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In Italy, it's illegal for any one person to build more than 15 violins per year.

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In Italy, it's illegal for any one person to build more than 15 violins per year.

Old 03-10-07, 05:13 PM
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In Italy, it's illegal for any one person to build more than 15 violins per year.

I just wanted to let people know about this ridiculous law.

The relevant part is in bold.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...wviolins05.xml

Stradivari's home town fears cheap violins

By Malcolm Moore in Cremona

Last Updated: 1:54am GMT 07/03/2007

Italy's master violin makers are feeling the strain. The Chinese, who can already turn out a violin, bow and case for £13, are now after the prestige market.

Cremona in northern Italy has been the epicentre of violin manufacture since Antonio Stradivari perfected the modern version of the instrument more than 300 years ago.

For a professional musician, a violin or cello made in Cremona is the ultimate status symbol. Prices can run as high as £14,000 for a violin and twice that for a cello. "A violin from here is like a Ferrari," said one luthier, or maker of stringed instruments.

However, lutherie, like many of Europe's historic crafts, is coming under threat from cheap Chinese products.

"Lots of workshops have closed down," said Stefano Conia, 61, a master violin maker who has been working in the town for 44 years.

But in Xiqiao, a town in south-east China, more than 40 companies have sprung up turning out cheap violins.

The Taixing Fengling Musical Instrument Company, one of the largest, made 300,000 violins, violas, cellos and basses last year.

Now the Chinese are moving upmarket. Last year, Zhu Ming-Jiang from Beijing won the gold medal at the Violin Society of America awards.

The silver also went to a Chinese contestant, and four of the 12 competitors given certificates of merit were Chinese. Chinese luthiers have dominated the event since 2004.

Mr Conia's small workshop is one of more than 130 in Cremona. He is only allowed by law to craft 15 instruments a year and he has to keep his leftover shavings of maple and spruce fir to prove he is not overworking.

"Many people are very pessimistic," he said. "Times are becoming hard again."

Cremona has suffered downturns in its fortunes before. "After the Second World War," said Mr Conia, "my master would only be able to eat meat when he had sold an instrument."

The industry rebounded in the 1970s, when Italy's middle class took up the instrument and classical concerts and their musicians soared in popularity. But there was another dip when German and Polish makers flooded the market.

Now those German companies have been bought up by the Chinese. "There is not much money around. I have not raised my prices by a single euro in the last four years," Mr Conia said.

To fight back, Cremona is moving further upmarket. "We already knew that we cannot compete on price. We must compete on quality," said Mr Conia. "There are good violin makers in China, who we taught at the school in Cremona. But when they leave Italy, they lose a bit of the Italian taste. The varnish, the sound, the wood is all particular to this city."

Francesco Toto, 34, won the town's Trienniale competition last year, one of the world's top prizes. "We are like tailors," he said. "The instrument takes one-and-a-half months to make, and then there are two 'fittings'."

The town's consortium of luthiers is taking action to stop a wave of Far-Eastern counterfeits.

Buyers can access a database of 700 instruments online and ask for instant pictures of both the front and back of a violin. Each instrument now has a "passport" that records its history.

"We see violins for sale on eBay that claim to be made in Cremona but are not," said a spokesman at the consortium, which has its headquarters in Piazza Stradivari. Mr Conia added: "I have seen violins with all my hallmarks, the little details I always add in, which were not mine. It is impossible to tell them apart."

Lorenzo Locatelli, another luthier, said: "The Chinese like our instruments, just as they like buying Italian clothes, cars and food.

"As for the great Chinese violin makers, either they will move abroad to earn more money, or their prices will rise. They may have cheap labour, but to use the best wood and materials costs a lot."
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Old 03-10-07, 05:16 PM
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Old 03-10-07, 05:34 PM
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How many violins can a master craftsman realistically make in a year anyhow? They're not supposed to be mass produced crap cranked out as quickly as possible.
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Old 03-10-07, 05:50 PM
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Old 03-10-07, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Jason
How many violins can a master craftsman realistically make in a year anyhow? They're not supposed to be mass produced crap cranked out as quickly as possible.
See, a master craftsman doesn't really need to make any. He can supervise a bunch of apprentices that can turn out a hundred or more each year. Those would be the midline and the ones he makes personally would be the high-end ones. He's not allowed to do that according to Italian law. Although, their laws might be as stable as their governments.
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Old 03-10-07, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Jason
How many violins can a master craftsman realistically make in a year anyhow? They're not supposed to be mass produced crap cranked out as quickly as possible.
From the article:

Francesco Toto, 34, won the town's Trienniale competition last year, one of the world's top prizes. "We are like tailors," he said. "The instrument takes one-and-a-half months to make, and then there are two 'fittings'."
You do the math.

Talk about a misleading thread title and a bolded excerpt which totally misses the point ot the article... This law is probably hundreds of years old, has (mathematically speaking) zero impact on the crafting of high quality violins, is only mentionned in this article in passing, and is not even brought up by the violin makers.

Last edited by eXcentris; 03-10-07 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 03-10-07, 06:39 PM
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Grundle has a rare talent.
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Old 03-10-07, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Bushdog
Grundle has a rare talent.

