musicForProgramming(); a series of mixes intended for listening to while programming to aid concentration and increase productivity (also compatible with other activities). [more inside]
Tricks for getting your violin on a plane, by Lara St. John. How about an upright bass? A cello? A guitar? (previously) A trombone? A tuba (and other horns)? What about lutes, a djembe, a hurdy-gurdy, or bagpipes? (Some general tips. More general tips - part 1, part 2.)
Specimen products is the workshop of Ian Schneller, a Chicago-based sculptor-turned-luthier. His site is worth a look if you are interested in unusual guitars and other stringed instruments (like this electic lute), eccentric amplifiers and speakers, or extreme guitar repair. Currently Schneller is collaberating with musician Andrew Bird on Sonic Arboretum, a musical perfomance/installation piece. Here is video of a performance at the Guggenheim in 2010, and a slideshow of the preparations for an upcoming performance at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art.
John Dowland was a lute player and composer roughly contemporaneous with William Shakespeare. In a recent article Mark Padmore, a frequent performer of Dowland's work, compared Dowland to Morrissey and Bob Dylan. Whether that's accurate or not johndowland.co.uk is a fine website with many recordings available either in mp3 format or as videos. There are essays on the site but it also points towards many other Dowlandian treasures online, including this fine biography and lyrics. Among Dowland's best known works are Flow, My Tears, Stay, Time, Awhile and An Heart Thats Broken and Contrite [mp3 links] but my favorites are In Darknesse Let Mee Dwell and Sorrow Stay [YouTube]
In addition to violins, violas and cellos, there are also Stradivarius guitars. Two still exist: one in South Dakota and one in the Ashmolean in Oxford (see a reproduction of the Oxford one here). These are Baroque guitars, strung a little like modern ones without the low E string and with the other five strings doubled. Instructions for Baroque guitar. [more inside]