Musical Instrument Design: Establishing the Foundations for a Collaborative Project

Design de Instrumento Musical: Estabelecimento das bases para um Projeto Colaborativo

Aparo, E. Silva, F. Faria, V.

ESTG-IPVC - Escola Superior de Tecnologia e Gestão do Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo
FA–ULisboa - Faculdade de Arquitetura da Universidade de Lisboa
UMinho - University of Minho

Retirado de:

ABSTRACT: The purpose of the present article is to identify the foundations for a future project to develop a brass wind instrument made in Portugal. Based on cases of productive excellence and a strong band culture, as is the case in the north of Portugal, this study demonstrates that collaborative networking allows developing complex products such as brass wind instruments. Based on project planning and analytical reasoning, the discipline of Design allows the interpretation of the productive context and potential, enabling action towards the creation of products embodying the expertise of all agents involved. The creation of a collaborative network guided by design and targeting a complex product as a musical instrument allows evolution and progress to all parties engaged. As a discipline able to convey knowledge and experience by interpreting productive contexts and processes, Design triggers innovative experiences able to develop territories, identifying new product scenarios and markets which may support the survival of local productive sectors, focusing on quality.


KEYWORDS: Design, Musical Instrument, Collaborative Project, Territorial Network.

RESUMO: O objetivo do presente artigo é identificar as bases para um futuro projeto de desenvolvimento de um instrumento de sopro de bronze fabricado em Portugal. Baseado em casos de excelência produtiva e uma forte cultura de banda, como é o caso no norte de Portugal, este estudo demonstra que a rede colaborativa permite o desenvolvimento de produtos complexos, tais como instrumentos de sopro de bronze. Com base no planejamento de projetos e no raciocínio analítico, a disciplina de Design permite a interpretação do contexto produtivo e do potencial, possibilitando a ação para a criação de produtos incorporando a expertise de todos os agentes envolvidos. A criação de uma rede colaborativa guiada pelo design e visando um produto complexo como um instrumento musical permite a evolução e progresso de todas as partes envolvidas. Como disciplina capaz de transmitir conhecimento e experiência através da interpretação de contextos e processos produtivos, o Design desencadeia experiências inovadoras capazes de desenvolver territórios, identificando novos cenários de produtos e mercados que podem apoiar a sobrevivência dos setores produtivos locais, com foco na qualidade.

PALAVRAS-CHAVE: Design, Instrumento Musical, Projeto Colaborativo, Rede Territorial.

 1. Introduction

The relationship between design and music draws a bridge between two cultural areas, only seemingly distant. Semantics and a methodological analysis unveil common factors between the two disciplines. They both share “(...) the methodological basis of educational process, including learning-by-doing. On the other hand, both design and music have a specific terminology set, both require composition, harmony and structure. The linguistic basis is another factor shared by the two disciplines, considering that both music and design produce research to renew their language.” (SOARES, APARO, 2015: sp). Terms such as composition, structure, chromaticism, pattern or scale find a place not only in language but mainly in the “modus operandi” of both musicians and designers. The two disciplines share a holistic perspective. Design’s has been praised by authors such as Andrea Lupacchini (2010), or Harold G. Nelson and Erik Stolterman (2003), and may be compared to music’s insofar as according to Daniel Baremboim, “a musical play is something organic, where each aspect relates to another. Music cannot be dismantled into its constituent elements; there is no melody without harmony, or harmony without rhythm and so forth.” (BAREMBOIM, 2012: 12).
We intend to demonstrate that developing a project in the field of musical instruments guided by design may stimulate innovation in the involved sectors or areas. A musical instrument is an excellent example of a complex product where semantic and functional aspects intertwine, and as highlighted by Guido Michelone (2014), where the creation of new instruments may be as important as the reinterpretation of the traditional ones by musicians themselves (as happens with Jazz music). Interaction between parties has an active role when instruments are integrated in the sound and performative context that characterizes them, and this also applies to a network of agents engaged in product creation. In the development of a complex product such as a musical instrument, each component often responds to particular characteristics, using specific production processes that underline materials, responding to sound features. A musical instrument summons dynamics involving networks of users (together with other instruments and instrument players) as well as producers who are often crucial to achieve the high quality of the components constituting the instrument.
The development of this sort of process may be decisive towards new knowledge flows across different scopes, may reveal new potential for a given production system, set a new systemic competitiveness between the different elements in a production network, and also the different individuals in the network. In the present case, we intend to demonstrate that the involvement of artisanal crafts still active in Portugal and with a history in developing musical instruments may stem important innovative processes. Identifying a new field of production and sharing information with other parties fosters information exchange, which is a determining factor in building connections and subsequently new creative paths.


