On Sun, 17 Feb 2008 14:26:22 -0500, Peter W Redstone wrote:
> This brings me to a very intersting point. How closely should one
> copy an old instrument? As far as I am concerned, if the resulting
> instrument is unstable to the point of being unusable, the original
> maker will not be blamed, but _I_ will be!!!!
true and rightly so. not every old instrument is a good instrument -
far from it. Beginners exacusably are bound to make bad choises.
Academia is notorious for doing so. People our age and experience have
> Look at the Handel
> House instrument! I am quite sure that had I made such an
> instrument, I would have framed it in a manner that I KNOW will
> behave itself (without my departing from the norm of early 18th
> century English framing).
which is part of what I mean...
> After all, what tonal difference will the
> inclusion of a couple of upper-level braces make? Very little if any
That depends greatly on the original design. In a Ruckers, a profound
difference to the worse unless the second set of 8' strings is added as
well, e.g. like the builder who modified the Marquise de Sade did. He
understood exactly what to do. But he was not making a "copy." Just
gluing in the upper braces without adding any makes an audible
> - and the resultant instrument will be far more stable and usable.
but not a copy and that brings up the original point. I would go so
far as to say that maybe only 50% of the extant hpschds are worth
copying and even fewer really good instruments, e.g. musical
instruments in the the strictest sene, not just sound makers, however
glorious that initial sound would appear to be. There are several of
those amoung the extant instrumnts as well.
The choice of good and bad is ours - Academia cannot do that by and
large since it does not, cannot have the experience necessary; Ian
Pleeth got an original Trasuntino at Sotheby's for very little because
the "powers that be" had declared it a fake. We all know what Beurmann
got 'cause those "powers" reassured him... Members of Academia such as
Tilman, with much experience doing dirty work after growing up under
the workbbench as well as being a very good player are few and far
For "copies of what is in the end unworthy junk we must take the entire
blame. And making a better instrument that that particular original,
which is not at all difficult is much worse. THe armada of so-called
Walther copies comes to mind. It is falsifying history, creating a
monster, and that is inexcusable. Most so-called Dulcken copies are
another case in point. Whereas almost all Walther copies are better or
vastly better than the original, with Dulckens it is the otherway
round. Walther gets the credit due to the builder who made a piano out
of it while Dulcken gets the blame for the f---kups the builder made,
not beginning to understand the original design.
If we - Peter, I, any of the builders - call the thing his own design
or like Schuetze with his Mephistos, simply a german (english,
italian...) hpschd, then fine. And of course take the credit where due.
And the blame, too.
We, the modern builders, Peter and I and Owen John and..., are always
to blame, either for not doing it right, or, worse, for not
understanding, seeing that it cannot be done right. I that case, we
have no right whatsoever to call ourselves builders. What implications
that has on the kit scene each of us can think out for himself.
> A guy who has one of my instruments after the 1720 brass-strung
> Hancock tells me that he can move it in his van to a location - and
> not have to tune it at all other than touching up a few notes in the
> extreme treble when he gets there
Which is fine and also true basically of all really good designs,
Ruckers in particular.
That covers design parameters only: when I was a high school student,
the UofM Pro Musica came the Oakland campus to give a concert sometime
around Xmas. While unloading on the snow-covered parking lot, they
dropped the small Challis onto the ground. It didn't fall all that
hard since it fell on the snow but still. Inside, they wiped it off and
put it on stage. For the concert, no tuning was necessary. John related
this story and others as well, but I know this one is true, 'cause I
Says a lot about design per se. But I am pretty sure I am about the
only member on this list who actually likes a Challis or even considers
it a hpschd.
OTOH, abrupt changes in temp/humid. throw a Bach Modell way out of wack
without being moved so much as an inch. Despite being built like brick
privy, it is about as stable as a lean-to.
AT Trossingen one of my Ruckers copies was dropped. The SB craked the
entire length along the spine, the spine itself cracked as well, but
the thing was still at pitch and playable. Mine are amoung the only
so-called copies that are copies, nothing changed, no extra notes, no
second 8', nothing except the paint job. That is Ruckers' design which
cannot be improved.
It is like the difference between an italian and and english motorcycle
of the 50ies. The italians (not all here, too) will have a design to
drool over, breathtaking, while the typical english will be
breathtaking as well, breathtaking bad. Both work, the italian usually
better because the good design tends to compensate for the poor quality
while with the english it is the opposite: the italians work because of
the design, the english despite the design. Kind of true of hpschds,
blame where blame is due - and praise, too. Choosing a bad instrument
as a model is only excusable once at best, at our age, not at all.
Reengineering it and still calling it a copy is not excusable.
end of my rant.