The violin is an instrument well known to all. It can be found in every kind of music from orchestral and symphonic to jazz and modern music! Equally, it has proven its worth in the world of music.

The violin is made of wood and strings and belongs to the family of stringed instruments such as the guitar, piano, etc. In the same immediate family as the violin we find the double bass, the cello and the viola. It can adapt to every musical taste, and can be heard in all kinds of music, from classical, modern, country and Acadian to "heavy metal".

It is not such a difficult instrument to learn, which is the reason why so many people can play it, but much greater discipline is required to truly master it. The violin was often played in earlier times at family celebrations or gatherings of friends, and still is today. Some of the guests played the "rigadoon" and others performed tap dances or jigs. They had great fun and in this way were able to forget their troubles for a while. Even today, people still celebrate in similar fashion, and the music is often accompanied by dancing.

It was during my visit to the museum that one instrument attracted my attention. This was a violin made by Joe LeBlanc in 1915 for his young son Arthur LeBlanc, who became a famous musician.

It was in fact on August 18, 1906 that Joe's wife, Herménie LeBlanc, gave birth to Arthur LeBlanc, one of the great musicians of the twentieth century. Joe LeBlanc had devoted his life to music. He made and played violins. When Arthur was just three years old, Joe made a miniature violin for him, hardly suspecting that this little toy would change his son’s life. The violin quickly became his favourite plaything. He played his violin so much that each evening he fell asleep with it in his hands. Joe soon noticed his son’s natural talent, and as a violinist himself, decided to give him music lessons. At the age of five Arthur drew people to his father’s shop with his gifted playing. The young boy was unbelievable; he had become quite a phenomenon! He played pieces of great complexity for his age. By the age of ten, he was already giving recitals for admiring crowds.

Arthur thus spent his adolescent years in Quebec City pursuing his musical studies. In 1924 he left for Boston to study at the New England Conservatory of Music and, a few years later, went to Paris. After a series of trips abroad, Arthur decided to return to his beloved Acadia. He became one of the great violinists of the twentieth century.

One may thus conclude that the violin is an instrument which has been, and still is, highly appreciated in Acadia. Certainly, Arthur LeBlanc has done a great deal to promote this instrument. Even today, one can still attend a concert by the Arthur LeBlanc quartet. 

Musée acadien at the University of Moncton
c. 2007
New Brunswick, CANADA
© 2007, Musée acadien de l'Université de Moncton. All Rights Reserved.

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