2. Framework Justification

The history of Design shows relevant cases of intersection between design and music, such as projects for sound broadcasting devices, from Braun’s SK4 designed by Dieter Rams to the latest iPod designed by Jonathan Ive, or communication projects such as LP records covers and more recently CD covers designed by Alex Steinweiss, John Smith or Graham Rounthwaite. However, the field of musical instruments is considered rather paradigmatic and unique. According to the Encyclopedic dictionary of Semiotics, Media and Communications (DANESI, 2000) it would be difficult to compare the production of musical instruments with the productive activities related to other products, taking into account the high performance level of those products. According to Donald Norman, “musical instruments take years of dedicated practice to be used properly and even then, errors and poor performance are common among nonprofessionals” (NORMAN 2004: 76).
Nonetheless, Design research has already produced results from network projects concerning music production. One of them is the AlphaSphere, designed by Adam Place at the Nagoya University of Arts, in Japan. With his project, Place intended to reshape the interfaces related to musical performances. Alphasphere is acknowledged as a collaborative project, based mainly on the close relationship between design and music. “The design and development of the AlphaSphere was a collaborative process which was led by the principal developer. The design was refined through input from multiple collaborators which included instrumentalists, composers, electronic musicians, record producers, audio engineers, music therapists and academics of both music and design disciplines.” (PLACE, LACEY, MITCHELL, 2014: 399).
The relationship between musical instruments is also relevant to develop new models of instruments, such as the electric guitar Paraffina Slapster and the Alessofono saxophone. In 2006, the designer Lorenzo Palmieri developed the electric guitar Paraffina Slapster in collaboration with the guitar company Noah. Noah is a small company born in 1700 in a basement of a small town in the outskirts of Milan, creating a sort of instrument intended to combine the features of a “solid body” wooden guitar as the Fender Telecaster and the metallic body guitar National type. The company began developing guitar models in an aluminum alloy used in the aerospace industry. The first productions were the Slidecaster (1996) and the Excalibur (2003), bought by Italian and international musicians. The innovative quality of Noah guitars were appreciated by musicians like Saturnino, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Ben Harper, Stewart Hurwood or Lou Reed: “I expect perfect balance, lighter weight due to its interior hollowness and the excellence of the airline machined aluminum. I expect a unique clean and sustainable tone of purity and duration. I expect the perfect neck. I expect the future Telecaster wedded to a National steel.” (REED cit in DE BLASIO, 2008: 119).
Although Lorenzo Palmieri had a vast knowledge and some experience in music, to develop the Paraffina Slapster the designer was engaged in an articulate research process, involving different sorts of users, makers and distributors. His project reveals careful study of theatrical gestures of guitar players on stage, analyzing different components of traditional settings. “The first characteristic is the presence of a molded handle piercing the body of the box, making the device extremely easy to handle, transport and comfortable to use. The second revolutionary element is the Slapster placed at the base of the strings: the musician is able to change the sound by pressuring it with the elbow or hand, introducing a new gesture, the finish of the reflecting surface, which reverberates flashes onto the public allows playing both with sound and with light.” [1] The Paraffina Slapster is on display at the Design Museum of Milan Triennale and is used by musicians such as Lou Reed, who requested a special version, the Paraffina Tear Drop, without Slapster.
On the other hand, the Alessofono project was the product of collaboration between the household appliances company Alessi and the craftsman Claudio Zolla, now owner of Rampone and Cazzani, company producing wind instruments (saxophones) artisanal type. The project involved a multidisciplinary team led by designers Alessandro Mendini and Maria Christina Hamel, with the composer and poly-instrumentalist Luca di Volo and jazz musician and photographer Davide Mosconi. “By careful gestural study and professional consultation, the designer created a wonderful instrument both aesthetically and ergonomically, with an ease of playing uncommon in traditional instruments due to its unusual key layout.”  (DARDI, PISU, 2013: sp).
In fact, according to Francesco Carreras, researcher at the ISTI (Institute of Information Science and Technology) of the CNR (National Council of Investigation), “in 1989, the company was going through a rough patch at the moment, and Alessi de Omegna intervened to save the company. We studied a new innovative model of saxophone, called Alessofono.” (CARRERAS, 2013: sp). From this moment on, the company Rampone and Cazzani studied and applied a new model of productive development, with particular attention to detail and finishing, combining craft techniques and innovation with special concerns regarding international promotion. Alberto Alessi, one of the Alessi company holders, underlines that the Alessofono project was not at all casual, but correlated to the productive activities developed by Alessi during Giovanni Alessi’s management, Giovanni’s grandfather, who worked in musical instruments components in the 1920’s and 30’s, along with the production of household utensils; “The grandfather, out of friendship for the producer Rampone and Cazzani and also to increase his workshop output, produced the keys, silver plating and gilding of the bodies and made the incisions in the instruments which were transported to Crusinallo in a picking basket, upon the shoulders of a young employee.” (ALESSI cit in RAGANATO, 2006: 27).
Also for Alberto Alessi, the company's involvement in the process of creating a musical instrument translates the common grounds shared by traditional household appliances companies and wind instruments makers, from raw materials to production methods, including machinery and tools. 

