Fiddle Physics | PhysicsCentral
Violins and Fiddles
The violin is the lead instrument in most classical orchestras, and its alter ego the fiddle—which is in fact the same instrument—stars in folk music traditions stretching from the west coast of the Americas through just about every country in Europe and as far east as India. But how well do we understand how this small and oddly shaped wooden box produces its rich sounds? There is still a lot to learn, but several hundred years of acoustical research have yielded some of the physics underlying the sounds that have captivated the human ear for centuries.
Picture showing the exterior construction of the violin, taken from the top.
Picture showing the interior construction of the violin. Courtesy of George Bissinger, East Carolina University
The violin player creates sound by bowing one or more of the four strings. The bow hairs are rubbed in a sticky substance called rosin in order to make the strings stick to the bow. The action of the bow on the string causes the string to undergo a so-called slip-stick motion, in which the string travels with the bow for a time, and then slips in the other direction before being caught by the bow again a moment later. These oscillations happen many hundreds of times per second—196 times for the low G, which is the lowest note on the violin in standard tuning, and into the thousands for very high notes.
An animation showing the slip-stick motion of the bow on the violin string. From Violin acoustics, University of New South Wales. © Heidi Hereth
The strings themselves move almost no air and consequently produce almost no sound. Their vibrations are transmitted to the violin body through the bridge, which is a light piece of wood with two feet that stand on the violin belly. The total tension in the four strings is about 50 pounds, about 20 of which is directed straight down into the bridge. When a string is bowed, a force is created in the direction of the bow’s motion. As the bow pulls the string along, the force on the bridge increases in the direction of bowing. When the string slips, the force reverses direction to be opposite from the bow’s motion. Thus the force transmitted to the bridge takes the form of a sawtooth wave.
Any such periodic wave can be analyzed as a sum of pure tones, such as what we hear when we strike a tuning fork. Thus, when a violinist bows a string, he or she not only produces the fundamental pure tone that he or she is trying to play, but also many harmonics, which are notes with frequencies that are integer multiples of the fundamental. For example, when a violinist bows “Concert A,” which has a fundamental frequency of 440 cycles per second, the sound you hear contains pure tones of frequency not only 440 cycles per second, but also 880, 1320, 1760, and so on. In the case of the sawtooth wave, the fundamental is twice as strong as the second harmonic, three times as strong as the third harmonic, and so on.
An illustration of a sawtooth wave on a string
An illustration of harmonic waves on a string
Almost directly underneath the foot of the bridge on the treble side of the instrument is the sound post, which is a thin cylinder of wood, wedged in between the top and bottom plates of the violin. In addition to supporting the top plate of the violin and coupling the oscillations of the two plates, the sound post essentially anchors the treble foot of the bridge to the top plate. The bridge responds to the driving oscillations from the bowed strings by pivoting about its treble foot, which converts the side-to-side motion of the bow into up-and-down motion of the violin belly. In addition, at certain higher frequencies the bridge seems to either aid or dampen out vibrations of the violin body. Despite its apparent simplicity, the role of the bridge in helping the violin produce sound is still not fully understood.
The top plate has two features that significantly affect the sound output. One—the f-holes—are obvious to anyone who has ever seen a violin. These s-shaped holes connect the air inside the instrument with the air outside, and this oscillating air is responsible for the violin’s lowest resonance. A resonance is a frequency at which the violin naturally tends to vibrate—most of us are familiar with resonances of objects like tuning forks, which, very soon after being struck, vibrate at one frequency and not any other. The violin’s lowest resonance is very similar to the noise you hear when you blow air across the mouth of a bottle (or the f-hole itself—try it!), and tends to fall around 300 cycles per second, near the open D string. The f-holes also play an important role in separating the area where the bridge stands from the rest of the belly, allowing this area to move much more easily in response to vibrations from the bridge.
Illustration of a few of the lowest-frequency Chladni nodes of a single violin plate. From Violin acoustics, University of New South Wales.
A graphic showing the relationship between the input waveform of the violin — what the player creates with the bow — and the output waveform — what we actually hear. Note that both the violin bridge and the body tend to emphasize vibrations at some frequencies while damping others. The output waveform has the same overall shape as the input waveform, but the details are very different. Graphic courtesy of Colin Gough and Physics World.
The second feature of the violin’s top plate, which is less obvious because it is on the underside of the plate, is the bass bar, which serves several purposes—it further strengthens the top plate to withstand the string pressure; it couples the vibrations of the area between the f-holes, which oscillates relatively freely, to the more constrained part of top plate closer to the neck; and it prevents energy from being wasted in higher-frequency vibrations of the body that don’t produce much sound. The sound post and bass bar together break the symmetry of the violin body, thereby allowing the body to oscillate in different ways than if it were symmetrical, and generally increasing the sound output of the instrument.
A well-shaped top or bottom plate will naturally resonate in certain “modes.” These can be beautifully illustrated by placing some sand or other fine particle on the plate and vibrating it at varying frequencies until a mode is found, at which time the sand accumulates in bands. These bands are called nodes, and the sand moves to them because they are stationary points on the plate. The other parts of the plate are moving either up or down at a given time. These patterns are called Chladni nodes after Ernst Chladni, the German physicist who developed the technique of finding such patterns on vibrating plates. Many such modes exist, but makers concentrate on those at the lowest frequencies, tuning the plates either by tapping them to hear if they ring, or flexing them by hand.
The acoustics of the assembled violin body are fantastically complex, as they involve coupled oscillations of the strings, the bridge, the top and bottom plates, the ribs, and the fingerboard. The violin body resonances do not necessarily fall at the same frequency as the notes the player wishes to play, although the first (lowest-frequency) body resonance of instruments generally considered of high quality falls near the fundamental frequency of the open A string, 440 cycles per second. In general, the frequency spectrum of the sound coming out of the violin body is very different from the spectrum going in. For instance, the violin body has almost no response at the fundamental frequency of the open G string, which at 196 cycles per second is the lowest note on the violin in standard tuning. However, many of the harmonics (392, 588, etc) are well represented in the output spectrum, and, amazingly, the human ear never knows the difference. We think we are hearing G—a very acoustically rich version of G, but still G. More amazing still, the frequency spectrum of the sound produced by the instrument can change dramatically with a very slight change in the note being played, as when a player moves his or her finger on the fingerboard to produce vibrato, and yet the ear hears a smooth transition between neighboring pitches. As University of Birmingham (UK) physics professor and concert violinist Colin Gough puts it, “The ear is probably the world’s most sophisticated spectrum analyzer. “
Recent research has focused on modeling the acoustic output of the violin using modern technology, often in attempt to determine critical differences between highly prized instruments from the great 17th– and 18th-century luthiers like Stradivari and Guarneri and more recently made instruments. Bernard Richardson, a physicist at the University of Wales in Cardiff, describes two recently developed methods for visualizing the instrument’s vibrations—holographic interferometry and finite element analysis. In holographic interferometry, a laser is used to make a hologram of the instrument as it vibrates in a particular mode. The various images produced interfere with each other, producing light bands at nodes and dark bands at antinodes, which are the areas of the instrument that move with maximum amplitude. Scientists use a computational method called finite element analysis that breaks down the mathematically complex shape of the violin plates into a number of discrete parts whose motion can be numerically simulated on a computer. Richardson and his colleagues have used such models to build virtual instruments that can be “played” using a computer.
