Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Friday, 23 November 2012

The forests whence instruments are made

Earlier this year, I blogged about Otis A. Tomas and The Fiddletree - his book documenting the making of a quartet of instruments from an old Cape Breton maple tree.  (I did a Storify page about it, too - it really caught my interest, as you can tell.)

You might guess that when a colleague told me about a quartet of instruments made from an Edinburgh sycamore out of Sir Conan Doyle's childhood garden (aptly named the 'Sherlock Quartet'), I simply had to know more.  Otis might be in Cape Breton, but Steve Burnett is, comparatively speaking, in our own back garden!

There was a 'Concert for Trees' in Edinburgh's Usher Hall last year to celebrate the United Nations International Year of Forests - read more here. (This is a posting on the Sherlock Holmes Society of London website.)

Of course, what you'll really want to know is, who made these instruments.  The luthier is Steve Burnett of Edinburgh.  He makes his instruments along the traditional lines, and using the traditional methods of the old masters.  Here's his website:-

At the bottom of his homepage, you'll find an MP3 recording of Burnett talking about the Sherlock project.  Worth a look!

Postscript.  I have just learned of an interesting BBC news item about choosing the best wood for a Stradivarius. Read on!  (BBC News 14 April 2013).

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