Violins hit right note on world market

12 Mar.1995,《CHINA DAILY 》 By Tian Ying

\China, the world’s largest producer and exporter of violins, is determined to improve the quality of its instruments.

Several Chinese violin mars have taken prizes at international competitions in the past few years and manufacturers are being urged to improve the quality of the varieties for export, said Xie Jisuo, head of the Musical Instrument Department of china National Light Industrial Products Import and Export Corp.

China ranks first in the world in violin export volume. It exports about 200,000annually to more than 30 countries in Asia, Europe and North America, accounting for about 30 per cent of the total number sold on the international market.All grades of Chinese violins are sold cheaper than those made in the West.A Western violin often costs three times as much as a comparable Chinese instrument.

The price differential is partly because of low cost of lab our and raw materials in China. Quality is another reason, Xie said. Zhu Ming-jiang, a native of Guangzhou, won a gold medal for his violins at the 11th international Violin-Making Competition organized by the Violin society of America last November.Zhu said he hopes the prize will help raise the status of Chinese violins and make foreign musicians more aware of the instruments’ charm.

The contests organized by the Violin Society of America, held every other year, are among the top international professional competitions for makers of stringed instruments.

More than 30 producers of violins, violas and cellos from Italy, Germany, the United States, Japan, Switzerland, China’s mainland and Taiwan participated in last year’s competition.

A viola hand-crafted by Zhu also received an award at the contest. “With workmanship like this, as well as high technology, China’s violin-making industry is bound to see rapid improvement,” Xie said.

Some trends on the international market show that more violin players are turning to high-grade violins made in China, he said.

To increase exports, the China light Industrial Products Import and Export Corp has asked violin producers to focus on quality instead of quantity.

Violins produced for export must be made of high-quality wood, which is key to the quality of the finished instrument. The corporation also requires exporters to paint their instruments according to the tastes of Western customers.

To ensure uniform high quality, violin makers are urged to check every instrument before it leaves their hands.

More efforts will be made to improve the workmanship of high-grade violins, Xie said. The corporation’s market research suggests these will enjoy brisk sales on the world market.