FÜSSEN LUTE AND VIOLIN MAKING by Josef Focht, Klaus Martius, Thomas Riedmiller

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“I can honestly say that it gives me great pleasure to review this book. It reveals a subject that I have wanted to learn about for a very long time, and in a very absorbing and beautiful way… This book brings the lives of these pioneering craftsmen to life amid the everyday practicalities of making and selling their work, something that is often missing in romanticised accounts of the more widely revered makers of Italy. It is an absorbing and illuminating text of great value to anyone with an interest in the history of instrument making.”
John Dilworth reviewed in The Strad (for full review – click here)

A captivating book with excellent reviews set in the Early Modern Era, when lute making in Füssen played a decisive role in influencing the production of stringed instruments in larger parts of Europe. This was possible because town of Füssen settled on one of the most important trading routes across the Alps. The town had access to valuable and unusual wood types on the northern edge of the Alps for which instrument makers gravitated to capture the heart of their sounds.

Three expert authors describe the fascinating lives of the Füssen lute and violin makers who went on to establish themselves in the trade centres and residential towns south and north of the Alps. The result is a fascinating picture of European cultural and musical history from the 15th to the 19th century.

“The authors carefully draw links between lute and violin making techniques and design principles, emphasising why violin makers still often describe themselves as ‘luthiers’. The text is liberally filled with illustrations of Füssen lutes, and also of contemporary paintings and other matter that brings everything to life. From Wolfgang Wolf, one of the first named lute makers in the mid-16th century, to Füssen’s first self-described violin maker Jonas Heringer in the early 17th century, we arrive at the prolific Stoss family, which defined the Füssen violin trade in the 18th century, and we have been shown in rich detail the background that produced them all.”
John Dilworth reviewed in The Strad (for full review – click here)

As well as being packed with rarely seen illustrations curtesy of organisations such as the Museum of Füssen, the Musical Instruments Museum of Leipzig University, the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg and from archives, libraries and collections throughout Europe.

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Language

English, German, Italian

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