Violin sound field radiation patterns at three different frequencies. Courtesy of George Bissinger, East Carolina University
George Bissinger, a physics professor at East Carolina University, is another researcher who uses modern technology to tease out the secrets of centuries-old violins. Bissinger analyzes old and modern violins using a sophisticated laser system with three independent beams that scan the violin’s surface and measure the motion of each point in three dimensions. The violin is carefully suspended and then induced to vibrate by a small hammer that strikes the corner of the bridge, and an array of 266 microphones in an echo-free chamber records the pressure variations from the sound output. From these measurements, a visualization of the “sound field” can be produced. Bissinger then calculates how the radiation efficiency and damping of the violin’s vibration depend on frequency.
Bissinger has been able to isolate out-of-plane vibrations, which move air and thus create most of the sound, from in-plane vibrations, which dissipate energy within the plates of the violin and produce little or no sound. He has found that features such as the f-holes and bass bar are able to convert in-plane motion to out-of-plane motion, thereby increasing the sound production of the instrument. In addition, he has shown that the top plates of good instruments both old and new produce significantly more sound than the bottom plates—a major advantage to a player trying to be heard over an orchestra. Bissinger has also used computed tomography (CT scans) to determine the density of the wood inside various instruments.
Although neither Bissinger nor anyone else has yet unlocked Stradivari’s secret, if such a secret even exists, the increasingly sophisticated methods these investigators are applying to the violin are yielding ever more precise insight into the motion and sound production of this instrument. Makers are experimenting with computer-assisted design and new materials such as balsa and graphite, and it may not be far in the future when the top players accept today’s best instruments as equal to the Italian violins of old.
New York Times: String Theory: New Approaches to Instrument Design
Physics World: Science and the Stradivarius
Physics Education: Good Vibrations
The University of New South Wales: Violin Acoustics
Acoustical Society of America: 3-D Motion in Stradivari and Guarneri dG Violins
The Why Files: Fiddle Physics
Youtube videos of Chladni patterns: Square plate, violin
What Are Violin Bows Made Of?
The Violin is not complete without the bow, for the bow is the real partner of the violin. Without its partner, the violin would surely not make any good sound at all. But with the bow, the violin can elicit good sound, and in the hands of a violin virtuoso, the bow can produce great magical music when sliding along the strings. With this perfect motion, the violin would elicit great symphonies and concertos. Hence, it would be good to consider the materials out of which the bow is made if you want to create great sound using the violin. It is also good to study at the onset, the different parts of the bow.
What are the Different Parts of the Violin Bow?
The bow has different parts. As a beginner in playing the violin, you should know the following parts of the violin bow:
1) The Stick
The stick is undoubtedly the most prominent and recognizable part of the bow. The stick is the support of the bow and is called the backbone of the bow. It takes most of the pressures created during the playing of violin in order to create great sound. The material of the stick is of hardy and resilient Pernambuco wood or the less expensive Brazilwood. These two types of wood are primarily found in Brazil. The Brazilwood is the less expensive material for the violin stick. It is not dense as compared to the Pernambuco. It is also less responsive.
Aside from these two types of wood, other modern materials are used for the stick, and these materials are mostly produced with the help of contemporary technology. Sticks made of these materials are increasing in popularity likewise. These materials include fiberglass and carbon-fiber. The fiberglass is ideal for use by students who usually want an affordable bow. On the other hand, the carbon-fiber bows are increasingly becoming popular, and they are available for any type of violin players.
2) The Hair
The violin bow has hair appendages. Modern bow hairs are shorter and are designed according to the desired length. This is usually done by warming the hair up using an open flame. The bow hair is the part of the bow that really touches the violin. As the hair hits the strings, a sound is created. The hair has a coating of rosin. When the bow is slide along the strings and pulled, the hair then grips the strings.
The hair is generally made of the tail of the white Mongolian Stallion. The hair of the tail of the Mongolian Stallion is the best material for the bow’s hair. However, there are also some sticks that have black hair. Black hair, however, is coarse and obviously not that good for violin use. However, it can be used by heavy cello players and bass players.
The hairs are set at the bottom and top ends of the bow and held by small wedges of wood. These wedges cause a bit of tension that holds in place the hair.
3) The Bow Screws
The primary mechanical piece within the bow is the violin’s bow screws. This not-so-prominent screw is set inside the stick’s end. This screw has been designed to allow the violinist to hold it and twist it. With every twist of this screw, the horsehair is either tightened or loosened. The hair needs to be tightened to play the violin. Thus, the violinist needs to adjust this simple screw to adjust the bow’s grip on the hair. A simple adjustment of this screw can prevent the stick from warping due to excess tension.
4) The Frog
Made of Ebony hardwood, the frog is known to have an unusual appearance among the different parts of the violin bow. Situated near the grip at the bow’s bottom part, the frog keeps the hair in place. One side of the frog is U-shaped while the other side is square-shaped. The frog is set against the stick and sits on it. It is stacked with wooden wedges and a system of the metal ferrule in order to hold the hair. In many instances, the frog is frequently adorned with a circle of silver on each side. Sometimes an abalone shell decorates it. The circle of silver is also known as the “eye.”
Different Types of Materials & Woods Used to Violin Bows
The bow is generally made of a long wood adorned with other materials that are intermittently lined between the bow’s two ends. As mentioned above, hair fibers run along the edges of the wood between both ends, although in some cultures, a single piece of string runs between both ends. Violinists, however, much consider the type of materials used for the bow stick. Their choices include Pernambuco, Brazilwood, and carbon fiber.
1) Pernambuco Wood
The primary choice of wood for the violin bow’s stick is the Pernambuco. It has been the primary choice since the later decades of the 18th century. It is popular because it is dense and heavy. This wood is hardy to Brazil. It possesses the right mix of elasticity, strength, and responsiveness. The Pernambuco have many subspecies; hence, you have plenty of choices when it comes to the use of Pernambuco.
If you are a master bowmaker, you would inevitably exert extra effort and time to find the best Pernambuco sticks. You would undoubtedly reject a lot of potential woods just to zero in on the Pernambuco wood that has the right mix of elasticity, responsiveness, and strength. Yet, there is a problem with using Pernambuco. First, it is getting scarce due to forest degradation. Secondly, the Brazilian government has imposed restrictions on the cutting and exportation of this type of wood. Thus, it is now very difficult to find a violin bow made of Pernambuco.
If you are going to look at the quality of Pernambuco that is used for the bow, you will notice that there has been a gradual degradation in the type of Pernambuco used for bows. It is believed that the previous bows made of Pernambuco are of great quality while the later Pernambuco bows have diminished in quality. Experts believe that the Pernambuco species used in the earlier centuries had become extinct at the beginning of the twentieth century.
