Wood has long been used to make musical instruments. And the type of wood to use has always been a concern of instrument makers. Each type of wood has its own special qualities and each type of instrument has its favorite wood species. Maple, for example, is very popular for making violins and wind instruments such as the bassoon, according to Joël Dugot, curator at the Museum of Music in Paris. When making its guitars, yellow birch is appreciated for its “sound somewhere between the mellow tone of mahogany and the bright sound of maple,” writes the Québec instrument making company “Art & Lutherie” on its website, adding that “Canadian wood has excellent tonal qualities.” Cherry and ironwood are also species appreciated by Québec’s stringed instrument makers.
The acoustical qualities of wood are also prized for finishing state-of-the-art concert halls. A perfect example is the Raoul-Jobin hall at Palais Montcalm in Québec City, entirely renovated a few years ago and said to provide exceptional sound quality, which makes it one of the best concert halls in the world. Its concrete walls are covered with high-density wooden panels and finished with maple veneer, whereas the stage floor is made of red oak on a wood frame, which naturally amplifies sound. (Source: Palais Montcalm site)
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