Sign in to follow this  
Rue

Wanted: An inclusive maker/dealer database

Recommended Posts

Why isn't there an inclusive historical violin "people name" database? Something like Wikipedia? It can be added to as needed, but at least there'd be one reliable place to check for both well-known and one-off violin related individuals/shops ...blah blah blah...

Viopedia? Stringopedia? Bowedinstrumentopedia?

With the way it is now, both on the internet in general and with a crappy search feature on MN, too much is lost or unfindable.

Edited by Rue
Clarification

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the reason is that the top shops do all the advertising they need through word of mouth and the small one-man shops get all their business by being local to school districts or showing up in local Google search results.

The AFVBM has a list of its members already, which is a good resource for finding highly skilled luthiers. I’m not at all against the idea of a Wiki-based list, but I don’t know if there will be enough interest to make it happen.

Also, some dealers or shops don’t want any more business than they have already, so they don’t want to advertise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wasn't meaning it to be for current business  - I meant historical.

Sorry. I should have been clearer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who would sponsor it? I think it would be a boon to any larger violin organization...

Other than that, it would build itself over time, just like Wikipedia. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Got it!  Rue, you should make it!  Call it “Rue.” Meaning “street,” I could see a click-able street sign for each catagory.  The French appeal of your name/website adds a luxurious feel, at least here in the states. The same as “Sonata” does with any one of a million “songs.” It might not have much appeal in France, though. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Michael_Molnar said:

You would need to make a business case for this Luthier Yellow Pages.

If you are so sold on the idea, do it. 

So many grumpy men...^_^

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ClefLover said:

Got it!  Rue, you should make it!  Call it “Rue.” Meaning “street,” I could see a click-able street sign for each catagory.  The French appeal of your name/website adds a luxurious feel, at least here in the states. The same as “Sonata” does with any one of a million “songs.” It might not have much appeal in France, though. ;)

Lol. Thank you. 

We don't have to overthink it - all it needs to be, to be useful, is a dictionary type input, which could then grow, as people add info, to an encyclopedia.

Think how nice it would be to just Google William Wannabee and read:

Wannabee, William W. 1864-1964. Hobby violin maker in Lake Goodwood, Mars. Produced 15 violins highly regarded by local musicians. One is on permanent display at the Mars Museum of Music.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the problems is that some one would have to know for sure that Mr.Wannabee:

Existed 

Made violins 

Lived in lake Goodwood

etc.

it would be just as easy to enter incorrect information as it was for you to invent Mr. Wannabee just now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course. And that was a big issue on Wikipedia when it started up. However, it's corrected itself to a huge degree; for a lot of information it's reliable. It's also a good starting spot for further research.

A violin version doesn't need to be the be-all, end-all, but it could be a good starting point.

Otherwise, we seem to be disseminating the same info over and over again, with really no built-in/self correcting control for accuracy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with all these “data-bases” or dictionaries, be it the “Amati” on-line one, Henley or Jalovec et al, is that there is no one willing to delve through original archive material (a lot of work), and the previous “data-base”, normally Lüttgendorff, gets plagiarised, sometimes (particularly Henley) with the authors own racist brass knobs on. The biggest deficit is that none of them quote any sources. That is a particular problem for instance with the Wenberg American one, which is for this reason more or less useless. Making the umpteenth inaccurate plagiarization of Lütgendorff, without giving concrete sources would be the apex of wasting time

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Michael_Molnar said:

Who has the time to do this sort of thing for free?

The same people who blog all over the Internet.  For instance, I've contributed quite a bit of text to educational sites including Wikipedia.  The problem is often not numbers or enthusiasm, but technical competence and editorial ability.

