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A gorgeous multimedia catalogue (print/iPad) of a great collection of historical musical instruments from the 17th and 18th centuries.
A gorgeous multimedia catalogue (print/iPad) of a great collection of historical musical instruments from the 17th and 18th centuries.
153 backers pledged $27,100 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$27,100

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We plan to raise the funds to design, edit, and publish 1,000 copies of a 160-page large-format hardcover catalogue of Cathy and Jim Caldwell's superb and historically important collection of viols. That's viols as in viola da gamba, the bowed, fretted stringed instrument, related to the guitar, played at home and in concert in the 16th through 18th centuries, and more recently part of a worldwide revival. In advance of publication in print, we will release an Apple iPad edition of the book, featuring magnificent photographs and audio, as well as details about the instruments and the story of the collection. 

Why are we making this book

The Caldwell Collection of Viols is a legend in the worldwide fraternity of viol players and aficionados. Put together with exquisite care over several decades, the collection is one of the most extraordinary private assemblages of such instruments in the world. Its contents far overshadow the viola da gamba holdings of most of the world’s major musical instrument museums.

This catalogue of the collection, handsomely illustrated with numerous photographs of each instrument by Roger Mastroianni, brings together essays by musicologist Thomas MacCracken on the eighteen makers represented, and a description of each instrument by the noted contemporary viol builder John Pringle.

The charming narrative by Catharina Meints Caldwell makes reading the book a pleasure. She discusses the musical qualities of each of the twenty-two instruments (qualities she deftly illustrates in the accompanying audio, on which she plays each) from the standpoint of a virtuoso performer, and also conveys the thrill of the chase, recounting how she and her late husband, the oboist and viol player James Boone Caldwell, discovered and acquired one antique viol after another.

This private collection lacks the resources major museums draw on to publish lavish illustrated catalogues, yet its holdings are at least equally important for the study of musical instruments and for the literature on collecting. Until now, the only way to experience the instruments was to journey to the small mid-western college town of Oberlin, Ohio. This will be the first publication to spread information about the couple’s holdings and to tell the story of the Caldwell Collection around the world.

As with collections of other art objects, print catalogues are often used to share knowledge about musical instrument collections, even though they are silent about the instruments' sound. But all the viols in the Caldwell Collection have been restored to playing condition by their player-collectors, so the more vivid and immediate option of multimedia electronic publishing is available today. The iPad’s immersive reading and listening experience truly brings the collection to life; the print book will be supplied with an audio CD.

How the funding will help

The budget to edit, design, produce, print, and publish the publication is over $40,000, including:

  • editing and preparation of text, images, and audio
  • content and design development for mobile and print editions
  • interface design, content development, and testing for the iPad app
  • print book layout and design
  • two rounds of revisions
  • paper, printing and binding for 1,000 books
  • picking, packing, shipping, and warehouse costs for printed copies
  • copies plus shipping to Kickstarter backers
  • advertising and marketing for any remaining copies

We have the benefit of a world-class team of designers and production professionals who will bring their talents to all stages of this innovative publication. Please be a part of this historically and artistically important project!

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    Autographed advance copies of the print book all went in the first 8 hours, but for the same pledge you can have an UNsigned advance copy! (Added this reward 28 February after the autographed level sold out)

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    Donate to a library! Get your own print copy, plus your name in the acknowledgments. Plus we'll send a copy to the library of your choice.

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    Benefactor: get your own print copy, plus your name in the acknowledgments. Plus we'll send a free copy to a promising young gambist(e) you nominate. (Added this reward 1 March after the library donor level sold out)

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    Get print and app editions, with your name listed as a Bass supporter

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    Special for attendees of the Viola da Gamba Society of America's 50th Conclave: spend an evening during the event playing five of the instruments with Catharina Meints. Plus a copy of the print edition.

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    32GB 4G iPad 3 with the app preinstalled

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    Visit the collection (at your expense) for a guided tour and an opportunity to play the instruments

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    A full-day hands-on workshop on HTML5 cross-platform app publishing with Music Word Media professional staff

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    Get print and app editions, with your name listed as a Great Dooble Bass supporter. Plus our eternal gratitude, and we'll send 5 print copies to the individuals or libraries of your choice.

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Funding period

- (30 days)