Expertiseportaal van de Hogeschool Gent


From informed instrument making to informed music-making: A project aimed at performing historical music on the geographically and chronologically most suitable instruments

Output: Bijdrage voor congresPaper

Currently a PhD project is undertaken to investigate the life, instruments and working methods of the stringed instrument maker Benoit Joseph Boussu, who was active in Brussels in the middle of the eighteenth century. The project was initiated to obtain further biographical information on Boussu, but more importantly, because the Musical Instruments Museum in Brussels preserves a
violin and cello by this maker which are both still in fully original late Baroque configuration. Finding bowed stringed instruments of this age in such untouched state is extremely rare, since the vast majority of them has been modernised in the past. Unsurprisingly, the two original instruments of the museum are not allowed to be tuned or played, preventing assessment of their playability and
sound characteristics. Making precise reconstructions could overcome these restrictions, and that is exactly what is being done as part of the project. As a first step, the two original instruments were extensively studied, using state-of-the-art techniques such as CT-scanning and digital endoscopy, and based on these results, one cello and two violin reconstructions were made. The replication process also functioned as a form of ‘workbench research’, exploring the specific making techniques likely employed by Boussu, such as construction without an inner or outer mould.
Subsequently, the musical possibilities of the replicas are studied through the performance of closely related—albeit largely forgotten—repertoire written by mid-eighteenth century court composers from Brussels. The paper will present the results of the various stages of the study, from instrument research, through the reconstruction process to ultimately the selection and performance of music.
Originele taalEngels
StatusGepubliceerd - 14-jul-2018

ID: 18653186