Thomastik-Infeld | | Vienna Thomastik-Times The Science of Listening. At the same time, the hunt began for an alternative material which would avoid the disadvantages of gut strings while still retaining their positive properties. Dr. Franz Thomastik and Ing. Otto Infeld succeeded in developing an attractive sounding steel string for the first time in 1920. Its tuning stability and long mechanical life span were both viewed positively, but its sound was not ideal yet. Innovation was, then as now, the order of the day: they researched, analyzed and developed, looking resolutely for ways to combine the special properties of gut strings with the advantages of steel strings and their stable pitch. In 1950, Thomastik-Infeld then presented its next development – the steel rope string – and 10 years later the Vienna-based string forge celebrated the successful design and production of the spiral rope string. But as we are now witnessing again, this was still far from enough for Thomastik-Infeld. Just as the demands of artists grow as their virtuosity increases, the ambition of the Vienna-based string manufacturer also continues to grow. Their latest highlight? A string core made of nylon threads! “It combines the warm tone of the gut string with the stability and Violinists know and love it: the gut string. It has a tradition that is millennia old and can be traced back to early advanced civilizations. Gut strings, stretched on a lute, were even found in the tomb of Harmosis, the Egyptian musician who lived around 1500 BC. But this coveted commodity became scarce after the First World War, as the priority was to use it to sew war wounds. durability of the steel string!” says Erich Diewald, a developer at Thomastik-Infeld. For months, he worked with the concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic, Günter Pichler, on the sound of synthetic strings, pushing back the limits of production possibilities every day. “I was very happy when Erich asked me if I would like to contribute to the development,” says Pichler, “I had simply got tired of gut strings. It was difficult to maintain the atmosphere, especially when playing open strings!” Today, the synthetic string is being sold over the counter for the first time. What is it called? Dominant! (note: from Dominante) “I’m 100% convinced of our development,” says the owner of Thomastik- Infeld, Margaretha Infeld. But is the music world too? “I‘m not sure, a synthetic string?” says one violinist when we tell him about the new invention. “I can’t really imagine that,” says another. “People will just have to try it! Even though we’ll encounter a lot of skepticism at the beginning, I’m confident that our product will ultimately dominate the market,” says Margaretha Infeld. In this way, “Dominant” seems to be more than just a string name and a description of the harmonics. It is, in fact, a promise and a call to action. Year 1970 Founded 1919 String Revolution Gut - Steel - Nylon The string trinity of the future fiber cartel emerges. Today, exactly 32 years later, Thomastik-Infeld is the first string manufacturer in the world to introduce music strings with a core of nylon threads. A material that is intended to combine the advantages of gut and steel strings, changing the world of strings. But why did it take three decades to get here? And why has this development so far only been achieved by the Vienna-based string manufacturer? The first obstacle was related to war. Due to its properties, the synthetic fiber was classified as relevant to the war effort and used for the production of parachutes, ship ropes, tubes for aircraft tires, tents, and threads for wound care. This meant that civilian use of the new material On February 28, 1935, Wallace Carothers produced the first completely synthetic fiber for the textile industry: nylon (PA6.6.). Three years later, on September 29, 1938, the US Patent Office issued a patent for the synthetic fiber and the manufacturing process. At almost the same time, the chemist Paul Schlack registers the patent for Perlon (PA6) in Germany. Both synthetic fibers are very similar in terms of their properties: they can be spun into threads, are stretchable, temperature-resistant, and almost indestructible. The only difference is the starting products used in their manufacture. Nylon and Perlon lead to the birth of pantyhose and conquer the world. A German-American synthetic their crystal ball so we can report the following for the future: reaching for the Dominant was a good choice. With it, Perlman and Zukerman will inscribe themselves indelibly in the history of music and in the memory of fans of classical music. Four decades after the Dominant was first used, Zukerman still raves about the Thomastik-Infeld string, which is stable in tone and rich in timbre, “I still find myself marveling at these strings. The advancements are simply wonderful. The strings evoke the instrument’s true sound and a wonderful response!” A success story for musicians and strings alike! initially took a back seat in Europe. Nevertheless, string manufacturers became aware of the new material and the first tests were finally carried out after the war ended. The hurdle was overcome quite quickly in the case of guitar strings. Non-wound synthetic wires are plucked to make them sound and vibrate. Done. “With strings for bowed instruments, however, the rosin would not adhere sufficiently to the bare synthetic wires, the strings would not vibrate and thus would not sing. The bending stiffness was also too high,” explain the experts at Thomastik-Infeld. “We use nylon multifilaments. A multifilament is a bundle of nylon threads, with each of these bundles consisting of 10 to 100 individual threads. A violin core consists of several bundles. That adds up to between 80 and 1000 individual threads per string core. You wouldn’t think that at all when you see a string from the outside,” explains the string team. To let the threads vibrate and not tear, as well as to ensure there is enough weight on the string, they need a winding. “First, the bundles (multifilaments) are attached to a hook on the left and right in a winding machine. Now the outer material has to be wound onto the core. To do this, it has to rotate. Not a single one of the 80 to 1000 threads should break, otherwise the continuous rotation would create a knot and the string would become unusable. This means that the hooks have to rotate synchronously with uncompromising precision, and the core and winding tensile forces must remain absolutely constant,” says Thomastik-Infeld. “Because even if the core and winding tensile forces do not match, individual threads can be cut off by the winding material. Even the slightest deviation can lead to failure.” All attempts by the competition have so far failed to develop and manufacture a suitable machine that could carry out these crucial production steps accurately and without errors. “We have already been very successful in the steel rope segment. We have always had a decisive advantage due to our enthusiasm for innovation, proximity to musicians, constant material research and our machine technology.” And that has led the Vienna-based string manufacturer to success again this time! The challenge From nylon stockings to music strings moved to New York to study at Juilliard. In the early days of his career, he met fellow violinist Zukerman, who had been playing violin since the age of 7. In 1962, supported by violinist Isaac Stern, Zukerman went to New York City to study at the Juilliard School as well, remaining there until 1967. The two soon developed a remarkable relationship and pooled their individual strengths to feature in unforgettable performances, rooting themselves deeply into the musical memory of classical music fans from the beginning of the 1960s. Why are we reporting on these two exceptional artists today? Violinists Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman are two unparalleled Israeli-born New York musicians whose shared backgrounds and inspired performances indicate a rare sodality. Perlman fell in love with the violin when he first heard it on the radio at the age of 3. Soon after he was invited to play Mendelssohn on TV in 1958, he A duo takes the world Perlman and Zukerman dominate Well, while searching for the ideal sound, Perlman and Zukerman got hold of the revolutionary nylon strings from Thomastik-Infeld! Our editors have been reliably informed that the New York luthier Bill Lee has provided the two musicians with “Dominant”, the global innovation. Perlman and Zukerman have not yet commented on their unconventional choice of strings and we are curious: can the two musicians prove themselves with the “Dominant”? Will they conquer the stages of the world and inspire the audience with the synthetic string from Vienna? Exclusively for this issue, we asked a fortune teller to take a look into