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Devin Thomas
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Tone Bites Page

Guarn. Ornam Op.374 front.jpg

Sound Samples

The purpose of this particular page is to offer you "sonic snippettes" of various instruments which I have made or restored, to give you a brief taste of each. Mostly, one of my gracious friends or relatives will have done the playing. The point for offering this page here was to give you an idea of the sound these instruments.

Where I have used a complete track or piece of music from either a commercial recording or one I made in my music room, I identify the player, the instrument, and the label (if there is one). I only lift tracks from commercial recordings in which I know my instruments were used.

HERE FINALLY! This is a recently made recording of my violin Opus 416 played by Laura Johnson. The piece is by Wieniawski which has been exerpted for brevity. The mp3 version has 3 moments where the sound was so loud it distorted when recorded on my Zoom recorder. Otherwise, you can use this recording to compare with my earlier violins. Opus 416 was remade acoustically in 2011 and originally made in 2009. This, incidentally is one of my smaller violins.

Click here for a Sound Sample of my Opus 416 played by Laura Johnson

This next sound sample is of a Taskin Harpsichord I made in 1998. My brother, Robert Hill, plays this wonderful arrangement he made of Bach's D minor Violin Partita for Harpsichord. This movement is the Sarabande from that Partita. This performance is available from Amazon.com on Hänßler Edition under the title: Transcriptions. I especially love the Chaconne on this recording.

Click here for the Sound Sample of Opus 320

Marianne Ploger has a way of understanding music that makes each performance she presents extremely moving for me. This homegrown recording of Chopin will give you an idea of what I mean. The piano, one I built 1997 for my brother, Robert, is a 6 and 1/2 octave Viennese Fortepiano patterned after several Graf pianos made around 1815.

Click here to hear Marianne Ploger play Chopin on my Opus 311.

The violin in this next recording is my opus 413, made in 2008. It was fashioned after the tonal ideals of Guarneri "del Jesu" as embodied in one of his violins built in 1734, known as the "Gibson". Every instrument I have built in the last 30 years has been another step in my quest to duplicate the knowledge of acoustics which the greatest instrument makers of the 17th and 18th centuries possessed. My reasoning is simple. Since copying the instruments of the past has proven, and continues to prove, to be an abject failure, despite the occasional happy accident, I felt it would be more productive to aim at the knowledge those great instrument makers possessed which allowed them to produce one masterpiece after another, after another. At the time I heard and studied the acoustics of the "Gibson" Guarneri, it was owned by Ruggerio Ricci. He was kind enough to allow me access to his treasure in order to determine its acoustical design. Interestingly, the acoustical design of his Guarneri was virtually identical to that of the 1741 Guarneri in the Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI, the main differences between them being the precise frequencies of the top and back and the blatant asymmetries of the Dearborn instrument. It has taken me 25 years of constant experimentation to begin to understand the work of this particular maker. The violinist is Mauricio Aguiar, a member of the first violin section of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Click here to hear this recording of Opus 413, another of my small violin design.

The next violin, my opus 426, was made in 2009. It too is based on the Guarneri "del Jesu" sound ideal. The main difference between this violin and No. 413 is that I learned something more about the acoustics of modeling.

Click here to hear a Sound Sample of Opus 426

Opus 410, the violin in the next sample, was built with the same acoustical concepts and techniques as 409 which you may have heard on my main page. The main differences are the result of the differences in wood and that 409 has been played-in for a year.

Click here to Listen to Opus 410 a small 4/4 violin of my own design

This next instrument, my Opus 392, made in 2007 reflects the acoustical thinking of Carlo Bergonzi. This violin has a more refined structure to the sound, one that is typical of the violins of Stradivarius, with whom it is thought Bergonzi worked for a time. Where the Stradivari influence produces a kind of velvety "super-violin" sound, the Guarneri "del Jesu" acoustical design aims at producing a voice-like sound as much as possible. Both ways of doing things are valid, though different. My preference is for what imitates as closely as possible the sound of the human voice.

Click here to listen to Opus 392 After Bergonzi

Robert Hill is the performer in this next recording on my Lute Haprishcord or Lautenwerk. I built this instrument in 1994 for him as an experiment. Robert has three or four recordings on several labels in which he used this particular instrument.

Click here for a Tonal tidbit of Opus 291.

Finally, the next two Samples are of the sound of a Lute which I made in 2003. The Player is Tim Burris, currently a resident of Great Diamond Island, Maine, near Portland. These recordings were made during a concert. The first piece he plays is a Galliard by Rosseter. The second is a Passacaglia by Piccinini.

Click here for a taste of my Lute, Opus 358

Click here for another taste of my Lute, Opus 358