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Article

Andrés Amado

(b ?1846; d 16 Apr 1912). Musician and instrument builder from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala He is credited with the invention in 1894 of the Guatemalan chromatic marimba, also known as marimba de doble teclado (double keyboard marimba), marimba doble (double marimba), or marimba cuache (twin marimba). Before the invention of the marimba doble, musicians added chromatic tones to the diatonic (sencilla) marimba by applying wax to the bars, thus lowering them a semitone. Most sources agree that the Guatemalan composer and band director Julián Paniagua Martínez (1856–1946) envisioned adding a second, chromatic row and exhorted Sebastián Hurtado to implement the idea. In Hurtado’s design, the chromatic and diatonic rows align with each other, that is, the D♭/C♯ bar is not between C and D, but aligned with the D.

Other marimba builders also attempted chromatic designs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Manuel López and José Chaequín from Jocotenango, Guatemala, built chromatic marimbas in Guatemala City as early as ...

Article

Edmond T. Johnson

(b Memphis, TN, 17 June 1957). American artist, composer, performer, and instrument inventor best known for inventing the Long String Instrument. Originally interested in visual and performance art, Fullman attended the Kansas City Art Institute where she began to incorporate sound into her works, at first through the manipulation of magnetic tape. Her first major work was the Metal Skirt Sound Sculpture (1980), an assemblage consisting of amplified guitar strings stretched between the artist’s shoes and a pleated metal skirt. Indirectly influenced by Alvin Lucier’s Music on a Long Thin Wire (1977), Fullman began experimenting with extended lengths of wire in 1980 and gave the first public performance on a prototype of the Long String Instrument at the Walker Art Gallery in Minneapolis in November 1981.The design of the Long String Instrument has varied significantly over time and in different installations. It generally consists of several dozen stainless steel, phosphor bronze, or brass wires that are arranged in groups stretched horizontally at about waist height. Depending on the specific installation, the wires span from about 15 to 90 metres. At one end the strings are affixed perpendicularly to the soundboards of securely anchored wooden box resonators (designed in cooperation with the instrument maker Stephen Wise). The strings extend to blocks where they are fastened to tuning pins and tensioned just below their breaking point in order to maximize resonance. A brass capo of unique design (originally a C-clamp) on each string determines its vibrating length. Because the sound arises from longitudinal rather than transverse vibrations, string material (density) and length alone determine pitch, not tension (about 18 kg per string) or thickness. Consequently, the strings sound at a much higher pitch than might be expected from their length. Once tensioned, the strings are tuned by means of the capos in a flexible system of just intonation and typically encompass a range of three octaves down from ...

Article

Christopher Brodersen

(b Bethlehem, PA, 1947). American oboist and maker of early oboes and bassoons, based in Germany. After initial studies at the Oberlin Conservatory, he enrolled at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, studying Baroque oboe under Michel Piguet (1932–2004). Hailperin graduated from the Schola Cantorum in 1970, with the first diploma in Baroque oboe performance from that institution. In 1971 he joined the Vienna Concentus Musicus under Harnoncourt. Hailperin participated in numerous recordings and tours with the Concentus Musicus during the period 1971–9. During this time he began building instruments, following short internships with recorder makers Bob Marvin and Friedrich von Huene. With the encouragement of Jürg Schäftlein, Hailperin made copies of the Paulhahn oboe in the Harnoncourt collection; these copies were soon in demand by leading players. Hailperin’s reconstructions of the Eichentopf oboe da caccia, based on two originals in Scandinavian museums, were the first modern copies to use a brass bell....

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

Allison A. Alcorn

(b Avington, PA, 14 May 1953). American maker of historical harps, lyres, and psalteries. Lewandowsi grew up surrounded by arts and crafts, and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a degree in philosophy and early music just as the early music movement in America was in full swing. While other historical instruments seemed in ready supply, early harps were not, and Lewandowski, largely self-taught, began making them herself in 1975, copying and reinterpreting models she studied in museums and iconography. In 1980 she moved her workshop from New York City to Vermont, where she continues to build instruments in Bellows Falls. Her harps range from small Romanesque and brass-strung Celtic types to four-octave 17th-century Iberian models; her six- and seven-string lyres are inspired by Anglo-Saxon prototypes, and her psalteries include simple trapezoidal models and more elaborate Trecento types. Initially, university early music programs made up much of her clientele, but nowadays, in addition to professional and amateur consort players, she notes a newer market among harpists involved with hospice or meditation work. As of ...

Article

Herbert Heyde

By ‘makers’ marks’ is meant here the practice of identifying the makers of Western instruments by means of marks, labels, brands, inscriptions, and other legible indications on the instruments. Marks of ownership and technical markings (such as serial and batch numbers) are not considered here.

