Looped Fabric · Musical Instruments

Five and fifty years ago

The inaugural post on this blog appeared five years ago today, and has since been joined by over 130 more. I managed to prepare them with near fortnightly regularity until six months ago, when the preceding post went online. The one initially intended to follow it has yet to be finished and deals with a German gauge system for wire knitting needles.

One of the source documents consulted during its preparation reminded me about the relationship between the drawing of wire for such implements and for musical instruments. Music wire was a central concern in an earlier phase of my museum-based research and the pending post turned my attention back to it. That is also where the blogonym stringbed originated; a term used to designate the planar array of strings on an instrument such as a piano or zither. This all triggered an interest in once again writing about topics more closely related to its literal sense.

As it happens, next year marks a few other personally significant decadic anniversaries. It will be 50 years since the publication of my first article in a peer-reviewed journal, and 70 since I first played a musical instrument — the autoharp — which (soon followed by the clarinet) set me on my career path. The Music Museum in Stockholm (now the Swedish Museum of Performing Arts), where I was curator of the musical instrument collections from 1972 until 1992, holds a number of autoharps made in Sweden with innovative details illustrating the country’s largely unrecognized contribution to the development of that instrument. A homecoming article now in progress presents and discusses them, just as my first article was about the woodwind instruments housed at the same museum.

As with the article on the history of crochet that provided the upbeat to this blog, research for the one in gestation is turning up quite a bit of historically interesting information that will not be included in the formal publication. I haven’t decided whether to put that material forward in blog posts but, if I do, they will likely be sharing the present platform. There are quite a few draft posts about loop-related topics still in the queue but if I start a separate second blog it risks becoming the sole focus of my attention for a while to come. Continue reading “Five and fifty years ago”