Harpsichord Red, Ioannes Ruckers, University of Edinburgh , CC BY-NC-SA

Inleiding

Er bestaat een brede waaier van muziekinstrumentenbouwers, gaande van individuele bouwers die af en toe een instrument bouwen tot fabrieken met honderden werknemers. In de regel zijn het de kleine ateliers, bestaande uit een zaakvoerder (die zijn naam aan de firma geeft), een klein aantal bekwame bedienden en één of twee leerlingen, die de meest gewaardeerde muziekinstrumenten op de markt brengen. In dergelijke kleine ateliers houdt de eigenaar zich bezig met de verkoop en controleert of stuurt hij de vormgeving en de afwerking.

Grotere firma’s komen gemakkelijker tot een werkverdeling, waarbij alleen de meest bekwame stafleden gespecialiseerde taken op zich nemen. Grotere firma’s kunnen daardoor efficiënter werken dan kleine, maar zijn minder aangepast om in te spelen op de behoeften van individuele musici. Sommige grote firma’s laten onderdelen aanmaken door onderaannemers.

De term “luthier" wordt gewoonlijk gebruikt voor bekwame individuele instrumentenbouwers en voor het hoofd van kleine ateliers, in het bijzonder van snaarinstrumenten.

Sommige instrumentenbouwers werden beroemd door de uitstekende muzikale kwaliteit van hun muziekinstrumenten en door hun vakmanschap, anderen staan vooral bekend om hun uitvindingen en vernieuwingen in de design.

Trompettes droites, 1879, Adolphe Sax, [These trumpets come from the brass band of the Paris Opera which was directed by the inventor and maker Adolphe Sax from 1847 to 1892. They were specially made for first French performances of Verdi's opera Aïda in 1876 at the Theatre des Italiens and in 1880 and the Opéra de Paris. These trumpets were designed to comply with the wishes of Verdi, who wanted the instruments on stage to be look like ancient natural trumpets, with the valves hidden as far as possible.], Cité de la musique / Albert Giordan MIMO, CC BY-NC-SA
Trompettes droites, 1879, Adolphe Sax, [These trumpets come from the brass band of the Paris Opera which was directed by the inventor and maker Adolphe Sax from 1847 to 1892. They were specially made for first French performances of Verdi's opera Aïda in 1876 at the Theatre des Italiens and in 1880 and the Opéra de Paris. These trumpets were designed to comply with the wishes of Verdi, who wanted the instruments on stage to be look like ancient natural trumpets, with the valves hidden as far as possible.], Cité de la musique / Albert Giordan MIMO, CC BY-NC-SA

Stradivari

Antonio Stradivari (1644 - 1737) is waarschijnlijk de meest beroemde vioolbouwer en zijn muziekinstrumenten (die nog vaak in gebruik zijn) halen de hoogste prijzen op veilingen. Ook al is hij het meest bekend voor instrumenten van de vioolfamilie, toch vervaardigde hij ook talrijke gamba’s, gitaren, mandolines en harpen. Er is weinig geweten over hoe hij zijn zaak leidde en hoeveel ambachtslui hij in dienst had, maar zelfs met zijn hoge leeftijd had hij nooit in zijn eentje al die muziekinstrumenten kunnen bouwen die zijn label dragen.

Stradivari werd geboren in Cremona, Italië, en werkte daar zijn hele leven. Het zou kunnen dat hij bij Nicolò Amati in de leer is gegaan.

Stradivari's succes, zowel tijdens zijn leven als daarna, kan toegeschreven worden aan (a) een trefzeker oordeel over de klank bij het ontwerpen van muziekinstrumenten om te voldoen aan de noden van de muzikanten en (b) aan het invoeren van de hoogste normen voor kwaliteitscontrole.

Hoewel de design van de muziekinstrumenten van Stradivari vooruit liep op de noden die later werden geformuleerd, toch vond het men in de late 18e en vroege 19e eeuw nodig om zijn muziekinstrumenten om te bouwen zodat zij zouden voldoen aan de vraag naar een grotere dynamiek en een meer virtuoze speelwijze. Slechts enkele van zijn muziekinstrumenten kwamen ongewijzigd tot ons. 

