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Article

Bill C. Malone

revised by Barry Mazor

[Chester Burton ]

(b nr Luttrell, TN, June 20, 1924, d Nashville, TN, June 30, 2001). American country-music guitarist and recording company executive. Although the first instrument he played professionally was the fiddle, he became internationally famous as a guitarist. Developed while he was in high school, his guitar style was influenced by Merle Travis, Les Paul, Django Reinhardt, and George Barnes and was characterized by the use of the thumb to establish a rhythm on the lower strings and multiple fingers to play melodic or improvisational passages on the higher strings, sometimes with complex voicings. In the early 1940s Atkins toured with Archie Campbell and Bill Carlisle playing both fiddle and guitar, and appeared with them on WNOX radio in Knoxville. He then toured with the second generation Carter Family as a sideman and in 1946 joined Red Foley. After beginning his association with the “Grand Ole Opry” he settled in Nashville in ...

Article

Laurence Libin

(Delmetia )

(b Coleman County, TX, March 18, 1899; d at sea nr Los Angeles, CA, March 30, 1941). American inventor of musical instruments. He was co-founder of the National Stringed Instrument Corporation and the Rickenbacker guitar company. He played the violin and the lap steel (‘Hawaiian’) guitar in vaudeville before settling in Los Angeles, where he worked with John and Rudy Dopyera to develop an acoustically amplified guitar, probably inspired by Stroh models. An early model with a Victrola horn failed, but trials using conical aluminium resonators within a metal guitar body (a prototype of the three-cone Dobro guitar) proved successful and attracted investors. Production of metal-body guitars under the name National soon involved Adolph Rickenbacker’s nearby tool and die shop.

From the mid-1920s Beauchamp also experimented with electrical amplification of guitars (including lap steel and bass guitars) and violins of unconventional shape, without normal resonators but using simple phonograph pickups. After his collaboration with the Dopyeras ended, in ...

Article

Carvin  

Matthew Hill

Firm of musical instrument manufacturers and distributors, primarily of electric guitars, amplifiers and sound-reinforcement equipment. The company was founded in 1946 in Los Angeles, California by Hawaiian guitarist Lowell C. Kiesel (b Eustis, NE, 22 Feb 1915; d San Diego, 28 Dec 2009) as the L.C. Kiesel Company. In the late 1940s the company relocated to Gothenburg, Nebraska. In 1949, Kiesel moved back to the Los Angeles area and renamed the company “Carvin,” after his two eldest sons Carson and Gavin. The company has relocated and expanded several times during its existence; to Baldwin Park in the early 1950s, Covina in 1956, Escondido in 1975, and to San Diego in 1995.

The company began by marketing electric guitar pickups of Kiesel’s design, but soon expanded to selling complete instruments (mostly Hawaiian guitars), and amplifiers. In 1954, the company began extensive mail-order sales, featuring Spanish and Hawaiian electric guitars, double-neck instruments, electric guitar kits, electronic components for musical instruments, and even accordions. At various times in the 1950s and 60s, catalogs featured not only the company’s own offerings, but instruments and accessories made by Fender, Martin, Bigsby, and DeArmond. In addition to consumer sales, Carvin also made electric guitar pickups for other manufacturers, notably those found in early Mosrite instruments....

Article

Casio  

Hugh Davies

Japanese electronic instrument manufacturer. Casio was founded in Tokyo about 1956 by Toshio Kashio as the Casio Computer Co., to make smaller electronic machines; it has been specially successful with its pocket calculators, digital watches and cash registers. Its first musical keyboard was marketed in 1980. Casio pioneered electronic keyboards designed for children. It has manufacturered organ-like home keyboards (since ...

