Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

The Manual of Musical Instrument Conservation

$137.00 USD

  • Date Published: November 2015
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781316309742

$ 137.00 USD
Adobe eBook Reader

You will be taken to for this purchase
Buy eBook Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This is the first book to combine museum-based conservation techniques with practical instructions on the maintenance, repair, adjustment, and tuning of virtually every type of historical musical instrument. As one of the world's leading conservators of musical instruments, Stewart Pollens gives practical advice on the handling, storage, display and use of historic musical instruments in museums and other settings, and provides technical information on such wide-ranging subjects as acoustics, cleaning, climate control, corrosion, disinfestation, conservation ethics, historic stringing practice, measurement and historic metrology, retouching, tuning historic temperaments, varnish and writing reports. There are informative essays on the conservation of each of the major musical instrument groups, the treatment of paper, textiles, wood and metal, as well as historic techniques of wood and metalworking as they apply to musical instrument making and repair. This is a practical guide that includes equations, formulas, tables and step-by-step instructions.

    • Arranged alphabetically for quick retrieval of information
    • Presents treatments, materials, and formulas recommended by leading conservators working in major museums
    • Describes the procedures used in restoring and maintaining woodwind, brass, stringed instruments, keyboard, percussion, and ethnographic instruments
    • Provides practical advice on handling, storage, and use of musical instruments
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'As usual with Pollens's writings, this [book] is impeccably researched and thorough … [It] provides a reliable guide to various materials and techniques, from moulding to soldering and dealing with chemical treatments and solvents. It has the potential to improve and develop all techniques, and help us to understand and handle materials and methods with greater confidence. Few of us will ever have to tackle the problem of bronze disease on a bugle, but it's nice to know I now have access to that information, not far away from the immediately helpful entry on 'cleaning: soaps and detergents' … I am very happy and grateful to be able to add [this book] to my reference shelf …' John Dilworth, The Strad

    'The Manual of Musical Instrument Conservation is a clearly written and practical guide to a complex subject, with an abundance of useful photos illustrating the techniques described. Anyone involved in preserving a historic musical instrument will undoubtedly want to keep this book in a handy location on their bookshelf, in the same way Pollens must have done for his 'shop notebook' during his tenure at the Metropolitan Museum.' Robert Adelson, Notes

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2015
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781316309742
    • contains: 62 b/w illus. 12 tables
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    Entries A-Z: Acoustics
    Brass, bronze, and nickel silver alloys
    Brass and nickel silver cleaning
    Brass instrument conservation
    Bronze disease
    Cents conversion
    Chemical analysis
    Cleaning: soaps and detergents
    Clavichord maintenance
    Compo or pastiglia
    Conservation reports
    Dictionary of common and obsolete chemical terms
    Drill bits
    Ebony and ebonizing
    Electroplating and electro-cleaning
    Epoxy removal
    Fortepiano maintenance
    French polishing
    Frets, tied and fixed
    Glues, pastes, and other adhesives
    Grain painting and marbling
    Grit size comparison chart
    Guitar stringing
    Gut strings
    Handling, storage, and transporting musical instruments
    Harp maintenance and stringing
    Harpsichord maintenance
    Helmholtz resonator
    Historical metrology
    Humidity control
    Hurdy gurdy stringing
    Illumination level
    Inscriptions, faded
    Iron and steel
    Keyboard instrument conservation
    Lead and lead alloys
    Lute stringing
    Measurement system conversion
    Mersenne's Law
    Mold making
    Mother-of-pearl and abalone
    Nickel silver cleaning
    Oddy test
    Organ restoration
    Overspun strings
    Paper, pencil, and ink
    Parchment, vellum, and slunk
    Piano action regulation (modern grand)
    Relative humidity
    Safety equipment
    Sealing wax
    Sharpening tools
    Silver cleaning
    Solvents and solvent cleaning
    Specific gravity
    Staining wood
    Stain removal
    Stradivari's varnish
    Stringed keyboard restoration
    Tap drill sizes
    Tempering steel
    Textile cleaning
    Tortoiseshell, horn, and whalebone
    Tuning and temperament
    Vapor-phase inhibitor paper
    Viola da Gamba strings
    Violin adjustment
    Violin, baroque fittings and strings
    Violin sizes
    Violin and viola strings, modern
    Vulcanite and ebonite
    Wax cleaning emulsion
    Wire gauge systems for early keyboard instruments
    Wheat paste
    Woodwind instrument conservation

  • Author

    Stewart Pollens
    Stewart Pollens served between 1976 and 2006 as the conservator of musical instruments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he restored and maintained a collection of over five thousand instruments. He is the author of over eighty scholarly articles and four books, including Forgotten Instruments (1980), The Violin Forms of Antonio Stradivari (1992), The Early Pianoforte (1995; reprinted 2009), Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù (1998), François-Xavier Tourte: Bow Maker (2001), and Stradivari (2010), which won a 2011 Choice award for 'Outstanding Academic Title'. In 1997 he was the recipient of the American Musical Instrument Society's Nicholas Bessaraboff Prize for The Early Pianoforte, a study of the invention and early history of the pianoforte. He is also a contributor to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and writes frequently for The Strad.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.