2) The Brazilwood
The Brazilwood is definitely an umbrella name that encompasses different types of tropical hardwoods. The Brazilwood is an excellent alternative to Pernambuco. It is more affordable than the Pernambuco, and it is suitable for use by those who are tyros and intermediate players of the violin. The price range of Brazilwood violin bows is from $50 to $200.
Modern technology has further extended the choices of materials for bow sticks. At present, even fiberglass and carbon fiber are used for making synthetic violin bows. These materials have been instrumental in making the price of bows even more affordable to students and beginners in violin playing. There are also bows made of less ideal types of woods. Bows made of these cheap woods, however, are more affordable and are surely not of good quality.
2) Carbon Fiber
Carbon Fiber is one of the great materials produced using contemporary technology. These fibers are around five to ten micrometers in diameter. These fibers are mostly made of carbon atoms. They are characterized by high stiffness, low weight, high tensile quality, high chemical resistance, high tolerance for high temperature, and low thermal expansion. Carbon fibers are often combined with other substance or materials to form composites. Thus, carbon fiber is also good as the base material for the violin stick. Synthetic bows made of carbon fibers are available for newbies as well as intermediate players of violins.
The Contemporary Violin Bows
We owe the design and made of the contemporary violin bow to the works of the bow-maker Francois Tourte of the 19th century. He found out that Pernambuco was an ideal wood for making violin bows owing to its right mix of resiliency, weight, beauty, and strength. Thus, Pernambuco became the standard wood material for making violin bow.
The making of the bow requires perfection. Bow-makers, at the onset, need to shape the curve ( cambre) of the stick. By carving and gradually heating the stick, bow-makers are able to carve and shape the wood. The screw of the contemporary violin enables the frog to move and eventually adjust the tension of the hair. The hair usually numbers up to 150 hairs to be very effective.
In less expensive bows, bow-makers usually make use of synthetic or nylon hair. The addition of Rosin—a sticky substance from tree sap—is then applied to the hair to create more vibration for the string and better-sounding tones.
How to Change Violin Strings
If you’ve never changed violin strings before, find
a professional to walk you through the process.
Ask your teacher, or the people at your local string shop. They can show you how it’s done, and, at the same time, check your fiddle for any problems that could make installing new strings difficult. Later, when you try it on your own, these instructions can serve as a reminder, and will help you get the best out of your new strings
while keeping your fiddle safe and happy.
Is Your Instrument In Good Shape?
If your fiddle is in good working order, changing the strings will be easy. However,
warped pegs, warped peg boxes (from sitting in the
attic), peg holes drilled too small, too big, or very, very frequently in the wrong places, etc. can cause real
problems for professionals and amateurs alike. If you run into problems, get some help.
Check out our
Guide to String for assistance in selecting the best type of strings for your instrument. Here, I’ll just note that if you are switching from steel strings to synthetic or gut, be sure to check the grooves in the nut, where the strings come out of the peg-box. Synthetic and gut strings are both wider and more fragile than steel. If the grooves have any sharp edges or are too narrow, you can easily strip the winding from your new strings as they pass over the nut.
Before we begin, I’ll also just note that any major change in string tension, i.e. change in gauge or switching from a low tension set like Passione to a high tension set like Evah Pirazzi, may necessitate a professional adjustment of your soundpost.
Lastly, be sure to select the appropriate type of E string (A on viola) for your fine tuner. The lower three strings will always have a ball end. But, some E string fine tuners are designed only to accept a loop end string.
One String at a Time
Change strings one at a time. Removing all strings at once could cause your soundpost to drop, and makes it harder to keep your bridge set in the right place.
1. Remove the Old String
Loosen and unwind the tuning peg and remove the string. Then, remove the string
from the fine-tuner
or tailpiece. Be careful not to scratch the varnish; string ends can be sharp.
2. Lubricate Tuning Peg
Remove the peg from the peg box. Lubricate the worn surface of the peg (the shiny rings on the shaft of the peg, where the peg touches the pegbox)
If you don’t have this on hand, you can use the traditional
method of applying a layer of standard blackboard chalk, followed by a layer of soap (regular bar soap), although this is not always as effective.
Avoid the use of peg drops, except in the most severe circumstances.
They work by causing the wood to swell, temporarily; use too much, and
you’ll have a very tightly stuck peg and/
or a cracked pegbox. The best solution for a peg that
won’t hold is to have a professional examine it and, if necessary, re-shape the peg and hole.
Replace the peg and turn it back and forth a bit, to work in the lubrication. Note: Don’t mix up the pegs. They are not interchangeable!
Note: If you violin has geared pegs, lubrication will not be possible or necessary.
3. Lubricate Nut & Bridge
Use a sharp pencil to lubricate the bridge and nut where the
string makes contact. The goal is to allow the string to pass easily over the nut and bridge as it is
tuned up to pitch. If using an E string with a bridge protector (little piece of plastic that slides up and down the
string) then you don’t need lubricate the bridge under the E.
4. Thread String Into Peg
Visually locate the string hole drilled in the peg. (Be sure you have the correct peg and you’re not installing the D string on the G peg, for example.) You’ll want to install the strings in the correct location, relative to each other. If installing a G, for example, be sure you’re installing it to the left of the D string. Depending on the location of the hole in the peg, you may need to loosen the peg and move it out slightly in order to align the whole with the correct location relative to the other strings, before inserting the string you’re installing. (Otherwise, you may end up with strings crossing over each other within the pegbox, which simply won’t work.) Thread the end of the string
through the peg-hole so that a small amount (approximately 1-2 mm)
sticks out the other side of the peg.
5. Wind the String
Start winding the string onto the peg.
Wind the left pegs (G and D on violin, C and G on viola) counter-clockwise and the
right pegs (A and E on violin, D and A on viola) clockwise.
Wind the first loop of the string toward the pointy end of the peg, then cross over the first loop and wind the rest toward the opposite end of the peg. Winding over
the first loop in this way will “tie” or “lock” the string onto the peg and help keep
the string from slipping. Keep winding away from the pointy end of the peg, making
a neat row of coils, until the string is the correct length. When finished, you want the string to come just to the edge of the pegbox. If the string is crushed up against the edge, unwind it and try again. (If the string rubs against the pegbox when the peg turns, the peg will constantly push itself loose, the string will be difficult to keep in tune, and the friction may even cause the string to break.)
Attach to Tailpiece
Run the string between your thumb and index finger, removing any twist in the
string, and attach the ball/loop end to the tailpiece or fine-tuner. Some players, before attaching the string to the tailpiece, will gently bend the string as they run it between thumb and index finger, in order to pre-stretch the core and help the string settle more quickly. Although, this is preferable to the more common method of stretching the string by pulling on it after installation (which can damage the string), for amateurs, we recommend letting the string stretch and settle naturally on its own.
