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Delabo

Hand made versus machine made violins

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1 hour ago, David Beard said:

............... Picaso's Guernica,  Tarintino's Kill Bill movies, .................And so are Pollack's paintings.

 

None of the above.  IMHO, Guernica is artless, badly crafted propaganda, and the other two are soulless merchandising.

39 minutes ago, not telling said:

It's happening in the pipe organ industry too. Neither here nor there, most pipe organ factories aren't making new organs. They refurbish some, but for the most part, new churches don't see the point or the value of some huge handmade set of pipes and parts. Why, when all you need is a guitar and a drum set to start a church "music program"?

A lot depends on the denomination, its history, and where they meet.   Judging by what I listen to on Pipe Dreams, the industry's far from extinct.  :)

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1 minute ago, Violadamore said:

 

A lot depends on the denomination, its history, and where they meet.   Judging by what I listen to on Pipe Dreams, the industry's far from extinct.  :)

All true. It's different though. I've been learning a lot about the whole situation lately. In the 1990's they couldn't make them fast enough. Now, it's a struggle to get jobs beyond repair. Some refurbishing. My husband's all excited because he's finally building one. Also, he will have a chance to learn from one of the Notre Dame organists, who will be at KU here for a year. Sad that the job isn't at Notre Dame anymore...but amazing to have him here.

And you're right, there is definitely a culture and industry there. But the growing churches, the ones where more young people want to be, view the whole business of organs and hymns as a stodgy old guard. Along with it, sheet music.

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35 minutes ago, Guy Booth said:

I certainly made my first violin with love, for my girlfriend at the time. The neck and sides were from an oak tree that grew on my grandfathers property. It was a crap violin in terms of construction, acoustics and commercial value, but it was meaning and special to a few. Still, I wouldn’t call it art, even if I couldn’t have invested more love into it.

The meaning (or lack of) that we attribute to an object depends on our reference frame. And whatever meaning or personal value anyone attributes to anything is true to them. It’s not for Jack to tell Jill what she should value, nor is it for Jill to tell Jack what he shouldn’t value.

When making a ‘human life and heart” statement, we should simply be able to say, “For me this important” and “For you that is important” without the need for status and ego to get in the way and into pitch us into debating “what I deem as meaningful is superior to what you deem to be meaningful,” or “what I deem as important ought to be important to everyone.” 

Emotive and human value don’t need to align with functional value, nor with monetary value.
We can assess functional value far more objectively than ‘emotional’ value. But I don’t think we should fall into the trap of thinking if something costs more,  it must automatically be more meaningful.
Functional value and ‘emotional value’ don’t even have to be sort in the same object or instrument, and one can be present without the other.  

Although it has been widely debated, there is no universally accepted definition of art.
Many things in life are a spectrum rather than binary - art falls into a spectrum, as does the concept of ‘originality’.
Following a recipe for Chicken Soup and tossing in an extra teaspoon of salt isn’t being ‘original’ to me. Cooking the chicken with a hand-dryer would be original.

Likewise, following a set form to produce a violin isn’t being original to me, even if we change things here and there by a few millimeters.
Inventing a new instrument would be original.  
But then others may argue using oak for a neck is being ‘original’ and at least on that count the resultant instrument qualifies as art!

Art, craft, original, copy : these definitions are fun to ponder, but ultimately they don’t matter - at least not compared to simply participating in something, in whatever manner you choose, with whatever tools you want, simply because you are inspired to do so. 

And now I am rambling! But ain't it fun chatting about stuff! 

Yeah. A fun topic.

 

Of course, I'm only expressing my personal notions about art.  My primary thing being that a human makes something that somehow ebeds real presence and communication into the work.  Then, ar least there is something there that one could connect with, instead of it being and empty object.

Very likely what I shown is not a sufficient condition for art, but to me it is they main neccessary condition.

And it's actuallly a  very different thing then me actually liking, loving, or even enjoying the work.

 

But in the context of this thread, my only real point is that I believe people would find a world of entirely machine made things boring.  I think people will still want things made by people, with a sense of real presence in the work.

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2 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Davide, you and I have trodden the less beaten path, and it appears that both of us are doing OK, maybe even better than those who thought they needed to sell their souls to the devil.

:)

Perseverance pays off ;)

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1 hour ago, David Beard said:

Yeah. A fun topic.

 

Of course, I'm only expressing my personal notions about art.  My primary thing being that a human makes something that somehow ebeds real presence and communication into the work.  Then, ar least there is something there that one could connect with, instead of it being and empty object.

Very likely what I shown is not a sufficient condition for art, but to me it is they main neccessary condition.

And it's actuallly a  very different thing then me actually liking, loving, or even enjoying the work.

 

But in the context of this thread, my only real point is that I believe people would find a world of entirely machine made things boring.  I think people will still want things made by people, with a sense of real presence in the work.

