Instruments production


Playing any instrument is almost a mystic action for a dilettante who is an average listener. What is music creation? Is it harmonization of the world oversaturated with aggression, lack of understanding and maniac? Or maybe it is an attempt to catch symmetry of intangibility and impalpability of creativity in universal chaos. All the attempts to define the sacrament of creativity, to tell and to put into words are possible only when the finale stops ringing and he who created wonder of you catharsis seems to be a heavenly being.

If a man is talented, he is talented in all spheres. Sometimes when we hear such a statement we mince feigning confusion. Marian Caldararu not only creates music turning material imperfection of our world into perfection of harmony of sounds. He makes music instruments himself. In many interviews and newspaper articles the unique talent of the Maestro was interpreted unambiguously and straightly by journalists. They asserted that instead of the Creator there was only a simpleton, a craftsman playing from time to time (Paganini didn’t work by bench and Stradivari didn’t strive for scene after all).

Rigidity of thoughts and straightforwardness of statements are the shortest way to create a parable from a myth, a chastushka from a poem and a criminal reading matter from an epic novel. It is very difficult to imagine that the great Artist lacks of generally accepted and elicited sound palette. It comes if you see only externals of the Creator, if you see such externals as a float in his hand, a ring in his ear and the worst of it is irony in his eyes.

How can we call all the things that Mario makes?  Are they elite instruments and haute couture instruments? In any way they are Master’s works that were created from

a. absolute knowledge – Mario knows all or almost all about ethnic percussion instruments (absolute knowledge is based on an efficient principle “I know that I know nothing”).

b. absolute sense of rhythm (an absolute sense of rhythm is based on talent bolstered with everyday self-cultivation).

c. absolute wish to comprehend incomprehensible things (an absolute with is based on constant doubts of internal absoluteness). Such a substance of nonsimple cosmic batch gives rise to the Musician and the Maestro (Here the Maestro is not a Simpleton with a workbench but with fire resistant manuscripts in a Bulgacov sense (read “handmade instruments). So I give you the Master.

“As for drums I know not so much people who wouldn’t elicit sounds from a drum when he saw it in spite of its form, color and size. Probably a drum has special attractiveness that may be explained by containing magic. I doubt whether anybody will call it in question. As for an age of a drum it has the only rival. It is a Pan flute.

The first membranephone instruments were fells. The fells were spread out and stretched over a pit with using stakes. To sound people stamped their feet or used a tail of an animal whose fell was stretched over a pit. In time drums were made of different and resonantly sounding materials. Then they began to make cases and to stretch membranes on it. Membranes were made of skin of different animals from a snake to a shark.

In India a lizard of a certain species lives. Its skin is used to make little tambourines called kanjira or ganjira. But quality of the Indian lizards is limited today and they are red-listed. According to masters skin of the other animals is strongly inappropriate for a kanjiara. Such a tambourine is very expensive if it is made according to all the rules. But a process of construction and creating such a tambourine is withheld from the police and the members of Green Peace.

And there is enormous quantity of such examples. It means that material is very important too. It is very rare but possible to meet a really exclusive instrument in the companies which sell music instruments.

It is easy to explain. The companies that produce instruments by the gross are not interested in making piece goods because of high requirement of manual labor. But it is impossible to reach high quality without hands. More often we meet mediocre examples made on the automated manufacturing systems meant for an established sound stereotype which is carried by the companies of worldwide reputation. But if a musician tries to obtain unusual and peculiar sounding he needs an absolutely special instrument.

Anyone who has ever read advertising pamphlets of companies producing drum sets paid attention to way of manufacturing. They glue together several layers of thin veneer sheets. Usually there are 6-10 layers in a body of a drum. They are united with glue and special presses which produce necessary pressure rolling them up. At the same time the sheets are heated to the certain temperature when humidity is fixed. And always such drums are presented as “the choicest instruments”.  Probably so it is.  But materially thin veneer sheets are only wide and sometimes rather thick wooden shavings. It hasn’t initial stress. As a result sound of such a body will differ from a case produced of solid tree. It will be worse.

Difference is like difference between a plywood guitar and a guitar made without above-mentioned material. Plywood is not able to sound because of lack of ability to resonate. As for a handmade instrument that is another pair of shoes. It is an expensive instrument having beautiful, brilliant and inimitable sound. Do you know any musician who respects himself and doesn’t want to find his own individual sound? I think you don’t.

Only imagine that you are an owner of an instrument which hasn’t any analogues in quality of materials, producing principle and sounding. I make all my instruments using only seasoned wood. I use only radial cut segments that can be adjusted with high accuracy. And I join them using sturgeon glue. Sturgeon glue was known even in the Middle Ages. It was used to make the most long-range “compound” bows which can arrow a distance of eight hundred meters. Surgeon glue can stand colossal strains without prejudice to the whole construction. It is used in production of violins, guitars and another music instruments which require extrastrong points. A sturgeon glued drum has great sound power and wide dynamic range. Don’t forget about qualities of wood and you will get a unique instrument that will sound absolutely different from usual things. Personal approach is guarantee of original timbre; it gives an opportunity to program resulting effects. And except of above-listed technological nuances there are another processes of producing an instrument. But I don’t think that it is necessary to tell about them because they are authoring.

Coat of outer and inner surfaces may vary in compliance with requirements. It is necessary to reach the best results. A body can be painted in dependence on personal liking. So long as I am a musician the first my drum set were made only for me”. Playing any instrument is almost a mystic action for a dilettante which is an average listener. And as for making it is a very effortful and creative action as we know now. So a combination of the Musician and the Master in the same Man is a very unique but logical phenomenon. But it is naturally determined only in the world of sound and thought harmony. Welcome to the world of Marian Caldararu.

