Ecole de lutherie Internationale "Gauthier Louppe" - Marche-en-Famenne | Belgique | Tel: +32(0)

Contempory violin-making

In order to approach the art of lutherie, we must immerse ourselves in the study of baroque lutherie, which develops and evolves in a period called "the golden age". This lutherie regained a certain growth following the growing demand of the musicians, called "baroqueux". It represents or symbolizes the past of violin making.
It is important to know the past, to understand the research and the work of the luthiers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This look allows us to better understand the current state of lutherie.
The research, creations and achievements of the luthier Gauthier LOUPPE, which are the subject of exhibitions, represent a potential for the future of violin making. But how can we speak of this future, if there is not the presentation of these objects, which are the fruit of more than ten years of work?
It is therefore effluvia and other emanations straight out of the crucible which is the cave of this craftsman, that we shall speak about.

The workshop of luthier Gauthier LOUPPE, located far from the prying eyes, but enlightened by the study and the permanent research, allowing the evolution of knowledge, which we want to talk about. One of the important books that we can find and read is that of TOLBEQUE: "The art of the luthier". This is where the luthier's reflection begins.

The lutherie is therefore an art.
It seems that the definition would be a little short if it were limited to this statement, besides the luthier often presents himself as artisan and not as artist.
Is the lutherie a craft, a (artistic ?) craft or an art?

To realize an object, whatever it is, it is necessary to possess a method, a technique, a know-how, which are the function and essence of the craftsman. In order to make musical instruments, such as those of the string quartet, one must necessarily have the qualities of the artisan, but also something more, since there is also the creation of a sound, which is impalpable and of Subjective quality.
All this gives an extra dimension, in this case, the appellation will be "art craft".

In the works relating to the art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there are some which deal with painting, sculpture, architecture, cabinet-making, town planning, science, photography, comics, composition, Of philosophy of literature, of theater ... but nothing concerning the lutherie.
Is not the lutherie considered an art?
Has nothing happened during these two centuries in this area?
Of course, there has been some experimental research, but it has remained sporadic and unfortunately has not engendered any artistic current.

This leads us to ask ourselves a few questions:

- Is the lutherie part of the artistic world?
- Is the lutherie lagging behind in the artistic evolution?
"Is it, and will it remain, the rear guard?"
- Are the instruments of the quartet reduced to being only tools of work?

The violin as such is the symbol of conservatism. What has changed for the violin in more than five centuries? Very little. Music literature, so generously offered by composers of genius, demonstrates a true evolution or revolution. To answer this question, the virtuosos and interpreters studied, created and applied new violinist musical techniques. 

The luthiers also sought improvements, mainly concerning the power of the instruments, which was successful. Stradivarius himself modified the shape of the violin by removing the "spikes". He realized some instruments of this form. The researches continued throughout the 19th century, even now. All these evolutions are not very well known, as they were sometimes experimental, sometimes farfetched, trying to meet a punctual need. These musical instruments have ended up in museums.

The potential future of lutherie

This is the important point of the whole presentation, as this area is little or not explored, yet it offers opportunities for the future. Following the previous achievements just presented, current luthiers continue this process, but they are very rare and scattered throughout the world. Some tests do not seem very convincing ... on the other hand, other achievements are successful.

Too often, the classical culture of musicians and luthiers themselves hampers evolution. This culture advocates classicism and conservatism, yet music evolves, like all art! 

Why should violinmaking be confined to "pastism"?
To give a new impetus to luthery, we must restore the importance of complementarity in the relational trilogy between: the luthier, the composer and the musician. One evolves others, and the level is enhanced for all.
The creations of luthier Gauthier LOUPPE try to demonstrate that the lutherie can not be fixed and that its state is evolutionary. The presentation of these innovations contributes to changing mindsets, widening the gaze, allows to give back to luthiers the desire to create, like the one that existed during the Renaissance and the "golden age" of lutherie .
This may allow musicians to get a taste of the new discoveries, which will be a rich heritage in the future.

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