Friday, January 09, 2009

A behind-the-scenes birthday

With a nod to The Ridger,* here's a birthday for copy editors: Lloyd Loar was born this day in 1886.
Why should copy editors celebrate? Because Loar is a guy whose work you know without knowing it. If you've ever heard Bill Monroe, you've heard Loar. He was Gibson's demon acoustic engineer for the first half of the 1920s (that's his signature in a 1924 F-5 at right). Bluegrass sounds the way it does because, when Monroe got around to inventing it, he had an instrument that did the things Lloyd Loar had taught it to do.
Late in life, Loar indulged in academia at Northwestern. This is from a nice bio at Roger Simonoff's site:
C25. The Physics of Music. The scientific side of music. Composition of tone; tone color or timbre; sound waves; vibration; resonance; acoustics of various wind and stringed instruments; the piano and pipe organ; voice acoustics; radio. This course will be accepted toward a degree as either a music elective or in lieu of Liberal Arts requirement to the limit of three semester-hours. 1:30-3:30, Mr. Loar
Makes you wish you were in college again, doesn't it? Anyway, on behalf of copy editors and anyone else you know who works out of sight of the crowd, raise a glass to Lloyd Loar.

*Scholar, birder, indefatigable chronicler of birthdays.



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