In the realm of Violins, Violas, and Cellos,
there was once an art-crafter extraordinaire
to whom there was no equal in the whole wide world.
His name was Leo Schoeffer.
He was born in a small town called Mittenwald
in the region of Bavaria, Southern Germany.
His tinkering skills went way beyond
crafting, repairing, restoring, fine-tuning even stringing
any of those precious instruments.
His incomparable abilities
weren’t only in the quality of his work
neither on his level of craftsmanship
when working the wood
-which were both better to none-
what distinguished him
as the best Luthier, there ever was,
was the fact that
Leo could “feel” and “breath”
the string instruments as well.
One magnificent winter night,
while attending a concert gala in Munich,
the largest city of Bavaria;
The Luthier observed attentively
that within the beauty and magnificence
of the music performance,
although not noticeable to the audience,
his trained eyes and ears
detected that something was amiss
with the leading Violinist.
This anomaly was taking place in spite
That all that could be heard
throughout the concert hall,
was the crispiness of
splendorous masterful music;
It was the sound of Heaven and Angels.
And yet to the experienced Luthier
the intimate and profound connection
between the Violinist and his instrument,
were simply not there.
After an “Apotheosical” grand finale,
the Fiddler and the Philharmonic Orchestra
were acclaimed at length by the public;
three times the curtain dropped,
three times it had to be raised
to the continued applause;
the ever-perceptive Luthier
went backstage to meet
his longtime client,
the leading Violinist.
“What’s wrong?” Asked the Luthier.
“I don’t know, is a mystery to me,” Replied the Fiddler.
“Did you drop it?”
“Did you hit something with it?”
“Neither. As usual, it never leaves my eyesight
until safely stored away at home.”
“Either. It’s perfectly tuned.”
“Let me take a look.”
With great care the Violinist
handed the centuries-old Stradivarius,
to the only person in the world,
other than him,
allowed to touch his most irreplaceable instrument.
First, with deliberate pause,
The Luthier drew the violin close to his ear
while gently knocking
-using a single knuckle-
every inch of the wooden surface.
He carefully listened to the echoes’ acoustics,
the violin’s inner chamber.
Next, using them as the palm of a hand,
he proceeded to delicately slide three fingers
over the violin’s carcass,
feeling every curve, angle, and joint of the invaluable
He did this with his eyes closed,
seeking and expecting absolute perfection and smoothness
in the old masterfully crafted wood.
The Luthier smiled at the Fiddler.
“Let me work at it.
I’ll find out what’s happening.”
The next day,
The Luthier returned the Stradivarius
to the Violinist.
“Play it, please,” The Craftsman asked.
The eager artist, fiddle-bow on his right hand,
his violin over his extended left arm;
quickly mounted the violin on his shoulder and against his chin.
But just before the virtuoso started to play,
The Luthier noticed the discomfort
on the genial artist,
the moment the musician
rendered a couple of notes
with his beloved instrument;
“Still the same problem. What’s wrong?”
Said the frustrated Violinist.
With a benign smile,
The Luthier approached the Fiddler.
“Don’t move the instrument,” The Luthier said.
With great care and deft touch
The Luthier ever so slightly
moved the position of the violin
on The Violinist’s shoulder.
“Now place your chin back on it,”
The Luthier asked.
The Fiddler did
and his face was immediately illuminated.
he unleashed a 10 minutes solo,
releasing all of his repressed
musical passion and desire
with fury and joy.
“What did you do to it?”
An exhausted yet beaming Fiddler said.
“Frankly speaking…nothing..” The Luthier responded.
The Violinist reacted with total surprise.
“But I still earned my fee though…
You see, I spent hours evaluating your Stradivarius;
Besides minute tinkering,
nothing else was necessary.
I concluded that the issue
was of a different kind.”
“So, I went back in my mind to your concert performance
and your subtle discomfort,” explained The Luthier.
“You noticed it?” Asked a startled Fiddler.
“Of course, I did,
I know your routine quite well by now.”
“How did you fix…?”
The Violinist began to say but interrupted himself.
“My posture?” He asked.
It was all in the positioning
of your Stradivarius on your shoulder.
When I went back in my mind to the concert
I replayed your performance
over and over again,
until I noticed
the subtle change
compared to the past.”
“One tiny tad, and you noticed it?”
The Violinist asked.
the apparent mechanical correction
placed you in the right frame of mind
to cause the imperative
symbiosis and communion,
the ONENESS between the violin and you,”
The Luthier said…Then added,
“In people like you
that’s the only way
how the superb, incomparable quality
of your Stradivarius violin
and your immense talents
come out simultaneously and in full display.
“An ever so diminutive deviation,
just a tad,
is the difference between
and utter, unfettered and galloping Genius,”
concluded the masterful art-crafter.