7. Remove Slack
Place the string carefully in the appropriate slot of the nut and bridge. Check
to see that the string is running directly from the peg to the nut to the bridge to the
tailpiece, not twisted with another string or wrapped around anything it shouldn’t be. Wind
the peg to remove the slack, and place a small amount of tension on the string. If the string
has a bridge protector (small piece of plastic that slides up and down the string), be sure to slide it into place
on top of the bridge. Most E strings have a bridge protector and if it is left off the bridge, it will
buzz as the violin is played.
8. Check Bridge
Check that the bridge is straight. The back of the bridge (the side facing the tailpiece)
should be exactly perpendicular to the surface of the violin, and the feet of the bridge should
be flat on the surface of the instrument. If the feet are flat, but the bridge is not straight, you have
a warped bridge and should have it replaced by a professional. (This is extremely common, and should be expected if you don’t routinely check your bridge for straightness.)
Bring Up To Pitch
Loosen all fine tuners (in the tailpiece) until they are almost as loose as they will go, but not completely loose.
Use a piano,
pitch pipe, tuning fork, or electronic tuner to check the desired pitch of the string.
Tighten the string, using the tuning peg, gradually, until you reach the desired
pitch. Periodically check that the bridge remains straight as you do this, and do
not tighten the string beyond the desired pitch! For more on tuning your violin, see
How To Tune A Violin.
Incidentally, this is also a good time to loosen those fine tuners. Whether you have just one on the E string, or one on each string, just loosen them up so that they have plenty of room for tightening, as the strings stretch. Note: If you loosen them too much, the screw will fall out. No worries – just put it back in again and tighten until it engages in the threaded hole. Also: be careful – some fine tuners will scratch the surface of the violin if turned too tight! If your fine tuners do not turn easily, this is also a good time to remove the screw and lubricate with a little bar soap or hinge grease.
10. Adjust Peg Angles
Many players tune their violins left-handed, while bowing the strings.
Those who rely primarily on the fine-tuners can safely skip this step.
To allow the player’s fingers to easily slip between and grip the pegs, the angle of each
peg-head needs to be adjusted (see illustration). The angle can be altered by loosening and unwinding the peg, and
allowing a bit more (a millimeter or so) or less
of the string to protrude through the peg hole before winding.
New Strings Will Stretch
As the strings stretch over the next
few days, you will need to continue tuning them up. Synthetic and gut strings can be difficult to keep in tune during this time. Also, the tone quality of brand new strings is often somewhat harsh until they settle in. The period between installation and the settling of the strings, called the
break-in time, is longer for synthetic and gut strings than for steel. Note that the practice of pulling on the strings to speed this stretching process is not recommended and may damage the core.
A Few Notes About Gut Strings
In spite of the expense and difficulties of using gut strings, I recommend that
everyone try a set at least once, to get a feel for the real thing. They have a sound and feel unlike anything synthetic – softer, richer, more textured, and with more surface sound from the fingers.
Passione strings, from Pirastro, are an excellent set to try, since they are relatively stable and have the customary ball (or loop) ends.
If you choose to put on a set of gut strings,
here are a few things to keep in mind . . .
- Gut strings are lower in tension than steel or synthetic strings. They will, therefore, put less downward pressure on the violin and the soundpost. If you try gut strings and like them, you may choose to have your soundpost adjusted to compensate.
- Gut strings are larger in diameter and more fragile than steel strings. When switching from steel to either gut or synthetic strings, consider having your instrument checked by a professional. If the grooves of the nut are too deep or narrow, or have any sharp edges, they could easily strip the windings off the larger, more fragile gut/synthetic strings. And, at these prices, you really don’t want to ruin your new strings before you even get them on your instrument! Watch closely, as you tune them up, for any pinching in the grooves, or damage to the strings as they pass over the nut.
- Some gut strings come with a looped knot, rather than a ball end.
Handle the knot as you would a ball, wedging it into the tailpiece. Do not install
these knotted ends as loop ends.
- Gut strings are more strongly affected by changes in temperature and humidity.
- Gut strings will need to be replaced more frequently than either steel or synthetic strings.
- Avoid purchasing plain-end gut strings, unless you are prepared to tie the required knot in the end, before installation.
Switching from Steel to Synthetic Strings
Students and their parents are frequently amazed by the difference in playability and tonality of their instruments when I install synthetic strings for the first time. They often think (incorrectly) that this transformation of their instruments is due to my extraordinary skills as a craftsman. (I don’t argue.) But, the plain fact is that the choice of strings makes a tremendous difference. Certainly, steel strings, particularly good quality steel strings like
Prim are the best choice for certain instruments and certain styles of playing. But, if you do choose to switch from steel strings to synthetic, please note that advice, above, under A Few Notes About Gut Strings. Inexpensive student instruments are frequently setup specifically for steel strings, and must be adjusted before synthetic strings can be installed.
- String keeps coming out of peg hole while winding: The peg hole may be too big. If so, a smaller one must be drilled. Or, you may not be crossing the string over itself before you start to wind; see Winding the String. Or, you may not be pushing the string the whole way through the hole.
- String won’t stay in tailpiece when I tighten the peg: The ball end of the string must be placed through the round hole in the tailpiece and then wedged into the little slot above the hole. You are not wedging the string into the slot properly. If the string won’t go into the slot (i.e. slot is made for steel strings, but you’re using synthetic) the slot must be enlarged or a new tailpiece must be installed.
- Pegs won’t stay tight. They keep slipping: Be sure you are lubricating the pegs- see Lubricate Tuning Peg, above. Be sure you are pushing the peg into the hole as you turn it – see How To Tune a Violin / Using the Tuning Pegs. The peg may have been worn smooth with use. If lubrication does not help, you may need to rough the surface of the peg with fine sandpaper. One or two turns of the sandpaper is sufficient; do NOT over-sand. Note that by sanding the peg, you are making it smaller; sand too much, and the peg will no longer be usable. (In this case, a new peg must be fitted.) If, after all this, the peg still slips, and you are sure you’ve done everything correctly, then the peg holes may need to be re-reamed by a professional. (This is unusual.)
- The string broke when I tightened it: New strings rarely break without good reason. The most common cause is over-tightening. Be sure you are plucking the strings as you tighten them, and be sure you stop when you reach the desired pitch. Another common cause is nut grooves that are too narrow, too deep, or that have sharp edges. This is particularly true when switching from steel strings to synthetic or gut. If you are unsure, have your instrument checked by a professional.
- The strings seem to be digging into the bridge, making deep notches: Be sure you are lubricating the bridge grooves with pencil graphite when you change your strings. If your E string comes with a string protector (little piece of plastic that slides up and down the string), be sure to place it on the bridge when you install the string. To repair a damaged bridge, bridge parchments can be purchased. They should be soaked in hide glue (or other glue, if necessary) until they are soft, and then folded over the top of the bridge, covering the notch. When dry, the string can be placed on the bridge (over the parchment) in exactly the correct position, and tightened. You may need to ask a professional for help with this job.
