BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

 


- Specialist in Acoustics as practiced in the 17th and 18th centuries.

- Aesthetic Scientist involved in researches on cognition, perception, and brain function to establish the underlying principles behind musical and visual artistic endeavors of centuries previous to the 20th century.

- Materials Scientist with emphasis on the acoustical properties of materials

- Metaphysical philosopher-interested in explaining the behavior and nature of the Soul from a non-religious point of view.

- Specialist in Musical Communication training.

- Artist: Painter - in the Modern Impressionist style with a special interest in understanding the modes of perception of the great painters of the past. 

- Artist and historian specializing in the decorative techniques used in Europe from 1600 - 1800. With a special interest in understanding the influence of methods and attitudes on the results.

- Musician (harpsichordist), with a special interest in improvisation and improvisation pedagogy

- Maker of more than 320 keyboard instruments (harpsichords, clavichords, and fortepianos) and 130 bowed stringed instruments (violins, violas da Gamba, etc.) Some of these instrument do not appear in the Opus numbers due to their highly experimental nature. See lists below of instruments made.


- Clinician doing workshops on the Craft of Musical Communication at conservatories in US and in Europe (Oberlin Conservatory, Royal Danish Conservatory in Copenhagen, Bruchner Conservatory, Linz, Hochschule für Musik in Bremen, Göteborg University, Hochschule für Kunst und Musik- Berlin, Hochschule für Musik-Freiburg, University of Wisconsin/Stevens Point Department of Music, etc.

- Exhibited paintings at the Stove Factory Gallery in Charlestown, MA and the Chelsea Gallery in Chelsea, MI

- Decorated soundboards and cases of more than 150 of his own instruments

- Presenter at the Symposium on Improvisation at Eastern Michigan University. 

- Author of numerous articles on musical, aesthetic, and instrument making subjects.

- Alchemist-specializing in research in acoustical varnishes and leathers

- Author of a Treatise on the True Art of Making Musical Instruments - a 250 page volume on the principles of acoustics made practical for instrument makers as well as essays discussing how those principles may be successfully applied.


- Teacher of Harpsichord, Improvisation, and Musical Communication

- Artistic mentor to various composers and performers


EDUCATION

1971-1972
- Graduate studies in Harpsichord with Anneke Uittenbosch at the Sweelinck Conservatorium, Amsterdam, Netherlands

1971
- Bachelor of Music in Music History at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI

1966-1971
- Undergraduate Music studies with Wendell Westcott (piano) and Corliss Arnold (organ) at Michigan State University

1969-1970
- Special course work in Historical temperaments and tunings and piano technology with Owen Jorgensen at Michigan State University.

1972 - 2002
- Organological Research studies on harpsichord and fortepiano making practices and acoustics conducted on the collections at the Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag, the Germanisches National Museum in Nüremberg, the Russell Collection at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, the collection of musical instruments in the Fine Arts Museum in Brussels, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, in 1972 the Skinner Collection at Yale University, New Haven, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Smithsonian, Washington, DC, in 1978, the Paris Conservatoire, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien, and the Stadt Museum Berlin in 1996, and the Claudius Collection in Copenhagen in 2002.

 

-  Began musical instrument making professionally in Grand Rapids, MI in 1972

- Developed the concept that Quality resulted exclusively from correctly applied Universal Principles-subsequently articulated 33 Universal Principles which govern human perception of quality in 1977

- Began research in violin acoustics in 1978

- Co-founder of the Institute for Musical Perception (1999) Ann Arbor, MI

- Teacher of Musical Communication since 1997


PRESENT

 

- Preparing treatise: The True Art of Musical Instrument Making - A Guide to the Hidden Craft of Enhancing Sound written in 1994 and amended and reedited in 2014

- Completed and still editing: Play from the Soul -An Artist's Science for Mastering Creativity

2013

- Has built 304 harpsichords, 32 fortepianos, 72 clavichords since 1972

2012

- Completed violin acoustics research

2010

- Began writing: Play from the Soul

2008

- Began teaching Acoustical Technology to others.

2006

-Authored: Judging Violins  -  An article describing the 39 quality characteristics of great violins. 

2005
- Acoustical restoration of an Italian harpsichord built by Hieronymous De Zentis of Viterbino in Rome in 1658
- Musical restoration of a 6 octave fortepiano by Conrad Graf, ca. 1815
- Ongoing research in painting and decorating techniques and media of the 17th and 18th centuries as well as from Egypt ca. 1500 BC and the 19th century Impressionists.

2004
- Conducted with Marianne Ploger a 3 day workshop on The Craft of Musical Communication at Weinberg Castle, near Linz, Austria
- Completed research on varnish making begun in 1980
- Exhibited paintings in one-man show at the Stove Factory Gallery in Charlestown, MA
- Exhibited paintings at the Chelsea Gallery in Chelsea, MI

2003
- Completed researches in Harpsichord acoustics begun in 1974
- Completed researches in Florentine Fortepiano acoustics begun in 1974
- Presented a lecture demonstration of The Craft of Musical Communication at Penny Farms Retirement Community, Penny Farms, FL
- Authored, Sensory Intelligence, a book which offers an alternative model for explaining human intelligence, based on a complex of over 134 senses divided between seven discreet faculties of mind.

2002
- Conducted workshops and lectured on The Craft of Musical Communication at Universities, Colleges, and Music Conservatories in the US and in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy, France, and Sweden (University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, Oberlin Conservatory, Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Bremen, Linz, Berlin, University of Göteborg, Royal Conservatory in Copenhagen, etc.) and in Manchester, Michigan.

2001
- Co-authored, On Affect, with Marianne Ploger, an essay describing the structure of Affect in the music of great composers
- Co-authored, The Craft of Musical Communication, with Marianne Ploger, reworking an essay titled “Playing from the Soul, a new look at a familiar phrase” and developing the idea of the portamento techniques more completely.
- Presented ideas described and published in the article "Playing from the Soul, a New Look at a Familiar Phrase" in a Lecture/Demonstration, during a Seminar-- On The Musical Mind: Creativity and Models of Thought, at Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Michigan, titled "Rediscovering the Lost Craft of Musical Communication". 

2000
- Concluded research in Guitar acoustics
- Wrote Opinion Essay, published in the Guild of American Luthier's Journal #63
- Concluded acoustical research on Clavichords.

1999
- Concluded tanning experiments with a result of a 10 % improvement in resiliency over model samples taken from a Graf fortepiano.  
- Concluded acoustical research in the area of Viennese Fortepiano making. 

1997
- Presented "Playing from the Soul, a New Look at a Familiar Phrase” as a paper at the Midwestern Historical Keyboard Society in Beloit, Wisconsin including a demonstration on the harpsichord of the performance practice techniques outlined in the article.
- Began research into the acoustics of Guitars
- Participated as a presenter with Pamela Ruiter Feenstra and Marianne Ploger at the Improvisation Symposium sponsored by Eastern Michigan University

1996
- Wrote and published article on "Playing from the Soul, a New Look at a Familiar Phrase" at the request  of the Japanese Clavichord Society for their Journal by that name

1995
- Began research into materials and materials processing relating to acoustics
- Began research into leather tanning to solve the problem of how to produce a vegetable tanned leather of deer skin suitable for fortepiano hammers using samples of leather from a Graf fortepiano 1825 supplied by the Academia Bartolomeo Cristofori in Florence, Italy.

1994
- Wrote: Treatise on the True Art of Making Musical Instruments, the Forgotten Craft of Enhancing Sound, 500 pages on the subject of practical acoustics for musical instrument makers with advice on how to think about the craft.
- Published article on Violin Varnish in the Guild of American Luthier's Journal #37

1993
- Authored a column in Continuo on improvisation called At the Moment
- Published article on quilling harpsichords, including a method for quilling using
- real bird feathers, titled Plastic versus Quill in the Continuo magazine.
- Taught a masterclass on improvisation at Ferris University in Yokohama, Japan

1992
- Began research into the painting techniques of 19th century French Impressionists

1987
- Featured Artist in Continuo, an early music magazine (October)
- Began research in the consequences of current improvisation methods. Developed a linguistic approach to improvisation called the Intentional Method of Improvisation.

1985
- Published article on How to Judge a Harpsichord in Continuo magazine
- Published article on The Anatomy of Authenticity in Continuo magazine
- Published article on Hints to Area Tuning the Violin in the Guild of American Luthier's Journal Vol. 1 # 1

1984
- Published article on Area Tuning the Violin in the Guild of America Luthier's Journal Data sheet # 283
- Developed a violin varnish, which reproduced all the observed characteristics, including the color of fluorescence under UV light, of the antique Italian violin varnish in use between 1550 and 1780, as recorded by authors on the subject of Violin Varnish from the earliest recorded observations to the most recent studies by Joseph Michelman. Conducted more than five hundred experiments in varnish making (preparing 58 separate formulas).

1980
- Began experiments in acoustic enhancement of violins, violas da gamba, double bass, and cellos.  
- Began Violin Varnish making experiments.
- Began research into painting techniques and media of the 17th century Dutch and Flemish painters.

1979
- Invented a pedal harpsichord design which has since become the standard design used by other makers in the US for that type of instrument. 

1978
- Discovered 25 Principles of Aesthetics which appear to govern the decision making processes of musical instrument makers, architectural designers, composers, painters, sculptors, decorators, writers, and performers from ca. 1460 to ca. 1870. These principles appear to be responsible for the exceedingly high quality of the average work done during that time. 
- Developed an Aesthetic Philosophy using these principles as a basis. Used instrument making as an experimental venue for testing these theories.

1977
- Began research into decorating techniques of the 17th and 18th century European harpsichord decorators.

1972
- Began professional career as a Harpsichord maker in Grand Rapids, MI focusing specifically on the technology of acoustic enhancement as observed in the sound of the best antique harpsichords in playing condition found in American and European Collections

List of Instruments made to date:

total 490 having opus numbers and 21 experimental instruments


1 - 3 Manual Harpsichord  
224 Double Manual Harpsichords (6 are 16' harpsichords)  
68 Single Manual Harpsichords
25 Spinets  
1 Virginal
30 Fortepianos  
3 Gothic Harps
1 Three rank Organ with all wood pipes
61 Clavichords  
11 Pedal Harpsichords  
1 Pedal Clavichord
1 Clavicytherium
1 Cembalo Universale with 19 notes per octave  
6 Lautenwerk
76 Violins
38 Violas da Gamba
1 Lute
8 Guitars
8 Cellos
3 Double Basses
3 Violones
7 Violas
2 Violas d'Amore
1 Fiedle (Vihuela)
3 Rebecs
1 Psaltery

These instruments can be found in private homes, concert halls, churches, colleges, universities, schools of music, and conservatories in:

USA

Massachusetts
Arizona
Oregon
Colorado
Washington
New York
Washington D.C. 
New Jersey
North Carolina  
Pennsylvania
Florida  
Maryland
Michigan  
Virginia
Wisconsin
Vermont
New Mexico
California
South Carolina
Nebraska
Mississippi
Kansas
Tennessee
Indiana
Kentucky
Illinois
Ohio
Iowa


CANADA

Quebec
Ontario
British Columbia  


EUROPE

Austria
Switzerland
Germany
France
Spain
Hungary
Italy
Norway
Denmark
Scotland
Holland

Finland

Poland

Sweden

Croatia

ASIA

Australia

Japan

China

Korea

 

PEOPLE WHO HAVE INFLUENCED ME AND MY WORK

 

This is a special Section on my website as it is about those people in my life who have influence my thinking, attitudes and my work.

           The first was Miss Mary Finn, my Latin teacher in high school.  Because I apparently could achieve no better than a D in Latin, Miss Finn asked me why I bothered to take Latin when all it would do is drag down my grade point average.  I told her that Latin was the only course I was taking that I thought was worth learning that year, so even if I didn't get a good grade in it I was still learning something relevant.  From then on, she made sure I was always called on in class to recite part of the text we were translating, made sure that I earned my D, and took every opportunity to hold me after class to explain something that I wasn't understanding.  She was a hard grader so I appreciated the course all the more because of the substance I was receiving.  I credit my interest in words and the roots of words from that Latin class.

           In college, I had the privilege of studying piano and carillon with Wendell Westcott, perhaps the world's foremost authority on Bells.  Wendell could solve any problem involving the technique of playing the piano.  He was far more musical than any of the other piano professors at the school and was interested in a large range of subjects, not just in piano.  Wendell was the person in my life who taught me how to think and solve problems involving the mechanics of piano technique and the relationship between the shoulder, arm, wrist, hand, and fingers and the action of the piano.  He saw virtually no problem that could not be solved by asking the simple questions: 

What exactly is happening with ... ?  followed by, 

Assuming we are wrong, exactly what is happening? 

Because I was armed with these two questions I have been able to solve almost every single acoustical problem I have faced.

           In college I also had the benefit of studying piano tuning and technology with Owen Jorgensen, the famed author of the tome, Tuning the Historical Temperaments by Ear.  Owen is the person I credit with my eventual decision to become a musical instrument maker because he recognized how easy it was for me to think about all aspects involved in matters historical as it related to musical instruments.

           Once I began my career as a musical instrument maker, building an average of 8 double manual harpsichords a year, and began unraveling the mysteries that surround the subject of acoustics, I met Marianne Ploger, who introduced me to the real business of acoustical science, that is, the art of listening to exactly what was happening in a sound and understanding the business of hearing from a perceptual point of view.  I immediately grasped the importance of Marianne's discoveries in the realm of basic acoustics when she shared with me her discovery of the phenomenon that people who possessed perfect pitch recognition were hearing that allowed them to know what pitch was sounding without any frame of reference.  She reported that she could teach people to have perfect pitch recognition by showing them how to hear pitch in a special way.  But it was after she asked for my assistance in explaining the phenomenon, that is, exactly what was happening that made it possible for people to recognize accurately any pitch they were hearing without a frame of reference, that I came to fully appreciate the enormity of the importance of her discovery.  What she discovered was the single most important discovery in basic acoustics since Pythagoras worked out the musical ratios 2500 years ago.  For anyone interested, visit her website at www.plogermethod.com to read about her work, methods and ideas.  

