Spinett, Bartolomeo Cristofori, Museum für Musikinstrumente der Universität Leipzig, CC BY-NC-SA

Introduktion

I alla tider har instrumenttillverkare balanserat mellan respekt för traditionen och behovet av att experimentera. Detta har format musikinstrumenten, oavsett om det handlat om klang, material eller ergonomi. Instrumenten har anpassats utifrån tidens ideal och kompositörernas önskemål.

Vissa uppfinningar, t ex blåsinstrumentens ventiler och klaverinstrumentens klaviatur har vunnit bestående framgångar, medan andra aldrig fått den genomslagskraft som deras upphovsmän hade hoppats på.

På 1800-talet blev de akustiska lagarna en viktig faktor i instrumenttillverkningen. Vissa instrument uppfyllde inte tidens ideal och blev aldrig annat än prototyper. Liknande öde drabbade även många elektroniska musikinstrument under 1900-talet.

Även om musikaliska kvalitéer och repertoar spelar en viktig roll, är också användarvänlighet, kostnad och underhåll viktiga parametrar.

Demilune trumpet, early 19th century , Anonymous, [A natural trumpet made in half-moon shape so that the player's hand can be placed in the bell in playing to lower the pitch of the natural notes.], University of Edinburgh, CC BY-NC-SA
Demilune trumpet, early 19th century , Anonymous, [A natural trumpet made in half-moon shape so that the player's hand can be placed in the bell in playing to lower the pitch of the natural notes.], University of Edinburgh, CC BY-NC-SA

Ovanliga storlekar

Utvecklingen till dagens instrument har pågått under decennier av arbete.

Om ett instruments tonhöjd styrdes av dess storlek, har även ergonomi och andra faktorer spelat en avgörande roll vid tillverkning och design.

När konsertverksamheten blev offentlig krävdes allt större konsertsalar och ljudstarkare instrument. Tillverkarna experimenterade med instrument som spände från djupaste bas till högsta diskant, vilket innebar ovanliga instrumentstorlekar. Dessa spekulativa instrument exponerades flitigt, framför allt på 1800-talets industriutställningar. Men instrumenten var ofta tillverkade utan hänsyn till spelbarheten, som gjorde att de fick en kort livstid.

Octobasse , Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume, [This gigantic instrument, almost 3.50m high, is the most spectacular achievement of Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume (1798-1875), whose workshop dominated the development and manufacture of bowed string instruments in the mid nineteenth century. Berlioz was one of the few composers to write for the instrument. Most notably it was used during the performance of his Te Deum at the inaugural concert of the Exposition Universelle, held in Paris in 1855. The octobass didn't descend more than a third below the double bass of the time but it had a much more powerful sound.], Cité de la musique, CC BY-NC-SA
Octobasse , Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume, [This gigantic instrument, almost 3.50m high, is the most spectacular achievement of Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume (1798-1875), whose workshop dominated the development and manufacture of bowed string instruments in the mid nineteenth century. Berlioz was one of the few composers to write for the instrument. Most notably it was used during the performance of his Te Deum at the inaugural concert of the Exposition Universelle, held in Paris in 1855. The octobass didn't descend more than a third below the double bass of the time but it had a much more powerful sound.], Cité de la musique, CC BY-NC-SA
Büchsentrompete , Günther Kühnel, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, CC BY-NC-SA
Büchsentrompete , Günther Kühnel, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, CC BY-NC-SA
Trompe de chasse contrebasse, 1900  , Millereau, [The unusual feature of this natural horn is its unbroken tube length of over nine metres. It is pitched in 28-ft D. It was intended to add a deep notes to an ensemble of French hunting horns (trompes de chasse).], University of Edinburgh, CC BY-NC-SA
Trompe de chasse contrebasse, 1900 , Millereau, [The unusual feature of this natural horn is its unbroken tube length of over nine metres. It is pitched in 28-ft D. It was intended to add a deep notes to an ensemble of French hunting horns (trompes de chasse).], University of Edinburgh, CC BY-NC-SA

Ovanliga former

I alla tider har byggarna utvecklat instrumenten för att bli så ergonomiska som möjligt utifrån de musikaliska kriterierna. Det estetiska har också spelat en stor roll som inspirationskälla både för musiker och åhörare. Allt detta har gradvis utvecklat instrumenten till deras nutida klang och form.

Önskan att utmärka sig som tillverkare, att tillföra tekniska förbättringar och nya klanger, har sporrat instrumentbyggarna till att skapa nya, ovanliga former på sina instrument. Idag kan dessa instrument vara mycket eftertraktade av samlare runt om i världen.