Article

Allison A. Alcorn

(CAS)

Organisation established in Montclair, New Jersey, in 1963 to explore musical acoustics and to promote the practical application of scientific principles to the construction and restoration of instruments of the violin family. For example, members of the CAS pioneered methods for tuning the front and back plates of an instrument before assembly, and promoted the development of the so-called New violin family. Carleen M. Hutchins (1911–2009), a former high school science teacher who turned to acoustics research, founded the CAS along with Frederick A. Saunders, John C. Schelleng, and Robert E. Fryxell. At its peak in the early 1980s the CAS had about 800 members and subscribers. It sponsored public programs as well as international conferences (Mittenwald, 1989; Annapolis, 1991; Tokyo, 1992; Cromwell, CT, 1993; Paris, 1995; Ann Arbor, 1996; Edinburgh, 1997; Washington State, 1998). A primary contribution of the CAS has been its extensive collection of acoustics research files, now housed at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. The CAS merged with the Violin Society of America (VSA) in ...

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 1979. His background as a machinist led him to emphasize precise jigs and fixtures even when he was working out of a small single-car garage. Demand for Collings guitars, specifically for updated versions of Martin and Gibson flat-top styles from the 1930s, prompted his move to a 1,000-square-foot shop in 1989. Two woodworkers were hired, including Bruce Van Wart, who is still in charge of wood selection and top voicing on the firm’s acoustic guitars. By this time, production had increased to a level that allowed sales to a few retailers.

In late 1991 the company relocated to a much larger facility on the outskirts of Austin, and the number of Collings guitar models, and employees, began to grow. Bill Collings was one of the first flat-top guitar builders to offer fully carved arch-top models as well. These deluxe jazz guitars were quickly accepted as the equals of those from premier American builders, and they sold for similar prices; but only a few were completed each year. Collings was also one of the first small, independent guitar companies to incorporate CNC (computer numerical control) carving machines for building both guitar parts and the precise tooling to aid in their assembly, which is still done by hand. One of the signature differences between the Collings models and the Gibson and Martin originals that inspired them is that Collings uses an unglued bolted mortise and tenon neck joint, rather than a traditional dovetail....

Article

Laurence Libin

American manufacturer and brand of acoustic and electric guitars, other plucked string instruments, and electric guitar accessories. The company originated in 1873 in Smyrna, Turkey, where the Greek immigrant Kostantinos Stathopoulo opened a store selling and repairing string instruments. His son Anastasios opened an independent workshop about 1890. In 1903 Anastasios emigrated with his family to New York, where on 25 March 1909 he patented a bowl-back mandolin named the Orpheum Lyra. Two sons, Epaminondas (‘Epi’, b 1893) and Orpheus, joined him in the business, and when Anastasios died, in 1915, Epi took control and later patented a banjo tone ring and rim. Assuming ownership upon his mother’s death, in 1923, he introduced the Recording line of banjos. As business expanded, the family acquired the Farovan instrument plant in Long Island and in 1928 the incorporated firm became The Epiphone Banjo Corp. By that time Epiphone was making banjos for Selmer/Conn. To compete with their rival Gibson, Epiphone introduced their Recording series of acoustic guitars, both archtop and flat top, followed in ...

Article

Ian Mikyska

Czech string quartet, founded 1999. Its line-up has remained constant since its foundation: David Pokorný and Vladimír Klánský on violins, Vladimír Kroupa on viola, and Vít Petrášek on cello. Although classical repertoire remains central to their professional lives, the Epoque Quartet is remarkable for the breadth and professionalism of its ‘crossover’ work. The quartet has performed with the leading artists of Czech popular music, arranged world music from various traditions (most recently with the clarinettist Irvin Venyš for their CD Irvin_Epoque), and given the premières of over 80 pieces, the style of which ranges from rock- and jazz-influenced music to contemporary art music, mostly by Czech composers including Jan Kučera, Petr Wajsar, Jan Dušek, Gabriela Vermelho, and others.

Their open-mindedness and long-standing interest in various musical fields allows them to perform stylistically in a way classically-trained ensembles often find problematic, particularly in terms of rhythm, feeling, and energy when performing jazz- and rock-influenced repertoire....

Article

Erard  

Ann Griffiths and Richard Macnutt

French firm of piano and harp makers and music publishers.