I think all notions about the meaning and definition of art are ‘only’ each persons personal view, even if society has some broad consensus.  Whatever meaning you attribute to art is true to you, even if others have a contradictory view.

I think “presence and communication” can come simply though the expression of an idea, even design, and does not need to be embodied in the means of construction. For others, the method of construction is crucial.

As an example, aside from violins, one thing I really want to make with CNC is “Kinetic Art”, such as in the video below.
Is this stuff really art, or is it craft, or is it just mechanical design? I really don’t know, and it doesn’t matter.
Perhaps ‘Kinetic Art’ ‘art’ is only ‘art’ due to its functionally? It’s beautiful on account of its function, and needs no traditions or cultural inheritance to be so.
Other items may be enhanced or even require a culture behind them to be of value - all according to personal perception.

It doesn’t matter if “kinetic” art is machine made, hand-made, or designed on a computer - it’s beauty isn’t diminished -  it’s still born of human intention and will to communicate. To me it expresses or demonstrates patterns, complexity though simplicity and mathematical geometry are part of nature, humanity, art and machines alike. In that sense, there is no strict divide between these things and us.

And so to me, a machine made thing is not by definition empty or boring -  I’d even respectfully suggest viewing things in that manner is a limited perspective - for ‘machine made’ things can be rich in meaning and intrigue too. But for those who feel otherwise, that’s their truth and no doubt they find riches a-plenty in the things that impress them.

As you said,  "
ART generals sets out to be art and to say something to us, as its primary purpose.”
I agree with that, but I would add I many find meaning and purpose in what is “said" in once instance, while you feel nothing of meaning has being “said”. That would make the narrative Art to me, but not to you - and we’d both be right in our assessment!  And then the artist many have had a different intention again! 
 

(I hope that’s not straying too far from directly chatting about violins!) 

www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=168&v=zuSob5nXR9Q

 


 

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Agreed. To put in a way consistent with some other conversations I've had elsewhere recently:

Art has as many faces as God.

 

 

(or as life)

********

I'm just tired of a culture that fills our daily lives with so many careless, empty, mute object.   And a culture that doesn't distinguish enough between real actual things and events versus replicas, imitations, and copies.

There's also a big economic and societal aspect to all this. Centralization, mass distribution, and mass production all favor moving money to larger corporate entities.  But artful, unique, original, and small run items favor moving money to a much more distributed collection of individual creators.

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7 hours ago, David Beard said:

I'm just tired of a culture that fills our daily lives with so many careless, empty, mute object.   And a culture that doesn't distinguish enough between real actual things and events versus replicas, imitations, and copies.

There's also a big economic and societal aspect to all this. Centralization, mass distribution, and mass production all favor moving money to larger corporate entities.  But artful, unique, original, and small run items favor moving money to a much more distributed collection of individual creators.

I think that get’s to the heart of many peoples perception, if not distaste, of CNC as a 'lesser’ means of creativity. They associate ‘machines-made’ with cold consumerism.
While I agree CNC is more commonly a tool for manufacturing commercial goods, I think regarding it as only a tool for that purpose - and hence regarding everything produced by it as empty - would be a mistake.

There seem to be the belief that:
- If it has been made by CNC, it is by nature an empty, commercialised, mass produced, meaningless, consumer item.
- But if it is made by hand, it’s by nature an original, inspired, meaningful, unique, embodiment of human spirit in soul.

To me it, that is a misconception, and it's a somewhat limited view when we determine an artists ‘human virtue’ by the tools they use.  

A CNC object can made with love, attention, meaning, inspiration, creativity and plenty of other other human virtues.
Likewise, a skilled craftsman can carve something by hand, with no love and no enthusiasm and with his only motivation being financial gain.

There are studios in Asia where ‘artists’ produce painting for tourists. An artist will just paint the same paining, over and over producing hundreds of copies. They know the ‘formula’ for that painting and mindlessly repeat the process over and over. Each time they paint it to the formula the result will still be a little different, but that ‘uniqueness’ is not inspired, original or soulful. 
To me this person is operating as one person factory production-line. To other’s he’s an artist.  
There is technical skill involved, but is what they produce ‘art’ and is it endowed with ‘meaning’ and ‘human spirit’ simply because a single hand painted it with skill?

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There are studios in Asia where ‘artists’ produce painting for tourists. An artist will just paint the same paining, over and over producing hundreds of copies. They know the ‘formula’ for that painting and mindlessly repeat the process over and over. Each time they paint it to the formula the result will still be a little different, but that ‘uniqueness’ is not inspired, original or soulful. 

There were workshops in Italy where luthiers produced instruments . . .