           The phenomenon she described to me in detail was clearly the keystone of musical instrument making because it was applicable to every aspect of constructing a violin, harpsichord or fortepiano, the instruments I have had an interest in since age 14. With that keystone it is possible to understand how the great musical instrument makers, like Stradivari, Guarneri, Ruckers, Schnitger, Taskin, Blanchet, Cristofori, Graf, to name a few, made decisions about how heavy or thick or thin or light to make a piece of wood to give it the desired sound quality.  Furthermore, her discovery helped me to understand and explain the entire development of western musical tunings and temperaments and why some tunings and temperaments went out of fashion and why western music ended up with Equal Temperament with a standard of A-440.  This discovery also explained how the circle of fifths really worked, tossing that concept into the realm of clear understanding of how musical pitch works. It also makes effortless an understanding of how the pre-20th century composers chose the key in which to write their music.  

           Where Pythagoras provided humanity with the "y-axis" in musical acoustics, Marianne Ploger had provided humanity with the "x-axis" in musical acoustics, the "z-axis" having been provided by all the greatest musical instrument makers in history.  Every mystery, of which there are many in the realm of acoustics, is explainable using Marianne Ploger's discovery that she calls: Frequency Associated Timbre. Those mysteries are only disguised by the extreme subtlety of this phenomenon.  Indeed, I spent a month with earplugs in my ears in order to prepare myself to be able to hear the phenomenon clearly when the earplugs finally came out. After I removed the earplugs I could easily hear the phenomenon and spent the following 2 weeks studying it in extreme detail in order to explain what was happening. Once I fully grasped the nature and importance of her discovery, all the mysteries surrounding the business of enhancing sound in musical instruments became exoteric, one after another, and so on in short order.

             I could easily envision how her discovery could be applied to all manufacturing processes, to designing buildings, to human relationships, to resolving personality conflicts, to the design of every tool, implement, device and instrument, among other things.

          For what Marianne discovered, she should be recognized world wide.  But because we live in an age in which sound and music have been reduced to the crudest, rudest of terms in the general culture almost to the point of total irrelevance, her discovery has yet to be revealed to the general public.   A truly spiritual person, Marianne avoids the spotlight to continue her investigations into sound and music.  So it is no surprise that I say she is also an outstanding composer.  

            At her website www.plogermethod.com you can hear some of the pieces she has written and performed.  In an age when beauty is scorned by so-called composers because they themselves can't produce it, and in which ugliness in all its tortured fowlness is extolled as a virtue because it provides an easy way to avoid feared comparisons to the great composers of the past, Marianne possesses no such fears and writes music to inspire the souls of listeners.  She is a melodist in an age that scorns melody in music.  She is an original contrapuntalist in an age in which composers are bereft the ability to write memorable music, not to speak of the ability to create counterpoint that is both original and meaningful.  She is a harmonist in an age that trashes harmony in favor of dischord and cacophony.

           And I have only touched on the surface of what other hidden phenomena she has uncovered. As a problem solver in the realm of music, musicianship, hearing, interpretation, and communication, Marianne Ploger has no equal.  She has a cure for tone-deafness, poor sight reading skill, unmusical performing, and all manner of learning difficulties relating to sound and music.  To say the least, Marianne is a wellspring of knowledge and solutions to every musical problem.  So it is perhaps needless to say, I have learned more from her than any other single human being.

          Finally, there are others who have influenced me and my work in less profound ways.  Those who have taught me how to have the right attitude at the right time, who taught me how to see subtlety in varnished surfaces, who taught me the value of workmanship, who showed me the kindness of being extremely clear in criticism of my work, who provided me with assistance selflessly to further the quality of my work, and who have supported my work by wishing to own it and record music with my instruments.  To those too many to name, I thank them.

 

REVIEWS  OF  KEITH'S

WORK   AND   IDEAS

BY  THOSE  WHO  KNOW  HIM  PERSONALLY

 

A few years ago while writing a book, which I have titled: Play from the Soul -- An Artist's Science for Mastering Creativity, and intending to approach a publisher for the book, I asked a number of my friends if they would be willing to provide me with reviews of my work and ideas and was surprised by their willingness to write up a paragraph or two to submit to prospective publishers.  I am still working on editing the book.  In the meantime I have come to appreciate the degree to which what my friends wrote about me and my work and ideas provides as accurate a picture of me as is possible, and have decided to post those paragraphs here for those who might be interested to know something about what others think of me and my work.  Curiously, I have never been particularly concerned what others may or may not think of me or my ideas and work, so it was an astonishment to me that they had so much positive to say.  What follows are these paragraphs:

1

I have had the great fortune to work with Keith Hill over the past six years learning about the acoustical properties of wood, especially as applied to clarinet reeds.  This work has covered the entire reed making process from the selection of tube cane to the most minute adjustments of the finished reeds.  I have been a professional orchestral performer and university teacher for thirty-six years and thought I was quite competent with making reeds, but Keith’s teachings have totally transformed my entire reed making process. His process is thoroughly grounded in science, but also incorporates feeling and intuition, and is truly groundbreaking.  I am confident that Keith Hill’s upcoming book will make a major contribution to human knowledge.

 

John Weigand

Clarinetist in the Baltimore Symphony

Prof. of Clarinet, University of West Virginia

 

2

When I first went to study with Keith Hill, I was expecting to learn some methodical acoustical recipes to improve my oboe reeds that he’d gleaned from decades making some of the world’s best harpsichords. Far beyond that, Keith taught me to listen to the reeds and make extraordinary demands of them in service to artistic ideals that transcend the oboe. He incorporated listening to recorded examples of awe-inspiring performances, detailed examinations of paintings, laws of the natural world, and a set of craft and affect principles that he developed in order to rekindle the imaginative and communicative power of music that has largely been lost due to a modern industrial approach used so much these days. His lessons continue to deeply inspire my performances and teaching at the University of Wisconsin and I believe his message needs to be heard now more than ever.

 

Aaron Hill

Prof. of Oboe

University of Wisconsin, Madison

 

3

During the last twelve years I’ve had the opportunity to deal with Keith’s concept of instrument making and with his musical philosophy as a whole. At first mainly through his essays; but Keith is always willing to share thoughts with interested musicians directly, and so we had a good amount of mail contact, and, when I visited him in Manchester, also a lot of inspiring talk – combined with some likewise inspiring, unconventional coaching at his harpsichords, exploring the meaning of “Musical Communication”.

Keith would never be content with just copying an antique instrument. He always tries to get into the “soulful intentions” of the antique instrument makers (be the instrument harpsichord, clavichord, fortepiano or violin) and to recreate an instrument in that spirit. “From the soul”, guided by the most important parameter: the absolute quality of sound. Keith gets every measure of an instrument from the exploration of sound in the material that he uses for his instruments, and he works with the material in a way that enhances sound. Therefore his instruments bear such a rich and generous sound character. And whenever I play a Hill harpsichord, I feel this character, and it touches and inspires me.

For Keith, the making of instruments has a spiritual sense. It’s not for itself. Instruments have to enable Musical Communication (as he and his wife Marianne Ploger have named and described it) and to tempt musicians to come to a real musical communication with their audience. That’s what his instruments- made “from the soul” - never fail to do.

 

Eckhart Kuper

Harpsichordist, Organist

Hannover, Germany

 

4

Keith Hill is a true living master of musical instrument building who has no modern equal in terms of excellence or approach.  The book which Hill has written is an immeasurable resource for any person who hopes to achieve his level of fluency and expertise. His approach is completely unique.  While other modern instrument builders base their building techniques on modern scientific means--physics, measurement, exact replication--Hill has gone against this grain and has rediscovered and further developed the ancient science of musical perception by being almost solely concerned with how the human mind perceives sound. The secrets of the ancient masters, people who created the world's masterpieces of sound without modern science, are alive again. In knowing Mr. Hill and his work, I would pay almost any price for a reference that would guide me toward his level of proficiency and help me to avoid even some of the pitfalls that are encountered on the path towards mastering any craft.

                 

Matt Sullenbrand

 

5

For almost four decades Keith Hill has been making musical instruments, which draw forth the highest level of engagement both from performers and listeners.  One does not acquire the skill to make such instruments in our times without an unflinching commitment to the quest to understand what is true and of lasting worth in the finest instruments of the past, to understand the nature of quality, and to commit all of one’s faculties – mental, physical, emotional – toward the realization of quality in one’s own work. If one considers the world of the harpsichord and clavichord, it is clear that no other builder in modern times has been so successful doing just this, in building such transcendently musical instruments. These are instruments which not only sound magnificent, but which also lead us to deeper experiences of the nature of music.

As a musician, I am helped, challenged, and sometimes brought up short by such instruments, an experience not unlike having a conversation with Keith himself. This is a rare treasure, to have such experiences. And such experiences eventually teach us that this kind of instrument is less of a tool for the performer than it is an entry point to an experience of transcendence.

It is not a foregone conclusion that there will always be people capable of making such instruments, and it would be tragic if this hard-won understanding and skill were to be lost to the future. Keith Hill’s book is for those who aspire to do likewise, as well as for all those who are drawn through love of such instruments to understand better their transcendent qualities. The publication of this work is an absolutely necessary step toward ensuring a healthy future for all the arts.

 

William Porter

Prof. of Organ and Harpsichord

Eastman School of Music

 

6

Keith Hill's instruments are not only beautiful to listen to, but also beautiful to behold.  He has scrupulously adhered to principles for instrument making during the seventeenth and eighteen centuries, and extended his talents to include painting soundboard and case decorations based on period copies and ideals.  His instruments are bold in sound, and stunning in their visual impact.  As a player I experience expressive feedback through the sensitive touch of the keyboard and the aural behavior of the sound itself.  This is not universally the case with many builders today.

Someone who accomplishes work at a high level necessarily has much to impart regarding core values in the workshop and the structural behavior of optimum sound.  Philosophical statements and other information in various Baroque treatises have been an inspiration for his standards of workmanship. 

 

Elizabeth Farr

Professor of Harpsichord and Organ

Director of the Early Music Ensemble

University of Colorado, Boulder

 

7

Keith Hill's approach to teaching is three-tiered:  explanation and demonstration; guided hands-on work; and, repetition.  Selflessly, he shares the knowledge he has gained through his own research, experimentation, and the observance and application of principles.  He has published A Treatise on: The True Art of Making Musical Instruments, which discusses the acoustical enhancements that can be achieved through the understanding of pitch and tuning principles, and the implications to the action and instrument design.  He has also published articles, available on his website, pertaining to various instrument making subjects.  Two examples are “Plastic versus Organic” on the art of quilling, and “On Voicing and Regulating Harpsichords”.   His experience, inquisitiveness, and his zealous pursuit of understanding and perfection make him truly a Master Teacher."

 

Mij Ploger - Harpsichord and Keyboard Maker

 

8

The attitudes and ideas that Keith Hill taught me over the years that I have known him have been invaluable to my development and work as a creative thinker. He offers an objective standard for art that I have not found anywhere else in the artistic world. Applying his method of building and maintaining a relationship with my soul has given me an edge on my competitors by creating a consistent flow of ideas and providing a way to identify ideas which are suitable to explore and develop. I have been able to integrate much of his work to the benefit of my everyday life, and I feel it is safe to say that if the artistic world were to put his theories into practice today, the result would be a artistic revolution.

 

James Raynor --screenwriter

 

9

Keith Hill has spent most of his life to rediscover the technology of making great sounding musical instruments made by the ancient makers of the past. The years of research have ended up in developing the acoustical technology with the help of which one is able to build various musical instruments using the same knowledge and applying it to any imaginable musical task such as making an instrument, designing a hall or playing a piece of music.

Not only has he discovered this extremely important knowledge, he has tested every idea on various musical instruments that he has built during his career. He has also proved that it is possible to transfer this knowledge to other people. I was trained by him over a relatively short period of time and am now able to reproduce his results in my own instruments. His book might be very important for anyone who is interested in the true principles on which real art is based.

 

Artiom Sinelnikov

Pianist, Violin Maker

 

10

Keith Hill is one of the most important aesthetic scientists in the world today.  Mr. Hill is particularly adept at articulating the attitudes of history's finest artists and how they can be applied today. Keith keenly understands how materials can be most effectively used in creating aesthetic experiences for audiences.

Besides being one of the most important instrument builders since Stadivarius and Guarneri, Keith Hill is an accomplished improvisor, painter and teacher.  Keith's approach is unique in that he is primarily concerned with timeless universal principles rather than today's subjective likes and dislikes.  His delivery is honest, direct and humorous.  I can hardly wait to read his book upon publication.

 

Dr. Charles Rochester Young

Assistant Dean

Conservatory of Music

Baldwin Wallace University

Berea, Ohio

 

11

"As I've begun to understand and apply the perspectives and acoustic principles Keith has revealed to me, my own approach to my work has been revolutionized.

At first, I didn't truly believe that the excellent qualities Keith envisioned for my results could actually be produced. Yet, I have produced results that surpass any other results produced by others today. Keith's perspectives have been truly transformational for my work.

I believe his book would help others who are receptive create truly great work in an era when this no longer seems possible."

 

William Stuart

Bagpiper and Reed Maker

Willimantic, CT

 

12

Keith Hill’s harpsichords, for their beautiful and complex sound, are one of the best physical demonstrations of the fact that together with scientific knowledge, a craftsman needs intuitive knowledge, just as much as he needs his right and left hand. Like the old alchemists he has found a way to transcend matter into a spiritual and aesthetic creation.

Rafael Marijuan

Harpsichord Maker in Spain

 

13

Like many musicians, I came to Keith Hill in search of a beautiful instrument with exquisite sound and complete responsiveness. But Mr. Hill hasn't always built instruments like this: he first needed to to find a new way of thinking, a process of continual invention and discovery that led him ever closer to his 18th century forbearers. The strength of this approach speaks for itself - it has led him not only to remarkable instruments, but also to vital, practical strategies for creating meaningful performances. There's no magic in this approach - just a set of principles, discoverable by others once they've learned how to look. This new book should help explain how Mr. Hill arrived at such a mindset. By inspiring and guiding others to do the same, this book may prove a valuable resource to succeeding generations of instrument makers, ensuring a future for the instruments and ideas that make expressive music-making possible.