Violoncello, 1690, Antonio Stradivari, [Stradivari adopted several models and sizes for his cellos during his activity. This instrument is one of the only three that survive with the original very large proportions that he adopted in his early production. The large size of the soundbox allowed a deeper tone in the bass, and was later abandoned probably due to innovations in the making of strings.It was made in 1690 as a gift to Grand Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici (1663-1713), and was part of quintet formed by two violins (one surviving in Rome, Accademia di S. Cecilia), an alto viola (now in Washington, Library of Congress) and a tenor viola (Florence, Collezione Cherubini).A rare early document survives about the sound of this instrument: it is a letter written as soon as the instruments were delivered stating that «all the virtuosi [of the gran-ducal court] […] are of the same mind in approving them as perfect, but above all speaking of the violoncello they frankly confess they have never heard a more pleasing or more sonorous one.], Galleria dell'Accademia Dipartimento degli strumenti Musicali, Firenze, CC BY-NC-SA
Violoncello, 1690, Antonio Stradivari, [Stradivari adopted several models and sizes for his cellos during his activity. This instrument is one of the only three that survive with the original very large proportions that he adopted in his early production. The large size of the soundbox allowed a deeper tone in the bass, and was later abandoned probably due to innovations in the making of strings.It was made in 1690 as a gift to Grand Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici (1663-1713), and was part of quintet formed by two violins (one surviving in Rome, Accademia di S. Cecilia), an alto viola (now in Washington, Library of Congress) and a tenor viola (Florence, Collezione Cherubini).A rare early document survives about the sound of this instrument: it is a letter written as soon as the instruments were delivered stating that «all the virtuosi [of the gran-ducal court] […] are of the same mind in approving them as perfect, but above all speaking of the violoncello they frankly confess they have never heard a more pleasing or more sonorous one.], Galleria dell'Accademia Dipartimento degli strumenti Musicali, Firenze, CC BY-NC-SA
Guitare, 1711?, Antonio Stradivari, [This guitar came from the workshop of the great violin maker Stradivari in Cremona in 1711. It is similar in form to other Cremonese guitars, and follows the surviving paper patterns used in Stradivari’s workshop. It is a significant example of the aesthetic developed by Stradivari in the field of plucked string instruments. It is lightly built of cypress wood, with a deep sound particularly suitable for accompaniment.] , Cité de la musique / Albert Giordan MIMO, CC BY-NC-SA
Guitare, 1711?, Antonio Stradivari, [This guitar came from the workshop of the great violin maker Stradivari in Cremona in 1711. It is similar in form to other Cremonese guitars, and follows the surviving paper patterns used in Stradivari’s workshop. It is a significant example of the aesthetic developed by Stradivari in the field of plucked string instruments. It is lightly built of cypress wood, with a deep sound particularly suitable for accompaniment.] , Cité de la musique / Albert Giordan MIMO, CC BY-NC-SA
Violino piccolo, Antonio Stradivari, [The body of the beautiful instrument bears typical characteristics of Stradivari's master hand, e. g. the form of the f-holes. Bottom and ribs are made of sycamore, the table is made of spruce. The neck, which is too long in comparison to the body, the fingerboard and the lower part of the pegbox are renewed, however, the scroll is probably original.], Museum für Musikinstrumente der Universität Leipzig, CC BY-NC-SA
Violino piccolo, Antonio Stradivari, [The body of the beautiful instrument bears typical characteristics of Stradivari's master hand, e. g. the form of the f-holes. Bottom and ribs are made of sycamore, the table is made of spruce. The neck, which is too long in comparison to the body, the fingerboard and the lower part of the pegbox are renewed, however, the scroll is probably original.], Museum für Musikinstrumente der Universität Leipzig, CC BY-NC-SA

