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Summer 2023

The Music Makers

There may be no other craft that lends itself to infinite experimentation more than music—an endeavor that has nursed human creativity ever since the earliest days of the Stone Age, on every continent and in every culture. This summer, as music festivals and concert tours return in full force, we offer you a fresh collection of stories highlighting some of our most interesting (and unusual) musicians, instrument makers, and other masters of music.

The Cigar Box Guitar Maker

When a promising rock musician tired of the road and the pressure, he gave up music and got a job at a hardware store. Then one day, he had a revelation.

Written by NANCY LEBRUN
Photography by STEPHEN KRAMER

The Return of the Harmonica

In the 1970s, Hohner, the world’s largest harmonica manufacturer, changed its flagship model, and in the process its signature sound. A few musicians and harp customizers waged a quiet rebellion. And they won.

Written by BEN MARKS

Washington, D.C.’s Homegrown Funk: Go-Go Music

In honor of Juneteenth and Black Music Month, take a tour through the history—and the sounds—of the musical culture that has been a cherished folkway in and around the nation’s capital for decades.

Written by ALONA WARTOFSKY

The Conductionist

The late Butch Morris, a figure from the outer edges of jazz, reimagined conducting as a form of composition, coining his own word for the combination of the two.

Written by FRANCIS DAVIS

The Agony and Ecstasy of an Oboe Reed Maker

Of all the wind instrument players in an orchestra, oboists are among the few who have to spend more time making their reeds than playing their music. As the comic monologist Josh Kornbluth has painfully learned, just one of the myriad micro-adjustments that reed makers create will make a world of difference in their music.

Written by JEFF GREENWALD
Photography by SCOTT CHERNIS

Other Topics In This Issue

Made in Prison: A Craftsmanship Mini-Documentary

Inside some Italian prisons, female inmates are using discarded fabrics to handcraft a range of goods to sell, and learning valuable job skills—literally stitching up their lives behind bars.

Story and film by LUISA GROSSO

More from this Issue

Field Notes

The Cowboy Folklorist

Written and photographed by MEREDITH LAWRENCE

Podcast

Listen to “The Cigar Box Guitar Maker”

Written by Nancy LeBrun Narrated by Avanthika Srinivasan

Podcast

Listen to “The Return of the Harmonica”

Written by BEN MARKS Narrated by GORAN NORQUIST

Field Notes

Keeping the Beat: Custom-Made Conducting Batons

Written by JEFF GREENWALD

Podcast

Listen to “Go-Go Music, with Shorty Corleone and Roy Battle: A Craftsmanship Artisan Interview”

Written by Craftsmanship Editors Narrated by Craftsmanship Editors

Podcast

Listen to “The Agony and Ecstasy of an Oboe Reed Maker”

Written by JEFF GREENWALD Narrated by JEFF GREENWALD

Podcast

Listen to “The Conductionist”

Written by FRANCIS DAVIS Narrated by MITCH GREENBERG

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