29 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

The problem with all these “data-bases” or dictionaries, be it the “Amati” on-line one, Henley or Jalovec et al, is that there is no one willing to delve through original archive material (a lot of work), and the previous “data-base”, normally Lüttgendorff, gets plagiarised, sometimes (particularly Henley) with the authors own racist brass knobs on. The biggest deficit is that none of them quote any sources. That is a particular problem for instance with the Wenberg American one, which is for this reason more or less useless. Making the umpteenth inaccurate plagiarization of Lütgendorff, without giving concrete sources would be the apex of wasting time

Corrupt secondary sources copied from Hell to breakfast are a prize curse in many disciplines.  IMHO, a lot more primary research, in census records, for instance, is needed for anything involving luthiers, as is transcription of oral histories.

I find it especially depressing that the notoriously deficient examples you gave are all the produce of paid professional authors, while the millions of pages of hobbyist-generated fan material on fiction, movies, TV shows, video games, etc., is often error-free by comparison  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Assembling resources on historical makers is difficult, and the various iterations that already exist would have to be carefully checked for accuracy. When it comes to getting this kind of information, I rely on the most recent photo archives I can find and the books by the latest experts for identification. I think it would be great to have both pictures and text in one place, and an online resource for this would be very useful. The hardest part would be in getting high quality/resolution pictures of so many instruments, because it would costly to do and would require a photographer familiar with violin photography.

For me it comes down to having everything available in one of place. Without BOTH pictures and text I wouldn’t find it useful. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

Assembling resources on historical makers is difficult, and the various iterations that already exist would have to be carefully checked for accuracy. When it comes to getting this kind of information, I rely on the most recent photo archives I can find and the books by the latest experts for identification. I think it would be great to have both pictures and text in one place, and an online resource for this would be very useful. The hardest part would be in getting high quality/resolution pictures of so many instruments, because it would costly to do and would require a photographer familiar with violin photography.

For me it comes down to having everything available in one of place. Without BOTH pictures and text I wouldn’t find it useful. 

There is an exemplar in Australia: https://abcviolins.com.au/book.html

I know I'm biased, but it shows what can be done - but, as all recognise, the work load is significant.  Not unlike violin making, very few people write books or do research to become wealthy.  As to photos, in this case the author as well as being a maker, became the photographer with excellent results.

Tim

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Rue said:

Why isn't there an inclusive historical violin "people name" database?

Because there's no interest.  To prove that, start a topic on Wikipedia named "American Violin Makers" and see how long it takes you to get around to even that :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great thoughts but agree with above; can't be done. In my quest to make a summary of all the random tidbits, sagas, how to's, etc found on Maestronet I started a list of all makers mentioned and any accompanying information for interests sake. I'm only a couple thousand posts in and I've stopped listing them. There are literally hundreds of makers of various abilities, presence, and value. Some have made 1 instruments and others hundreds. Violin Makingdom doesn't have the world behind it like Google to catalog everything. I find that Maestronet and auction site searches besides the basic Google search can be quite useful.

That's another sticking point: the Dealers/Makers, Price History etc on Maestronet is kinda old. There's just no way to keep on top of such things. It might be wiser instead to spend time thinking about a way to overhaul this site to make it more diverse maybe like a instrument database by maker or something. I don't know how just ramblings. 

Ps. I'll post my summaries when I'm finished (in a year or so :unsure:). There's some pretty interesting posts, etc. I've come across....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Rue said:

Why isn't there an inclusive historical violin "people name" database? Something like Wikipedia? It can be added to as needed, but at least there'd be one reliable place to check for both well-known and one-off violin related individuals/shops ...blah blah blah...

Viopedia? Stringopedia? Bowedinstrumentopedia?

With the way it is now, both on the internet in general and with a crappy search feature on MN, too much is lost or unfindable.

I have made one with over 5000 makers compiled from all available literature sources. Didn't find enough support so I stopped selling it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, Rue said:

Why isn't there an inclusive historical violin "people name" database?...

Because it would require so much work as to make it an impossible task.