Ruckers

Ruckers is een familie van Antwerpse klavierbouwers die wijd en zijd blijvende roem oogstten. De eerste muziekinstrumentenbouwer in de familie was Hans Ruckers (1540s - 1598) die zowel klavecimbels als orgels boude. Zijn zoon, Joannes Ruckers (1578 - 1642) werd eveneens een klavecimbel en orgelbouwer, en samen met zijn Andreas Ruckers I (1579 - post 1645) sloot hij een partnerschap om de zaak van hun vader over te nemen bij diens overlijden. Joannes werd enige eigenaar in 1608. Zijn neef Joannes Couchet kwam in zijn atelier werken rond 1627 en nam het na zijn dood over. Andreas Ruckers II (1607 - ante 1667) was de zoon van Andreas Ruckers I. De leden van de Ruckers familie opereerden internationaal en boden hun modellen aan op de Franse en de Britse markt. Hun instrumenten werden blijvend gewaardeerd omwille van hun akoestische kwaliteiten en hun design en voor de hoge kwaliteit van het vakmanschap. Hun roem was zo groot dat zij niet alleen werd nagebouwd, maar ook verkocht als echte Ruckers instrumenten. Wanneer in de 18e eeuw de muzikale noden veranderden, werden Ruckers klavecimbels omgebouwd tot instrumenten met een grotere toonomvang.

Clavecin à double clavier combiné à un virginal, 1619, Ioannes Ruckers, [One of the most curious instruments to have come out of the Ruckers workshop is undoubtedly this harpsichord with virginal. The rectangular sound-box houses both a two-manual harpsichord and a small virginal that is set on the curved side of the larger instrument. In accordance with Ruckers family tradition, the sides of the box are decorated with printed strips of paper and with depictions of sea horses, as well as stylized motifs.], Musical Instruments Museum, Brussels, In Copyright
Clavecin à double clavier combiné à un virginal, 1619, Ioannes Ruckers, [One of the most curious instruments to have come out of the Ruckers workshop is undoubtedly this harpsichord with virginal. The rectangular sound-box houses both a two-manual harpsichord and a small virginal that is set on the curved side of the larger instrument. In accordance with Ruckers family tradition, the sides of the box are decorated with printed strips of paper and with depictions of sea horses, as well as stylized motifs.], Musical Instruments Museum, Brussels, In Copyright
Virginal, Ioannes Ruckers, [In a former restoration the compass was extended to C-c3 chromatically (49 keys). When the museum acquired the instrument, the compass was restored to the original with short octave C/E-c3 (45 keys). The original left part of the front and a part of the soundboard have been lost and have been replaced. The gilt rose shows a harp-playing angel between the letters “I R”.], Musikmuseet, Stockholm, CC BY-NC-SA
Virginal, Ioannes Ruckers, [In a former restoration the compass was extended to C-c3 chromatically (49 keys). When the museum acquired the instrument, the compass was restored to the original with short octave C/E-c3 (45 keys). The original left part of the front and a part of the soundboard have been lost and have been replaced. The gilt rose shows a harp-playing angel between the letters “I R”.], Musikmuseet, Stockholm, CC BY-NC-SA
Harpsichord Red, Ruckers, Ioannes Apart from the soundboard and perhaps the lid, the decoration dates from various periods after 1637. The painting on the wrestplank and the treble part of the soundboard is modern. The outside of the case, the keywell and the soundwell above the soundboard are decorated with English eighteenth-century lacquer work with a vermilion red ground and gold-coloured bronze powder vinework decoration. The latter has been highlighted with pen work and sepia wash. The inside of the lid flap has an anonymous seventeenth-century Flemish painting of St Cecilia playing the organ 1637, University of Edinburgh , CC BY-NC-SA
Harpsichord Red, Ruckers, Ioannes Apart from the soundboard and perhaps the lid, the decoration dates from various periods after 1637. The painting on the wrestplank and the treble part of the soundboard is modern. The outside of the case, the keywell and the soundwell above the soundboard are decorated with English eighteenth-century lacquer work with a vermilion red ground and gold-coloured bronze powder vinework decoration. The latter has been highlighted with pen work and sepia wash. The inside of the lid flap has an anonymous seventeenth-century Flemish painting of St Cecilia playing the organ 1637, University of Edinburgh , CC BY-NC-SA

Sax

Adolphe Sax (1814-1894) is meest bekend als de uitvinder van de saxofoon. Een compleet nieuw muziekinstrument uitvinden dat ook nog succes heeft is verre van gewoon!

