Italian Rural Maple
Sweet and sonorous violins
The maple trees is one of the most popular trees in Italy since the Middle Ages. it grows up to the hills and where I live it grows naturally in the uncultivated land. Its wood is often compact and when seasoned in the proper method it returns a surprisingly hard and elastic fiber. Historically, the use of this tree was mostly agricultural, for example to support of the rows of vines or as firewood.
Nowadays, the use of this wood is changed, both for cultural character fewer and fewer people spend time with this practice, both for economic nature because the people tends to replace these supports for the vines with precast piles that do not require maintenance.
The spontaneous maple with sufficient light does not have a very fast growth from year to year and tends to have a big and squat trunk with many branches in the form of a bush. Probably for this reason it is called “Loppo” or “Oppio” in the Po valley: it was pollarded each year to remove the excess branches and then people used the trunk to prefix use. Thanks to its good fiber was also used for turnery or to demarcate the border areas.
The musical instruments made of this wood are so many, in fact in a memorandum of the ‘600 by a craftsman from Cremona is indicated the Oppio ‘to manufacture sweet and sonorous violins’.
The musical instruments we know today are made of by the most expert violinmakers of all time, from the Neapolitan school through the Tuscan moving on to throughout the northern Italy.
Because of its slow growth is not always possible to take advantage of its trunk, as it often does not reach useful sizes for violinmaking.