“Problematic” Music I Can’t Help But Love

Folk Fiddles and Rattlesnake Rattles

The place of the violin in the hills of Appalachia and on the plains of Texas, and along many points in between, is one of great cultural richness. Before electronically recorded music, the fiddle was perhaps the only source of music available to the common man. There may not have been a “name” violin maker in Kentucky, no Stradivarius in South Carolina, and no fine cellos or violas made in Tennessee. But whether through roaming Roma (gypsy) troupes and merchants, or later from the Sears catalogue, those fiddles found their way to the churches, dancehalls, schools and barns of the old South. And people danced.

An Overview of American Violinmaking Schools

Luthiers practice a craft that derives from the old schools of Italy, Germany and France, but several schools for stringed instrument making are in the US. Despite the omnipresence of manufactured violins from China, despite the decades of skills development that luthiers must have before becoming a “name” violin maker, and regardless of the intense tedium required of the craft, there still are people who wish to and eventually love making fine violins, violas and cellos. Indeed, accomplished and aspiring violinists, cellists, bassists and violists will…

The Suzuki Method Approach to Learning Violin

An accomplished Japanese violinist studying in Germany was frustrated that children could learn the language faster than adults. But it birthed an idea. Children learn to speak before they are able to read. So should beginner violinists learn how to create music before they are able to read music?

The Lowdown on the Viola Da Gamba

Not one instrument but a family, this cousin of the violin and cello has a rich history in early music – and a future in contemporary music as well. It isn’t a simple matter to find a viola da gamba for sale or a violin maker who crafts them. They are rare and fascinating.

Mittenwald, Germany: The Center of German Violinmaking

It’s a tiny town with a big claim in fine stringed instruments. The Klotz family started it a long time ago and today’s luthiers still learn their craft there. When tourists travel to Germany, must-visit cities are Hamburg, Munich, Berlin and Frankfurt.

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