Antoine-Joseph Sax werd in Dinant (België) geboren en nam later de naam Adolphe aan. Zijn vader, Charles-Joseph Sax, was een belangrijk muziekinstrumentenbouwer maker. Hij studeerde klarinet en fluit in Brussel. Zijn eerste belangrijke uitvinding was een verbeterde basklarinet die hij op 24-jarige leeftijd patenteerde; al snel volgde zijn bemoeienis met de saxofoon familie en het patent daarvan legde hij neer in 1846. In 1842 Sax verhuisde Sax naar Paris en startte er een blaasinstrumentenfabriek. Hij ging door met zijn uitvindingen en patenteerde die ook: veel ervan hadden betrekking op koperen blaasinstrumenten. Zijn saxhoorns werden wijd en zijd gebruikt in amateursensembles en militaire kapellen in Frankrijk en Groot-Brittannië. In Frankrijk stonden de gevestigde muziekinstrumentenbouwers vijandig tegenover de ambitieuze Sax, en hij haalde zich een hele reeks processen op de hals. Het grote discussiepunt daarbij was te weten of zijn koperen blaasinstrumenten voldoende origineel waren om door patenten te worden beschermd.

Sax was eerder succesvol als uitvinder dan als zaakvoerder: zijn zaak floreerde tijdens de perioden waarin hij overheidscontracten kon binnenrijven voor legermuziekinstrumenten, maar hij leed sterk onder de namaak van zijn uitvindingen: hij ging drie keer failliet en stierf arm.

Sopransaxophon, Adolphe Sax Company, [Although Adolphe Sax is best known for his patent for the Saxophone in 1846 the instrument's importance for the lower voices of military music, he conceived the saxophone family in sizes from sub-contrabass up to soprano. Today, with the sopranino saxophone and the "Soprillo", there are two even smaller sizes. The instrument shown here represents the smallest size conceived by Sax himself. While Sax attributed to the saxophones a sound close to bowed string instruments, but much louder, Belioz characterised the sound as penetrating, but without the shrill timbre of small clarinets.], Germanisches Nationalmuseum. Foto: Günther Kühnel, CC BY-NC-SA
Sopransaxophon, Adolphe Sax Company, [Although Adolphe Sax is best known for his patent for the Saxophone in 1846 the instrument's importance for the lower voices of military music, he conceived the saxophone family in sizes from sub-contrabass up to soprano. Today, with the sopranino saxophone and the "Soprillo", there are two even smaller sizes. The instrument shown here represents the smallest size conceived by Sax himself. While Sax attributed to the saxophones a sound close to bowed string instruments, but much louder, Belioz characterised the sound as penetrating, but without the shrill timbre of small clarinets.], Germanisches Nationalmuseum. Foto: Günther Kühnel, CC BY-NC-SA
Bassklarinette, 1842, Charles-Joseph, Adolphe Sax, [Bass clarinet made of three parts, the upper part and the bell made of brass, the middle part of boxwood. The instrument has 14 (+7) brass keys but traces on the middle part show that some keys have been moved. The instrument is an experimental piece and possibly a prototype for the version introduced into military bands in 1845, which were manufactured entirely from brass.], Museum für Musikinstrumente der Universität Leipzig, CC BY-NC-SA
Bassklarinette, 1842, Charles-Joseph, Adolphe Sax, [Bass clarinet made of three parts, the upper part and the bell made of brass, the middle part of boxwood. The instrument has 14 (+7) brass keys but traces on the middle part show that some keys have been moved. The instrument is an experimental piece and possibly a prototype for the version introduced into military bands in 1845, which were manufactured entirely from brass.], Museum für Musikinstrumente der Universität Leipzig, CC BY-NC-SA