Working At Oberlin
Raising the level of Violin Making
A wide variety of subjects related to bowed stringed instruments are presented to and by the participants. Instruments are cooperatively built during the two week workshop to demonstrate construction methods and design concepts.
Each year’s focus can take the form of studying a particular historical maker, or a specific instrument, or a particular aspect of the process of violin making. Resources are assembled to help. During the 2019 session we were able to scan an important 18th century Venetian violin at the Nikon Metrology Laboratory in Brighton, Michigan. The information gathered was completely non-destructive and will allow the participants to construct a detailed copy.
An examination of the “Betts” Stradivari violin from 1704 in the collection of the Library of Congress took place in 2011 when it came to Oberlin. Ongoing study became possible through photographs, CT scans, publications, and 3-D printed re-creations, all of which became part of the Oberlin Workshop Archives. Detailed copies of the Betts were cooperatively built to demonstrate working methods, and varnish application techniques in order to recreate the authentic appearance of the Stradivari’s varnish.
Group projects have included the study and construction of intruments by Antonio Stradivari, Joseph Guarneri “del Gesu”, Nicolo Amati, Sanctus Seraphin, Domenico Montagnana, Carlo Bergonzi and others. Participants have designed and constructed unique Oberlin violin & viola models as well. A wide variety of in-depth construction and varnish techniques are demonstrated and practiced and documented as part of the yearly curriculum.
Oberlin Workshop cooperatively built instruments are offered for sale to help support the workshop. For more information about these fine instruments, please contact the workshop Director, Christopher Germain, at (215) 545-2500
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