For many years I have been compiling a database of this type for New Hampshire (USA) violin makers.  I started  with the NH makers listed in the Wenberg and Fairfield books.  I recorded NH labeled instruments that I encountered at violin shops, antique shops, auctions, offered for sale on Ebay, etc.  I consulted journals of the Violin Society of America, the American Musical Instrument Society the NH Historical Society and various other publications.  Other people who learned of my interest told me about makers they had heard of.  If someone told me "My grandfather made a violin," I added the grandfather to my list.  I interviewed living makers. I consulted birth and death records in the NH state archives and obituaries in micro-filmed newspapers at the NH State Library.  My list now includes about 130 makers.  I doubt that it includes everyone who ever made a violin in NH.

Knowing first hand what was required to compile an incomplete list of  makers for a relatively small geographical area not known as a violin making region and where violins have only been made for about two centuries, I cannot imagine anyone trying to do the same thing for the whole world over the last five centuries.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/17/2019 at 9:49 AM, Rue said:

Why isn't there an inclusive historical violin "people name" database? Something like Wikipedia?...

A digital database similar in some respects to the one that you propose was created by Maestronet member fubbi2:

http://oriscus.com/mi/archive/Rev-BaxtersArchive.htm

This database is primarily a compendium of previously published information, so it is no better than the sources from which it is derived.  I have never used it, but it would seem to be more convenient than consulting a bunch of different books.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Brad Dorsey said:

A digital database similar in some respects to the one that you propose was created by Maestronet member fubbi2:

http://oriscus.com/mi/archive/Rev-BaxtersArchive.htm

This database is primarily a compendium of previously published information, so it is no better than the sources from which it is derived.  I have never used it, but it would seem to be more convenient than consulting a bunch of different books.

I have seen the Baxter database. It is made very simple. The problem is that his information is based on books in the English language which means that it is for the contents just as good as Henley. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Brad Dorsey said:

Because it would require so much work as to make it an impossible task.

For many years I have been compiling a database of this type for New Hampshire (USA) violin makers.  I started  with the NH makers listed in the Wenberg and Fairfield books.  I recorded NH labeled instruments that I encountered at violin shops, antique shops, auctions, offered for sale on Ebay, etc.  I consulted journals of the Violin Society of America, the American Musical Instrument Society the NH Historical Society and various other publications.  Other people who learned of my interest told me about makers they had heard of.  If someone told me "My grandfather made a violin," I added the grandfather to my list.  I interviewed living makers. I consulted birth and death records in the NH state archives and obituaries in micro-filmed newspapers at the NH State Library.  My list now includes about 130 makers.  I doubt that it includes everyone who ever made a violin in NH.

Knowing first hand what was required to compile an incomplete list of  makers for a relatively small geographical area not known as a violin making region and where violins have only been made for about two centuries, I cannot imagine anyone trying to do the same thing for the whole world over the last five centuries.

That’s wonderful. I was just yesterday thinking about compiling a list of makers in the North Texas area, because I could only think of three. While talking with one of the violinists in the orchestra, I mentioned that it looked like he was playing a different violin, and he smiled happily. “yes I just got a new violin by a local maker who just took over the violin making school in Chicago.”

I went blink,blink,”wha...?”

good maker, good enough to move from Dallas to Utah to take over a school in Chicago, recently of Dallas, and I never heard of him.

a daunting task indeed, but the great thing about the Internet is that people can combine. You can add your stuff to Andreas’ and I think Reuning has compiled a lot of info about New England makers,( which I would love to read) Robertsons and the school in Utah have lot of info, combining it wouldn’t be that difficult. And a huge website called “Violin Street” could be the home of all the info.

( I even like the name.)

conficting info could be presented as is and corrected over time( Wikipedia allows corrections and edits to its articles, for instance.)

Remember that YouTube is all user-created content, and the bad stuff is ignored( a maker who writes a puff piece will quickly get called out, so that’s pretty much a self/solving problem)

i think it’s a great idea and in this case, belling the cat is a really possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.