Figure 1 – Alphasphere (left) | Paraffina Slapster (center) | Alessofono (right)

Source: | |

3. Music And Artisanal Production: Aerophones, Jewelry and Tinplate

Musical instruments production and artisanal production are deeply connected in their most experimental contribution. Even today, this artisanal feature allows expressing specific qualities that determine their survival. As in other areas, such as jewelry or fashion accessories, buyers looking for specific qualities often allow these productive units to survive in a market dominated by multinational companies, “(...) they are witness to how the recovery of an artisanal manufacturing tradition, joining innovation and creativity, can represent the starting point for a new way of being in the global market.” (MICELLI, 2011: 95).
According to Mario Pasi “(...) in 1785 tinkerers were still the makers of copper instruments. But by the time of industrialization, increasingly specialized makers and machines dominated instruments manufacturing.” (PASI, 1995: 156). This will encourage the dissemination of instruments, but the same author argues it limited the artists’ interpretive capacity, contributing to a homogenization of musicians’ sounds and styles. Since the eighteenth century, the artisanal production of musical instruments was stimulated by a continuous search for evolution, and the number of produced instruments also increased, along with the easier comparison between different producers. “(...) the artisans were glad to be able to learn the technical innovations adopted by their competitors, and they did their best to find instruments produced by competition to study details, and eventually also adopt them in their instruments.” (MARISI, 2010: 21)
Some examples may even be regarded as innovations from musical instruments, subsequently impacting other fields of production. During the Middle Ages, in France, brass wind instruments performance and quality was associated to silverware or jewelry artisans. Gretchen Peters (2012) mentions the trumpets developed in Dijon, Amiens and Toulouse. Benvenuto Cellini (CELLINI, 1806) states the importance of his experience with father Giovanni, who was a great cleaver and designer who learned music and played several musical instruments such as organ, harp, harpsichord (clavicembalo), theorbo (lute) and flute. Brass instruments [2] were developed over the ages as technological possibilities developed, as in other areas and other productive contexts they intersected.
The relationship between musical instruments and jewelry originated experiences such as Theobald Boehm’s: “(...) A flutist and goldsmith, who began producing flutes as a second activity in 1820” (TOFF 2012: 49), and who would become a pioneer creating the transverse flute. Among brass instruments there are several examples of the productive relationship with precious artifacts. In 1850 “(...) the bugle with ten keys and made by John Kohler from London spiked by Soho Edward Pairpoint Silversmith” (SCOTT, 1970, 33) or the one described by Schubart (1990) as one of the first trumpets with keys, produced by Christoph F. Nessmann, a trumpet player and silver craftsman who created this model in 1793 (KOEHLER, 2015).
This intersection between craftwork, precious materials and music is also witnessed by William Trayls (with a signed copy from 1811 in the Metropolitan Museum of New York) [3], or the more recent James Dixon & Sons, from Sheffield, who according to Donald Herr (1995) were in the silversmith trade and produced wind instruments between 1806 and 1976, with such impact that the brand logo was for several years a trumpet. Another interesting case is Hallmark, producing brass wind instruments in York, or smaller manufactures still in operation, such as Calicchio (Oregon – USA) [4].
In some cases there were also industrial production brands or semi-artisanal, collaborating with jewelers such as Monette and Tami Dean. But to this day some companies historically connected to the jewelry sector are still active, such as Fohqudill (Watford – United Kingdom) [6], and Stomvi (Spain) [7], publicizing this connection as synonym to excellence qualities that reflect on the performance qualities of the produced instruments.

