About Martin Butter Martin Butter Klavierinstrumentmaker Clavichord

About me

OverMijzelfThis website is intended to showcase a number of keyboard instruments which I have built. I discovered when I was very young what I wanted to become: an organ builder! But becoming an organ builder is not a choice you make lightly... A broad education as a furniture maker is a good starting point, but even then, there is still a lot to learn. I am especially interested in smaller organs, and my studies reflected this. Organ building treatises such as “ Het Nederlandse Huisorgel” van Gierveld and “Der Nurenberger Orgelbau des 17. Jahrhunderts” where invaluable.

An organ builder’s education is never complete. The best teacher is history itself. By this I mean that organ builders who worked in historical eras had far more knowledge than is common today. This knowledge was then passed onto their pupils. The industrial revolution resulted in the loss of much specialist knowledge. As a result, the art of being an organ builder today can only properly be learned by careful study of pipes, for example, and through measuring historic bellows, trunking, windchests, keyboards, organ cases etc. Before you can call yourself an organ builder you must have years of experience of working with the material, and you must have made a number of instrument entirely yourself!

 In addition, the following are essential study tools:

  • The reading and studying of books.
  • The careful study of how other organ and instrument builders carry out their art, and also how it was done in historical times. This is how I learned the art of wood carving, for example.
  • It is also important to listen to the sound of good organs and other instruments. What is beautiful and why?
  • Last but not least: try it for yourself!

The instruments, and their wood carvings were entirely constructed by myself. Wood carving is a separate discipline which also requires careful study of historic examples. There are study courses in The Netherlands which focus on woodworking, but none that I am aware of which focus on wood carving. I am, as a consequence, an autodidactic wood carver. One of the best ways to practise is to use clay, in other words you make a test ‘mold’. This is a practise method commonly used by professional wood carvers.

As time went on, my interest in house organs and smaller church organs grew. Later I also became interested in the construction of baroque ‘stringed’ keyboard instruments, as a result of which I have built a number of spinets, clavichords and a virginal.

Vorige: Home Volgende: Stringed Instruments