Prof. Marco Malagodi is going to explain some of the secrets that science unvealed about the construction of stringed instruments….
School of Violin Making
The “International school of violin making”, become today a significant reference point for those wishing to learn to make bowed string instruments. It was established in 1938, to create a centre of highly-qualified professional education in making bowed string instruments according to the tradition of the ancient school of Cremona.
In 1937 the bicentenary of Antonio Stradivari’s passing was celebrated, and right on that occasion it was underlined the necessity to make revive an artistic and craft practice for years almost completely disappeared from the city and overshadowed throughout Italy. In 1942 the first luthiers got a diploma. The students were adults from Italy or European countries and the course of study was a four-year course.
The programmes of the school went on with alternate events until, in 1960 the school was turned into an “international vocational school for luthier and wood craftsmanship” causing an interesting change: from that moment on, indeed, different specializations in the field of artistic and craft processing of wood were gradually matched, with the creation of sections for the qualification of designers, interior designers and experts of furniture. The new school structure, more well-structured and considerable, allowed to organize better equipped laboratories for manual skills and research and to ask for the cooperation of renowned master luthiers, as experts. The presence of university teachers and researchers in wide scientific fields related to lutherie was incentivized. The action of settling the technique of bowed string instruments in order to take back the ancient procedures of the master luthiers of Cremona in the strictest way possible, but also in the light of the music evolution and new performance requirements, was hard and slow, but without interruption. This led the school, entitled in 1989 to Antonio Stradivari, to become more important all over the world for the quality of its lessons. The original education system was hinged on the activity of lutherie laboratory, which covered almost 50% of the hours of class; the education was completed by theoretical aspects of the professional practice: technology, design, acoustic physics, music. Studies that are still in the current curriculum, along with other common studies, that today are more significant.
In 1976 teachers and students of the school give birth to a string orchestra, with the purpose to “make music together” and take part in external events. In the same period, the Organologic-didactic museum was born, it collects the most considerable instruments produced within the courses of the school. Born for internal benefit, the museum is today integrated in the museum system of Cremona and exhibits to the public music instruments, models, forms, working tools and education panels.
The school is supported by the Centre of Musicology Walter Stauffer with partnerships and contributions for scholarships, books, merit awards, including for those students dealing with making instruments of particular interest (copies of ancient instruments, experimental instruments).
Senior high school “A. Stradivari”
The close bond with the production sector and the needs to expand the professional skills have always been incentivizing elements to update the range of courses and think about the role that the school can have within the context of changes of the world of work. In this perspective, the most considerable initiatives undertaken in the education field should be interpreted: new curricula of the last two-year period, allowing the students to opt for diversified professional practices: making of modern bowed string instruments, making of plucked string instruments, maintenance and repair of stringed instruments.
Furthermore, the school has subscribed to the education Centre for lutherie, music culture and artistic craftsmanship (partners, among the others, the Chamber of Commerce, the Department of Musicology of the University of Pavia, CrForma of Cremona) and given birth, in cooperation with other institutes of Cremona, to post-diploma courses of higher vocational education and training, to create high profile professionals, such as:
- “Senior technician of Baroque lutherie”;
- “Senior technician of production”: bow maker for bowed string instruments;
- “Senior technician of production” for the acoustic fine-tuning of bowed string instruments;
- “Senior technician for communication and multimedia” to enhance cultural heritage and events;
- “Technician for the craft realization of products made in Italy: acoustic fine-tuning of bowed string instruments”;
- Technician of restoration of cultural heritage. Music instruments of the classic lutherie, plucked and bowed string instruments.
From 2010 the range of courses was further extended thanks to the activation of the high school of music that offers a course of study addressed to the technical – practical learning of music, and that paves the way to the integration of an instrument in the world of study and research or practice.
Scuola Internazionale di Liuteria
via Colletta 5 – Cremona