4. Production: Brass Instruments in Portugal

The history of the trumpet leads us to the dawn of civilization, with continuous evolution over the centuries. Altemburg states that regarding “(...) the invention of the trumpet there are different opinions, some attribute it to Iubal, some to the Egyptian and others to the Etruscan” (ALTEMBURG, 1795: 2). In the first century, Strabo suggests this instrument was introduced by the Lusitanian, when it was used along with the flute to accompany acrobatic dancers (ESTRABÃO cit in SASPORTES, 1970). The presence in Portugal according to some authors (ALTEMBURG, 1795; SILVA PINTO, 2010; CASTELO-BRANCO, 2010).
As in other cases in Europe, it is related to war and the use of fanfare or trumpet blast. In 1500 Afonso de Albuquerque, Viceroy and Governor of Portuguese India, identifies regarding the trumpet it “(...) occasionally appears with the role of a single trumpet as a signal instrument, with military functions, to warn and alert, or even for hunting.” (LOPES MONTEIRO, 2010: 5), and “(...) Since the reign of King D. João V, the group of royal clarions Charamelas Reais comprises a set of natural trumpets accompanied by percussion, used for the king’s ceremonial entrance” (BERNARDES, 2013: 825, 826). Although in Portugal until today, especially northern Portugal has a strong musical history made of ensembles and bands and other musical activities, the country never developed a strong productive activity in brass instruments. Although this production is not as strong as for instance strings [8], there were some productive activities in the past. By the sixteenth century, the artisanal production activity related to some artisans was developed probably stimulated by a great appreciation for musical instruments and music in general. “(...) Essentially organ builders, guitar players and tinkerers were all over the country responsible for providing tools for religious orders, courts and manors “(SILVA, 2005: 42). However, there is little information and many uncertainties regarding brass instruments manufacture in Portugal.

Among the distinguished houses dedicated to musical instruments trade, the Neuparth house was established in the rua Nova de Almada (TOJAL, 2000). There are also highly reputed manufacturers such as Ernesto Victor Wagner (supposed author of the two pistons tubes kept at the Music Museum of Lisbon) [9] and Rafael Rebelo (supposed author of a key horn, 2 stick trombones, also in the collection of the Music Museum of Lisbon) [10]. Rebelo, as advocated by some authors (MARQUÊS DE SOUSA, 2013; SILVA PINTO 2010), was one of the first brass instruments manufacturers in Portugal, supplying the Army.
In the production and distribution of musical instruments stands out in 1860 the Steam Factory of Pianos and Musical Instruments Custódio Cardoso Pereira & Castanheira, supplier of musical instruments for the Army, they also distributed products from the French factories Lecomte and Couesnon [11]. According to the Encyclopedia of Music in Portugal, in the twentieth century, the links between Portuguese manufactures and French counterparts were also due to production collaboration, “(...) connected to the collaboration of this factory in the assembly and finishing of instruments manufactured by Couesnon, even after they no longer had their own production.” (CASTELO-BRANCO, 2010: 329).