Bow Master: How To Make Arms Out of Horns And Sinews  1484826715 VeraKostamo There are few masters in the world who can make a composite bow from organic materials. Way too rare knowledge, difficult materials to get, and many months one must spend on a single bow are quite the obstacles. Yet, if you overcome all the difficulties, you get a “live” weapon, one that might be as well used in XV-XVII centuries. Now tell me, have you ever shot with a bow? Were you Robin Hood or an Indian? I had several bows. Unfortunately, Shurka, the boy next door, knew better how to use them. After I got another scratch, my parents forbade me to play Indians. Marian Caldararu, one of the best composite bow masters in the country, however, was never forbidden to play and shoot. His childhood game later became profession and philosophy. Philosophy of a warrior. Three years for the first bow Actually, Marian is a musician. He traveled half of the world with his tours and is one of the most valuable percussionists at the moment. He was born in Kishinev but lives in Moscow since long ago. When he’s not at rehearsal or a concert he is in his workshop. He makes music instruments for himself as well as for his colleague musicians. And, when time allows it, arms to be used by rare enthusiasts. — I was once helping my friends. It was in their country house and we had to fire magazines “Science and life”. It was a great collection and they needed to get rid of its part to get some free space on the shelves. On one of the covers, there was a bow. It was there that I read a short article on composite bows and decided to craft one myself. The article wasn’t clear enough, though. How is one supposed to make a bow on his own? Marian searched for every bit of information but most of the specialists writing on the topic were not sure of it themselves. Advice taken from articles only led to a major discharge of materials. 1484826077 — I had my first bow done only in three years after I started. I had to find harmony for all parts to move as coherently as, for example, arms do. It is the same story about the bow, after all, – it is completely organic. Horns are springs, sinews are for stretching, and wood holds them together.   In Mario’s words, only few masters construct bows according to all the nuances of technology, without adding synthetic materials. — Several times I had to disappoint the owner of another bow sold as natural one. It could cost up to one and a half thousand euros in Europe. Unfortunately, they didn’t stand verification. True weapon More or less it takes four months to make one bow. For instance, Turkish bow needs five pieces in one version and seven pieces in another one to be composed together. Type of the wood depends on the type of the bow. Turkish demands maple, Mongol is made of birch, and Korean and Chinese are bamboo bows. It is important to understand: wood is the core of the bow, on which then horns and sinews are glued. The first stage of making a bow is limb (wooden parts). Limb is steamed in the hot water and then bent to a particular shape. It is important to store bows with string let down, then both its ends push out. Unlike what you usually see in films. — When I watch a movie with bows in it, I usually laugh a lot. I also had an experience in cinema. I was making quivers and bowcases for Pavel Lungin’s Tsar. Three rich ones, for boyars, and five of a simpler kind, for oprichniks.   The second stage is to get limb off the form. You cut slots, and put hilts in; more or less, it resembles a fishtail. Everything is glued in. Glue is either sturgeon or tendon. To make it Marian buys deer sinews from Nenets nomad tribes. There is no secret in the recipe but a lot of nuances in using: different for each climate zone. 1484826538 — Then it is time for horns. They are cut from outer and the longest part of buffalo or any other horns. After they dry enough, master works on the limb’s profile and adds layers of sinews, – Marian tells me. Each layer needs to dry. Until you have one layer completely dried, you can’t start with another. In the past crafting one composite bow could take a year, now, due to new instruments and working conditions, it can be done in 4-6 months. Drying process takes most of that time. When bow is completely dried, its ends push out a lot, almost going into circle. Sometimes such bows are also called reflecting.   Last stages are gluing leather and ornamenting bow according to client’s wishes. Marian constructs bows of different complexity and countries, except for Japan. The most important point is to find a picture of the bow and description of weapon’s structure. Bows may be of a different size if there is no information on the original size of the bow. But they are all made of materials used in the past. 1484906052 Mostly, those bows find their new homes in Russia and neighbouring states. Master has already lost count of the bows made. You must thoroughly look after the natural bow, be careful about the place you keep it. In the past, when bow was an actual weapon, warrior would train in archery every day and take care of his bow. ‘Those who play warriors once a month would have difficulties with such a bow, — says Marian. — You need to stretch it at least once a week.’ Master makes only several bows a year for his clients. In the old days, this kind of arms wasn’t available for everyone, either. — Such bows are arms of elite, nobility. It is not only about the money, you simply need the spirit of an archer. Nowadays such arms is mostly popular among reenactors and collectors. — It is not something you have for fun. You need to understand why you need exactly this weapon. It is almost alive. Nowadays people search for something “faster, cheaper, cooler”; if it shoots itself, the better. It is not something of this kind. Bow, arrow, target Marian thinks bow was made for human’s evolution. — Archery and everything connected to it developed human’s personality. A good archer is a person in control of himself. Master confesses he likes crafting bows more than shooting: “it is creation; every bow is different”. — Not many people are brave enough to say, “I want to shoot with a bow”. They are afraid to hear in return that it is only for the boys, – master thinks. – But there is magic to it. Opportunity to understand oneself. Every bow shot is reflection of your inner state. In master’s words, there is one peculiar feature to bow shooting: when you shoot, you don’t aim. Everything is intuitive. — Shooting is meditation. Bow, arrow, target – are visualization of reaching the aim. Many people miss that now.



Author of the publication:

Evelina Evelina Killing-Biryukova Creative director of the eArt GROUP producing centre