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Unique Sound in Native Woods: NPUST College Violin Workshop

Unique Sound in Native Woods: NPUST College Violin Workshop

The College Violin Workshop, dubbed “NPUST Cremona”, is held each year by the Department of Wood Science and Deign. This year, the participating luthiers were called to use locally produced materials to “transform and transmit the essence of the Autumn Feast”. With their completed works in hand, on November 16, 2018, the students set the tone for an open exhibition of their instruments, playing a beautiful melody for those who were present to see and hear their excellent craftsmanship.

Providing a broader context, NPUST President Chang-Hsien Tai explained that “NPUST is putting effort into the promotion of circular economies and, the College Violin Workshop is a very good example of circular economies in practice. The students can take waste wood, which originally had no value, and with high-levels of craftsmanship, they are able to transform it into something of value.” Wood Science and Design Professor Way Long expressed his hopes that “the NPUST Department of Wood Science and Design’s College Violin Workshop can become a base for violin making in Taiwan.” He explained that “through the process of making violins, students are interacting with the materials in a two-way dialog. The goal is to use different types of wood materials to make 100 violins and develop deep-rooted and continual craftsmanship that gains international repute.”

Professional violin maker Sheng-Yan Huang pointed out that “problems in many of the world’s top violins are found through the processes of being used in many types of performances – these are then improved upon. Every time, incremental adjustments are made until finally [the instrument] has a unique value. At NPUST, with excellent capabilities as assistance from professional teachers, the violin making techniques at College Violin Workshop will continue to improve.”

This year, locally produced wood species including Taiwan incense cedar, Taiwania, Fujian cypress, Cinnamomum camphora, Formosan Michelia and mahogany cultivated by the university were used to make hand-made violins with unique character and sound. The department emphasizes that wood resources are applied to life sciences and not for general consumables. They hope that the students will continue hone their skills and become increasingly knowledgeable in the materials they use and features of quality instruments. 

For now, a unique sound is being discovered in the native woods of the island forests, and with careful hands and keen eyes the students are turning their vision into reality, not only creating a musical instrument, but a story that they can share, and a tune that is their very own.

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