Jonathan Holmes raised an interesting question in a recent Digest.
Should a restored instrument look like new? If I may take this
question one step further (being the devil's advocate), "Should
the instrument sound like new?"
The S.O.W.N.Y. Chapter of AMICA had the wonderful opportunity of
visiting the National Museum in Ottawa, Canada this past summer.
Members of our chapter made it into the "archives" where instruments
(not just musical) of all style and shape were kept.
The focus of our visit, of course, was the small collection of music
boxes and player pianos which had been donated or purchased by the
museum. The curator and docent who conducted the tour wore gloves when
handling any piece of machinery, no matter of the original condition of
the piece when it had been donated. Restoration work done on any of
the pieces was minimal.
The focus of the collection was to preserve the original machine as
when it left the factory, for example. If someone wanted to see how
a 1923 Chickering Grand was tubed, here is the perfect example. It
is my understanding that they would not consider retubing the piano
because gray tubing is no longer made. (Money also might have also
been a consideration.) Strings, hammers, dampers, sound board, and
much more, contribute to the sound of a piano.
To dovetail into what Jonathan was saying before: If the finish of
a Stradivarius violin is so important to its tonal quality, wouldn't
the same be said of any musical instrument? Shouldn't every musical
instrument be restored to look and sound like new?
If an instrument isn't properly restored, it won't represent what the
artist originally intended.
Best wishes for the New Year!