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Well folks, I have read and absorbed all this and frankly it is very esoteric. At the cutting edge of the retail market I can sell any amount of cheap instruments where customers care not if it was made by CNC or by a production line in China. BUT in the bracket £500 to £3000 (anything over that is antique) I would not dare even suggest that it is anything but handmade. I try and avoid the discussion but if asked I simply reply that is was made in the workshop of...

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As regards the subject of  - "is a violin art"

No, it is a musical instrument and has function as a tool in that regard.

But will a person who has an artistic nature produce a more beautiful violin ?

Yes.

 

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3 hours ago, Guy Booth said:

There seem to be the belief that:
- If it has been made by CNC, it is by nature an empty, commercialised, mass produced, meaningless, consumer item.

Be careful talking like that.

You might hurt the CNCs feelings  :lol:

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31 minutes ago, Delabo said:

As regards the subject of  - "is a violin art"

No, it is a musical instrument and has function as a tool in that regard.

But will a person who has an artistic nature produce a more beautiful violin ?

Yes.

 

I think that’s an excellent way of putting it! 

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1 hour ago, Delabo said:

As regards the subject of  - "is a violin art"

No, it is a musical instrument and has function as a tool in that regard.

But will a person who has an artistic nature produce a more beautiful violin ?

Yes.

 

More beautiful to look at, probably ...

though these days pretty much everyone is pursuing a similar copy aesthetic, which makes it more of a technical challenge than an artistic one, or at least more to do with powers of observation than creativity

When it comes to sound and success in achieving great tone consistently, I don’t think this has much to do with either the tools or the artistic personality , though these days great sound must be dressed up in beautiful clothes if it’s to command a decent price

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1 hour ago, martin swan said:

More beautiful to look at, probably ...

though these days pretty much everyone is pursuing a similar copy aesthetic, which makes it more of a technical challenge than an artistic one, or at least more to do with powers of observation than creativity

When it comes to sound and success in achieving great tone consistently, I don’t think this has much to do with either the tools or the artistic personality , though these days great sound must be dressed up in beautiful clothes if it’s to command a decent price

I totally agree. Violin makers have pretty much been pursuing the same ascetic, within a narrow range, for centuries. And that’s totally fine. If it works, keep doing it!

I don’t see much creativity or originality in the act of making a violin, but there is a whole lot of technical skill and knowledge needed to make a great instrument.
It seems to me creativity and originality are often frowned on by violin makers and players. Stain a violin blue and it’s an abomination, stain a guitar blue and it’s super cool!
And yet some of the same makers who are aghast when traditional aesthetics and construction techniques are set-aside will then promote their one originality and creativity and claim they’re not making copies.

Each to their own. If others feel its an inspiring act of originality and creativity to alter a violin mold by a few millimeters, and if they think such a small adjustment means they’re no longer copying a centuries old, standardized form, but being original, then so be it. We all have our own definitions of what being original is, and what copying is.

The few violins I’ve made were based on my mold designs, but in essence I still feel they are copies of a generic form.
But depending on the context, I also think making a ‘copy’ is as worthy as being ‘original’.
Indeed making something that has been made for centuries is a wholesome, if not a soulful, way to connect with traditions.

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4 minutes ago, H.R.Fisher said:

Another perspective .Only made with hand made CNC routers  should qualify as hand made violin.:rolleyes:

Scroll back a few pages, we’ve been furiously chatting about copy-carvers too! (Page 18).

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13 minutes ago, Guy Booth said:

I totally agree. Violin makers have pretty much been pursuing the same ascetic, within a narrow range, for centuries. And that’s totally fine. If it works, keep doing it!


And yet some of the same makers who are aghast when traditional aesthetics and construction techniques are set-aside will then promote their one originality and creativity and claim they’re not making copies.

Because in fact they are neither original nor creative, but they are not copying.

Even paintings are all the same, a frame and a canvas with some paint on it, but is this enough to define them as copies of each other? :)
 

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9 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:

Even paintings are all the same, a frame and a canvas with some paint on it, but is this enough to define them as copies of each other? :)

 

If they were all painting the Mona Lisa, give or take a few millimeters, then I’d say they were producing copies. If they were painting something new and original, then I’d say they were being new and original. 

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10 minutes ago, Guy Booth said:

If they were all painting the Mona Lisa, give or take a few millimeters, then I’d say they were producing copies. If they were painting something new and original, then I’d say they were being new and original. 

Not in the form neither in the function....

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3 minutes ago, martin swan said:

You think all paintings have the same function?

Yes, generate emotions in the viewer, i.e. the primary function is of being looked at.

Primary function of  violins: to be played.

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2 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:

Not in the form neither in the function....

I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree!  As I said, we all have our own definitions of what being original is, and what copying is.
I feel I was in essence making a copy of a centuries old, standardized form in making a violin, even with my own mold design. Others may argue I was being original. In the end it boils down to personal definitions.  

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