- I installed my new strings and now there is a buzz: Any loose piece on the violin may cause a buzz. Listen carefully and look for anything that is not tightened down. The most common causes, when installing strings are a fine tuner screw not sufficiently tightened, or an e string protector left off the bridge and allowed to slide free up and down the string. If you can’t find the cause, and the buzz seems to be coming from the fingerboard, and if you have switched to a lower-tension string, then the nut grooves may have worn down too close to the fingerboard. Lower tension strings and strings with a larger diameter will be more likely to buzz against the fingerboard than thinner or higher tension strings. Take your violin to a professional to have the nut adjusted or replaced.
- Fine tuners are stiff or hard to turn: Fine tuners must be lubricated periodically. Unscrew the fine tuner screw until it comes out. (Careful not to drop it!) Lubricate with soap or other lubricant. (I use Door Ease, a little lipstick size stick, available at the hardware store.) Replace and tighten the screw.
Looking to Improve Your Performance?
Nothing can replace regular and careful practice, when it comes to making beautiful music with your instrument. But, there is much to be said for having the right tools for any job. An aspiring woodworker won’t succeed in making a beautiful table if given cheap or dull tools. Neither will an aspiring violinist succeed in making beautiful music – no matter how diligently he or she practices – if given a poorly setup instrument. As a bare minimum, to learn the violin, please make sure that you (or your aspiring young musician) have the following:
- A Properly Setup Violin. Much goes into a good setup. But, at a minimum, make sure that the strings are the correct height off the fingerboard and correct distance from each other. Take to a local shop for a checkup if unsure. Even a cheap instrument can be OK for a beginner, as long as the setup is done well.
- A Decent Bow. By decent, here, I mean a bow that is stiff and straight enough to allow the player to hold and handle it correctly without developing bad habits. Many, many cheap bows are twisted, warped, badly balanced, and/or so flexible (or fat and clumsy) that they can’t be played properly. If you’re trying to make beautiful music with a poor bow, please consider stepping up to a relatively inexpensive but well made bow such as the CodaBow Prodigy. If makes an excellent gift for young players. If you’re not sure, let us send you a few bows through our In-Home Bow Trial Program, and see for yourself how much your performance improves! If you’re not impressed, there’s no obligation to make a purchase. Also, remember to re-hair (or clean the hair) regularly (at least yearly – six months is better).
- Get yourself some good strings! You won’t believe how much difference it can make to your tone. Check out our Guide to Violin Strings for recommendations. And, remember to replace them regularly.
- Quality, Fresh Rosin. One of the least expensive and most overlooked ways of improving your performance – bowing, articulation, and tone quality – is keeping your rosin fresh. Stick with good quality rosin, and replace every time you replace your strings. Rosin still works when it gets old, but it loses its tonal quality. Fresh rosin sounds and works better. Check out some of our favorite rosins for violin.
In-Home Bow Trial Program
- Three Bows. One Week. $20.00 Trial fee is refunded, if a bow is purchased.
- Trial fee includes shipping, insurance, and return shipping.
- Play and get comfortable with your new bow, before you buy!
The bowing hand | Learn fiddle technique
Once you have a comfortable fiddle bow hold, what else do you need to master with the bowing hand? It’s important to understand the relationship between the bow and your hand/fingers. Often when people first learn to play, they develop a fixed bow hold, with the bow being kept in exactly the same relationship to the hand throughout the length of the bow stroke, and use the upper and lower arm to create the bow strokes.
Photo ©Ros Gasson
This frequently creates some tension in the muscles of the hand (especially if playing for any length of time), which will have an impact on the tone when playing. The arm action is hard work, and makes it difficult to play with precision, especially when playing faster runs of notes.
Here’s Scottish fiddler Patsy Reid showing how she uses the fingers to move the bow around when she’s crossing strings
So it’s important to learn to relax the bowing hand, and learn to let it interact with the stick of the bow. Think of your hand as a guide for the bow. The hand can often also respond to the bow, letting it take the lead – your bowing hand doesn’t always have to be the boss! Have a look at Ian Walsh playing at the start of this video, and watch the fingers in his bowing hand. You’ll see that his right hand is very relaxed, and his fingers are moving around, interacting and responding to the stick of the bow.
As well as this relaxed and interactive hold, the fingers can also have a real impact on the detail of the sound we make. With an effective bow hold, you will be able to use the thumb as a ‘pivot’ for the bow. This pivoting action works in respect of keeping the bow perpendicular to the strings In this video, Zlata Brouwer shows the action of the first finger on the stick of the bow, being used here to create a run of staccato notes on an up bow:
How the fingers interact with the bow
The thumb is acting like a little hook, and the stick of the bow hangs on that hook. The fingers are slightly separated and drape over the bow to prevent the stick falling out from it’s position on the hook. They’re also in the right place to help keep the bow from straying off a straight line, perpendicular to the fiddle strings, when you start playing. By pulling slightly towards you with the tip of the first finger, you’ll pull the tip of the bow a little closer in to you. Pulling with the 3rd finger pulls the heel of the bow in. As the thumb acts as a pivot, pulling in with the 3rd finger will push the tip of the bow away from your body. Throughout the bow stroke, the aim is that the fingers are fluidly interacting with the stick of the bow all the time. The fingers will need to be bending and flexing independently as part of your bow hold, in response to the bow showing any sign of starting to stray from its path. Ultimately they will be intuitively guiding it and keeping it perpendicular to the strings throughout the length of the bow stroke. The pinkie is just resting on the back of the bow stick (and in fact many players play with the pinkie off the bow stick altogether for a lot of the time). It doesn’t have a lot to do until you lift the bow from the fiddle. If you try to pick the bow up from the fiddle strings, you’ll find that with the thumb acting as a pivot, it just takes a little pressure on the stick with the pinkie to prevent the tip of the bow from falling downwards. Pressure on the index finger can be used to help to ‘dig’ the bow into the string, to increase the volume at any point in a note.
Here’s a video of Scottish fiddler Bruce MacGregor demonstrating his fiddle bow hold and bowing action:
You can hear the dynamics he adds into individual notes through his control of the bow. Watch and listen from 5m 16s to how he adds really clear definition to the notes at the start of the march he’s playing.
Parts of the Violin – Get-Tuned.com
Knowing the names of the different parts of the violin is essential for any beginner, so that the player has a clear understanding of what parts they may need to interact with in order to retune, restring and look after their instrument.
Parts of the Violin
The scroll of the violin is the very top of the instrument above the pegbox. The scroll can be identified by its characteristic curl design; however some older instruments have scrolls that were more elaborately carved with animals or figures.
The tuning pegs and pegbox are located at the top of the instrument by the scroll. This is where the strings are attached at the top. The end of the string is inserted into a hole in the peg, which is then wound in order to tighten the string. The majority of tuning is performed by tightening the peg, with fine tuners being used for strings out by less than half a tone.
