Nobody can move in the city, nobody can make the slightest noise. It is time to rescue the sounds of the most splendid violins ever created. Cremona, the home of the best specimens of this instrument, seeks to ensure its musical legacy for history.
The repetitive sound of heels hitting the pavement, the roar of a cup breaking, the constant noise of a car horn… all these sounds considered normal in any city must stop around the Violin Museum in Cremona. It is not a dictatorship, it is a desperate attempt to save the city’s cultural and historical heritage of the world.
For the entire month of January, this small town with less than 100,000 inhabitants has had to limit unnecessary noise to allow musical engineers to take the task of recording the sound of various Stradivarius violins so that everyone can hear their genius, even years after they stop working completely.
The city of violins
Many say that it is due to the maple and fir forests that surround the city but, really, it is not known exactly why Cremona has been the birthplace of renowned luthiers and violinists who managed to change the world. The workshops are in every corner of the city and even this one has an official school of Luthiers, to train professionals in this laudable trade.
Claudio Monteverdi was born in this region of Lombardy and years later became the first important violinist in history, however, not only he managed to demonstrate the excellence of the instrument. The Armati and Guarnier families also stood out for the manufacture of violins of optimum quality, responsible for harmonious and melodic notes. However, among so many talented people, a name stands out and continues to be a reference to this day, Antonio Stradivaria, the most important violin luthier.
The Stradivarius museum
The violin museum is the place where there are more Antonio Stradivari instruments, all kept to be exhibited to music lovers. Stradivarius violins are said to be the epitome of sound engineering excellence, and for that reason so many people care about the preservation of any instrument that was made by Antonio and his family.
However, all things suffer the passing of time and, despite their preservation processes, after 500 years many violins have deteriorated. Against the wishes of music lovers, soon each one will lose their sound, because, being so fragile, they cannot be touched and, to avoid this, the music experts have started the recording project and complete silence. .
After pleading and pleading, multiple renowned musical engineers and instrumentalists have managed to convince the museum to allow them to play violins, violas and cellos from centuries ago; all for the greater good of musical history.
The Stradivarius sound bank
The mayor of Cremona, also president of the Stradivarius Foundation, was in charge of authorizing the closure of the streets near the museum and also asking the inhabitants to avoid noise for a month, since, while they kept a vow of silence, the musicians would be recording for 8 hours a day various notes of museum instruments.
Four musicians of different nationalities were in charge, for 6 days a week and for a whole month, to execute various scales with different techniques in order to be able to make a recording with the widest range of musical registers possible. Those chosen to carry out this task were carefully selected, for, having to deal with such delicate instruments, it was necessary for the interpreters to have an excellent knowledge of them.
The organizers studied the acoustics of the museum’s auditorium. The electric lamps had to be moved away due to their humming, the ventilation was turned off and, after closing the streets, the musicians managed to sit in front of the 32 ultra-sensitive microphones to capture even the smallest sound that characterizes a Stradivarius instrument.
The precautions were extreme and demanding. The musicians used gloves to move and play the instruments, previously protected in glass cases for hundreds of years. In addition to that, they were escorted by security guards to the auditorium and watched by them, for the sake of the instruments.
The benefits of this ambitious project
All the violins found in the museum will eventually be damaged and because no one has managed to create an instrument that sounds the same as those created by the great Luthier, Stradivari, after this happens, their sounds will be completely erased from existence.
To avoid this great loss of the musical world, the recordings have been carried out, with scales and transitions to have a complete register of the vast majority of sounds that a Stradivarius instrument can produce. This process, carried out with such caution and devotion to the world of music, not only seeks to allow new generations to get to know the melodies that can be achieved with one of these instruments, but also seeks to achieve various objectives that benefit composers and composers. Luthiers.
By having the material in a sound bank, it does not matter if a composer does not have an original Stradivarius instrument to achieve certain melodies in their symphony, because, with this database, a musician can record a score including instruments that no longer exist. . In this case, it is about two violins, a cello and also a viola.
Luthiers, for their part, will also be able to enjoy the sound bank to serve as inspiration. That way, they can keep trying to create violins or other instruments of the same quality as Stradivarius wood pieces. By studying all the sounds they produce, it is easier to try to make structures that allow the repetition of the tunes. Although it is almost impossible to create something of the excellence of a Stradivari instrument, you can always keep trying.
Cremona, again, becomes history for the musical world. Not only as the city of the best violin brand , but as the place where the life of 4 instruments that changed the history of classical composition was made immortal.