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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000393.txt from 1994/05

From: "Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.EDU>
Subj: String instruments are eternal
Date: Mon, 23 May 1994 12:08:25 -0400

Jay Heiser always writes very interesting and intellectually provocative
notes. In his most recent, he suggests that string instruments are
forever while woodwinds deteriorate.

In a performance I did at the Library of Congress years ago, I was examining
the five strads in the locked case of the Gertrude Clarke Whittall collection.
And my host made a most interesting comment to me about those instruments
(and others that are so kept from use though they are taken out once a year
and a concert is played on them). He said that string instruments, after
years and years and years of playing cause the wood to lose its ability to
vibrate and they die (or else cease to be useful for professional purposes).
He suggested that only those instruments that are so protected (such as the
ones at which we were looking and other like them) will be able to show the
world what a Strad sounded like in 3 or 4 hundred years.

I do not know if this is true. I simply add it to the hopper of discussion
about instruments and the length of their lives.

Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California

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