 

Mark Edwards

Organist, Harpsichordist

Prof. of Harpsichord

Oberlin Conservatory

Oberlin College

Oberlin, Ohio

 

14

对凯特.山在乐器制作和音乐感知领域成就的评价:

作为一名在物理学和计算机科学等多项领域获得过学位的工程师,科技工作者,又从小就玩琴至今的音乐爱好者。我自信从原则上来说,我比绝大多数人,制琴师、音乐家或音乐爱好者,更懂得和了解被称之为<科学制琴>的方法,也就是用现代最先进的科学技术手段来制琴。我原来认为这方法可行。可是如此制成的琴声大都令我大失所望。琴声中仍然缺少一些东西,确切地说,就是缺少音乐元素。

多年来,我一直在乐器的制作过程中寻找音乐元素,未果。直到有一天我读到由凯特.山撰写的题为<提琴的分区调制>的文章。他在文中提出<谐律>是乐器制作的基本原理,并坚定地捍卫这一原则。谐,这是大自然的自然属性。多么精辟的原理论述!

无须多言,我们只需倾听他那根据这一原理制作的琴声,让我们的耳朵来引导我们加深对这一原理的理解。饱含<音乐>的琴声,胜过千言万语。

有些人可能会发现凯特.山制作的琴声与诸如阿玛蒂、斯特拉迪瓦里和瓜奈里还有许多其他制琴大师的琴声不完全一样。但在我看来,这正是原理的真正价值和力量所在:作为原理,它让我们可以根据各自对原理的理解和对音乐的感知来展望和实现自己的琴声;作为原理,它伴随着我们的艺术创作和总结。相比之下,如果斯特拉迪瓦里的琴声是阿玛蒂琴声的翻版,瓜奈里的琴声又是斯特拉迪瓦里琴声的翻版,如此等等,那将是多么的难以想象和令人不可承受。

虽然凯特.山在乐器制作和音乐感知领域的不懈努力和工作成果逐渐引起了人们的关注,但与其应有的地位还远不相称。对大自然原理如此深刻的思想内涵与理解值得在更广泛的同好间分享。

张平于法国巴黎

 

(As an engineer, a scientist graduated in physics and in computer science, and a music lover who plays the violin since childhood as I am. I believed that I was someone in principle better positioned than most people, luthiers, musicians or music lovers, in understanding the building of musical instruments in ways known as the “scientific approach” with the most modern, most advanced technologies possible. This is how I was convinced in the matter. But most of the time, the works made by this approach disappoint me. It still lacks some things, but I did not know exactly which.

For many years I failed in the search for musical elements during the construction phases of the instruments until the day when I read the first time the article by Keith Hill entitled "The Area Tuning the violin" in which he presents and defends the principle of harmony as the fundamental principle in the building of musical instruments. Harmony, existence in itself of the nature, what a wonderful principle!  We need only listen the sounds from the instruments he built using exclusively this principle. Let our ears guide us in understanding the principle. A "musical" sound is worth a thousand words.

Some people may find the sounds of Keith’s instruments are not a carbon copy of the sounds made by instruments of the ancient masters such as Amati, Stradivari and Guarneri and many others. But I think that's where the real value of the principle settled: a principle that allows us to project and carry out our own musical sounds based on our understanding of the principle and our musical perception, a principle that accompanies us in our artistic creations and conclusions. In contrast, it would be unimaginable and awful that the Stradivari’s sound is the copy of that of the Amati and Guarneri’s sound is the copy of that of Stradivari, etc.

Although the works by Keith in his instrument making and his music perception begin to enter into the views of luthiers, musicians and all kinds of music lovers, but it's still not enough relative to its merits. Such a deep understanding of the nature deserves a sharing between those who enjoy.)

 

Ping Zhang - Engineer, Physicist - China - presently living in France.

 

15

I consider Keith Hill to be one of the most outstanding personalities I have met in my life.  I have known him for a couple of years now. When I first contacted him it was in order to get a harpsichord made in his workshop. I had been looking for harpsichords for several years and though it would have been much easier and cheaper for me to order an instrument in Europe I found that his harpsichords are most inspiring and absolutely unique in touch and sound. Knowing what a harpsichord could be like I felt that everything else would be an unsatisfying compromise.

I soon discovered that being in touch with Keith Hill had to be more than a simple business relationship between customer and seller.  His strong and rather unconventional way of thinking about how music ought to be played is controversial. For musicians who are open to his ideas they often work as a kind of release that sets free a lot of energy.  As a musical coach Keith Hill is able to turn an average performance of any musical piece into a very musical, very speech-like and very intense personal interpretation within one single lesson.

As an owner and player of a very beautiful two-manual harpsichord made by Keith Hill, I have got a lot of positive feedback by harpsichord colleagues, other musicians and the audience. In my opinion there are very few harpsichords that can compete with his instruments except from the historic ones. Without copying historical instruments literally Keith Hill has succeeded in his art of making musical instruments to catch what I tend to call their spiritual quality. This is what makes his work so extraordinary.

 

Medea Bindewald

Harpsichordist

Mountsorrel

United Kingdom

 

16

Over the past decade, I’ve had the great fortune of knowing and working with Mr. Keith Hill.  One of the fundamental things that I have learned from Mr. Hill is to make the time and effort to understand your passion from every aspect.  Experience has taught me that while Mr. Hill makes very bold statements, every last one can be backed up as truth by the countless hours of observation, research and experimentation he spent on each one. 

 

Leo R. Van Asten

Composer/Teacher

 

17

It is with great pleasure that I commend to you the work of Keith Hill, including the insightful writing he has generously made available over the years.  Mr Hill's reach is broad but by no means superficial. His articles on such subject of the Craft of Musical Communication has long been a source of inspiration to me, and has had a powerful influence on my playing.

A particular strength of his writing is his use of common metaphors to render familiar concepts that might otherwise seem esoteric. He may even appeal to multiple senses to accomplish this: the effect of giving a deep hug in his idea on excrucis, for example.  Mr Hill embodies the much sought after synthesis of artistry, intellect, and humanity.

 

Timothy Burris, PhD., Lautenist

 

18

More than any other instrument maker I know, Keith Hill has rediscovered the science of creating new work in old styles. I have known his work almost since the beginning, at a time when other instrument builders were making meticulous copies of antiques---a 20th century transitional approach. Keith, on the other hand, started by creating a vocabulary to describe sound, then began experimenting to understand how these various sonic characteristics were created and balanced in the old instruments. As the result of this process, a willingness to experiment outside of known models, and his extraordinary intuition, he has been at the forefront of instrument making in our time.

 

Roger W. Sherman

Organist, Harpsichordist, Recording Engineer,

Owner of Gothic Records

Orcas, WA 

 

19

Keith Hill ranks among the most noted international keyboard and stringed instrument makers.  After decades of intense research in ancient techniques, he now has compiled his findings in a book that communicates his process. 

I find his book to be of unparalleled significance. It is a great pleasure for me to recommend this book for publication.

 

Wolfgang Rübsam

Professor Emeritus

Hochschule fur Musik - Saarbrucken, Germany

Church Music and Organ Performance

 

20

Keith Hill does not just think outside the box. He gleefully stomps on the box, flattens it and forms it into heretofore-unseen shapes. He steeps his mind in the rich stew of 18th century thought and emerges transformed by notions foreign to 21st century minds. This conceptual brew produces keyboard instruments that seduce the ear and delight the touch.

Hill pays profound attention to perception and bores down to an atomic level of indivisible essence, which he calls the universal principles. His thinking challenges, provokes, annoys and hones in on attitudes that produce excellence. These concepts will infect your thinking and attack your sense of self-satisfaction, but they may also goad you to the greatness you crave and fear.

 

Geoffrey Thomas

Budapest, Hungary

 

21

Keith Hill's remarkable insight, demonstrated in his writings, is the product of 40 years' thinking as an accomplished musician, luthier and painter.  His writings on musical communication and the Principles that he espouses have significantly changed my thinking.  I believe his proposed book would be essential reading for artists of any kind, historians, and the curious-minded.

 

Matthew Parkinson

 

22

Два года назад в поисках хорошего инструмента для моего сына, который учится в Вене у всемирно известного педагога Бориса Кушнира, я попал на сайт К.Хилла. Этот мастер сразу же заинтересовал меня, во-первых, звучанием своих инструментов, которые выгодно отличались от работ известных мне современных мастеров и по ряду параметров, на мой слух, приближались к звучанию инструментов Страдивари и Гварнери дель Джезу, а во-вторых, интересными и глубокими идеями, изложенными на его сайте. Дальнейшее общение, знакомство с его текстами и взглядами по самому широкому кругу проблем убедило меня, что К.Хилл представляет собой неординарный, не типичный для нашего времени тип мастера-музыканта-мыслителя, который ставит свою работу с деревом и свое понимание музыки в непосредственную зависимость от своих философских идей. Эта вертикаль от общих идей к практике, в которой данные идеи воплощаются, широта взглядов и тонкое эстетическое чутье делают автора той фигурой, общение с которой будет интересным и полезным для широкой публики, так или иначе связанной с музыкой.

 

Артем, при желании можно добавить, что Хилл дал сыну один из своих инструментов, приезжал в Ригу для тестирования инструментов в зале и тд. Можете редактировать, как посчитаете нужным, особенно если надо больше связать с текстом выпускаемой книги.

 

Two years ago, while looking for a good instrument for my son, a student of a famous violin professor in Vienna, Boris Kuschnir, I found the webpage of Keith Hill.  This maker immediately interested me, first by the sound of his instruments, that clearly were better sounding than the instruments of modern makers known to me and which were to my ears close in sound to Strads and Guarneris, and second by the ideas, profound and interesting, available to be read on his webpages.  Secondly, further contact with and studying his texts and views on a vast range of question (topics) has convinced me that Keith Hill is non-typical for a modern day kind of maker-philosopher-musician who is incorporating his philosophical views to his understanding of music and the art of instrument making. This manifestation from his ideas into practice, where these ideas are applied, together with the breadth of his views and sophisticated aesthetical intuition makes any book, by which this person communicates his thoughts, both interesting and helpful to a wide range of readers related to music in any way.

 

Gennady Chepovetsky

Riga, Latvia

 

23

Keith Hill’s ideas about how the intuition works freed my mind by helping me realize that following one’s own intuition and choosing correct attitudes will always render better decisions.  With his work, he has helped me overcome a deep block to a point where I am now able to innovate my art form rather than follow the norms.  Without the help of Keith’s ideas, I don’t think this would have been achievable.  I highly recommend studying Keith’s approach if you are going through similar difficulties or if you’d like to advance, innovate, and further explore your art form.

Boris Isakov

Screenwriter

 

24

Keith Hill once told me that he wants to make his violins sound like Monet's use of color in his paintings.  Since I have the privileged opportunity to play great violins all the time in my profession, including the violins of Antonio Stradivarius, Guarneri del Gesu and other great old as well as other modern Italian violins,  I found his comment intriguing.

His most recent violin reminds me of the color in Monet's paintings. I compared this particular violin by Keith with 4 original Stradivarius violins.  Stradivarius' violins are great and very beautiful to look at, but to me, the Stradivarius violins are not as good to play for me as playing Keith Hill's violins. If I had to give a recital tomorrow, and had the choice to play one of those Stradivarius violins and that Keith Hill violin I would use Keith's violin, importantly, because I can express my feelings about the music better on Keith's violin than on violins by Stradivarius.

Keith Hill's 35 year long research and experiments based on 18th century instruments is extraordinary compared to any other makers as far as I know. His upcoming book might induce and inspire others to work with principals from the 18th century or with Monet's principles of painting.

 

Shigetoshi Yamada

Violinist

 

25

I have spent hours with Keith Hill that cannot be accounted for, not because they were countless, but rather because his workshop is this huge "time-machine" that belongs to different times and spaces. Keith’s routine is to wake up in the early afternoon, attend to the basics of life of the century where chance had him born (ours) to then move at sunset to reinventing the 18th-century. There -his mind seems to actually migrate there and back with great ease-  is where he actually works from.

If music is the science of time, and visual arts the one of space, Keith Hill is working with both.  His music studio and workshop push the boundaries of a giant barn converted to accommodate both modern and traditional settings of a workshop and sound studio. Don’t be mistaken: Keith Hill is a modern, extremely modern indeed and technology savvy. It is just that he uses modernism to his own purpose, as actually any technology should be used: just a means to an end. If micro-waves exactly translate the chemical transformation of an oil that used to be obtained over patient hours, why not proceed in seconds and use the rest of time for more experiments?

There is no religion about the past in Keith’s progress: it is that systematic search for sure knowledge that requires sampling experiences accumulated over millenia. Keith samples, accumulates, devours objective and historical knowledge and processes it passionately. His drive maintains a constant focus, with something of a tranquil obsession.

His giant nature, the strength of which has impressed anyone working with him, endlessly ploughs frontier mind territories, curious of what might grow. Hill must have been taking notes if he wrote this book, perhaps better called a Spiritual treatise, but I would not even be certain of that: he is too busy studying and testing. This is how he learns, and never forgets anything. Each fragment of new knowledge is incorporated to the whole and fused into a relentless hands-on practice that tries and proves any attempted new theory.

Keith enjoys provoking the visitor to spark what he calls a “conversation”, something more in the shape of a Socratic dialog, pacing acres of the barn floor, busy around a harpsichord he is tuning and perfecting as we speak. The casual visitor might battle his way out, baffled by Keith’s strong assertions he planted along the talk like Chinese stones engraved with puzzling wisdom and cryptic glyphs. Keith’s mind works like a cryptogram or multi-layered palimpsest: it has an ever-mobile logic of its own where the simplest and most evident elements articulate and attach themselves to remote pieces of knowledge. Curiosity drives the accumulation.

