Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Musical Time-warp

It is quite common for me to have a visit from someone who has recently inherited an old relic or two that has been stored away in a shed, or under a bed. These are almost always violins that grandfather or great-grandfather used to play in the days before the wireless, the television or the computer. It was common for the man of the house to play a violin, and the woman to play the piano, and for the family to gather together to create their own entertainment and to sing. These things didn't require much in the way of lighting or space, and after the initial purchase they cost very little to use.
This is a half sized violin that came in to-day. It hasn't been played since before World War Two. It was made in Germany before the First War- before the great Empires so carelessly threw their children into the contest for the balance of power in Europe.
It will be a pleasure to bring this little fiddle back to life for the great grand-daughter of the man who learned to play on it. She will learn to entertain herself and others on it in the same way he did, and in doing so she will be in intimate contact, every day, with an artefact that he held and struggled with and drew pleasure from. It's on a par with inheriting a cherished tool in my estimation- to use something that has been used by someone you are connected to.
This violin will need very little done to it structurally, but will need new pegs, sound post, tailpiece and tail gut as well as strings and a new cut bridge. It's varnish will need careful restoration to respect the life and the wear it has had, but to make that patina a badge of honour rather than of neglect.
The girl will find learning to play quite hard, and there will be times when she won't want to practise, and she may even give up before she makes a nice noise, but she has an opportunity to undertake a really wholesome journey that could bring joy to herself and others for decades. The instrument is capable of repeating the process with her children too.
I might add photos of the finished job when it's done.

1 comment:

  1. Photo's would be great!

    In times of plastic fantastic...and disposability...it is so wonderful to hear stories like this,, stories that remind you, that you can feel rooted to something...and that you can feel connected