Ann Griffiths

The firm was founded by Sébastien Erard (b Strasbourg, 5 April 1752; d La Muette, nr Passy, 5 Aug 1831), the fourth son of the church furniture maker Louis-Antoine Erard (b Delemond, Switzerland, 1685; d1758). As Sébastien Erard was only six years old when his father died, accounts of his having acquired his woodworking skills in his father's workshop cannot be substantiated. He was, however, brought up within a community of skilled artisans, with uncles, cousins, his godfather and older brother all being employed as joiners, cabinetmakers and gilders, for the most part in an ecclesiastical context. He may have known and worked with the younger Strasbourg-based members of the Silbermann dynasty.

Erard most probably arrived in Paris in 1768. The Duchesse de Villeroy (1731–1816) was an early patron, providing him with workshop premises at her mansion in the rue de Bourbon, and in ...

Article

Ian Mikyska

Czech string quartet. Founded in 2005 by the violinist David Danel, with the violinist Aki Kuroshima, the violist Daniel Trgina, and the cellist Balázs Adorján. In 2009 Ondřej Martinovský took over the viola seat, and in 2012, Roman Hranička joined the quartet as the second violinist. The quartet’s members are also colleagues in the Prague Philharmonic.

Fama regularly performs at all the major festivals for contemporary music in the Czech Republic, including Contempuls, Prague Spring, Ostrava Days, Exposition of New Music Brno, and MusicOlomouc. The quartet is also a regular fixture of several concert series, such as the Prague Philharmonic’s series Krása dneška (‘The Beauty of Today’) – with which they have been closely involved since the series began in 2004 – and, since 2011, at concerts hosted by the Umělecká beseda.

Fama has also toured internationally in Western and Eastern Europe, the US, Turkey, Israel, and elsewhere, and their artistic activities are closely linked to educational work, which includes workshops (at conservatories in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Turkey, Romania, etc.) and performances of pieces by students and composers of younger generations (at the Ostrava Days Festival and ISCM World New Music Days Košice, and in Bratislava and Vienna)....

Article

Hare  

William C. Smith

revised by Peter Ward Jones and David Hunter

English family of music publishers and violin makers. The business was founded by John Hare (d London, bur. 9 Sept 1725), who by July 1695 was established in London as a publisher. In August that year he acquired additional premises in London which he probably took over from John Clarke (the 11th edition of Youth’s Delight on the Flageolet, earlier editions of which had been issued by Clarke, was one of Hare’s first publications). He gave up these two premises for new ones in April 1706 and remained in business alone until December 1721. His son Joseph Hare (d London, bur. 17 July 1733) joined him in January 1722, and they published jointly until John’s death in September 1725. Joseph then carried on the business in his name, probably on behalf of his mother Elizabeth Hare (‘the elder’) (d Islington, London, bur. 8 July 1741...

Article

Hohner  

Hugh Davies and Christoph Wagner

German manufacturer of harmonicas, accordions, keyboard instruments and guitars. It was founded in 1857 in Trossingen by the clockmaker Matthias Hohner (b 1833; d Trossingen, 1903), who was not so much an innovator as a perfector of other people’s inventions, which he then marketed successfully. He learnt how to make his first harmonica after visiting a friend’s workshop. For almost half a century he focussed on this single product, which was exported to more than 100 countries around the world. The biggest market was the USA, which in 1890 absorbed more than 90% of the firm’s production. Hohner was the unrivalled market leader and the company name became almost synonymous with the harmonica (see Harmonica). After Matthias’s death his five sons took over the business. They began also to make accordions, and contributed greatly to their technical and musical advancement. The Hohner ‘Gola’ piano accordion, which is still produced, is seen by many as the ‘Stradivari’ of accordions. By the 1920s the company had become the world’s largest producer of musical instruments, employing a workforce of nearly 5000. In ...