We will never know if the intelligence of the whole is the exact representation of ancient knowledge or of the essence of human knowledge itself in the particular areas of interest to Keith, but we do know that this is a productive way for creative thinking.  In that sense, Keith is profoundly an artist. He might be the most integral conceptual artist I know. He has actually produced an impressive number of artworks, be it paintings (K.H. is a fine painter to begin with), harpsichords, or now violins.  What he is really pursuing is understanding how to create the identity of the object at the same time as shaping how it will be perceived by its audience. In other words, creating a concept within an artwork reaching beyond itself.

 

Christine Arveil

Artist, Painter, Historian, Specialist in Ancient painting and varnishing techniques.

Boston, MA

 

26

Keith Hill has been one of the major influences in my musical life and I consider myself lucky to have lived near him for many years and benefited from his knowledge and friendship. I have owned many harpsichords and fortepianos built by him, all excellent instruments. He is a unique individual who comes as close to being a "Renaissance man" as anyone I've ever known. Whatever challenge he undertakes, he eventually masters it to a degree that few others reach.  For example: some years ago he decided to learn to paint in order to decorate his own instruments. His skill as an artist working in the style of that period is now remarkable and the decoration of his instruments masterly. Later he became interested in bowed string instruments and can now point to many outstanding violins that he has built. Drawn from his experience as an instrument builder, Keith Hill's thoughts on musical performance are profound and provocative and should be more widely available to musicians young and old. I very much look forward to seeing his book in print.

 

Penelope Crawford

Harpsichordist, Fortepianist

Ann Arbor, MI

 

27

I have found Keith Hill’s research to be singularly inspiring to me as a performer, and this research has favorably changed some of my basic ideas about composition and working with other instrumentalists and singers who are leaders in their field - in rehearsals including ensembles from 3 - 60 performers, including live performances and recordings.

The information resulting from Hill’s various researches over the last 30 years are original, seeking, easy to digest and enlightening. 

I feel that it is a great advantage to know a maker of musical instruments whose fascinating scientific and acoustic research can generously add to the experience of communicative performance for both players and listeners.

 

Skip Sempe

Harpsichordist and Conductor

Paris, France

 

28

It has been my pleasure to know Keith Hill for about fifteen (15) years now, although I first came into contact with his instruments in 1982.  In 1998 he built me a most beautiful two-manual harpsichord in Franco-Flemish style, which continues to inspire and challenge me right to the present day.  It was between ordering and receiving the instrument, however, that we met personally. Most of our initial discussions focused on music, most particularly affect and the communication of affect in tonal music.

Keith takes nothing on trust. His constant pursuit of excellence, which has nothing at all to do with the technological, optical criteria of our time, is based on absolute faith in sensory perception and inthe faculties of mind which entertain reciprocal contact with the senses.

I've witnessed him examine historic instruments, where he sees and hears things which most of us musicians merely sense to a greater or lesser degree. It quickly became clear that his insights are based on empathy with the builders (he would prefer the word „acousticians“) of bygone eras that in turn reflects his own creative processes and their evolution during the period of our acquaintance.

As he conceives his instruments as totalities, it was no surprise to discover that he'd decided to undertake their exterior decoration and not just their acoustic design. As far as I'm aware, he made a study of painting techniques of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries under the tutelage of others and also auto-didactically. When I myself opted for such a decoration of my harpsichord (soundboard, lid and case), I was a little sceptical of the outcome but the results bear witness to the success of his empirical approach, in which technique in all its aspects is the servant of expression.

Although I neither organized nor financed them, Keith (together with his wife Marianne) has given workshops on musical communication at the Anton Bruckner University (Linz, Austria) where I work, in which young musicians were able to offload much of their „intellectual ballast“ and re-experience music-making from the vantage point of attentiveness, sensuousness and creativity.

As we begin to exit an age of blind faith in the natural sciences, society is indebted to those individuals who have the interest and courage to fathom and explore the mindset of historical creativity, not out of a desire to recreate the past as a museum but in the conviction that there are human values there to be discovered which benefit humankind. Keith Hill is such a person.

 

Brett Leighton

Harpsichordist, Organist

Prof. of Organ and Harpsichord

Anton Bruchner University

Linz, Austria

 

29

My work throughout my thirty years of teaching in music has focused on trying to understand how students best learn and how as their teacher I can guide them toward deep understanding. Furthermore, my own development as a musician and a teacher who teaches music making has included a search for an understanding of how to effectively communicate through a musical instrument. Along the way, I have had teachers who have guided me to this goal of getting beyond the mere technique of the instrument towards an effective way of performing and thinking. Keith Hill, among all my teachers, has perhaps been the most influential in allowing me think as an effective communicator while playing saxophone. His insights (along with Marianne Ploger) to the "art of communication" caused me to think about my playing and about my teaching in a whole new way. His coaching offered devices that I can use to remove any attachment to my ego, while playing, to a connection to my soul. I have never met anyone else who is as connected to what he is paying attention to and who is as skilled in "paying attention" to his craft, or music making, or anyone's else's creative work.

 

David M. Hastings

Professor of Saxophone

Music Department

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Stevens Point, WI

 

30

In Mr. Hill´s workshop, I built and tuned few violins with his methods and the result was amazing. I also had chance to hear his keyboard instruments. They sound stunning, and it was pleasure to touch them. All enhanced instruments are easy to play and they invite the player to make a music without limitation. The best part is that all these acoustics principles, which I learned from Mr. Hill, are not new. All this knowledge was employed 200 years ago by all makers. Mr. Hill is very helpful to continue to guide me in my progress to build marvellous instruments. I am very happy that Mr. Hill opened my ears.

 

Ladislav Prokop

Violinmaker

London, England

 

31

Harpsichord and Violin maker Keith Hill knows how to happily balance intuition with rationality: not only his creations are quite beautiful and technically very well made, but the sound they produce is unique: full, rich, harmonious and projective. I will never forget his technic of sound adjustment he built with conviction and patience and now masters, that is the fruit of years of observations and brainstorming. Keith has such a sharp ear that he can recognize and clearly describe overtones that very few trained musician are able to; I simply can't follow him, even though I have perfect pitch! All of this partly explains how he can shape stunningly beautiful sound on his instruments. In addition to this talent, he plays each and every one of his harpsichords, and could give a performance at any time. A great professional and artist.

 

Benoit Rolland

Violin Bow Maker

Awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France

Recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship Award

Boston, MA

 

32

 I have had the distinct pleasure of knowing Mr Keith Hill since 2010. In this short time, he has challenged my way of looking at the world around me, both as an engineer and life in general, and the essential role of our soul in the human experience. This has helped to foster a mentality of thoroughly processing and examining the delicate interplay between seemingly unrelated events and things. Too often we become fixated on doing things a certain way because it is easier or it’s “how it has always been done”. By challenging this status quo and truly examining a process and its effects on the psyche, we can go beyond producing something that simply works and create something inspired, bringing joy and satisfaction to the end user in a ways never before imagined. Too often this cannot occur due to shortsightedness or, even worse, neglecting the inner spirit that drives us to excel or succumbing to ego. 

 In a world of people suffering from tunnel vision, Mr Hill takes a holistic approach in his endeavors and looks at the effect his work, and that of others, has on the world and those around us. His visionary concepts remind us of the importance of how every experience, creation and interaction will affect the soul residing in each of us. If this fact is neglected, true quality can never be achieved.

 

Dan LaMotte

Engineer    

Tacoma, WA

 

33

I met Keith Hill around the mid 90s. He was at this time a commanding voice in the art of keyboard instruments making, selling his work to players in the US, Europe and Japan. I was very impressed by the quality and output of sound of his instruments, which reminded me of the best that I had seen in Europe.

Mr. Hill was then in the beginning of his exploration into the art of violin making, and being a violinist myself, I was just thrilled by the opportunity to accompany his progress, and occasionally provide feedback.

It was during this time that I was introduced to Mr. Hill's concept of wood tuning. After years of observing this technique of wood tuning at work, I still can't help but to be surprised to see how so little shaving of wood in specific places can result in such a strong change in the violin's response.

Because the tuning of the accessories ( bridge, fingerboard, tail piece and nut ) noticeable improve the strings instruments output and quality, I believe that Mr. Hill's expertise should be a Must Know not only for instrument makers, but also for instruments set up professionals.

I actually own and play one of Mr. Hill violins.

 

Reinaldo Couto

Violinist

Teacher of Alexander Technique

Ann Arbor, MI

 

34

I have had the privilege of knowing and working with Keith Hill since 2001.  Keith is one of the most present and conscious people that I have ever encountered in my life.  He has helped me incredibly not only as a musician but in life skills as well.  One of the major concepts he has taught and demonstrated to me over the years is that loving and paying attention are one in the same.  You see this in every endeavor that he undertakes and as a musician I can't think of a more important concept. 

I have also done extensive study with Keith on The Craft of Musical Communication as well as Affect.  Learning how to communicate music in a way that touches another human beings soul, rather than being obsessed purely with note correctness as so much of the world seems to be these days, changed my life in major ways.  It brought a new level of joy to my own music making at a time when I seriously contemplated quitting music entirely due in large part to my frustration with the state of music making and the lack of communication that occurs in "classical" music performances.  I cannot thank Keith enough for sharing his passion for great music making as well as the selfless amount of time he has given me over the years as both student and friend. 

 

Scott T. Pierson, CW2, AG

Commander/Conductor

133rd Army Band

Camp Murray

Tacoma, WA

 


 

by Elatia Harris

as appeared originally in 2007

at the 3 Quarks Daily website

 

In the studio on his farm in Manchester, Michigan, Keith Hill makes musical instruments, has done for 35 years.  Until recently, most of those instruments were harpsichords played by professional musicians all over the world.  But then he began questing for the maker’s grail – a violin from his own hands to equal those of Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri.  It’s a long quest, and he has plenty of company.  For the secrets of the great violin makers of Cremona have, famously, never been penetrated, and the attempt to make an instrument sounding that gorgeous has been the fruitless life’s work of countless luthiers in the 250 years since Giuseppe Guarneri made his last.

How is it that Keith Hill could be the maker who gets there?  And how close has he already come?  That’s what I wanted to look into, intrigued that instruments made by some of our era’s most illustrious luthiers do not sound necessarily better than much cheaper mass-produced violins.  Why not?  When physics, mechanics and acoustics have been brought to bear on Cremona violins, and luthiers spare nothing of craft to copy them, creating instruments capable of extreme optical seduction.  And yet, what goes missing is the sound – characteristic, authoritative and ravishing. 

Over several years, and more recently, over several focused conversations, Keith Hill and I have talked about the approaches that makers have taken to reclaiming the lost art.  In the world of violin making, Hill is not just a particularly fastidious maker, but a real maverick who conceives of his task differently than others, and is – to use a term that weighs heavily with him -- prepared in his imagination for a different result. 

EH: What do you think happened between the time of the great makers -- Amati, Stradivari, Guarneri -- and the present time for their methods to be such a puzzle to modern makers?

KH: The modern frame of reference happened, and it takes some doing to know the world as a maker of the 17th century would have known it. This includes thinking about acoustics from a completely different point of view. There was a huge shift in the whole basis of scientific culture between the 17th and 18th centuries – towards observation, verifiablility and mathematical proof.  Science began to be dominated by the eye.  Before that, science was closer to what we think of as alchemy, with one favorite activity of a scientist being to draw correlations between everything in the universe.  A musical instrument was a microcosm, governed by Pythagorean ratios and proportions, and before attempting to understand the makers’ way of doing things, it’s necessary to remember that the great violins got their start in the time just before Galileo.

EH: And that the last of the great makers had died before the Enlightenment got underway?

KH: That’s right.  The instruments we’re talking about came from the workshops of three makers in Cremona, between the final years of the 16th century and the first half of the 18th century.  The first was Andrea Amati, who invented the violin as we know it, but the best of the Amati line was his grandson Nicolo, the teacher of both Antonio Stradivari and Andrea Guarneri.  Stradivari was almost 40 by the time he went out on his own in 1680. He was active for a very long time, until the late 1730’s, and extremely productive -- he averaged about 25 violins a year, compared to 3 or 4 a year from a good maker today.  Stradivari’s workshop, but not his genius, passed to his two sons. Giuseppe Guarneri “del Gesu” was the grandson of Andrea – the top of the line and rather short-lived.  He died in his 40’s only a few years after Stradivari, in 1744.  So these were family businesses, with the greatest instruments produced by Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri in the early 1700’s.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Violin   by   K e i t h   H i l l   Opus  4 7 0  made   in  2 0 1 5

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Violin   by   K e i t h   H i l l   Opus  4 7 0  made   in  2 0 1 5

 

EH: What would a violinist today be thinking about in choosing one of these instruments over another?

KH: A violinist is always going to be thinking of the best-sounding and most playable instrument he can find for the money -- whatever the money. And even among the best of the best, there is something to choose.  A Guarneri “del Gesu” is about twice as loud as a Strad. It has vocal qualities, whereas a Strad has qualities that are more organ-like.  So it’s apples and oranges.  And of course these instruments don’t change hands very often.  Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz and Yehudi Menuhin played Guarneri “del Gesu” violins.  Itzak Perlman was playing a Strad in the 1970’s, but he also owns a Guarneri “del Gesu.” By the way, the term "del Gesu" comes from Giuseppe Guarneri's personal label, which incorporated the intitials I-H-S.  It's how you tell -- from looking, that is -- his violins from others of his shop.

EH: What about the differences between them from the modern maker’s point of view?

KH: It’s important to me that Amati used non-harmonic ratios – minor thirds, perfect fourths, minor sixths, and so on. Whereas Stradivari pioneered the shift to harmonic ratios and knew how to tune wood perfectly.  But it’s pretty easy on a Strad to squeak when you play.  When I discovered the connection between tuning with harmonic ratios and the ease of squeaking, and the difficulty caused by these ratios to the ease of speech of the string, I called the effect “distortion resistance.” And Guarneri worked very hard to overwhelm that, which increases the playability and volume of tone of his violins.

EH: It’s interesting you don’t say a thing about the differences in how these instruments appear. Is it important what a violin looks like? 