Fig. 2 – Casa Castanheira flugenhorn (left) and Couesnon flugenhorn (right)

Source: Ermanno Aparo

This company, successor to the house founded in 1855 by José Francisco Arroyo, was established in Porto (RIGAUD, 2013) with a branch in Lisbon. In 1900, the Castanheira house opens a production unit in the rua do Almada, in Porto, which would produce instruments during approximately 50 years. In 1870, also in rua do Almada, street historically related to metal hardware and tools [12], the firm “Casa Guimarães” was founded by a former employee of Custódio Cardoso Pereira & Castanheira (MARQUÊS DE SOUSA, 2013), which would share with Castanheira the market of bands and the excellence awards received in Europe and worldwide.
The closeness of these trades in rua do Almada may translate the structure of an interactive urban network, where the proximity of the various production and cultural activities fostered the flow of information, practices and products which in turn fostered the creation of a production system that possibly assured the survival of those activities for some time, in a sort of retroactive feedback mode.
Downtown Porto was in fact a system of productive micro-realities in a variety of areas and technologies such as fabric and metal. The rua do Almada was characterized by metal manufacture and trade, and the area was shared by some other streets also characterized by metalworking, such as rua das Flores (flowers street – jewelry), the rua dos Caldeireiros (boilermakers street – ferrous and non-ferrous metals). The development of musical instruments in rua do Almada also cross-fertilized a strong musical activity in several recreational centers in the neighboring areas.
In Portugal, particularly in the North, there is a noticeable production of brass aerophones, but not so related to the more erudite instruments, and therefore, as advocated by Ernesto Veiga de Oliveira, probably with less importance. These were played by hawkers, in recreational activities or hunting activities, during religious festivals or unofficial ceremonies, to signal or notify the passage of merchants. Among them there are different types of aerophones such as the harmonica, the horn, the shawm, the bugle, or the cornet “(...) used in the cities by the olive oil retailer to announce his arrival, and in northern villages the sardine seller (...).” (VEIGA DE OLIVEIRA, 1982: 315).
Nowadays, despite technological advancements and the broad evolution of society, the artisanal tradition of making these instruments still endures, although on a smaller scale and not targeting a practical function. They are representative folklore objects. For many artisans they concern a mere replication of typologies, eminently symbolic instead of pursuing a functional sound producing function.

5. Foundations for Brass Instruments Design in Portugal

Design can be important for the development of innovative projects, and also in articulated areas such as the production of musical instruments. “The role of design research becomes important in defining new product scenarios. An investigation that stimulates action in the territory and that defines new strategic partnerships, bringing together the technological-productive qualities and local culture values” (APARO, 2010: 14).
The analysis of the historical aspect of the production course of musical instruments indicates that a productive system, at a territorial scale, is able to produce positive effects when articulated to effectively express its potential. Specific productive qualities, re-examined, objectified and finally applied to some components may become important for the creation of new products capable of producing an effective synthesis in a productive system characterized by the qualities of the involved elements/ factors. In order to allow that, it seems fundamental to create a structured network able to “(...) connect the autonomous elements in a networked functional system that allows combined action.” (SCHÖN cit in FRIEDMANN 1993: 281). The idea of a network must in this case be regarded as a series of contacts which may contribute towards the establishment of a productive community based on differences, instead of homogenization; “The term community here risks connoting harmony and homogeneity rather than disagreement and conflict, even though it is not the intention. The self-generating character attributed to communities of practice may seem to obscure the degree to which they are influenced and shaped by their context, be it institutional, political or cultural.” (WENGER, 2010: 188).
It concerns transferring to the territory that principle that some authors including Larry Sanger (2007), Andrew Tait and Kurt A. Richardson (2010) define as Knowledge Management, defined as “(...) an integrated strategic approach, promoted primarily (but not exclusively) by technology. (...) attempts to theorize, acquire, re-elaborate, enrich and convey human capital, to modify the behavior and structure of an organization to enable it to capitalize and transmit knowledge explicitly, making productivity and innovation more effective.” (INNOCENTI, 2004: 44).

