Voices from the 17th Century: “The Wind Instrument Maker”



A curious engraving in the Dayton C. Miller Collection (Music Division, Library of Congress) depicts an woodwind maker at work in his shop. He’s in the process of making adjustments to an instrument while surrounded by many finished examples of his craft.

The engraving is but one page from a book which portrays numerous professionals and tradesmen, published in 1698 by Christoph Weigel (Regensburg). Entitled Der Pfeiffenmacher (“The Wind Instrument Maker”), the image is accompanied by a lovely text.


“The Wind Instrument Maker / He who practices charity is silent: he who takes proves himself loud.”


“Poverty is like pipes; / When it makes felt the breath of love, / When generosity arouses the fingers, / Its sound of thanks makes you rich with joy / By penetrating the clouds / And bringing blessings in return.”

(Translation: David Morris)

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