Lute and violin making in Füssen A living tradition
The good wood of the local mountain forests, the Via Claudia Augusta as a trade route and the navigable Lech as a transport route for the raw material wood – the foundations for the rise of Füssens as the cradle of commercial lute making in Europe were ideal. Europe’s first lute making guild was founded in Füssen in 1562. However, this was a sign that the lute maker had problems. Because the guild compulsion provided for a regulation of the market.
At that time there were about twenty lute workshops per 2,000 inhabitants in Füssen. That was clearly too much. Many masters and journeymen therefore sought new jobs in southern cities along the Via Claudia Augusta. This led to the fact that in the 16th and 17th centuries in Venice and Padua about two thirds of all lute makers came from Füssen. In the 17th and 18th centuries the demand for string instruments increased. Violin making was also founded in Füssen. The collapse occurred in the 19th century. Lute and violin making has not been practised in Füssen for almost a hundred years. Today the trade with five violin makers and a plucked instrument maker has resettled.
The town of Füssen cultivates the tradition of lute and violin making. The permanent exhibition of violins and lutes as well as an entire workshop in the museum of the city of Füssen is exceptionally beautiful. The “Lautenmacherbrunnen” on the bread market is a reminder of the once strong guild. The “vielsaitig” festival also continues this tradition and brings it to life every year under a different motto. Then concerts, chamber music courses, workshops and master classes take place in the city. There is also a violin making forum for experts.
The Kaisersaal concerts have also established themselves and are part of the city’s permanent cultural repertoire.
In addition, since 2012 Füssen has maintained a cultural partnership with the Italian violin making metropolis of Cremona – the home of the famous violin makers Amati and Stradivari. This year (2018) an official town twinning with Cremona was sealed.
Trade, handicraft, tradition - a guided tour of Füssen for lute and violin making
Why is Füssen considered the cradle of lute making in Europe and what has made Füssen violin making so successful? This thematic city tour follows the traces of the masters through the old town and through the valuable collection of lutes and violins in the city museum. A culinary surprise awaits you at the end.
approx. 2 hours
(from 14.00 to 16.00 o’clock)
Tourist Information Füssen. Minimum number of participants: 3 persons, maximum 20 persons.
At the Tourist Information Füssen until 16:00 the day before!
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