KH: No, but that’s what later makers have fixated on anyway.  The great violins do present different appearances.  An Amati is a gorgeous-looking violin.  Stradivari had a very good eye.  A Guarneri violin can show a certain indifference to craft, although that’s not always the case.  By the 1690’s, Strads had found their way to all the ports of Europe, and they are certainly beautiful-looking instruments.  Within 10 to 20 years, Stradivari’s reputation had taken hold securely, and within 100 years of that the demand had taken off.  So copies of Strads and Guarneri violins had become common by the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  If you’re copying, you’re relying on your eyes – the more exact people can see that your copy is, the better for you.  Not everyone who could afford a copy of a Strad had actually heard one played, but they’d heard of it, and knew it ought to look like a rare, fine thing. This is when a cabinet making approach began to dominate violin making, and the level of craft a maker could bring to an instrument decided its value. It’s still that way, with Strad copies taking months to make and looking very close to a real Strad costing lots of money on that basis alone.

EH: Something is wrong with this picture…

KH: It is. This is because a violin isn’t an artifact that looks a certain way to please your eyes, and when you make one you shouldn’t be testing it with your eyes but with your ears – just as you test the worth of a recipe by taste, and not by how the dish looks when it’s presented.

EH: But looks aside – why isn’t the whole point of all that craft to make a great-sounding violin?  One that rivals or matches the great violins in sound?

KH: If that were the whole point, it would have been done by now, and many reasons have been given by makers why their violins do not come up to that level – lack of the right woods, the right varnish, the right number of decades for their violins to age to have a shot at sounding like a Strad.  If time was what it took, Guarneri “del Gesu” violins would not have come into their own for decades after Giuseppe Guarneri died, and Strads would not have been coveted all over Europe within 10 years of Stradivari setting up his own shop.  It’s true, even a great violin has to be played-in to sound wonderful, but that can be brought about in a matter of days or at the most a few years. We have the choice of wood the great makers had, and then some.  But we don’t even use some – like willow – that they did use.  As for varnish, it really can be a tricky affair, but myths about holy varnish should be disregarded, because the violin has to be a great-sounding violin before it is varnished.  If it isn’t, no varnish will make it so. 

EH: You sound like you had a lot of trial and error yourself. 

KH: Enough to eliminate a great many false paths.

EH: So, if it’s not the wood, and not the varnish, and not the years, and if makers like the lady with all the machines and meters and earphones in that classic Nova episode “Secrets of the Great Violins” haven’t gotten close –

KH: That’s Carleen Hutchins.  She’s very committed to her own approach, which she believes is a scientific one, and she’s trained many students to do the work the way she does it.  The fact that she is shown on NOVA  in her workshop “tuning” a plate using the tone generator and wearing ear protectors says just about everything regarding her approach.  To me, the notion of building a musical instrument without the benefit of hearing is…well, what can I say?  I call it pseudo-science.   What makes that way of investigating false is that it focuses on the box, on the assumption that by duplicating the box one should be able to duplicate the sound.  The TRUE way to investigate the violin mystery is NOT to focus on the box but rather to focus on the sound that the box makes using only the ears.  That is my investigative method.  It is vastly more difficult a path because sound is fleeting...here at the moment and then either gone or different the next.  But when you get close to generating the sound in the same way that the great violins generate their sounds, lo and behold, the violin begins to look and act and be like the great antique violins without even trying to make them look, act, or be that way.  That is, the appearance of the box is a by-product of making the sound...not the other way around.

EH: Then how do you even get on the path to go after these secrets?

KH:  By not conceiving of them as secrets, to start with. Contrary to popular opinion, there were no secrets in the musical instrument workshops of the 17th and 18th century makers. This is because everyone knew just about the same things as everyone else, and left to his own devices in the privacy of his studio each maker developed personal habits and ways of doing things that were distinctive and even unique.  A maker who had some special knack for making a wonderful sound was merely considered more talented, just like today. So the main question is, what did the best makers of the past know about how to make a wonderful sound that we don’t seem to know? To answer this question, you need to know how they thought about sound.

EH: And you have some ideas about that…

KH: I have made some discoveries about how the great makers may have considered acoustics so as to build sound the way they did.  It takes into account a worldview that has been eclipsed, scientifically speaking, but is no less accurate now as then, when applied to the making of musical instruments. Modern science has been just about useless in that pursuit, if the idea is to make a great violin that can speak to us as the great violins of the past do.  For that, we need to go straight to what the great makers knew.

EH: Something that’s kind of mystical?

KH: Yes, its mystical if you don't really know what you are doing and, No, if it is just something about the way they saw the world.  That way is something we actually know but have long since poopooed it in favor of the hallowed eye oriented scientific method.  What was that way?  Simple.  It was Pythagorean science, which boils down to the knowledge of and search for musical ratios in everything to make sense of the world from a musical ratio and proportion point of view especially where the sense of hearing is involved.  

For instance, I observed about 25 years ago that nature constructs living organisms and tunes the parts of their structure to pure musical ratios -- this is what the ancient makers must have known.  Our bones, then, are tuned to pure musical ratios that are part of the harmonic series, and it is the complex of these harmonic ratios in the various bones that makes each of our voices unique. The ancient musical instrument makers then figured out how to "build" these musical ratios into all the parts of their instruments and the results were musical instruments that sound like human voices. This way of thinking is what was lost shortly after the death of Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri, as makers became fixated on copying, mass production methods, and gradually lost touch with the other practices of their traditional acoustical infrastructure.

EH: This is where there have to be similarities between your work and that of Stradivari and Guarneri – in the acoustical infrastructure.

KH: My work is entirely based on acoustical principles, that is the acoustical infrastructure that guided the ancient musical instrument makers, not on copying the appearances of violins that great violinists have come to love, respect and covet.  If my violins bear any similarity to the work of Giuseppe Guarneri, it is not because I copied one of his violins, it is because, in a manner of speaking, I copied his mind-set.

                                                                                                                                        The violin pictured above was made by  K e i t h   H i l l   and  his  research   partner,  a r t i o m   s i n e l n i k o v,                                                                                                                                                                                         who was also his acoustical  technology student from  Kiev, Ukraine

 

                                                                                                                                      The violin pictured above was made by  K e i t h   H i l l   and  his  research   partner,  a r t i o m   s i n e l n i k o v,  

                                                                                                                                                                                      who was also his acoustical  technology student from  Kiev, Ukraine

 

EH: The better to make the same discoveries he did?

KH:  Exactly. There are principles that I have discovered, learned, intuited, or received from one or two researchers in the field who had a good idea. But I base my designs mostly on my own discoveries about how the sound of the violin can be enhanced. When I discover a way to enhance the sound of my violins, I try to inspect a great antique violin to notice if that same idea was used by any of the great antique makers.  When I can observe that the great makers used that same idea in their making, I know that I have found yet another piece of the puzzle. When I put all the discoveries together in a single expression – in my design for a violin, that is -- it will usually end up looking exactly like a 17th to 18th century Cremona violin.  If I am missing a piece of the puzzle, then I can see and hear and feel the differences when I compare my work directly to a great antique violin.  And the closer I get to a sound that compares with a Strad or a Guarneri "del Gesu" violin, the more obvious the perceptual "holes" become. 

EH: Why is that?

KH: Because anytime you enhance the perception of a thing you enhance everything about it, including all its defects. Sometimes the perceptual "holes" are of such a nature that the idea, concept or principle needed the fill the hole is really elusive.  This is especially true about the violin, and it’s why the solution to the problem of how the ancient makers built sound has universally managed to elude makers, ever since the18th century.

EH: I noticed that Richard Tognetti, the music director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, was recently made a long term loan of a Guarneri “del Gesu” violin – the “Carrodus” – but that’s a 10.5 million dollar instrument the likes of which very few even fabulously gifted violinists will ever get to play.  Are you making instruments with them in mind?

KH:  No. It is not enough to build something that is good enough to satisfy even a great musician because too often even the greatest musicians will be impressed and satisfied if an instrument works well enough to play music on, and sounds good enough not to annoy or irritate the sensitive ear, and is suggestive enough of good sound for them to imagine enjoying playing it again.  I asked Isaac Stern to play my first violin – not because I wanted to know what he thought of it, but because I wanted to know what I thought of it being played by him.

EH: Okay! What did you think when you heard Isaac Stern playing your first violin?

KH: It sounded pretty good – no thanks to the violin. We are talking here about the difference between musicianship and building sound. If you have the musicianship, you can compensate very well for a less-than instrument.  For me, that is not good enough, and if I was forced to build instruments of that calibre, I would rather do something that makes tons of money much faster than violin making.  It is only good enough to build a sound that totally inspires the souls of players and listeners.  That is my standard.  If this standard is so high that it will always be out of my reach, I can live with that and die in the process of solving the puzzle.  But both Stradivari and Guarneri knew how to consistently create instruments that inspire the souls of men, so it is not an unreachable goal.  My task is to avoid being influenced by the expectations of the culture at large – and this includes players of genius. 

EH: Sounds a little lonely out there.

KH: Sometimes I relate to that very old movie about Pasteur. Everyone who disagreed with Pasteur was utterly convinced they were doing good work, and that he was the one on the wrong track.

EH: So, where are you in the quest to build that sound?

KH: Well, you’re asking at an interesting time.  Just in the last two years my own estimation of my violins has significantly increased in proportion to how close they sound to what I’m after.  But they aren’t 100% there yet, although my last violin is especially close.  I’m not interested in showing these violins to concert artists just yet, even though I know that at this point they are better than the best 19th century violins, and better even than the second-best 18th century Italian ones.  Having the reputation of a maker who aspires to equal the great makers of Cremona does not interest me.  I have to determine for myself that my violins are indisputably among the best of the best, and when I do that, I will have built sound ready for the best players.

EH: How easy is it to isolate what’s still missing?

KH: I listen simultaneously for many, many qualities in the tone of the violin, and I listen to assess its playability. The more you can discern these numerous criteria for judging an instrument, the better you will know which are missing from your own.  I continuously ask myself not only what is missing, but what is missing from my violins that is not missing from the greatest violins of the great period.  Right now I’m working on a component I call directness.

EH: How do you define directness?

KH: Well, it’s the absence of indirection.  The difference between suggesting a point and making a point truthfully, with immediacy, and without regard to how it will be received. And it’s a quality that is both wide and focused.

EH: You can tune for such a quality?

KH: What I found recently was the precise cause for that effect and I can now produce it reliably on each instrument I make.  Before that, I was working on the effect of velvetiness. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Violin    by   K e i t h     H i l l     opus   4 7 1    made    in  2 0 1 5         

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Violin    by   K e i t h     H i l l     opus   4 7 1    made    in  2 0 1 5         

 

EH: How would you describe velvetiness?

KH: When you hear mellifluousness in a voice, what that translates to in a violin is velvetiness.  It’s the complete absence of anything harsh or grating.  It’s soft to the touch, but intense to perception. It’s like velvet in that it really calls attention to itself, and can’t be mistaken for anything else.

EH: How many qualities of this type do you listen for?

KH: At my webpage on how to evaluate or judge violins, I have a list of criteria with 39 traits that anyone listening to a violin can learn to hear in the sound of just about any great violin.  Yet, I suspect there are more that I have yet to isolate in the sound of the antique violins.  As soon as I am aware of them I will be able to figure out exactly how to build those remaining traits into my violins.

EH: This reminds me of the distinctions that perfumers make – they describe scent fluently in ways that most of us would never have imagined being able to apprehend it.  

KH: If you’re talking about mastery, you can only control what you can articulate for yourself – not necessarily for others, but for yourself.  Horowitz really analyzed the business of touch – he had around 30 different touches for the piano.  He obviously didn’t think that was more than he needed.

EH: Do you think other people can learn to build their violins for these effects?  

KH: I know they can, but they do need to have normal hearing, not less.  My recent Internet friend Pierre Leiba plays the violin and is a mechanical engineer -- as a maker, he’s a neophyte.  We’ve been corresponding about an aspect of instrument making I call “area tuning.” On these first MP3 sound samples, you will first hear Pierre playing a violin he made before doing the tuning.  Next, you’ll hear him playing it in two different samples after he took it apart and tuned the wood according to the area tuning principle, but still insufficiently.  Finally, for the last two MP3 recordings, Pierre popped the violin apart and tuned the wood for more precision.

EH: That’s an incredibly dramatic before-and-after demo.  Is there more?

KH: Yes, here’s Pierre again – he’s playing his violin, and it’s his tuning, after spending a week refining the tuning at my suggestions. What do you think?

EH: Wow -- that’s no accident. 

KH:  No.  No accident.  And pretty soon Pierre should be able to tune wood like a real pro, rather than repeatedly popping the violin apart and going back to revise what he’s done.  The goal is to be able to bring an instrument to completion before you evaluate it. To get the result you are prepared for in your imagination every time.

EH: Tell me about “tuning the wood.”  And more about “area tuning.”  I’ve heard you refer to these things a few times, and I think I’m getting what you mean.  But it could be I’m not the only one who has a mental picture of a violinist tuning an instrument by twirling its pegs to tighten or loosen the strings…

KH: Well, that’s not quite it. The way I teach people about how tuning works is to make an analogy to road engineering.  That is, the sound energy from the string is like a super expensive racing car that is the fastest car ever made.  The sounding surfaces of a musical instrument are like the road.  The question for the driver is: do I want to drive on a road that is full of potholes, bumps, and ruts, or, do I want to drive on a smooth uniform pavement that inclines against the curves and offers no impediments or barriers to driving as fast as my car can go?  Every musical instrument begins its existence like the road with all the potholes, bumps, and ruts.  Every Stradivari violin began its existence that way. Every Guarneri violin began its existence that way. 

EH: Why? 

KH: It is the nature of the materials, especially wood, that they are out of tune.  Meaning, the road is full of potholes.  The business of area tuning – and of the tuning principle specifically -- is to systematically acoustically fill all the potholes, acoustically grind down all the bumps, and acoustically grade the surface to remove all the ruts.  To acoustically engineer the musical surface so that the sound energy encounters zero impediments to its motion through those materials and to make its way out into the atmosphere where the sound can be heard.  Anything that slows down this energy causes the listener’s perception of that sound to be radically reduced.  

EH: Then a maker can’t prevent that reduction by copying how a great violin looks?

