The IDA (Instrument Data Assistant) is a new software for musical instruments. It helps in collecting, showing and sharing data on all aspects of instruments and people surrounding them. With this IDA connects differentiated biographies of instruments and people, making you able to easily search and surf through their data. Furthermore photo archives, measurement protocols, technical drawings (generated from the measurements) and archings can be managed. All this data can be collected with IDA by yourself or imported from digitalized specialized literature or other IDA users. Right now there is a IDA configuration for bowed string instruments, soon there will be one for guitars and bows. In it there are for each violin - or cello, viola etc. - 30 general properties like builder, owner, name and build year. Furthermore about 25 photos, nearly 500 measured values and 34 defined archings. With this IDA becomes (among others) a measurement standard for musical instruments, while still staying open for extensions based on special wishes. So everbody can have 30 or 3000 measurements in "his own" protocol without completely losing the comparability of his data with other users. Even to someone who is mainly interested in person data management IDA offers a huge variety of details, flexibilty and easy research tools.

The Software IDA is available here as free evaluation version for all common Operating systems since October 30

There is a great variety of possible applications. IDA can be used for historical research, as a back-end database for multi-media applications, for the publication of scientific works, for the construction of replica instruments, for data exchange with other IDA users, and of course for recording data on self-made instruments, or simply as a program to manage client and inventory files. IDA is presently configured for stringed instruments but it can easily be adapted to other types of instruments and objects.

IDA has been under development since 2011 as a joint project of myself, software programmer Holger Pschera, and Markneukirchen violin maker Ekkard Seidl (see Development). All major components can be viewed as screenshots here. Some features:

Screenshots here are still german: there will be some screenshots of the english IDA interface soon

Musical Instrument Data Manager:

  • Instrument Data Table with many search and filter commands
  • Definable Data Fields for links to the artists, such as makers and owners, as well as to other instruments
  • Photo Database with configurable categories for instrument comparison views
  • Sets of Measurements may configured as needed, per type of instrument (there are presently 476 variables in the configuration for stringed instruments: for back, belly, dendro-tree-ring chronology, F-Holes, rib, scroll, bridge)
  • Imaging Module for data sets: parameters in grid or vector graphics for pre-set positions. As elsewhere, all variables may be configured as desired.
  • Measurement and Imaging Module for violin arch lines using the specially designed Heidenhain IK220 measuring tool
  • Import-Export Module for data exchange and/or sales with artists and clients

People Data Manager:

  • Data Table for persons with plenty of search and filter commands
  • Freely assignable Data Fields with links to other people (spouse, siblings, employees, etc.) and to instruments (produced, owned, played, repaired). Complete biographies with complex data can be displayed in a sophisticated way.
  • The standard configuration uses 57 data fields
  • Photo Database with categories that may be defined as needed
  • Historical data on thousands of professionals in the violin-making industry is now being recorded from major reference works: Vogtländischer Geigenbau 1 & 2 (after Bernd Zöbisch), and Die Geigen und Lautenmacher vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart (Lütgendorff). This data may be acquired together with the IDA, or added later.

Adjustments, Customizing, and Languages

  • IDA programming code is not limited anywhere to any one language or type of instrument
  • Definitions of data fields, types of instruments, images, measurements, categories of photos, and much more, may be added, modified, and discarded during active use.
  • IDA is completely translatable. An English version is already available.

Future Development:

  • Extension of bowed string instrument version with bows
  • Standard configuration set for guitars and other instrument types
  • A multiuser version for museums, professional schools and companys working though the web browser.
  • Persons Data Imaging: there will be biography and family tree graphic renditions that are compiled from the raw data
  • Multi-media Library: sounds, videos, etc., similar to modern digital photo albums
  • till November: Release of Zöbisch and Lütgendorff
  • many more standard weitere standard works of instrument building as digitalized IDA packages
  • Global internet database for IDA users with web license
  • prompt and zeitnahe und cost-effective realization of your concrete ideas, wishes and requirements in IDA

IDA is based on the Java Runtime Environment, therefor works on all operating systems and runs stable on the following test systems:

  • Windows XP with 32 bit architecture
  • Windows 7 with 64 bit architecture
  • Windows 8.1 with 64 bit architecture
  • Windows 10 with 64 bit architecture
  • Linux Ubuntu (Version 12.04 on 32 bit, 14.04 on 64 bit)
  • Max OS X 10.9.5 on iMac of 2013.
  • Max OS X Lion 10.7.5 on MacBook Pro
  • Max OS X 10.6.8
Please address your questions, wishes, comments, orders to me by E-mail:

Yours sincerely,

Holger Pschera