“From Field to Fiddle” – historical gut strings in production and performance

International Conference: Bern University of the Arts, 19./20. November 2019

Gut strings are at the center of musical sound production and play a vital role in historical performance on all bowed instruments as well as on plucked instruments. However, materiality and craftsmanship have a great impact on the performance of gut strings. Few people realize that strings made of cow gut, such as are widespread today, differ fundamentally in their physical and performance properties from those made of sheep gut, which were the standard up until the middle of the 20th century.

The Bern research project on historical sheep gut strings (http://www.hkb-interpretation.ch/projekte/from-field-to-fiddle.html) explores string making processes as well as performance qualities from the perspective of German sources of the period 1750–1950. The conference aims to place the new findings in an international context by bringing together researchers, string makers, musicians and their audiences.

Further conference contributions focusing on gut string making both from historical and modern-day perspectives are very welcome and can be submitted until 1 July 2019 to Kai.Koepp@hkb.bfh.ch and Jane.Achtman@hkb.bfh.ch who are available for further information as well.

Keynote: Patrizio Barbieri (Rome): “Gut-string making and its connections with music performance, organology, and international trading: some basic considerations”

For updates on the conference please check the website http://www.hkb-interpretation.ch/veranstaltungen/from-field-to-fiddle