Authors from different disciplines such as Poincaré (1983), Fabris (1992) or Galimberti (1999) underlined the importance of the connections between the factors/agents in the development of a creative process. According to Joe F. Y. Lau, creativity should: “(...) Explore the connections between different areas, (...) Ensure a thorough understanding of the connections between the key concepts.” (LAU, 2011: 120).
This requires articulation between areas and hence the role of the designer and defining the foundations that will determine the project and its execution. The designer has an obligation to know and practice the project area, as in the examples already mentioned in this document in the case of Adam Place or Lorenzo Palmieri, or as in the Alessofono case, where the project team includes musicians. The designer cannot exclude from the process music knowledge and practice, because as stated by Aristotle (2001), he needs to know how things work to make them happen. It would be impossible and probably an anachronism to develop an innovative product in a business system where none of the agents knows how the product works and its required features. In this case, besides a connoisseur of the instrumental framework, the designer should integrate a network of users who may enrich the process and assist its development.
The project foundations should therefore stem from the territorial factors that may enable the creation of a territorial system, proven decisive from a framework analysis. To organize our reasoning we divided those features in three orders of factors: cultural factors, production factors and reliability.
Cultural factors allow understanding how a particular object, in this case a musical instrument, may establish its importance in a territory. In the Portuguese case, the present research identified that a solid band culture in the north of the country was significant for the development of two companies in the city of Porto between the end of 1800 and the beginning of 1900. To present day, band culture is omnipresent in the north of Portugal, and this was specifically decisive for customizations, quite usual in the music universe (more difficult and more expensive to accomplish in imported instruments) when for various reasons the user requires instrument adaptations and this intervention is not detrimental to the sound characteristics of the instrument, but actually intends to improve its performance.
Productive factors allow identifying the keystones that are decisive to produce any particular product. In this specific case of musical instruments it was possible to identify local Portuguese artisanal manufactures such as tinsmiths, goldsmiths and metal-mechanics, activities that this research has identified with expressive cases of involvement in musical instruments production. In Portugal, these areas of industrial production and artisanal culture are to this day operating in the country, with involvement in R&D projects in the area of design that contribute to assign paths towards innovation (APARO, SOARES, 2010).
Reliability is a key factor in any innovation process, since it determines that a territorial network may operate upon an easy flow of information and exchange of experiences between partners. According to Buono, Pelosi (2010) due to Tactical Design we can assure knowledge sharing and through “tactical design” we can achieve convergence among different actors, promoting dialogue and information exchange, which allow the due effectiveness of processes, materials and ultimately of the end product quality. In this particular case, the designer himself becomes a key transactional element, able to know the technologies, the framework, the companies and as a result able to build relations with all territorial and extra territorial elements to assure the suitable development of the design process. In this case, the designer enables connecting different areas and fields, talking to different parties and becoming a medium through communication between the parties. Knowing the project framework and territory, the designer enables an adequate implementation of each process and turns it into a shared knowledge experience between all actors.

