Vogtland) as a consequence of the Counter-Reformation. A guild of violin makers was founded in 1677; a violin, a cittern, and a viola da gamba were at first required as masterpieces. Early violin making in the Vogtland was characterized by free-form construction (without use of an inside mould) and an integral neck and upper block. The various violin workshops (Ficker, Gläsel, Hamm, Heberlein, Reichel, Schönfelder, Voigt, etc.) had individual styles, but Italian stylistic influence became evident from about 1800 to 1840.

In the mid-19th century, specialized division of labour led to mass-production of violin bodies and parts by means of cottage industry. Inexpensive violins were manufactured (often more than 100,000 instruments per year) until the 1930s. Between 1906 and 1930 a joint-stock (cooperative) company for violin making existed....



Robert N. Freeman

Town in Lower Austria. The strategic location of the fortress Medelica (Melk) on a slope overlooking the Danube led the Babenbergs, Austria's medieval rulers, to establish their court there in 976. Monks from the Benedictine abbey of Lambach were invited to join the court in 1089; shortly after 1110, when the Babenbergs moved to Klosterneuburg, the Benedictines became the owners of Melk and a large area of land. This link with the Austrian monarchal line made the wealthy abbey one of the Empire's most powerful institutions.

Soon after their arrival the Benedictines founded a boys' choir; pueri are mentioned as early as 1140 and a cloister school, training boys for singing in processions and daily church services, is described in a manuscript dating from 1160. The scriptorium was most productive in the first half of the 13th century. A great fire (1297) destroyed most of the manuscripts recording this formative musical period. 133 codices survived intact, about half of which originated at Melk, including the ...