Thanks!
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Old 03-10-07, 06:53 PM
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Old 03-10-07, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Jason
How many violins can a master craftsman realistically make in a year anyhow? They're not supposed to be mass produced crap cranked out as quickly as possible.
Yet, the Chinese are winning all the awards, and one company cranks out 300,000 per year. (I doubt they employ 20,000 master craftsmen cranking out 15 per year).
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Old 03-10-07, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
Yet, the Chinese are winning all the awards, and one company cranks out 300,000 per year. (I doubt they employ 20,000 master craftsmen cranking out 15 per year).
Do you have any idea how many Chinese there are? Like a million! They could easily dedicate 20,000 to violins and have room for fiddles!
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Old 03-10-07, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
Yet, the Chinese are winning all the awards, and one company cranks out 300,000 per year. (I doubt they employ 20,000 master craftsmen cranking out 15 per year).
Are the violins that are being cranked out in China winning the awards?
Like any industry, there are companies that take their time and produce quality while others mass-produce crap. I'm willing to bet the award-winning ones arent being mass produced.
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Old 03-10-07, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Coral
Are the violins that are being cranked out in China winning the awards?
Like any industry, there are companies that take their time and produce quality while others mass-produce crap. I'm willing to bet the award-winning ones arent being mass produced.

Maybe the Chinese violins are better than the Italian ones.

In a 1976 blind taste test, French wine experts preferred American wine:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Wine_Tasting_of_1976

Paris Wine Tasting of 1976

French wines were generally believed by most people to be the very best wines in the world until 1976. In that year a wine merchant in Paris, Steven Spurrier, organized a prestigious wine tasting in Paris, now known as the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976. Spurrier sold only French wines and later said "I thought I had it rigged for the French wines to win."

With only one exception (Claude Dubois-Millor), the jury of nine tasters consisted of the crème de la crème of France's wine tasting experts. The tasting was done blind, so that none of the judges knew what was being tasted.

First to be tasted were white wines. The comparison was with Chardonnay - matching the very best French Chardonnays (Burgundy) against California Chardonnays. The winner was a California Chardonnay from Chateau Montalena, by winemaker Mike Grgich. Third and fourth place also went to California Chardonnays.

The red wines were then tasted. When the results were unveiled a California wine (a Cabernert Sauvignon from Warren Winiarski at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars) had again won top honors. "The wine that one judge said bespoke 'the magnificence of France' turned out to be a Napa Cabernet." The experts clearly couldn't distinguish California from French wines. "'That is definitely a California. It has no nose,' said another judge - after downing a Batard-Montrachet '73."

One of the judges, Odette Kahn, tried to get her ballot back at the close of the event. Spurrier declined to provide it after which she refused to speak to him, except to charge that he had falsified the results of the tasting. One of the winning winemakers, Warren Winiarski, received letters from people in the French wine business telling him that the results were a fluke. In essence, their letters argued that "'everyone knows' French wines are better than California wines 'in principle' and always will be.'" As recently as 2005, some of the judges refused to discuss the tasting, saying that to do so would be "too painful."

Although Spurrier had invited many reporters, the only reporter to attend was one from Time magazine, who promptly revealed the results to the world. Leaders of the French wine industry then banned Spurrier from the nation's prestige wine-tasting tour for a year, apparently as punishment for the damage his tasting had done to its former image of superiority.

The French press virtually ignored the story. After nearly three months, Le Figaro published an article titled "Did the war of the cru take place?" It was sarcastic, described the results as "laughable," and said they "cannot be taken seriously." Six months after the tasting Le Monde wrote condescendingly and dismissively about the event.

The New York Times reported that several earlier tastings had occurred in the U.S., with American Chardonnays beating their French rivals. One such tasting occurred in New York just six months before the Paris Tasting, but "champions of the French wines argued that the tasters were Americans with possible bias toward American wines. What is more, they said, there was always the possibility that the Burgundies had been mistreated during the long trip from the (French) wineries.” The results of the Paris Wine Tasting in 1976 have subsequently been duplicated repeatedly, although no such comparison has ever again been made in France.

The Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 had a revolutionary impact on expanding the production and prestige of wine in the New World.
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Old 03-10-07, 09:26 PM
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Hurray! grundle gets to make his 375th repost of that pointless French wine story!

EL YAY!
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Old 03-10-07, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
From the article:



You do the math.

Talk about a misleading thread title and a bolded excerpt which totally misses the point ot the article... This law is probably hundreds of years old, has (mathematically speaking) zero impact on the crafting of high quality violins, is only mentionned in this article in passing, and is not even brought up by the violin makers.
Actually, while it may take a month and a half of total time to complete a violin, the master would have two or three in production at any one time. He would have the apprentices do the rough carvingof the parts and he or a journeyman would do the finish carving. All violins that come out the shop are considered the Master's violins and I'm sure that if they could, they would be able to produce much more than fifteen violins per year.
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Old 03-10-07, 09:47 PM
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Old 03-10-07, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Drexl
We've found a good use for that smiley I see.
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Old 03-10-07, 10:41 PM
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Interesting article.
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Old 03-11-07, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by VinVega
We've found a good use for that smiley I see.
too bad it's a fiddle






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Old 03-11-07, 02:48 PM
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Yea, I agree. Misleading title. And the Italians don't seem that upset about it. They are moving to even higher end which would mean even less production. See, I think this smart. Italy is the mom and pop store and China is Wal-Mart. Why even try to compete on price, that is Wally Worlds strength. Compete on quality, customer service, personal attention. This is something Wally World/China cannot do.

"To fight back, Cremona is moving further upmarket. "We already knew that we cannot compete on price. We must compete on quality," said Mr Conia. "There are good violin makers in China, who we taught at the school in Cremona. But when they leave Italy, they lose a bit of the Italian taste. The varnish, the sound, the wood is all particular to this city.""
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Old 03-11-07, 03:42 PM
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Oh. So the Chinese product is the reason. I thought they're running out of blood for the wood colouring.

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Old 03-11-07, 03:47 PM
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In Soviet Russia, it's illegal for one violin to build 15 of you!


Eh?
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