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date: 16 July 2020


  • Robert L. Barclay
  •  and John R. Watson


Term embracing all efforts to preserve culturally significant objects. (For a discussion of the preservation of skills and traditions, see Sustainability.) Conservation of musical instruments can include examining their condition; documenting their physical and acoustical characteristics; intervening to stabilise, maintain, or restore them; and taking measures to prevent damage and retard deterioration. Conservators aim to preserve instruments as historical documents embodying evidence of design, construction, and function. This approach is sometimes balanced with restoration and maintenance for continuing use. Like all implements used continually over long periods, instruments can pass through phases of wear and repair, changes in fashion, and, in the case of those being restored to presumed previous states, changes in approach and methodology brought about by continuing research and experimentation. The practice of conservation involves a multifaceted approach to the many, often competing, demands placed upon instruments as historical documents and working objects. Further, reliable authentication often involves conservation skills....

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Early Music
Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society