Watch a Luthier Birth a Cello in This Hypnotic Documentary

It’s always interesting to see how things are made—crayons, Fender Stratocasters, cartoon eggs

The documentary above takes you through the creation of a cello in the Barcelona workshop of master luthier Xavier Vidal i Roca. (To watch with English subtitles, click the closed caption icon — “CC” — in the lower right corner.)

The opening shots of luthier Eduard Bosque Miñana taking measurements have the jazzy feel of a Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood segment, but once music scholar Ramón Andres gets into the act, things take a turn toward the philosophical.

His thoughts as to the ways the “king of all instruments” speaks to the human condition are commensurate with the level of craftsmanship its construction requires.

(Though seeing Miñana patiently fit a steam-shaped curve to the developing instrument’s c-bout leads me to question Andres’ choice of anthropomorphizing pronoun. With a waistline like that, surely this cello is a deep-voiced queen.)

The master luthier himself acknowledges that there is always a bit of mystery as to how any given instrument will sound. Most modern cellos are copies of ancient instruments. With the design set, the luthier must channel his or her creative expression into the construction, working with similarly ancient tools – chisels, palette knives, and the like. If power tools come into play, director Laura Vidal keeps them offscreen.

The effect is meditative, hypnotic…I was glad to have the mystery preserved, even as I agree with cellist Lito Iglesias that musicians should make an effort to understand their instruments’ construction, and the reasons behind the selection of particular woods and shapes.

Iglesias also notes that the luthier is the unsung partner in every public performance, the one the audience never thinks to acknowledge.

The Sarabande of Bach’s Suite for Solo Cello no. 1 in G major brings things to an appropriately emotional conclusion.

Should this leave you craving a less mysterious explanation of bowed instrument construction, in 1985, Mister Rogers and his friend Mr. “Speedy Delivery” McFeely used picture-picture to visit Link Bass and Cello in Oak Park, Illinois, to learn how bass violins are made. One need not be a musician to follow the step-by-step process they witnessed, below.

via Devour

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  • Rain,adustbowlstory says:

    A reminder in a texting/tweeting culture that all important beautiful things require extended time and steady attention.

  • mattmaldre says:

    I live in Oak Park, so I was excited to see Mr. Rogers had visited an Oak Park factory. Sadly, it looks like this factory is no longer in Oak Park. Good news is that’s it’s another Chicago neighborhood, Elk Grove Village. Although, I would personally like to see it still in Oak Park.

  • Antonio Marcos de Souza says:

    ¡Buenos tardes!
    Mi nobre es Antonio Marcos. Soy evangélico de Bac.
    Hoy esto empezando mus class de música, para unir se a la más hermosa orquesta de la tierra, con el permiso de Dios quieren tocar la casa del Señor, y mi sueño y tocar el violín o el violonchelo, que se apleparado por Dios.
    Estaba investigando instrumento y observó varios videos de hacer su violonchelo, muy emocionante ver cómo maravillosos dones de Dios a su siervo.
    No voy a permitirme comprar mi instrumento, pero sé que Dios desde el apleparar para mí jugar en la casa del Señor, en el nombre del Señor Jesús.

    Le doy las gracias por leer este e-mail, y si un día Dios me da condiciones a estar jugando uno de los instrumentos hermosas y maravillosas en la casa de Dios.

    Guárdame, oh Dios, porque en ti confío.
    2 Mi alma le dijo al Señor: Tú eres mi Señor; No tengo otra manera más allá de ti.
    3 Digo a los santos que están en la tierra y distinguida en los que es todo lo que quiero:
    4 Sus penas se multiplicarán que acelerar tras otro dios; No voy a ofrecer sus libaciones de sangre o tomar su nombre en mis labios.
    5 Jehová es la porción de mi herencia y de mi copa; Mantengo mi suerte.
    6 Las cuerdas me cayeron en lugares deleitosos; sí, tengo una buena herencia.
    7 Bendeciré al Señor que me ha aconsejado; a mi corazón me enseñan en la noche.
    8 He puesto el Señor siempre delante de mí; por qué está a mi diestra, no seré conmovido.
    9 Por lo cual mi corazón se alegra y mi gloria se regocija; mi carne también reposará confiadamente.
    10 Porque no dejarás mi alma en el Hades, ni permitirás que tu Santo vea corrupción.
    11 Lejos de mí has ​​de ver el camino de la vida; en tu presencia hay plenitud de gozo; a tu diestra para siempre.
    Dios los bendiga,

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