Fig. 3 – Project action scheme of tactical design

Source: Ermanno Aparo

Concerning musical instruments, the relationship form-use that links all objects to any form is amplified. This kind of product requires an approach focused on what Donald Schön defines as reflective approach based on a practice “(...) that makes room for reflection in action and over action, a new merger between academic knowledge and artistic ability founded in practice.” (SCHÖN, 1983: 28). The development of a complex product as a musical instrument must involve continuous experimentation in order to verify step by step each process, to analyze the results against the applied processes and to compare them with others, to be able to set new starting points for the following stages. Each agent should ensure that his analysis is a consequence of the preceding, and the stepping stone for the next, but for this to happen, the designer, who should monitor the whole process, must ensure there are no filters, and that information flows from one actor to another with no hindrance.
In this regard, the choice of actors should be based on their competence level, and also on their confidence level and willingness to share information when included in this kind of project. Also, product testing will require assuring a process articulated with different users who must be managed to avoid too many results influenced by a given style or a particular sort of musician. All results should be clearly oriented towards a setting that will be the one, among the various experienced that according to Nigel Cross (2006) may be described as the most satisfactory, oriented towards achieving the primary purpose of research, which is to demonstrate future reproducibility and continuous evolution.

6. Conclusions

The results from this study suggest the foundations for a future production of brass wind instruments in Portugal. Analyzing the framework and history of the Portuguese territory allows establishing some background and identifying factors that may become decisive for a collaborative project of a musical instrument. The creation of a productive network in a territorial scale is the key condition to integrate different skills that are fundamental to design a brass wind instrument. A musical instrument can be thought of as the result of a collaborative project because it implicates different skills, because during the process it requires knowledge from different fields, because a polycentric view may help achieve a smooth implementation of the final product. Thus, in the specific case of a brass wind instrument, the contribution of different productive agents must be equated in order to allow their contribution onto a network that is open to ongoing all-inclusive collaboration from the engaged agents.
The project foundations should be a consequence of the factors identified in the present document, including available producers who can ensure the appropriate application of the required qualities to develop a musical instrument. These producers, picked from different productive worlds but at the same time related to the productive culture of brass instruments (such as tin, goldsmith or metal-mechanics) may add intrinsic value to their own manufacturing and simultaneously qualify the musical instrument regarding shape and reason to exist (plates configuration from tin making, precision welding techniques from jewelry, industrial machining for metal-mechanics or still a metal treatment company for finishing).Each hypothesis ought to be examined and tested by musicians, who can rehearse and play in different situations and compare the presented solutions between each other and also among already existing instruments they have played or studied.
The idea of building a creative network to build a musical instrument can also be understood as an example for the creation of territorial systems able to develop complex products, where design can and should be seen as a discipline capable of driving innovation from a networked system towards seizing new opportunities and creating new products. From this perspective, every moment, every necessary step to create each component should be considered in a holistic way, whereby methods may be useful for products and for other agents but also for the ensemble, spinning out innovation and evolution.


[1] in accessed in 15/04/2014.
[2]The term “brass” is associated with the metallic wind instruments, aerophones (musical instruments whose sound is produced by the introduction of air which causes the vibration of the instrument’s body). Named after their raw material, metal embodies instruments such as bombardinos, trombones, horns, trumpets or flugelhorns.
[3] accessed in 23/05/2015
[4] accessed in 28/05/2015
[5] accessed in 23/05/2015
[6] accessed in 29/05/2015
[7] accessed in 29/05/2015
[8] This research identified a gap in the production of brass instruments. In contrast, strings were probably encouraged by the success and internationalization of Fado, with different companies enjoying considerable success in Portugal and abroad, as Óscar Manuel Cardoso from Lisbon, José Gonçalves or Antonio Pinto de Carvalho from Braga, Fernando Meirelles from Coimbra or Fernando Portela from Viana do Castelo.
[9] e accessed in 29/05/2015
[10] accessed in 29/05/15, accessed in 29/05/15, accessed in 29/05/15,
[12] accessed in 29/05/15



This paper was presented at Regional Helix 2016, and published exclusively at Convergences.

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Reference According to APA Style, 5th edition:
Aparo, E. Silva, F. Faria, V. ; (2017) Musical Instrument Design: Establishing the Foundations for a Collaborative Project. Convergências - Revista de Investigação e Ensino das Artes , VOL X (19) Retrieved from journal URL: