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The future of the fiddle trade


bean_fidhleir

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Anyone have any ideas about what, if anything, will happen to the fiddle trade when the 18th century arrives again?

I'm presuming a future in which fossil hydrocarbons are no longer burned for transportation, and there's no magical breakthrough technology that takes its place.

So it's a world in which transoceanic travel is by sailing ship, energy is more or less literally money, and capitalism (which depends on infinite growth in a finite system) has been replaced by something rational. In such a world, I would expect there to be an immense amount of leisure time because having "a job" in the sense we know it today would likely be fairly rare - few jobs today produce something the world can't easily do without, but most of them consume resources.

We also know, from looking at non-rat-race cultures and subcultures (e.g. Highland Scots, Canadian Maritimerss, Appalachian hill people, Kalahari Desert peoples, Aboriginal people of Oz, etc) that music is a huge factor in the lives of those not consumed by trying to "get ahead".

What will the fiddle trade be like in a world that loves music but recognises that the world is not the unclogable sewer plus inexhaustible cornucopia we've hitherto imagined it to be?

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I don't know what the fiddle trade will look like, but I liked your post nontheless...it's a topic I ponder on often.

I should probably start practicing on gut strings though, instead of these synthetics! :)

A flock of sheep in the shade of a maple grove, a horse bounding 'round a tall evergreen, dancers and virtuosos, kings, queens, and predenders, just like always.

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"Anyone have any ideas about what, if anything, will happen to the fiddle trade when the 18th century arrives again?

I'm presuming a future in which fossil hydrocarbons are no longer burned for transportation, and there's no magical breakthrough technology that takes its place."

The fiddle trade will undergo an enormous contraction. After the oil runs out, most people will be too busy trying to figure out where their next meals will come from to spend much time on leisure pursuits such as music.

"We also know, from looking at non-rat-race cultures and subcultures (e.g. Highland Scots, Canadian Maritimerss, Appalachian hill people, Kalahari Desert peoples, Aboriginal people of Oz, etc) that music is a huge factor in the lives of those not consumed by trying to 'get ahead'."

It's nice to romanticize the past from our comfortable present, but you are overlooking the fact that all the people you mention lived at a near-subsistence level.

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For a long time plastics and synthetic materials will continue to exist since they can be manufactured from coal which is quite abundant on Earth. It should be possible to maintain industrial society on electric energy produced by nuclear power plants plus all the solar and wind power generation that will develop. Also, at some point we may develop practical fusion reactors for power generation and don't forget the vast amounts of oil to be found in shale. So I think it will take a very long time before running out of energy sends society back to the 17th century. Actually, I'm more worried about climate change and the possible loss of food production capability, which might happen before we run out of (hydo)carbon-based energy. On the bright side is the fact that the great violins we all admire were produced before the industrial revolution using only hand tools and glue and varnish produced from natural materials.

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""We also know, from looking at non-rat-race cultures and subcultures (e.g. Highland Scots, Canadian Maritimerss, Appalachian hill people, Kalahari Desert peoples, Aboriginal people of Oz, etc) that music is a huge factor in the lives of those not consumed by trying to 'get ahead'."

It's nice to romanticize the past from our comfortable present, but you are overlooking the fact that all the people you mention lived at a near-subsistence level. "

Hear, hear. Actually here, here. The above mentioned agrarian peoples will survive anything short of a direct meteor hit and we'll continue to use spirit varnishes derived from local sources without having to import exotic mixes. It's that very spirit of survival that's also used as an Rx for tonal correction. Although it does seem to work better on the listener than the player.

Our junkyards are full of reliable, revivable transportation and the collapse of the auto industry won't be felt until the next century if at all. If Wall Street crumbles we'll plant a few extra rows of corn and okra. Oh, I'll miss the cheap olive oil but those things are balanced out by having an abundance of stuff like free rosin and fish.

Appalachia rules.

post-5368-1226974577_thumb.jpg

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I think in the described scenario, each local area of settlement would have their own local "luthier"- probably a player who also possesses the necessary woodworking skills to produce fiddles adequate to fill the local demand. No need to produce more than is needed- no one will purchase or play them anyway, plus the luthier will not need to make/sell more (try to get ahead) anyway. Nor will anyone need or try to get ahead of others by searching for a superior instrument. Can't we all just get along?

BTW, my very biggest pet peeve is the use of what I believe is a non-word: "peoples". Isn't the word "people" plural in itself??? I suppose it is like "fishes", which I also take issue with.

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Given that the New World Order is such that most subsistence economies have seen the Light, and want to live like, or in, the West, within a generation or two most people will have forgotten how to subsist on a primitive level. So look for a big die-off.

Then too, wooden ship technology will have been mostly forgotten. After all, we in the US no longer know how to build the Saturn V booster that got us to the moon a generation ago (the computer tapes are unreadable, and no one thought to save the data in human-readable form). So the remaining populace will have to re-invent the old technologies. Anyone care to put up this year's crop for the winter?