KH: When makers think they are doing something responsible by making an exact copy, they are deluding themselves as well as others into thinking that the end result will be of the same quality as the original.  When they assume that making iron filings dance around in patterns by adjusting the flexibility of the violin plates, as so many so-called scientific instrument makers do, they are pretending to do something significant.  The truth is, they are deceiving themselves and others by building the road and leaving it full of potholes, bumps and ruts.  Iron fillings always migrate into the potholes in the road, so to have pothole so the pattern looks right is creating potholes and speed bumps in order to slow down the energy from the string...on purpose.  To my mind, that is utter nonsense.

EH: You’ve met a lot of resistance to this thinking, though.

KH: Absolutely. The resistance I’ve met is because of a nasty problem caused by enhancing a sound – that everything in the sound becomes obvious to the ear.  That is, all the other acoustical defects that were hidden by the un-tuned wood are now out in the open for everyone to hear, notice, and be disgusted by. This happened to me too, when I was figuring out harpsichords, so I know how awful it feels.  But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The more purely and more carefully the wood in the violin is tuned, the more sweet, resonant, intense, brilliant, deep, focused, expansive, and carrying its sound will be. Only the courageous instrument maker will prevail.  Though this is the point at which most makers who try area tuning revert to the safety of their old bad road building habits.  After all, who can tell that the road should have been inclined upwards into that curve to help keep the car on the road if the car can't travel any faster than 5 miles an hour instead of a mile a second?

You have to understand, if you get into the violin research business, that every violin maker wants to think of him or herself as being the next Stradivari or Guarneri.  Thus, every idea that disagrees with what almost every violin maker learns goes through 5 stages before being fully accepted and because an idea disagrees with the conventional wisdom it is bound to be rejected utterly by almost everyone.  However, I have found that as soon as one or two makers bother to take a second look at the idea, they start to work with it and say that it works.  (Stage 2) This causes almost all the other makers to dismiss the idea.  The next stage (3) every right idea encounters is ridicule...if some more makers find that it works then it become imperative that the conservative makers ridicule the idea.  However, when more and more makers find that the idea works, then the ridicule stops (Stage 4)and the critics go silent into the background.  And, (Stage 5) once the idea becomes generally accepted but by a few holdouts, the holdouts treat the idea as if it were their own idea..."I knew that!"... and sniff at anyone who tries to remind them of their attempts to crush the idea in its infancy.   Well,  Area Tuning is now at the third stage since I published the idea back in 1985.

EH: So how does a maker know to push on with area tuning rather than push off?

KH:  You take the attitude, which is, that you can only fix problems in the sound that you can hear.  What you can't hear, you can't fix.  I want to hear everything, all the problems and all the good things.  The good things I want to keep and strengthen and the bad things I want to systematically eliminate.  And I will keep at this until I am dead.  Only the truth sets you free.  Only the truth allows you to know what not to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                THIS   VIOLIN   WAS   MADE  by  K e i t h    H i l l     Opus   4 6 1     in    2 0 1 4

 

                                                                                                                                                                                              THIS   VIOLIN   WAS   MADE  by  K e i t h    H i l l     Opus   4 6 1     in    2 0 1 4

 

EH: I don’t want to ask you for trade secrets, but -- seeing the principle, I want to talk about how it might translate directly into decisions you make at your bench. And directly into the specific sound a player would make with that violin. 

KH:  Area tuning works like a stencil.  With a stencil you create the pattern you want and the stencil eliminates every other possibility for you.  The musical ratios you select for your tuning system are like the holes in the stencil.  The size of the areas to which you tune a ratio is like the size of the hole.  That is, if you want to hear lots of nasalness in the sound, you choose a larger area for the 3:2 ratio that makes the sound, or you make more than one area with the 3:2 ratio.  The stencil or pattern of ratios controls how much of such and such an overtone will be apparent, of the various harmonics you select.  So, when the violin is finally playing, the sound you hear will reflect that ratio according to how much surface area is devoted to that ratio.  In other words, the ratios you select for the tuning system will be heard in the sound in amount according to how much surface area you gave to that ratio.  It is a direct correlation.

EH: This is wonderful of you to talk with me.  It’s what I’ve been hoping for years to make a start on understanding. I'll be back!

KH: It is important to me that the rest of the world, and not just the aficionados of the violin, be able to comprehend the true nature of sound and all that there is in a great sound to be delighted in.  The more mystery is removed, the more wonderful the experience of listening is made because it is in the very nature of complexity that it delights the mind the more its intricacies are grasped by everyone.  Knowing about how things work only increases our feelings of wonder and awe about them, just as keeping things mysterious only causes us to argue and opinionate.  As one acoustical scientist once told me, in science we try to keep things simple…if it isn’t simple enough, we can’t study it. So maybe that is why they have failed?
 

WEB RESOURCES FOR THIS ARTICLE

http://www.keithhillharpsichords.com/
http://www.violins.keithhillharpsichords.com/judging_violins.html
http://www.instrumentmaking.keithhillharpsichords.com/areatuning.0.html
http://www.instrumentmaking.keithhillharpsichords.com/areatuninghints.html
http://www.violins.keithhillharpsichords.com/antiqueing_article.html
http://www.instrumentmaking.keithhillharpsichords.com/hillviolinvarnish.html
http://www.musicalratio.com/
http://marianneploger.com/

 

 

 

 

Please note*  Should you be aware of a change in ownership or an error in numbering, please send me an email (pictagoras@aol.com using Opus List in the subject line) to that effect so I can correct and update my list.

 

From 1972 - 1988        2037 Division Avenue South, Grand Rapids, MI 49507

From 1988 - 2010        10332 M52,  Manchester, Michigan 48158

From 2010 - now          5641 Granny White Pike, Brentwood, TN 37027

including the names of the commissioners or current owners of the

Harpsichords, Clavichords, Fortepianos and Violins etc.

 

Opus No. Type/Maker/School   Manuals    Owner’s Name              Location

 

1970                                                                                                                                               

1          French                      2        Harald Vogel                       Bunde, Germany                 

1971   

2          Dulken                     2        Karen Englund                    Copenhagen, Denmark

1972

3          Virginal                    1        Dohse                                  Germany                                         

4          Italian                       1        Guido Klemish                    Scheveningen, Holland

5          Flemish                    1        Susan Blamire                     Grand Rapids, MI

6          Dulken                     2        Jillon StoppelsDupree      Grand Rapids, MI/ Seattle, WA

7          Bull                          2        Whitson/ Von Meding        Glenview,IL

1973

8          Dulken                     2        LucyCarolan                     Edinburgh, Scotland

9          Dulken                     2        David Percy                        Amsterdam, Holland

10        Dulken                     2        Elizabeth Wright             Portland, OR/Bloomington, IN

11        Italian                        1        Lillian Bard                         Tempe, Arizona

12        Flemish                      2        Presb. Church                     Rockford, IL

13        Flemish                    1        Michael Barrone                 St. Cloud, Minn.

14        Dulken                     2        Terry Johnson                    Amhearst, MA

15        Fortepiano                         rebuilt as # 53                     later destroyed

16        Italian                       1                                                    destroyed

1974

17        Bull                          1        rebuilt as #57/Robert Hill     Freiburg, Germany            

18        Italian                       1        Gavin Black                        New Brunswick, NJ

19        French                      2        James Wright                      Boston, MA

20        Italian                       1        Lisa Crawford                     Oberlin, OH

21       experiment

22       experiment

23        Flemish                    2        rebuilt as #56                      Rockford, IL

1975

24        Flemish                    2        Meg Irwin Brandon            Portland, OR

25        Flemish                    2        rebuilt as #72                      Joyce Rutledge/Durham, NC

26        Italian                       1        rebuilt as #68                      Anne Englehardt/Boston, MA

27        French (17th cent.)   2        rebuilt as #48                      Roger Sherman/Seattle, WA

28        Clavichord/Bundfrei After Hass/rebuilt as #44         Harald Vogel/     Bunde, Germany

29        Flemish                    1        Henry Eickhoff                   Ellensburg, WA

1976

30        Italian                       1        Jan Willem                          Netherlands

31        Flemish                    1        Harald Vogel                       Bunde, Germany

32        Bull                            2        Arlette Irving                      Roseburg, OR

33        Italian                       1        rebuilt as #243                    Freiburg Hochschule,Germany

34        Italian                       1        Max Yount                          Beloit, WI

35        Flemish                    2        Harald Vogel                       Bunde, Germany

36        French/op.59/op.      2        Herbert Fowler                   Hershey,PA

37        Italian (GG-g3)        1        Noella Lagace Marcil          Montreal, Quebec, Canada

38        Clavichord                         John Brombaugh                 Eugene, OR

39        Destroyed

1977

40        Flemish                    2        Michael Perlmutter             Boston, MA

41        German                    2        Oberlin conservatory          Oberlin, OH

42        Italian                       1        Fred Sautter                        Portland, OR

43        Flemish                    2        Brenda Snaddon                  Amsterdam, Holland

                                                Jaap & Jeanette Koopmans        Amstelveen, Holland

44        see #28

45        Pedal Harpsichord             Harald Vogel              Bunde, Germany  

46        Flemish                    1        Cleve Johnson                     Greencastle, IN

47        French                      2        Barbara de Lateur                Seattle, WA

48        see #27

49        Flemish                    1        Mark Edwards                    Milwaukee, WI

1978

50        French                      2        Meg Irwin Brandon            Northampton, MA

51        German                    2        Marjory Hartger                 Grand Rapids, MI

52        French/Blanchet       2        Lynn Schultz                      Seattle, WA

53        Fortepiano - destroyed     

54        Flemish                    1        Elizabeth Screnock              Bunde, Germany

55        French                      2        Illinois State U.                   Normal, IL

56        See op. #23

57        Bull                          2        Robert Hill                          Freiburg, Germany

                                                            Johannes Lang                    Freiburg, Germany

1979

58        Flemish Kit              1        Darlene Catello                   South Bend, IN

59        French-Flemish   2        Herbert Fowler (rebuilt as Opus Hershey, PA

60        Hill                           1        Miriam Jencks                    Lexinton, MA

61        Hill                           2        Gavin Black                        New Brunswick, NJ

62        Hill                           2        William Porter                     Boston, MA

63        Hill                           2        E. Screnock                         now in North Germany

64         A Clavichord                      Robert Hill                          Freiburg, Germany

             B Clavichord                      Meg Irwin Brandon            Northampton, MA

1980

65        Clavichord/Bundfrei            Cleve Johnson                    Greencastle, IN

66        Hill                           1        Lynn Schultz                      Seattle, WA

67        Flemish                  1        Joan Parsley                        Milwaukee, WI

68        See op. #26

69        Italian                       1        Thomas Albert                    Bremen, Germany

70        #1 Hill                      2        Jim Jones                            Red Bank

            #2 Hill                      2        Judy Glass                          Collegedale, TN

            #3 Hill                      2        rebuilt as #138/IAAcademy         Interlaken, MI

            #4 Hill                      2        Susan Cook                         Ann Arbor,MI

            #5 Hill                      2        Betsy Meehan                    Winston-Salem, NC

            #6 Hill                      2        Max Yount                          Beloit, WI

            #7 Hill                      2        Penny Crawford                 Ann Arbor, MI

71        See op.#6

72        See op. #25

73        Spinet                       1        Marianna Milks                  Amsterdam, Holland

74        Pedal Harpsichord #1        Jim Jones                            Red Bank, NJ

75        #8 Hill                      1        Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing, MI

76        Clavicytherium        1        Frank Cooper                      Miami, FL

77        Pedal Harpsichord #2        Genzo Takehisa                  Tokyo, Japan

78        #9 Hill                      2        ditto

79        #10Hill                     2        Karen Teigreen                    Fayetteville, MS

80        Italian (rebuild of Sassman italian) for Ed Pepe             Chester,MA

81       #11 Hill                     2        Mirelle Lagace                     Montreal, Quebec

82        Italian                       1        Helene Dugal                       Montreal, Quebec

83        Clavichord/Bundfrei rebuilt as #132/Ed Pepe                Chester,MA

84        Italian                       1        Diane Hopkins                    Framingham, MA

1981

85        Spinet                       1        David Jencks                       Berkley, CA

86        Spinet                       1        Jerry Chase                         Eugene, OR

87        #12 Hill                    2        Dale Shifler                         Boonsboro,MD

88        Taskin                      2        Gerd Hofstadt                     Delmenhorst, Germany

89        Spinet                       1        Miriam Desrosiers              Mont-Joli, Quebec

90        Italian                       1        Novi Green                         Orlando, FL

91        Spinet                       1        Jeffery Havron                    Collegedale,TN

92        Spinet                       1        Ruth Marshall                     Milwaukee, WI

93        #13 Hill                    1        Peter Van Eenam                 Knoxville, TN

94        #14 Hill                    2        Sue Chang                           Toledo, OH

95        Spinet                       1        Harriet Riddle                     Milwaukee, WI

96        Spinet                       1        Amy Brothers                     San Fransisco, CA

97        Spinet                       1        Quentin Faulkner                Lincoln , NB

98        Spinet                       1        Marjorie Koblas                  Eugene, OR

99        Spinet                       1        George Ritchie                    Lincoln, NB

100      Spinet                       1        Myron Magnet                   New York City

101      #15 Hill                    1        Bellamy Hassler                  Wausau, WI

102      #16 Hill                    2        George Lucktenberg            Atlanta, GA

103      #17 Hill                    1        Alan Durfee                        Northampton, MA

104      Pedal Harpsichord#3         Mark Brombaugh                Princton,NJ

105      Blanchet                   2        Tina Makara                       Bowling Green, OH

106      Clavichord/gebunden          Cleve Johnson                     Greencastle, IN

1982

107      Spinet                       1        Paula Price                          Stillwater, OK

108      Spinet                       1        Gerry Frank                        Stillwater, OK

109      Spinet                       1        George watkins                   Bethlehem, PA

110      #18 Hill                    2        Mark Brombaugh                Princeton, NJ

111      #19 Hill                    2        Southern Missionary college       Collegedale, TN