The nut is the connector between the peg box and the fingerboard. The nut has four grooves in it which the strings sit in so that they are properly spaced. If you restring a violin or the strings are very loose, then you should check that the strings are sitting in the grooves at the nut (and at the bridge) before you start to tighten the strings.
The strings on the violin are tuned G,D,A,E from lowest to highest. Strings differ significantly in quality, and the quality of the strings makes a considerable difference to the tonal quality produced by the instrument. Strings are made from a variety of different metals (mainly aluminium, steel and gold for the E-string). However, some synthetic materials are also used to produce strings and ‘cat gut’ strings made out of animal intestine are still relatively popular today.
The neck of the instrument is the part of the violin that carries most of the stress of the strings. It is the long wooden piece behind the fingerboard, which the fingerboard is glued to. The neck of modern violins is more slender and longer than the neck of the baroque violins.
The fingerboard is the smooth black playing surface glued to the neck of the violin underneath the strings. Violinists sometimes get black residue on their fingers on the left-hand due to the black polish rubbing off. Eventually the fingerboard would need refinishing if this starts to happen.
The body of the violin is the part that amplifies the sound in acoustic violins. The body of the violin can be made of a variety of different woods. While most violins have two-piece backs that are joined together with a seam down the middle, one-piece backs are preferred due to their increased resonance.
The sound post is the round post inside the violin that runs from the front-piece to the back-piece under the bridge of the violin. The sounding post plays a key role in how the violin produces sound, and it also helps to support the structure of the violin from the pressure created by the tension of the strings.
After the vibration from the string reverberates within the body of the violin, the sound waves are directed out of the body through the F holes. A good tip for beginners is to direct the F holes towards your audience. Doing this will allow the audience to experience the best sound possible. Of course, you do not need to worry about this if you play an electric violin, or if you are playing with a pick-up.
The bridge of the violin comes in varying angles of curvature. A smaller angle makes it easier to play double or triple stops (playing two or three strings at the same time.) Whereas more curved bridges make it easier to hit the right notes without scraping across a wrong string. Classical violinists tend to have more curved bridges. Fiddle or country players have flatter bridges. The bridge also has ridges on it that help to space the strings out evenly. On good-quality E-strings, a small plastic tube should be included wrapped around the string. This should be place over the bridge to prevent the thin E-string from cutting into the wood.
Fine tuners can be found either on all four strings, or just the E string. If you are a beginner, it is best to choose a violin with four fine tuners as it makes it significantly less likely that you will break a string while tuning. Fine tuners are essentially a screw that presses down a lever that then tightens the string fractionally. When a fine tuner reaches the end of the screw, it should be unscrewed completely and then the peg should be tightened before again using the fine tuner.
The tailpiece is what the strings are attached to at the bottom of the instrument, closest to the players chin. The tailpiece is attached to the bottom of the instrument by the endpin or end button, a small button on the side of the violin that rubs against the players neck.
The chin rest is an additional invention that supports the players chin when they are playing the violin. The chin rest is important because it helps the player to hold the violin, which means that the left hand can then move freely up and down the fingerboard.
Parts of the Bow
The hair of the bow is the part that touches the string when playing. Usually the hair is made out of either a synthetic material or horse hair, and these strands need to be well-rosined to produce sound. If your bow is not well rosined, you may find that it slips on the string and produces a softer, whisper-like tone.
The frog is the part of the bow that the violinist holds. The frog is where all the mechanics of the bow happen.
The screw is on the end of the frog which tightens and loosens the hair. If the screw on the end of the frog is completely unscrewed then the frog comes off the bow (it is easy to reattach) when the screw is tightened it stretches the hair of the bow closer to the end of the bow, thus tightening the tension of the hairs.
The main stick of the bow is usually made of wood, sometimes with a metal core. The stick needs to be supple and bendy to be able to support the tightening and loosening of the bow hair. A good bow should be light, and have a balance point (the point where you can balance the bow on one finger) around a quarter of the way up the bow from the frog. The balance point is important as it allows the violinist to perform advanced technical movements like spiccato (where the bow bounces off the string between each note).
The pad of the bow assists the player in holding the bow.
a Step By Step Guide
So You Want to Know How to String a Violin? There’s no reason to get high strung over a broken string on your instrument. It’s always a little bit scary when you hear the thunderous twang of a string giving way under high pressure.
After the initial shock people start realizing they have no idea how to string a violin. Other times, it’s a sad surprise when you open your instrument for another great practice session and see the remains of your broken string curled around the peg box.
Well, this article will put your mind at ease and show you the easy steps to replacing that broken string.
A Step By Step Guide to Stringing a Violin
Step 1: Finding a Replacement String
First, you need to get yourself a replacement string for your violin. You need to make sure that it is the proper size for your instrument. If it is a full size violin, it will be designated as 4/4. Three quarter size is ¾ and half size as 2/4.
Other measurements follow a similar naming convention. If you are unsure, what size violin you have the best thing to do is take it into a violin shop or the store you are renting your instrument from and have them verify the size.
Step 2: Removing the Broken String Remnants
With the new string in hand you are now ready to proceed. Lay down a soft towel on your kitchen table or desk and lay the violin down on it. Remove the broken string remnants from the instrument and discard or hang them up on a wall as a trophy!
Step 3: Finding the Correct End
Start with the tail piece behind the bridge. For most student violins there are four fine tuners integrated into the tail piece.
Each tuner has a pair of hooks that are parallel to each other that form a slot. Strings have two ends. The one you want to use for this is the one with the metal ball attached to it.
Step 4: Inserting the String
Just up from that is a wider portion that has colored wrapping around it than the skinny naked string. Insert the skinny string part into the slot, then pull the string towards the bridge until the metal ball is engaged FULLY under the hooks.
One of the most important things about learning how to string a violin is that last bit. It prevents the string from snapping out dangerously once we put it under pressure.
Step 5: Examine the Peg
Now, examine the peg and make a note of where the hole for the string is. Sometimes there is more than one hole drilled. You can use the hole that allows you to wind the string the most efficiently.
Make sure the peg is seated in the peg box hole loosely. Don’t jam it in. Insert the end of the string into the hole in the peg and make sure it protrudes out the other side about a quarter inch to half an inch. It depends on the amount of slack you have in the string.
At this point the string is very loose and that is good. Before tightening make sure the ball end is still engaged properly in the fine tuner. If not, go repeat those steps.
Step 6: Tightening the Peg
Now turn the peg towards the scroll, clockwise or away from the fingerboard. Always tighten in that direction.
As the string tightens you want to make sure it winds around the peg towards the side of the peg handle you are turning. Try not to let the string overlap itself. Once the slack is taken up in the string you will want to check some things before making it tight.
Make sure the string is in the groove at the nut at the end of the fingerboard next to the peg box. On the bridge side make sure it is in the groove on the bridge. Take care not to move the bridge or alter it.
Some strings, like the E string, may have a small plastic or felt piece on the string. This goes under the string at the groove on the bridge. This prevents the string from cutting into the wood. Don’t leave it loose as it will cause an annoying buzz.
