Wednesday, July 10, 2019

David Beard: 'Cremona Revival' – Instrument Maker & Researcher –

David Beard
'Cremona Revival'
 – Instrument Maker & Researcher 

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I grew up knowing that the wonderful string players who inspired me on stage and in their recordings most all played beautiful historic instruments from the Old Italian traditions of making.   As I learned to play, here and there I would get moments to see and hear such instruments up close, and once in a rare while to try them. In a very direct way, I could feel a powerful difference in the beauty and impact of these instruments compared to others. And, I knew that to eventually own or enjoy playing such an instrument would mean spending hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

I also grew up believing that the methods to make more such instruments were simply lost and gone forever.  

As a kid, I loved the violin, music, and playing, but I also took an interest in the instruments themselves, and in their making.  I even made a little workshop in the basement as a young teen.  But, I grew up convinced that the only making methods I could learn about were modern methods that led to the kind of harder feeling modern style instruments that just didn't excite me.  Indeed, on some level I found this later style and sound to be somehow oppressive and frustrating.  I put the idea of making new exciting classical character instruments aside.  It simply seemed impossible in the existing world.

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But the world changes.   We share and have access to much more information now.  About ten years ago, in the summer of 2009, I began wondering again about classical making and the sad lack of any new such instruments coming into the world for musicians and music lovers to enjoy.   I wondered if it really was impossible to make in the old ways, or if perhaps it might be possible to revive those methods.   

This was the beginning of what turned into ten years of research.   And indeed, from 1979 to 2009 a handful of brave people had significantly opened the way toward a full enough understanding of Old Italian and Cremona that it did seem possible to consider trying to fully restore or ability to make as they did.

My research is done now.  For obvious reasons, I'm calling the effort to use these recovered old methods to make new 'classical' instruments 'Cremona Revival' making. 

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Some Brochures about my research and Cremona Revival making:
    PDF Brochure:
Cremona Revival Making

  PDF Brochure:
The Design DNA of Old Cremona Violins

  PDF Brochure:
Violin vs. Violin

PDF Brochure:
How Instruments Make Sound

PDF Brochure:
How Violins Work

PDF Brochure:
How Violins are Made

2019 David of Santa Barbara Outreach


Saturday, March 30, 2019

Why bother reviving Classical making and design methods? How it matters.


Violin Value Strongly Follows a Making Style’s Closeness to Old Cremona Traditions

Some auction results from the last ten years:

Friday, March 29, 2019

A Summary and Overview of Main Results from My Research


Many of the ‘rules’ amount to collections of ratios
traditional to a feature


So for example, the basic width and length for

Monday, August 13, 2018

Update and recap

My main research is done!   It’s time to head back into the workshop and put the results to work making instruments.  

I started asking ‘can you make and design violins today using entirely methods from Old Cremona?’ and ‘how would you?’ back around 2009.  I started by exploring what others had already figured out.  I found that many people – particularly Sacconi, Hargrave, Denis, and Coates – had already paved the way, clarifying many points.  But still there were large gaps in the knowledge you would need to build this way. My questions pulled me into independent research about eight years ago. My explorations kept expanding, taking more and more of my time.  In the last three years, I laid aside making to focus my efforts on the research.  I decided not to make again until my research results essentially gave a complete picture of classical making design methods in every instrument feature.

Now that I’m closing out the research and heading on into making, some sort of recap to summarize and update seems appropriate for this blog. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

Revival Methods - David of Santa Barbara Mission Statement

I put this together recently. It's a summary of my aims. I wrote this partly as a mission state for myself, and partly as a draft of something to show to anyone who wants to know a bit more about my work.
The familiar modern approach to violin making is to 'copy' classic Italian instruments. People talk about making a 'Del Gesu Cannone', a copy of Paganini's Guarneri violin. So my approach of 'reviving classical methods' runs against the current norms.
So now I'm trying to figure out how to communicate a sense of the why and how of my work without asking people to read a few hundred pages of research.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Mea Culpa

 (November 2017)
Mea Culpa.

As said earlier, everything presented so far has been in its nature a hypothesis, reaching toward an understanding of classical Italian violin family design and making methods.   I started looking seriously at violin making around 2009, and this research began in earnest two years later.   It’s now been about a year since I started making the results public.  The research has of course continued, and the ideas have developed and changed to some degree.