112      Flemish                 1        Presb. Church                     Westfiled, NJ

113      Spinet                       1        Mitzi Meyerson                 Cambridge, MA (stolen by one of her students)

114      Spinet                       1        Judy Tsou                           Durham, NC

115      #20 Hill                    2        George Cohen                     Wellesley, MA

116      See #58

117      Spinet                       1        Chris Witebsky                   Berkley,CA

118      Spinet                       1        Gene Bedient                      Lincoln, NB

119      Pedal Harpsichord #4        Harald Vogel                       Bunde, Germany

120      #21 Hill                    2        Diana Blom                         Hong Kong

121      #22 Hill                    2        David Rothe                        Chico, CA

122      Pedal Harpsichord #5        ditto

123      #23 Hill                    1        University of Michigan      Ann Arbor, MI

124      #24 Hill                    2        ditto                                   

125      Flemish (3x8’)         1        Harald Vogel                       Bunde, Germany

126      Pedal Harpsichord #6        Edward Parmentier             Ann Arbor, MI

127      Spinet                       1        Brad Brookshire                  Ypsilanti, MI

128      Pedal Harpsichord #7        Robert Hill                          Cambridge, MA

129      Spinet                       1        Terry McCandless              Collegedale, TN

130      #25 Hill                    1        Karen Rieger                       Milwaukee, WI

131      #26Hill                     1        Grand Rapids Jr. College    Grand Rapids, MI

1983

132      Clavichord/Bundfrei          Ed Pepe                                Chester, MA

133      #27 Hill                    2        Calvin College                     Grand Rapids, MI

134      German w/16’Hass2        Harald Vogel                        Bunde, Germany

135      Clavichord/gebunden         Miriam Jencks                     Lexington, MA

136      Hemsch                    2        Bernard Lagace                    Montreal, Quebec

137      #28 Hill                    2        Tomoko Miyamoto              Kamakura, Japan

138      See op. 70 #3

139      German/South          1        Penny Crawford                 Ann Arbor, MI

140      German/South          1        Roger Sherman                   Seattle, WA

141      German/South          1        shipped to Harald Vogel     Bunde, Germany

142      #29 Hill                    2        Barbara Matthews              New Jersey

143      Pedal Harpsichord #8        Roger Sherman                    Seattle, WA

144      Hill (Magnum Opus)3       Grand Rapids Art Museum Grand Rapids, MI

145      Spinet                       1        Bernard Lagace                    Montreal, Quebec

146      #30 Hill 16’&3x8’    2        Roger Sherman                    Seattle, WA

147      #31 Hill                    2        Fred Renz                            New York City

148      Italian                       1        Bernard Lagace                    Montreal, Quebec

149      #32 Hill                    2        Centre College                     Danville, KN

150      Pedal Harpsichord #9        ditto                                   

151      #33 Hill                    1        Church of the Cross            Omaha, NB

152      Clavichord/gebunden         Miriam Jencks                    Lexington, MA

153      #34 Hill                    2        Henk Bouman

                                Andreas Staier                  Koln, Germany

154      #35 Hill                    2        Kathryn Habedank             Tocoma, WA

155      German w/16’          2        David Britton                      Los Angeles,CA

156      Pedal Harpsichord #10      Elizabeth Farr                     Grand Rapids, MI

157      #36 Hill                    2        Tom Harris                         Rock Island IL

158      #37 Hill                    2        Lee Ezell                            Charleston, SC

159      Clavecin Brisee        1        Philip Tyre                         Grand Rapids, MI

160      Zell                           2        Michael Perlmutter             Boston, MA

161      #38 Hill                  2        Michelle Stout                    Canton, MI

162     #39 Hill                     2        Macomb College                 Warren, MI

163      Fortepiano #2                    Penny Crawford                  Ann Arbor, MI

164     #40 Hill                     1       Miriam Graf                        Minnesota                   

165      Hill/ travel                1       Gerhard Kastner                  Berlin, Germany

1984  

166      #41 Hill                    2        William Todt                       Red Bank, NJ

167      #42 Hill                    2        Michael Miller                    Cambridge, MA

168      Cembalo Unversale1  w/16’/19notes/oct     Harald Vogel/     Bunde, Germany

169      rebuild of #64 A

170      German /South         1        Joan Parsley                        Milwaukee, WI

171      rebuild of #5

172      Clavichord/Bundfrei/HassGerhard Kastner                 Berlin, Germany

173      Clavichord/Bundfrei/Hass Tomoko Miyamoto             Kamakura, Japan

174      Clavichord (kit)                  Gavin Black                        New Brunswick,NJ

175      #43 Hill                    1        Cynthia Sherman                Lincoln, NB

176      Clavichord/Bundfrei/Hass  Betsy Meehan                    Winston-Salem,NC

177      Fortepiano#3                     University of Michigan      Ann Arbor, MI

178      German/South/Maple1    Episcopal Church               Naples, FL

179      Clavichord/gebunden        Ellen Foster                         Durham, NC

180      #44 Hill                     2       Jan Willem                          Holland

181      Ruckers                     2       Jay Panetta                          Wellesley, MA

182      See #30

183      See #57                    

184      #45 Hill/              2         Ellen Foster                         Durham, NC

185      #46 Hill               2        Elizabeth Farr                     Grand Rapids, MI

186      Couchet                   2        Joan Parsley                        Milwaukee, WI

187      Clavichord/gebunden        Bernard Lagace                    Montreal, Quebec

188      See#111

189      Travel Cembalo        1       Harald Vogel                       Bunde, Germany

190      Blanchet                   2                                                    Seoul, Korea

191      Rebuild of op.70#7  2        Al Sawyer                           Chicago, IL

192      Pedal Clavichord               Tomoko Miyamoto            Kamakura, Japan

193      See #56

194      Ruckers                    2        Mirelle Lagace                     Montreal, Quebec

1985

195      Clavichord/gebunden          Edward Parmentier             Ann Arbor, MI

196      # 47 Hill                   2        Georg Weinzierl                  Bamberg, Germany

197      #48 Hill                    1        Patsy Schwartz                   Midland, MI

198      ORGAN                            Fred Renz                           New York City

199      #49 Hill                    2        Marijim Thoene                  Ann Arbor, MI

200      Ruckers                    2        Andreas Staier                     Koln, Germany

201      French/Alsatian        2        Sally Etter                           Dayton,OH

202      Ruckers                    2        Penny Crawford                 Ann Arbor, MI

203      Fortepiano #4                     Bernard Lagace                    Montreal, Quebec

204      Essential                   2        N. Carver (blind)                 South Bend, IN                   

205      Clavichord/ gebunden        Elizabeth Farr                     Grand Rapids, MI

                                        Edward Parmentier        Ann Arbor, MI

206      Taskin                      2        Oberlin Conservatory         Oberlin ,OH

207      Fortepiano #5                  Alice Sano Teachout           Ann Arbor, MI

1986

208      Essential                   1        Gavin Black                        New Brunswick, NJ

209      Taskin                       2        Peter Van Eenam                 Knoxville, TN

210      Essential                   1        J. Anderson

211      Essential                   1        D. Wills

212      Essential                   2        R. Coleman

213      Essential                   2        S. Rose

214      Essential                   1        Miriam Jencks               Lexington, MA

215      Essential                   2        Alice Stoner               Chico, CA

216      #50 Hill                    2        Highland Park Baptist Church     Highland Park, MI

1987

217      #51 Hill                    2        Steven Egler                        Midland, MI

218      Italian 1693 anon.    1        Edward Parmentier             Ann Arbor,MI

219      Taskin                      2         rebuild of #206

220      Zell                           2        Edward Parmentier             Ann Arbor, MI

221      Blanchet                   1        Presb. Church                     Midland, MI

222      Ruckers                    2        Hedi Salanki                        Teaneck, NJ

223      rebuilt as #254

1988

224      #52 Hill                    2        Lutheran Theo. seminary    Gettysburg, PA

225      Ruckers                    2        Edward Parmentier             Ann Arbor,MI

226      Ruckers                    1        Lothar Stobel                      Bremen, Germany

227      Clavichord/gebunden         Alan Durfee                        Northampton,MA

228      Clavichord/gebunden         Shozo Shirasaka                  Japan

229      Italian                       1        Robert Hill                          Freiburg, Germany

1989

230      Fortepiano#6                     Hendrick Bouman               Genoa, Italy

231      Fortepiano#7                     Genzo Takehisa                  Tokyo, Japan

232      #53 Hill                   2        Mirelle Lagace                    Montreal, Quebec

233      Taskin                      2        John and Penny Barr          New York City

234      German/South         1        Calvin College                    Grand Rapids, MI

235      Ruckers                   2        Robert Hill/Mirelle Lagace  Freiburg, Germany/Montreal, Canada

236      Mietke                     2        ditto

237      Travel Cembalo      1                                                     Japan

238      Ruckers                   2        Cleve Johnson                     Greencastle, IN

239      Clavichord/gebunden        Ferris University                Yokohama, Japan

240      Clavichord/ Bundfrei/Hassditto

241      #54 Hill                   2        St. Johns Cathedral             Knoxville, TN

1990

242      Zell                          2        Academy for Early Musik   Bremen, Germany

243      rebuild of #33                    Musik Hochschule              Freiburg, Germany

244 #1 Ruckers                2        Johannes Poth                     Aachen, Germany

244 #2    Clavichord rebuild of #132  Mari Kawasaki/Daisuki Fuki    Japan

245      Ruckers                    2        Elizabeth Farr                     Grand Rapids, MI

246      Fortepiano#8                     Robert Hill                          Freiburg, Germany

247      Fortepiano#9                     Musik Hochschule              Freiburg, Germany

248      Clavichord/gebunden  rebuild of#169   Robert Hill     Freiburg, Germany

249      Ruckers                    2       Theo Krings                        Aachen, Germany

1991

250      Fortepiano#10--61/2oct.     Robert Hill                     Freiburg, Germany

251      Zell                           2         U of M                               Ann Arbor, MI

252      Clavichord/Hubert              Karsten Ludtke                   Koln, Germany

253      Clavichord/Hubert              Nobuko Takahashi              Kamakura, Japan

254      Ruckers/rebuild of#223      Alma College                     Alma, MI

255      Zell                           1        Tomoko Miyamoto             Kamakura, Japan

256      Clavichord/ Hubert             Hatsumi Miura (walnut 5 oct.)  Tokyo, Japan

257      Rebuild of op. #41            Oberlin Conservatory         Oberlin, Ohio

1992

258      Zell                           2        Martha Folts                       Cincinnati, OH

259      Hass 16’ - 1993        2        Ken and Sally Christman    Dayton, OH

260      Hass 16’ -   unfinishedrenumbered to 348

261      Taskin                       2        Musick Hockschule            Freiburg, Germany

262      Ruckers - 1995         2        Francesca Cassara               Ann Arbor, MI

263      Ruckers - 1993         2        Michael Behringer              Freiburg, Germany

264      Ruckers - 1993         2        Lee , Hye Jung                    Freiburg, Germany

265      Toysichord               1        Aachen, Germany

266      Ruckers - 1994         2        Geoffrey Thomas                Pittsburg, PA

267      Taskin -1994            2        Julane Rodgers                    Dayton, OH

268      Ruckers/German      2        Johannes Poth                     Aachen Germany -finished in 1996

269      Zell -1996                1        Ferris College                      Japan

270      Ruckers -1995          2        Otmar Stollbrink                 Freiburg, Germany

271      Clavichord/Hubert             Yukichi Shima                     Chiba, Japan

272      Clavichord/Hubert               Yoko Unno   1995  

273      Clavichord/Hubert             Robert Hill                           Freiburg, Germany

274      Violin                                 Claudia Meyer                     Freiburg, Germany

275      Clavichord/ Hubert            Komae Aoshima                  Japan  1996

276      Clavichord/ Hubert

277      Clavichord/ Hubert            Hiroshi Tsuji                        Japan    1995               

278      Violinpattern Stradivari

279      Continuo                  1        Gerhardt Opelt                     Berlin, Germany

1993

280      Rebuild of McCobb 6 1/2 oct FortePiano # 11   Penny Crawford,         Ann Arbor, MI

281      5 1/4 oct Fortepiano #12                         University of Michigan     Ann Arbor, MI  1996

282      Clavichord/Hubert/fretted        Ed Parmentier                       Ann Arbor, MI                    1996   

283      Clavichord/Hubert/fretted                                                       

284      Clavichord/Hubert/fretted           Etsuko Oka                       Japan                                    1995   

285      Clavichord/Hubert/fretted           Naoko Aida                           Japan                                    1995   