Article

(Jap.: Hoshino Musical Instruments)

Japanese manufacturer of musical instruments. Matsujiro Hoshino founded the company in 1908 as a book and sheet music store (Hoshino Shoten) that from 1929, as Hoshino Gakki Ten, also sold guitars by Salvador Ibáñez imported from Spain. Under direction of Hoshino’s son Yoshitaro Hoshino, the company began manufacturing Ibanez-brand guitars in 1935, after Ibáñez’s workshop had been destroyed in the Spanish Civil War and the brand sold to Hoshino. In turn, the Japanese factory was destroyed in 1945, and in 1955 the Hoshino company moved to Nagoya. From that time most of their products were exported, including, from 1957, a line of newly-designed Ibanez guitars. Under Yoshitaro’s son, Junpei Hoshino, the company opened the Tama Seisakusho factory in 1962 to produce amplifiers and electric and acoustic guitars, including copies of classic American guitars that eventually led to lawsuits. Star-brand drums were added to the Tama product line in 1965, and from ...

Article

Arian Sheets

American manufacturer of bowed and fretted string instruments based in Columbus, OH. It is significant as one of the first factory-based producers of bowed string instruments to use machine carving for the fabrication of such components as the front, back, and scroll. An announcement was made in Music Trade Review (30 December 1916) that the Guldan Violin Company was established at 171 West Main St., the first known information about the company. Beginning in 1920 advertisements for Jackson-Guldan Violin Company appeared in The Violinist, some of which offered the production of violins for stencil, or secondary company, branding. Some such Jackson-Guldan instruments survive, notably with the decaled logos of music schools on the back, such as the First National Institute of Allied Arts, South Bend, IN, or with the paper label of Slingerland’s Correspondence School of Music, Chicago, the predecessor to the Slingerland Drum Company, inside the body. The establishment of this line of work was related to the end of the dominant supplies of mass-produced violins from Germany, Austria-Hungary, France, and Japan due to World War I. By the time that these foreign suppliers resumed exports to the United States, Jackson-Guldan was sufficiently established to compete with these larger-volume producers. Nevertheless, in the 1930s the company also produced toys in addition to musical instruments. Jackson-Guldan instruments were offered in various grades ranging from machine-carved and spray-finished student instruments to hand-finished examples which, unlike most foreign violins, were still handmade, although often of poor quality....

Article

Laurence Libin

[Kong Hsue Sheh]

Manufacturer and distributor of musical instruments, headquartered in Taiwan. The company, part of a conglomerate that also includes K. H. S. Investing Co., Ltd, K. H. S. Trading Co., K. H. S. Audio Co., Ltd, Aeolus Music Corp., and Musix Co., Ltd, was founded in 1930 by Chien-Chung Hsieh and his brothers in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The company, originally named Wan-Wu (‘everything available’), was renamed Kong Hsue Sheh (‘contribute to schools and society’) after World War II; it was registered in Taipei in 1950. K. H. S. has operations in Taiwan, Japan, China, the Netherlands, and the USA (Mt Juliet, Tennessee), and a worldwide distribution network for products ranging from motorcycles to wind and string instruments and drums, mostly of student grade. In 2010 the parent company of K. H. S. had about 4200 employees and declared corporate revenue of about US$590 million, some US$295 million from instrument production and sales. Among its brands is M. Hohner, of which K. H. S. bought a majority share in ...

Article

Martin Krivin

revised by Margaret Downie Banks

Firm of instrument makers. It was founded as the H.N. White Company (Cleveland) in 1893 by Henderson Nelson White (1873–1940), an instrument repairman, amateur musician, and businessman. White created the company’s first instrument, a trombone, in consultation with trombonist Thomas H. King (1868–1926), after whom the King line was named. The company was renamed King Musical Instruments in 1966.

Foster A. Reynolds (1884–1960) managed White’s factory and a full line of band instruments from 1903 to 1935. A department of acoustical research was established in 1909 in a new factory at 5225 Superior Avenue. Saxophone manufacture began in 1916, followed by the invention of the King saxello (1924; a straight soprano sax with a curved neck and half-turned bell) and the pioneering introduction of sterling silver bells on cornets, trumpets, and trombones. White purchased the Cleveland Musical Instrument Company (1925), added stringed instruments to his line (...