Finally, for safety, make sure that the metal ball is fully engaged under the hooks on the fine tuner.
Step 7: Ensuring the Correct Alignment
Once everything looks good it’s time to start winding the turning the peg again. At this point as you turn the peg you need to push it into the peg box at the same time so it sticks properly.
If not, the peg will just unwind like a rubber band airplane and you get to start over. Violins are all about finesse, so don’t jam it in either to the point you can’t turn it.
Step 8: Tuning Up
Before reaching final pitch, check your string settings just like before. If anything has slipped or moved, unwind the peg a little and fix things then proceed to tune the string to the correct pitch.
Congratulations you now know how to string a violin!
90,000 Strings – Anna Blagaya
First, the most elementary: there are 4 strings on the violin, they are called (from the thickest string to the thinnest, from left to right, if you put the violin on your shoulder) like this: Salt (on the packaging of strings and in special literature, the Latin designation is often used – G ), Re (= D ), La (= A ), Mi ( E ).
The same in Roman numerals: (Salt) – IV, then III, II, I (Mi).
They are pulled on the fretboard in parallel and each tuned, respectively, to the G of a small octave, Re of the first octave, A of the first octave and E of the second octave. (Unless otherwise stated. Exceptions were made in the old era by virtuosos, masters of a special sound color – Paganini and others – who, to achieve a special sound effect, could tune the strings above or below the norm and even stretch them not in parallel, but crosswise , see Skordatura).
Violin strings must be special violin strings.(Again, unless otherwise stated. Paganini, judging by the information that has come down to us, experimented with cello strings, obtaining special sound colors with their help).
One end of the string is wrapped around the peg, the other hooks onto the headpiece or the machine on it. At this end, the strings end in either a loop end or a ball end.
Most often, a so-called “chord” is played on a violin, that is, a set of strings (from G to E) of the same brand. “Advanced users” who want to get special “colors” in the sound sometimes combine strings: put, for example, two lower strings of one brand, two upper strings – another, or change the “standard” Mi string for another, brighter sounding (see …hereinafter – Golden Mi).
Small children’s violins must have special strings (in this case, the size is written on the packaging, which must match the size of the violin).
More details now.
From silk to metal and synthetics – this is the path that the violin strings have traveled over several centuries (and, probably, the sound of the violin itself, since it is closely related to the strings).
Once upon a time, violinists played tenderly, carefully, affectionately, on extremely short-lived, but delicate silk strings.It was a very delicate matter – playing the violin.
They also played the “vein” (intestinal) strings, which gave a warm, thick timbre and also required careful handling.
Then large halls appeared, violin playing became more aggressive, and professional performance began to resemble the sport of great achievements, so violinists needed bright, indestructible steel strings.
In the end, humanity decided to “synthesize” the qualities that “veined” and metal strings (oily sounding + non-capriciousness) had.Synthetic strings appeared, made of nylon, perlon, etc.
Today, there are all sorts of strings sold (unless you can easily find silk strings), because in music there is no longer one single way. Modern firms produce sets of violin strings from different materials – “vein”, metal (and metals can be different: chrome, silver, tungsten, gold …), synthetic. They suit different violins, different violinists (different temperaments, skill levels, physical characteristics..), different situations and different types of music.
Everything is so individual that the best way is to try.
Blue, red, gold …
Violin strings for every taste and color
The color of the sound and the “handwriting” of the performer very strongly depend on the strings: the combination of hardness and softness of lines when scoring a musical phrase, as when writing some ordinary phrase by hand.
Imagine that you are writing the same sentence, first with a simple pencil, then with a ballpoint pen, then with a fountain pen, and then with some kind of rollerball or felt-tip pen.You will have completely different sensations when writing, and the result will look different, although it seems to be the same written.
The sound of the same musical phrase played on the same violin by the hands of the same performer, but on different strings, is approximately the same.
Strings from different families – “vein”, metal and synthetic – sound different from each other ***. Violins and violinists of different “temperaments” need different strings.
*** (True, synthetics and “lived” are somewhat closer to each other than to metal, but still they should not be compared)
It is important to understand : what type of strings a violinist prefers does not indicate the level of his playing.If suddenly some furious fan of vein strings begins to violently attack all owners of steel strings, calling them bad violinists (for example), and their violins – wood, do not listen to him. This is just snobbery or … a ridiculous misunderstanding. (Like Swift’s – a war between midgets, who could not solve the fundamental question in any way: from what end to break a boiled egg?) An eloquent example: the outstanding violinist Leonid Kogan played just on steel strings. The war of fans of sinew, synthetic and steel strings will be discussed later.
But these are not all the differences in the sound of strings. This is just the beginning.
Aluminum, chrome, gold, silver sound different, although they are all metals. The same with synthetics – nylon, perlon, etc. Hence – from the variety of materials within the “families” of strings – the variety of sounds.
But that’s not all. There are many brands of strings produced by different companies. Each firm strives to patent its own string magic formula.Most violinists do not know exactly what they do there, but the fact is that two sets of strings of different brands (even if they use the same or similar materials) will sound differently.
In addition, strings of the same brand are often produced in different versions, with different degrees of tension (as a rule, violinists buy medium tension strings – but sometimes a weaker or stronger tension is needed, this also affects the sound).
In a word, this is such a rich palette.
Note that all this applies only to the classics. We will not even touch on the strings intended for the performance of baroque music or folk – this is a separate story.
So, the main thing: in all the cases mentioned, the sensations when playing will be different (the strings under the fingers can be softer or harder, thinner or thicker, more or less responsive …), and the character of the sound (matte or shiny, bright or muted, contrasting or all built up in midtones and shades, light or dark, oily or clear / silver….And even with an effect of greater or lesser depth). We see that pictorial analogies are often used in descriptions – and rightly so, we are talking about paint of sound! – but, of course, words are not enough here, the only way to find out what kind of animal this or that string is is to put it on your own violin and play it for a couple of days, weeks, months …
The interaction of a particular brand of strings with a particular violin (and violinist), as well as a bow, hair, rosin and other factors affecting the sound, can never be fully predicted, always a certain unique combination is obtained.
By the way . Previously, there were not so many types of strings, and violinists still had a variety of colors anywhere, and even more than now. Perhaps the absence of so many types of strings spurred musicians to search for new colors on their own, instead of using a ready-made “palette” (“presets” set by the manufacturers).
– – –
What strings are made of
The string consists of a base (it is it in the string – metal or synthetic) and a winding (this is the thinnest metal thread that wraps around the base of the string).There is also a winding (done over a metal winding, with silk multicolored threads, at the pegs and at the neck. Each type of strings has its own winding color, by which you can recognize them, see the “color index of strings” here and here).
The Mi string is usually metallic, even if the entire chord is synthetic (metal sounds brighter, and for Mi this is very important). This string can be wound or not.