Cities will be the first to go. You simply cannot sustain them absent modern sanitation, power grids, or methods of transportation. There are not enough horses and such to go around either.

If it comes to a major reversion, I think worrying about the violin trade will be way off the radar. But with any luck at all, I hope to be dead well before that day.

Thanks for asking.

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This could be bad news for retailers; if folks catch on that the world ends Dec 21 2012, holiday shopping will go down the tubes!

And how annoying if I don't get to spend any of my retirement money. Such of it as is left after the Greater Depression finishes eating the marketplace.

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No magic will be required for the ever-ingenious human species to go on about the process of living, including the very rational and life-serving process of saving money and applying it to the creation and distribution of goods and services, so long as being sensible doesn't go completely out of style, and no one actually stands in the way holding a gun.

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Food production is actually the biggest concern. Soil in the US is all but biologically dead, and is dependent on fossil fuels to push large crop yields.

Provided you can contract farmland to a closer proximity of a medium sized metropolitan area, that particular place has better survivability than a rural area, due to the variety of resources and talents. You just need to get your food chain closer. Rural areas are HIGHLY fossil fuel dependent to bring in nearly every supply, and to get access to other services. A city that's too large will, of course, be overburdened by population without fossil fuels.

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To put a little perspective on this: there is no substitute for fossil fuels in transportation--There is just too much energy per gallon in them, and they cannot be replaced. In fact, the hydrogen of the mythical future hydrogen economy will be used to make liquid fuels (gasoline and diesel) from coal, etc. rather than going to fuel cells. Only the government is big enough to control the access to resources, and agriculture must be at the top.

What you want to focus upon is energy density--that will determine our level of civilization (see White's Law in Wikipedia) and how many the earth will support. Generation of electrical power is big; fortunately, there can be substitutes for oil in power generation such as wind and nuclear, and of course, more coal.

For good information, start reading "The Oil Drum" website--there are some real experts there. We are not about to run out of energy; so relax. Yes, oil is going to get more expensive in the long run (remember, oil is a commodity which means its price is set by demand; so its price is going to jump up and down over short periods).

So, just keep on doing what you are doing but next time you get a car, purchase one that gets good fuel millage. Stuff like that.

The big thing you must be aware of in the very near term is that the United States (and the world as well) is sliding into a recession and possibly a depression--it might last for years. What very few are saying but what you should be preparing for is deflation--there is no magic fix for this from the big banks. People stop buying--this will ruin your business. You can lose your job (if you work for others) when business volume decreases, and this propagates through the economy. And after the initial economic problem is over, inflation will then arrive to do its damage--the economy is not inflationary at the present time. This is a one/two knock out punch. I would make a long term prediction that the middle class is going to drastically shrink--that is the large class that you sell a lot of musical instruments to.

So, how do you prepare for the near term problem: if you own a business, you must let your inventory get thin, borrow as little money as possible, and keep some money in the bank (or under the bed if you worry about banks--it is possible many of them are insolvent in the U.S.--something we just do not know).

Stay smart--meaning, why not do some thinking for yourself rather than listening to those profoundly ignorant talking heads blather. There guys do not know their history--so what use is an opinion from an ignorant person? Read some history--Wikepedia is a great place.

Mike D

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Plural cultures of people. Groups of different species of fish. See ? We can get along.

I think I'm getting it now- if women from various cultures and geographic locations formed, say an army, it would be an army of womens.

And if someone were to study the various of types (white-tail, mule, roe, etc.) of deer, it would be called a study of deers.

Makes sense to me now.

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Anyone have any ideas about what, if anything, will happen to the fiddle trade when the 18th century arrives again?

I'm presuming a future in which fossil hydrocarbons are no longer burned for transportation, and there's no magical breakthrough technology that takes its place.

So it's a world in which transoceanic travel is by sailing ship, energy is more or less literally money, and capitalism (which depends on infinite growth in a finite system) has been replaced by something rational. In such a world, I would expect there to be an immense amount of leisure time because having "a job" in the sense we know it today would likely be fairly rare - few jobs today produce something the world can't easily do without, but most of them consume resources.

Ahem, a post-Apocalyptic scenario where most of the intelligent life has vanished with only a few spread out offspring of Sarah Palin-like breeders roaming the plains and killing each other....Violins will be used as canoe paddles at the best!

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Ahem, a post-Apocalyptic scenario where most of the intelligent life has vanished with only a few spread out offspring of Sarah Palin-like breeders roaming the plains and killing each other....Violins will be used as canoe paddles at the best!

I can read between the lines.... a future-fantasy fashioned to fight natures call.......

You're hot for her, aren't you? :)

Just whisper "yes", it will be our secret. :)

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I can read between the lines.... a future-fantasy fashioned to fight natures call.......

You're hot for her, aren't you? :)

Just whisper "yes", it will be our secret. :)

Hot for her? Oh, man. SHe's just what I need for After The Fall. I can rest easy knowing she'll be putting hot steaming meat on the table for me, and dress me in Moose.

I'd even vote for McCain to have her in town.

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