In the 14th century European cities and guilds began requiring craft masters to identify their products with marks, with the objectives of promoting high quality and reducing fraud. In the 15th century this practice was extended to musical instruments when their production came under the aegis of the professional craft system. Some guilds included an article in their ordinances to require marking: the Guild of St Luke (Antwerp, 1557) for harpsichord makers, the ‘Pfeifenmacherzunft’ (fife makers guild) of Berchtesgaden (1581) for their masters, the ‘Handwerk’ of the brass and woodwind instrument makers in Nuremberg (1625, 1667). In 1563 the English Statute of Artificers decreed product marking but prohibited apprentices and assistants from signing work....

Article

(fl Barcelona, Spain, c1790–1825). Catalonian guitar maker, considered one of the most important luthiers of his period in Spain. He was probably a son of the luthier Francisco Matabosch, active in Barcelona during the second half of the 18th century. Although highly regarded by such performers as Dionisio Aguado and Fernando Sor (whose first guitar was reportedly built by Matabosch), he is survived by only one instrument (E.B.mi), dated 1815. It displays a combination of modern features (e.g. kerfed linings, and a raised fingerboard with 18 inlaid metal frets, overlapping the edge of the soundhole) and old-fashioned (e.g. six double courses; no fan struts; simulated wood fillet along the back, made of black paste). The three scalloped harmonic bars under the soundtable and two scalloped transverse bars across the back rest on forked props. The neck and head, ribs, and two-piece back are of cypress, the soundtable of spruce with the soundhole surrounded by three concentric fillets. See ...

Article

Laurence Libin

Apart from the dangers (cuts, burns, eye and muscle injury, dust inhalation, chemical toxicity, etc.) inherent in making instruments, playing and maintaining them also pose risks that belie the benign associations of music-making. When these risks are ignored, users and instrument technicians can suffer serious consequences. Musicians’ unions have drawn attention to health problems arising from performance conditions, and some medical doctors specialize in issues of concern to musicians; the Performing Arts Medical Association represents their interests in the USA. Physical therapists employ Alexander and Feldenkrais techniques among other corrective exercises aimed at improving performance functions. This article cites some typical occupational hazards, which range in severity from minor muscle strain to tooth displacement to permanently disabling accidents. For example, crushing injuries can result from unsafe moving of pianos, and a piano technician can lose an eye if a string breaks during restringing or tuning. Pipe organ technicians often work high within an organ’s case where, in old organs particularly, ladders, access boards, and pipe racks can give way, causing falls....

Article

Laurence Libin

(b Cambridge, MA, 8 March 1945). American ceramist, musician, and instrument maker. She holds a BA in English from the University of California at Berkeley and New York University (1967) and an MA in psychology from Pepperdine University (1972), but is largely self-taught in ceramic art. Her publications on musical acoustics and prehispanic ceramic instruments are based primarily on original research on mesoamerican examples, including work in Mexico supported by the National Endowment for the Arts (1980). In 2011 a Cultural Exchange International grant from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs enabled her to examine the Crossley-Holland collection of prehispanic West Mexican instruments at the University of Wales, Bangor.

Drawing on her experience of replicating and playing ancient clay flutes and studying their acoustics, Rawcliffe’s original ceramic instruments include single and multiple flutes, ocarinas, and whistles; harmonic, polyglobular, and chamberduct flutes; ‘whiffle’ ocarinas, trumpets, and ‘clay-doos’ (ceramic didjeridus). She also creates sound sculptures and performance-specific instruments, employing hand-building techniques such as pinching, coiling, extruding, and slab construction. Exploration of timbres and tunings is a major focus of her work, which ranges in size from small necklace ocarinas to large sculptures. She combines globular and tubular forms, puts rattles on bowls and ocarinas on cups, and makes ocarinas in fanciful vegetable or body part forms. The instruments are often colourful, with matt slips and shiny glaze touches. Rawcliffe’s flutes and sound sculptures have been exhibited widely, including at the American Museum of Ceramic Arts, Pomona, California; El Camino College, Torrance, California; Yerba Buena Museum, San Francisco; Winter Garden, New York City; and the Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC. Rawcliffe performs with her instruments, solo and in various ensembles....

Article

Christopher Brodersen

Lee

(b Montreal, Quebec, 9 Feb 1952). American oboist and maker of early oboes, based in Eugene, Oregon. She studied modern oboe with Alan Vogel at the California Institute of the Arts (1970–75) and privately with Marc Lifschey (1971–3). Her Baroque oboe teachers included Ku Ebbinge and Stephen Hammer. She served as an adjunct instructor of Baroque oboe at the University of Southern California School of Music. Taylor began making Baroque oboes in 1985, after receiving initial guidance from the flute maker Rod Cameron and coaching in wood turning from a furniture maker. Otherwise, she is self-taught in her craft. She offers Baroque oboes after Schlegel and J. Denner, an oboe d’amore after Poerschmann, and a Classical oboe after Delusse. By 2012 Taylor had completed about 30 instruments and was the only maker in the USA to offer an oboe d’amore based on Poerschmann’s original (at ...