Violino-Harpa, 1873, Zach Thomas, Cité De La Musique, In Copyright
Violino-Harpa, 1873, Zach Thomas, Cité De La Musique, In Copyright
Spinett, 1693, Bartolomeo Cristofori, [The unique instrument is a fantastic example of the creative powers of Bartolomeo Cristofori and was made a few years before his invention of the pianoforte. It blends ingenious design and technical solutions with virtually unsurpassable craftsmanship. With this instrument, he managed to combine the benefits of the harpsichord (use of a double course, long bass scale) with the more intimate shape of a spinet in a visually pleasing form. Cristofori only built two known models of this type, a harpsichord in 1690 and the instrument described here in 1693. Both instruments were made for Ferdinand de Medici, the eldest son of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III. de Medici.], Museum für Musikinstrumente der Universität Leipzig, CC BY-NC-SA
Spinett, 1693, Bartolomeo Cristofori, [The unique instrument is a fantastic example of the creative powers of Bartolomeo Cristofori and was made a few years before his invention of the pianoforte. It blends ingenious design and technical solutions with virtually unsurpassable craftsmanship. With this instrument, he managed to combine the benefits of the harpsichord (use of a double course, long bass scale) with the more intimate shape of a spinet in a visually pleasing form. Cristofori only built two known models of this type, a harpsichord in 1690 and the instrument described here in 1693. Both instruments were made for Ferdinand de Medici, the eldest son of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III. de Medici.], Museum für Musikinstrumente der Universität Leipzig, CC BY-NC-SA
Double-bell euphonium, 1913, Buescher, [The fifth valve switches the windway to the smaller bell, allowing the player to change from the sound of a euphonium to something like the sound of a trombone.], University of Edinburgh, CC BY-NC-SA
Double-bell euphonium, 1913, Buescher, [The fifth valve switches the windway to the smaller bell, allowing the player to change from the sound of a euphonium to something like the sound of a trombone.], University of Edinburgh, CC BY-NC-SA

Innovativ mekanik

Musikinstrument besitter många olika sorters mekanik - att tillföra luft i orgelpipor, få klaverinstrumentens plektrum och hammare att slå an strängen, mekanik som möjliggör finstämning för gitarrer och violiner ...

Genom åren har instrumenttillverkarna visat en enastående uppfinningsrikedom i att utveckla lösningar som gjort det möjligt att spela på alltmer välstämda och lättspelade instrument. Under 1800-talet utvecklades t ex blåsinstrumenten med ventiler och Boehm-mekanik.

En del tillverkare blev inspirerade av de nyupptäckta akustiska lagarna och uppfann instrument som var tekniskt mycket avancerade. Vissa var för radikala i sin design och blev aldrig den succé som tillverkaren hoppats på.

Likembe with pick up element, Kabongo Tshisense, [Electric bass likembe in the tradition of the Luba people (Kasai - DR Congo) and used by the Kasai Allstars, the famous musical collective based in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The likembe is made from a wooden board to which staggered metal keys are attached.], Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, CC BY-NC-SA
Likembe with pick up element, Kabongo Tshisense, [Electric bass likembe in the tradition of the Luba people (Kasai - DR Congo) and used by the Kasai Allstars, the famous musical collective based in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The likembe is made from a wooden board to which staggered metal keys are attached.], Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, CC BY-NC-SA
Set of vessel flutes/pigeonpipe, 1905, Unknown, [This odd looking instrument has an even more curious purpose, as it is a pipe that is fastened to a pigeon's back and which produces a whistling sound when the bird flies. The custom originates in ancient China. It is thought that the birds with whistles were used to keep flocks of domestic pigeons together and to deter hawks and other predators.], Ethnologisches Museum, Berlin, CC BY-NC-SA
Set of vessel flutes/pigeonpipe, 1905, Unknown, [This odd looking instrument has an even more curious purpose, as it is a pipe that is fastened to a pigeon's back and which produces a whistling sound when the bird flies. The custom originates in ancient China. It is thought that the birds with whistles were used to keep flocks of domestic pigeons together and to deter hawks and other predators.], Ethnologisches Museum, Berlin, CC BY-NC-SA
Trombone à pistons, 1876, Adolphe Sax, [The trombone with seven bells, designed by Adolphe Sax, is as much a piece of sculpture as a musical instrument. In fact, it is simply the logical conclusion of applying the principle of one air column for each fundamental note. With Sax's invention, the trombone slide was no longer necessary, as each valve corresponds to a slide position.], Musical Instruments Museum, Brussels, CC BY-NC-SA
Trombone à pistons, 1876, Adolphe Sax, [The trombone with seven bells, designed by Adolphe Sax, is as much a piece of sculpture as a musical instrument. In fact, it is simply the logical conclusion of applying the principle of one air column for each fundamental note. With Sax's invention, the trombone slide was no longer necessary, as each valve corresponds to a slide position.], Musical Instruments Museum, Brussels, CC BY-NC-SA