Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage
Vogtland Musical Instrument Construction in Markneukirchen and the Surrounding Area
In the so-called “musical corner” of the Vogtland Region, musical instruments have been constructed over a period of ca. 350 years in a concentration and variety that is unparalleled anywhere else in the world.
The origins of this handicraft can be traced back to Bohemian violinmakers who settled in the South-Eastern Corner of Saxony as religious refugees in the middle of the 17th Century. Today, the traditional construction of musical instruments is practised by ca. 1,300 craftsmen in more than 100 workshops. Almost all string, plucked, wind and percussion instruments and harmonicas used in European music including components and accessories are manufactured here.
The knowledge of techniques, tools and materials has from the very beginning been handed down from generation to generation. The basis of the continuous learning process of the makers of instruments is intense observation and exchange with musicians and colleagues as well as the studying of instruments and nature materials.
The construction of musical instruments in Vogtland attracts numerous lay orchestras, international music competitions and master classes for music students to the region around Markneukirchen. Projects in schools, exhibitions and guided tours of workshops allow the population at large to experience how instruments are made. The traditional construction of musical instruments thus conveys a regional sense of identity and continuity.