- 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 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
- Graduate studies in Harpsichord with Anneke Uittenbosch at the Sweelinck Conservatorium, Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Bachelor of Music in Music History at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
- Undergraduate Music studies with Wendell Westcott (piano) and Corliss Arnold (organ) at Michigan State University
- 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
- 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.
- Conducted 3 day workshop on The Craft of Musical Communication at Weinberg Castle, near Linz, Austria
- Completed research on violin acoustics and 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
- 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 111 senses divided between seven discreet faculties of mind.
- 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.
- 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".
- Concluded research in Guitar acoustics
- Wrote Opinion Essay, published in the Guild of American Luthier's Journal #63
- Concluded acoustical research on Clavichords.
- 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.
- 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
- Wrote and published article on "Playing from the Soul, a New Look at a Familiar Phrase" at the request of the president of the Japanese Clavichord Society for their Journal by that name
- 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.
- 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 (see enclosure)
- 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
- Began research into the painting techniques of 19th century French Impressionists
- 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.
- 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
- 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).
- 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.
- Invented a pedal harpsichord design which has since become the standard design used by other makers in the US for that type of instrument.
- 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.
- Began research into decorating techniques of the 17th and 18th century European harpsichord decorators.
- 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 446 having opus numbers and 21 experimental instruments
1 - 3 Manual Harpsichord
148 Double Manual Harpsichords (6 are 16' harpsichords)
67 Single Manual Harpsichords
3 Gothic Harps
1 Three rank Organ with all wood pipes
11 Pedal Harpsichords
1 Pedal Clavichord
1 Cembalo Universale with 19 notes per octave
38 Violas da Gamba
3 Double Basses
2 Violas d'Amore
1 Fiedle (Vihuela)
These instruments can be found in private homes, concert halls, churches, colleges, universities, schools of music, and conservatories in:
© Keith Hill - Manchester, MI 2005