286      Clavichord/Hubert/fretted        Otmar Stollbrink                   Grafenhausen, Germany      1995

287      Clavichord/Hubert/fretted        Hochscule fur Musik            Freiburg, Germany               1995

288      Clavichord/Hubert/fretted        Tomoko Miyamoto            Japan1995 

289      Ruckers (short)        2                Michael Behringer                   Freiburg, Germany              1994

1994

290      Rucker/Couchet       2                University of Colorado       Boulder, CO                        

291      Lautenwerk              1                Robert Hill                          Freiburg, Germany

292      Guitar opus #1                           Wietolt                                Raleigh, North Carolina

293      Viola da Gamba

294      Cello

295      ViolinHill pattern B

296      Viola

297      ViolinHill pattern B

298      ViolinPattern Guarneri

299      Guitar opus #2                           reworked Manchester in 1999

1995

300      Modern Piano soundboard # 12for Hill                       Freiburg, Germany

301      Modern harpsichord (Sperhake) for Hill                      Freiburg, Germany                          

302      Soundboard for Neupert Fortepiano/    Freiburg, Germany                          

303      Italian                   1        Michael Behringer               Freiburg, Germany                          

304      Ruckers (Colmar)     2        Lyn Edwards                      Westfield, Mass                   1996

305      Ruckers (Colmar)     2        Willi Kronenberg                 Koln, Germany                    1996

306      Silbermann clavichord        Yoshio Watanabe                Japan

1996

307      Wahlstrom clavichord         Hill                                      Manchester 

308      Taskin                       2        Johannes Poth                     Aachen, Germany

309      Taskin                       2        Hochschule                         Berlin, Bermany

310      Violin/Guarnerii                 Hill                                      Manchester

311      Hill 6 1/2 oct. Fortepiano rebuildR. Hill                   Freiburg, Germany

312      Sutherland Cristofori piano soundboard   Schubert Society, Minneapolis, MN

1997

313      Clavichord/Silbermann         Tomoko Miyamoto           Kamakura, Japan

314      Clavichord/Hubert                 Naomi Akaboshi              Yokohama, Japan

315      Clavichord/Frederici              Jochen Racz                     Weimar, Germany

316      Violin/Stradivari                                                          Manchester                            

317      Taskin                                  Hochschule fur Music       Freiburg, Germany

318      Taskin                                   Alain Ebert                         Baden Baden, Germany

319      Ahaus Ruckers                    Michael Fuerst                    Freiburg, Germany

1998

320      Taskin                       2        Robert Hill                          Freiburg, Germany

321      Ahaus Ruckers          2        Brett Leighton                     Linz, Austria

322      Taskin                       2        Thomas Strauss                  Germany

323      Fortepiano/5 oct rework of 177  mahogany     presently located in Porto Mantovano, Italy

324      Viola                                   Helen Starzer                                Linz, Austria

325      Guitar/Torres           #3            Robert Hill                          Freiburg, Germany

326      Violin/Guarneri        William Canney, Fort Collins, CO in2003

327      Guitar/Hill              #4      

328      Guitar/Gorbert        #5      

329      Taskin                        2       Mitzi Meyerson                 Berlin, Germany                  1999

330      Violin/ Guarneri                 Sara Vogler                          Ann Arbor 

331      Violin/ Guarneri           Katherine Barnett,   Superior, CO2003

332      Colmar Ruckers         2        Kay Johannsen                   Stuttgart

333      Frederici Clavichord        K. Hill                                 Manchester, MI

1999

334      Colmar Ruckers         2      Central Michigan UniversityMidland, MI

335      Hass Clavichord                  Toho Gaukuen, Tokyo, Japan

336      Hass Clavichord                  Geoffrey Thomas               Budapest, Hungary

337      Violin after Guarnerius      K. Hill          Manchester, MI                  

338      Lautenwerk                 2      Yoshio Watanabe                Yokohama, Japan                 2010

339      Lautenwerk                 1       PeterWaldner                    Innsbruck, Autria

340      Taskin harpsichord     2       PeterWaldner                    Innsbruck, Autria                 2000

341      Colmar Ruckers          2       Leon Berben                        Köln, Germany (sold in 2008)

342      Cristofori pianoforte               R. Hill                               Giromagny, France              2000

343      Worel fortepiano soundboard            K. Hill                   Manchester, MI

344      Taskin harpsichord    2      Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra       Ann Arbor, MI                    2000

345      Taskin harpsichord      2      M. Jencks                            Cambridge, Mass.        2000

346      Taskin harpsichord    2       K. Hill                                 Manchester, MI                   2000

347      resoundboard on Robert’s Walther fortepiano                 Giromany, France

348      Ahaus Ruckers            2       Royal Academy of Music   Copenhagen, Denmark        

2000

349      Colmar Ruckers          2       Gerhart Oppelt                    Berlin, Germany                  2000

350      Pianoforte/Cristofori            August Humer                     Linz,  Austria                       2000

351      Guitar   #6                            Hill                                      Manchester                          2000

352      Guitar/Stradivari   #7          Cal Ellicker                           Ann Arbor                           2000

            Guitar/Stradivari   #8          Hill                                       Manchester

353      Viola                                    Hill                                       Manchester                          2000

354      Zell/Ruckers              2        Danessi                                 Porto Mantovano, Italy

2001

355      Zell                       2        Leon Berben                         MAK, Cologne, Germany

356      Taskin                  2        MakikoMizunaga               Freiburg, Germany

357      Taskin                 2        Peter Brownlee                     Bend, Oregon

358      Lute      rebuild for              Tim Burris                            Portland, Maine

359      Taskin                       2        Eastern Michigan University    Ypsilanti

360      Taskin                       2        Yago Mahugo Carles            Spain

2002

361      “Hass 16’                 2     K. Hill                                 Manchester, MI

362      resoundboardingof opus 202 owned by Penny Crawford to upgrade sound. 

363      6 oct. Cristofori Piano       Technical University            Trondheim, Norway

364      5 oct. Cristofori Piano        G. Thomas                           Budapest, Hungary

365      Travel Harpsichord             James Diaz (St. Michaels church)           Dallas, TX

2003

366      Rebuild of #44 double bass1980

367/413 Violin       Guarnerii rebuilt as 413    K.Hill                                      Manchester

368      Violin         Guarnerii           K.Hill                       Manchester

369      Violin          Ruggeri (decorated) K. Hill Manchester

370      Violin          Bergonzi          K. Hill                      Manchester

371      Violin          Stradivari           Tracy Figard            Wilmette, IL                        

372      Viola   16 ¼” R   Stradivari           K. Hill      

373      Cello after Montangnana      K.Hill   Manchester

374      Violin          Guarnerii           K.Hill                       Manchester

2004

375      Violin         Guarnerii            Joyce Rutledge         Durham, NC

376      Violin          Guarnerii           K.Hill        Manchester

377      Violin Guarnerii            K.Hill        Manchester

378      Violin          Guarnerii           K.Hill        Manchester

379      Violin          Guarnerii           K.Hill        Manchester

380      Violin          Guarnerii           K.Hill        Manchester

381      Taskin                     2        Romano Danesi                   Mantua, Italy

382      Taskin            2        Susi Messerli                      Basel, Switzerland

383      Blanchet              2        Keith Hill         Manchester, MI             Worel soundboard

384      Ruckers/Colmar  2        Asami Kosaki                     Tokyo

385      Taskin                 2        Peter Brownlee                   Bend, ORnow in Japan

386      Taskin           2        for Jorg Halubeck

387      Taskin           2        for Ieva Saliete.

388      Taskin           2        for Paulina Tkaczyks.

2005

389      Blanchet            2         Medea Bindewald               Germany

390      Violin                 Guarneri Model

391      Violin                 Guarneri/Hill new design - for small players (Japanese)

392      Violin                             Rhys Moller            Dexter, MI

393      Violin                 Stradivari Model

394      Violin                 Stradivari Model

395      Rebuild of Hill Opus 185new soundboard for Romano Danesi, Mantua, Italy

396      Taskin               2         Malcolm Matthews (Ross)         Toronto, Canada/ Knoxville, TN

397      Ruckers             2         Keith Hill                         Manchester, MI

398      Blanchet            2         Elizabeth Farr                  Boulder, CO

399      Blanchet            2         Using the Worel Soundboard      

2006

400      Rebuild of Op. 72          Joyce Rutledge                 Durham, NC

401      Clavichord/Silbermann  Martha Folts                    Chelsea, MI

2007

402      Clavichord/Frederici      Art Hixson                       Tacoma, WA  

403      Taskin               2         Rob Ploger              Tucson, AZ

2008

(403)   Violin             Hill        Model Pattern “D”     

404      Violin             Hill       

405      Violin            7/8ths       Constance Alexander        Adrian, MI

406      Taskin           2        Anna Maria Oramo                         Helsinki, Finland        

407      de Zentis       1        Bernhard Lang                              Switzerland

408      Violin            Hill Model Pattern “D”             

409      Violin            Hill Pattern “D”      loaned to Bernhard Lang for study

410      Violin                     Almita Vamos                    Chicago, IL

411      Violin            Hill Model Pattern “D”         

412      Violin            Hill Model Pattern “D”   

413      Violin     Guarneri-rebuild of opus 372on loan to John Holloway

414      Taskin           2      Pavo Masic                                Belgrade, Croatia

415      Ruckers         2      Hill                               Manchester, MI  

414         Violin                    Hill Model Pattern “D”      

416      Violin                    Guarneri/Hill Model Pattern “D”                 

417      Violin                    Guarneri/Hill Model Pattern “D”           

418      Violin                    Stradivari                   Hill                           

2009

419      Fortepiano    Viennese       Walther 5 oct+4 notes    Yago Mahugo Carles       Madrid

420      Pianoforte     Cristofori     Tomoko Miyamoto            Kamakura     Japan

421      Taskin           2                   Yago Mahugo Carles           Madrid         Spain

422      Pianoforte     Cristofori     Hill                                     

423      Fortepiano    Viennese6 ½ octave Graf (1835)  Hill

424      Violin                        Guarneri Model1 piece                  

425      Violin                        Hill Model Pattern D            

426      Violin                        Guarneri Kreisler      2 piece

427      Violin                        Stradivari Model        2 piece 

2010

428      Blanchet        2                 Mark Edwards                   Toronto Canada

429      Violin              Hill

2011

406        Violin             Hill new design - for small players 2 piece  

407        Violin           Hill new design - for small players 2 piece 

432      Clavichord      Hill designfor the                     Bach Grove 

433      Violin                  Baroque Violin

434      Blanchet          Hill                                     Manchester     MI                         forBEMF

435      Taskin           2       Tsuyoshi Uwaha                 Tokyo

436      Taskin           2      Simon Neal           England

(436)   Violin              Hill Model          

437      Violin               Strad Model revised  

438      Violin               Hill Model               

439      Violin               Hill Model             

440      Violin               Hill Model            

441      Lautenwerk     Hill design for Elizabeth Farr.      

442      Violin               Strad Model    

443      Violin               Strad Model revised  

2012

444      Fortepiano after CristoforiMichigan                          

445      Fortepiano after Walther EE-a’’’  for Yago Mahugo Carles

446      Harpsichord after Colmar Ruckers

447      Violin                    Hill Model                         

448      Blanchet          2      N. Paraschivescu 

449      Taskin             2      for Conservatory in Geneva, Switzerland                                               

450      Ruckers          2      Carmen and Emiliano Rodolfi in Milan                                                

2013

451      Couchet          2      Romano Danesi

452      Clavichord      1      for Bobby Mitchell

453      Taskin             2      for Robert Kenet in NYC

454      Ruckers Single       for Robert Hill  

455      Violin Modern

456      Violin   Modern

457      Violone                  John Rutledge                                  Durham, NC

2014

458      Lautenwerk   1          Wolfgang Rübsam                              Valparaiso, IN

459      Blanchet        2      Jan Katzschke                 Dresden, Germany

460      Violin

461        Violin

462        Violin

 

2015

 

463       Viola

464   Cello for Joachim Woutin in NYC.    

465    Cello    Hill

466    Violin    Hill

467    Baroque Violin     Guarneri     

468    Violin    Stradivari

469    Violin    Amati small pattern    

470    Violin            Matt Lammers

471    Violin     Strad    Sold to Samuel BurnsinCharleston, South Carolina

472    Violin    

473    Clavichord    Hubert    Robert Kenet     New York, NY

474    Violin    

475    ItalianSingle after de ZentisGG – f ‘’’ transposing

476    Violin    Hill

477    Violin    Hill

 

2016

 

478    Violin    Hill    

479    Violin    Hill

480    Violin    Hill    

481    Viola 16”    Hill

482    Violin    Hill

483    Violin    Hill

484    Violin    Hill

485    HarpsichordFlemish    after Ahaus Ruckers 87”

486    Harpsichord    Flemish    after Colmar Ruckers

487    Magnum Opus resoundboarding      

488    Clavichord    

489    Clavichord     Hubert    

490    Violin    Strad        Ladislav Prokop

491    Violin   Plowden Guarneri   Ladislav Prokop    

492    Viola    Strad        Ladislav Prokop    

493    Cello    Strad        Ladislav Prokop

494    Violin

 

List of Instruments made to date

1          Modern piano soundboard

1          3 Manual Harpsichord

224     2 Manual Harpsichords(6 were 16’ harpsichords)

73        Single Manual Harpsichords

22        Spinets

1          Virginal

30       Fortepianos

3          Gothic Harps

1          Three rank wooden organ

61        Clavichords

11        Pedal Haprsichords

1          Pedal Clavichord

1          Clavicytherium

1          Cembalo Universale with 19 notes per octave

6          Lautenwerk

8          Cellos

4          Double Basses

8          Violas

77        Violins

39        Violas da Gamba

2          Violas d’Amour

1          Psaltry

3          Rebecs

1          Fiedle (Vihuela)

8          Guitars

Clavichords:

 

Harald Vogel – Hass                                             Robert Hill – Anon.

Karsten Ludtke - Hubert                                      Alan Durfee – Hass

Cleve Johnson – Hass                                           Cleve Johnson – Anon.

John Brombaugh – Anon.                                     Bernhard lagace- Anon.

Betsy Meehan – Hass                                          Ellen Foster – Hubert

Gerhart Kastner – Hubert                                     Gavin Black – Anon.

Nobuko Takahashi-Hubert                                   Komae Aoshima-Hubert                                      

Hiroshi Tsuji-Hubert                                            Edward Parmentier-Hubert

Etsuko Oka-Hubert                                              Naoko Aida-Hubert

Otmar Stollbrink-Hubert                                      Hochschule for Musik Freiburg-Hubert

Naoka Miyamoto-Hubert                                     Naomi Akaboshi-Hubert

Jochen Racz--Hubert                                            Tomoko Miyamoto-Hubert-Silbermann-Hass

Miriam Jencks – Anon.                                        Tokoro, Akiro - Wahlstom                                  

Yoshio Watanabe-Silbermann                               Mari Kawase-Hubert

Student of Yoshio Watanabe-Hubert                    Risa Miyazaki-Hill

Kaori Ono-Hubert                                                Hatsumi Miura-Hubert 5 octave Walnut

Yukichi Shima-Hubert                                          Shozo Shirasaka-Hubert

Susy Messerli-Frederici                                        Ferris University-Hass

Toho Gakuen-Hass                                               Edward Aldwell- Op. 83 (Ed Pepe)

Jaako Tuoniemmi – Frederici                               Geoffrey Thomas – Hass

Lynn Edwards – Hubert                                        Martha Folts – Silbermann

Art Hixson –Frederici                                           T. IshidaBach Grove – Hill design

Bobby Mitchell  -  Hubert                                   Robert Kenet - Hubert