An issue of the AVRO, a dutch broadcasting organisation,
about ‘musical instrumentmakers’
Click on picture
We pay a visit to Geert Jan van der Heide on his farmhouse in a winterscene. His workshop is about ten yards from his home.
Here he shows us how he is making a replica of a sixteenth century Italian trumpet of Lissandro Milanese. The parts of the original trumpet were found some years agoo in a shipwreck east of the island of Texel and the researchers asked for help and advice about the find.
Now he tells us how he solders and hammers the trumpetbell, bends tubing into bows and turns mouthpieces from solid brass.
In the meanwhile also telling about his working day and the difference between modern and historic trumpets.
Current methods of music-making require instruments that differ from those in previous periods. Large concert-halls, and the orchestras suitable for these large halls, require instruments which are stable in tone and rather loud. The materials and production-methodes used for instruments nowadays amply much these requirements. Making music in an authentic way, however, leads to other requirements. Flexibility and the possibility of blending the sound, are prominent here.
Flexibility is essential if one have to play in temperaments, differing from the modern equal one, and music making in small groups requires sounds which are excellently blending. This is achieved by choosing the correct measurements, by treating the materials correctly and by the thickness of the walls of the instruments.
All the measurements are copied from, or based on the best preserved and qualitatively best original instruments to be found in European collections.
Besides the instruments already included in the program, it is possible to make replicas of any existing original instrument. Apart from replicas a cheaper production-methode has also been devised. With this instruments only the bell is hammered. The cilindrical parts are made from seamless tubes. This implies extensive time-saving and result in instruments that sound reasonably authentic, at a lower price.
With historical instruments, their form and beauty are as functional as their musical qualities.
A good instrument "deserves" its decorations; they complete the replica.
If so desired all the decorations will be engraved by hand. The surface of the brass instruments is not polished or laquered. In order to keep the wallthickness and its elasticity under control, scraping is the final treatment. In this way texture and appearance of the instrument are identical to those in the Baroque and Renaissance.
The material used in the manifacture of the instruments is a copper alloy which strongly resembles the alloy used in the 17th century. The production methods of that time has been thoroughly researched, and are applied by me now. This implies that all material (unless specified otherwise) is hammered by hand to the appropriate thickness.
To obtain the bell-form, the required thickness of the walls and the elasticity, I only use hammer and anvil.
I can say that at this moment I am the only maker (as far as I now!), who do no concessions on authenticity: no chromium slides, no stockings, no tuning slides etc.
In this way it is possible to achieve the thickness of 0.2 mm which has to be copied; a result that can hardly, if at all, be achieved mechanically.
In this way an "authentic" sound, rich in harmonics, is realised.