The Violin and the Maker – Martin Kubis, the man who carves the soul into an Instrument

Yvonne Kiely

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“History tells us the ancient Egyptians believed that music was a way of communicating with the Gods, a way to touch the divine. In Greek myth, it was the Gods and Goddesses who created the first music. The Greek Mathematician Pythagoras claimed that the relationship between the human soul and the world was like that of the relationship between musical notes. The origin of the four-string violin dates back to the sixteenth century, and it was in Italy where the violin developed its character and shape. Today, violin makers continue this centuries old tradition with individual skill and finesse. Martin Kubis is a violin maker. He also repairs and restores violins at Crehan’s Musical Instruments”.

Music has long been celebrated as a liberating mode of self-expression, enrichment and fulfilment. Its image is one of openness, as a neutral arena which anybody with passion can enter and escape the boundaries of the mind, society and the material world. More than this, music has been given the status of food for the soul. Composer Ralph Vaughan Williams claimed that “the art of music above all the other arts is the expression of the soul of a nation’’. As Catherine in One Special Night (1999), Julie Andrews tells us “feed the body food and drink, it will survive today. Feel the soul art and music, it will live forever’’.

The medium that allows music to take on a more tangible form is an instrument. Making these instruments requires as much care, skill and passion that goes in to composing the music that flows through them.

This is an insight into the mind of a violin maker, Martin Kubis, who repairs and restores violins in Dublin. He says “I feel like the father”. Violin making is a tradition that lives on today in the hands of those who have mastered its craft, and bring life to the wood that sits in the workshop.

Writer Evan Eisenberg wrote that “music is the architecture of time” (The Recording Angel: Music, Records and Culture from Aristotle to Zappa). If we take this to be true, then the instrument makers are its architects.

The Beginning. Photo credit: Andrew Sutherland (flickr)
The Beginning. Photo credit: Andrew Sutherland (flickr)

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Yvonne Kiely

If it's sexuality or music, I'm your woman. If it's holding an axe and filling you with a sense of dread, then you're probably in a Stephen King novel.