Article

Ian Mikyska

Composers’ collective and ensemble founded in Prague in 2002. Over the years, the organizing team has included a number of composers and instrumentalists, with the remaining core today being Tomáš Pálka[1], Michaela Plachká, and Ondřej Štochl[2].

Their programming includes canonical composers of the 20th century as well as younger artists. They hold a call for scores each year, and have presented a number of works by Czech composers of older generations (kopelent, slavický, smolka). Despite a general tendency towards quiet and contemplative aesthetics, they have also performed music by composers of the so-called New Complexity and from more standard post-avant-garde traditions, always with a view to creating a dynamic and compact programme.

Konvergence often collaborates with other ensembles on combined programmes with an unusually well thought out dramaturgy. Over the years, they have worked with ensembles such as Platypus, Adapter, the Fama Quartet, le concert impromptu, the Isang Yun Trio, and the Quasars Ensemble....

Article

Korg  

Hugh Davies

Japanese firm of electronic instrument manufacturers. It was founded in Tokyo in 1963 by Tsutomu Katoh and the accordion player Tadashi Osanai as Keio Geijutsu Kenkyujo. From 1968 the firm became known as Keio Electronic Laboratories; although they used the brand-name Korg (‘Katoh-Osanai organ’) on the products, this became the company's official name only in the mid-1980s. Keio began by constructing rhythm units for Yamaha's Electone electronic organs, then produced its own separate units, the Doncamatic rhythm machine followed by the MiniPops series. Korg soon became one of the most successful Japanese manufacturers of electronic instruments, and produced the first Japanese synthesizer in 1968. In 1986 Yamaha bought a 40% stake in Korg.

The range of Korg instruments has included monophonic and polyphonic synthesizers (such as the Polysix), synthesizer modules, electronic organs and pianos (many digital models), string synthesizers, home keyboards, electronic percussion units, guitar synthesizers, samplers, electronic tuners and a vocoder. Its most successful product has been the M1 work station (...

Article

Ian Mikyska

(b Olomouc, 3 May 1967). Czech violinist. Raised in a musical family, she studied at the People’s School of Art in Opava with Marcela Kuvíková, then at the Ostrava Conservatory with Vítězslav Kuzník and at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (AMU) with the professors Jiří Vlach, Jiří Novák, and Ivan Štraus. She also took part in master classes with Josef Gingold in Greensboro, NC and with Wolfgang Marschner in Weimar. In 1990 she received a scholarship to the International Menuhin Music Academy in Gstaad, Switzerland, where she studied with Alberto Lysy.

In 1997, she became a laureate of the Prague Spring International Violin Competition. She has also received the Gideon Klein Prize, the Bärenreiter Prize, the Supraphon Prize, the Prize of the City of Prague, and the Prague Spring Foundation Prize. In 2005 she represented the Czech Republic at the World Exhibition in Aichi, Japan, together with the Prague Philharmonic....

Article

John Thomas

Instrument makers of Swedish birth. From the late 1800s through the early 1940s Carl Johan Ferdinand Larson (b Sweden, 31 Dec 1867; d Chicago, IL, 4 Sept 1946) and (Peter) August Larson (b Sweden, 24 April 1873; d Chicago, IL, 16 June 1944) produced a wide array of fretted instruments, including guitars, mandolins, mandolas, mandocellos and mandobasses, ukuleles, tiples and mandolinettos, and harp guitars.

The brothers immigrated to Chicago in the late 1880s and worked at the Cubley Drum Factory until a fire destroyed it in 1892. They subsequently worked at Maurer Mandolin and Guitars, which was purchased by two outside investors in 1900. A few years later, the brothers bought out the investors.

In 1904, August received a patent for a design incorporating laminated bracing that strengthened their guitars, enabling the brothers to equip their instruments with steel strings a full two decades before C.F. Martin and Company. August received four more patents in his lifetime, including one for the steel rod system that ran lengthwise inside the Prairie State brand of guitars....