Metals: steel, chrome, chrome steel, aluminum, silver, sterling silver, gold (gilding), carbon steel, tungsten …
Synthetics: nylon, perlon …
“Vein”: twisted lamb intestine
Good violin strings are made by hand.They cost a lot, especially if they are made of expensive materials (money spent on some good chord with gilded strings is “enough to buy a ring,” as one friend of mine once remarked).
The most famous are Pirastro (an old German family company founded by Italians named Pirazzi, who once settled in Germany) and Thomastik-Infeld (an Austrian company founded in Vienna in 1919.the violin maker Franz Thomastic and the builder Otto Infeld, whose descendant Peter Infeld still owns the company). Both firms produce high-quality strings of a wide variety of materials, timbres, etc. There are other established string manufacturers: D’Addario (Kaplan), Larsen, Savarez, , etc.
Famous string brands
( Attention! Below will be given the names of only a few brands of strings, not all that can be found in stores.Mentioning these strings is not a recommendation to use them. You have to try everything.
I tried to use less adjectives that evaluate the color of the sound of certain strings. In the event that I do mention “oily sound” or something like that, keep in mind that this is true primarily for my violin (I tested most of the strings mentioned a couple of months ago), for my own ears and artistic preferences. (And my addictions are such that I – at least now – prefer precious metals to the guts of innocently slain rams).On a different violin, the result may be different. I also tried not to admit inaccuracies in the names of metals, but due to my lack of geological education =) minor errors are possible. The section on strings continues to be refined and improved).
“Blue Tomastic”, or SuperFlexible / Thomastik /
Convenient for virtuoso playing, indestructible and durable strings, on which you can do wonders if you wish.They were once insanely popular in our country. Nowadays rumors are spreading that supposedly these strings are too rough for good violins and that supposedly only orchestra players who have bad violins should play them. It is possible that the source of the rumors is rival manufacturers, or, more precisely, one specific competing manufacturer, which, however, we will not point the finger at.
(However, the crux of the matter goes deeper: this is a war between metal and synthetic or “vein” strings.It is believed that metal has a relatively simple sound – in comparison with synthetics, and even more so with “living” – sound. But we must bear in mind that it all depends on the manner of the game. The performer “picks up” on metal strings with his fingers, softness, richness, luxurious color, high sounding class, and in this case, an even richer, more individual sound is obtained than in the case of synthetic or “vein” strings, which set their own, “preset” »The palette is practically dictated by the sound and agogy of the performer, on the one hand, making his life easier, on the other – sometimes not allowing him to turn around properly.
At the same time, firstly, the metal is brighter, and secondly, there is one more important point: the “veins” and synthetics stretch, they can surprise even during the performance, they have to be adjusted. And metal strings are stable. Such elements of virtuoso technique as double harmonics, for example, – where exceptional, stable purity of the “basic” fifths is needed – are good on steel strings).
Of course, some violins do not really fit these strings. As is the case with any others.
Available in several versions. The basis is a steel cable (steel rope, literally – “steel rope”). String Salt – with a winding of tungsten, silver or chrome, Re – with a winding of chrome, A and Mi – of aluminum or chrome.
Dominant / Thomastik /
Deep and bright, sounds more oily than the Blue Tomastic (quite natural, because it is synthetic).
The base of all strings, except E, is synthetic.Salt – silver winding, D – aluminum (or silver), A – aluminum, Mi – steel base, aluminum winding (or chrome steel).
Tonica / Pirastro /
All strings except E have a synthetic base (nylon). Winding at the string G – sterling silver, D – silver or aluminum, A – aluminum, Mi – silver-plated steel, or steel and aluminum.
Chromcor / Pirastro /
Not as deep and bright as the Blue Thomastic or Dominant, they sound smaller, but softer and more delicate both in sound and under the fingers, which is important for some violinists and some violins.The strings G, Re, A have a steel base, the winding is chrome steel. Mi – chrome steel without winding.
Evah Pirazzi / Pirastro /
Bright concert strings, which appeared not so long ago and immediately became very famous. They are praised by many, assuring that they are suitable for everyone and always, but there are (and I have seen such people with my own eyes) and those to whom these strings did not fit and did not like. (On my “test drive” Eva Pirazzi did not even hold the G string).Which confirms the old rule: one and the same for everyone and always – does not happen, each person and each violin has its own.
The base of all strings, except for Mi, is made of a new synthetic fiber (which the company does not specify). Salt and Re are wrapped in sterling silver, La is in aluminum, Mi is either silver-plated steel or gilded steel.
There are also curious strings Wondertone Solo / Pirastro /
Synthetic / steel
There are two metal strings and two synthetic ones, the transition from synthetics to metal is more smooth.
Salt and Re – synthetic base, wrapped in sterling silver. La – steel base, aluminum; Mi – silver plated steel
Oliv / Pirastro /
The very famous “vein” strings, rich in timbre, are suitable for decorating stradivarius and pleasing the ears of aesthetes, but capricious and short-lived, as befits a “vein”. Again, there are violinists who do not like them and do not suit them.
The Mi string is gold plated.
In order to additionally “highlight” the highest E string, to make it sound even brighter, sometimes a string is not included in the set, purchased separately. Often this is a gold string Pirastro Gold .
Links to miscellaneous string related materials:
1. Information about different strings
3.A few simple rules:
Old strings become dull and need to be replaced periodically (life depends on the type of strings and their use). New strings must be set in advance, not on the day of the concert, they must still be “beaten”. Change the strings on the instrument one at a time, leaving the rest under tension. The first few hours after you have pulled a new string on the violin, the string may “stretch”, it may need to be further tweaked. After installing new strings (cheap, unverified brand), check to see if they are “building”, if not a fake chord.Take fifths with your first finger: la-mi (strings G and D), mi-si (strings D and A), si-f sharp (strings A and Mi).
The “behavior” of strings is influenced by the weather and the environment. This applies not only to vein strings, but also to metal ones, since metals also enter into various subtle chemical reactions with the environment, see about this here
How to pull the strings
There should be a small hole on the splitter (approximately in the middle of its “leg”).The end of the string is inserted into it where there is no loop or ball. Leaving a small “tail”, start winding the string on the peg: neatly, evenly, turn by turn, from the center outward, towards the head of the peg. Hook the other end of the string – where the loop or the ball is – on the headpiece or the typewriter on it. Make sure that the string fits into the “regular” slot on the stand, then pull it to the end, until the desired Re, A, etc. sounds. The peg should not be pressed into the violin strongly.
Cf.See also: Violin accessories, scordatura
How a violin with cobweb strings sounds NEW
Where to buy strings? See: music stores in Moscow
How to tune a violin? | 220.lv
The easiest option is to entrust the tuning of the violin to an experienced specialist. And yet – every violinist must learn how to tune his musical instrument.
Although violin playing is very important, an out of tune violin interferes with the full performance of the composition.A quality instrument, honed skills and proper instrument tuning are essential for the violin to create the correct and necessary sonic tone.
Always check your musical instrument before a performance to ensure it is in perfect working order. It is especially important to adjust the instrument if the strings, bridge or pins have recently changed.
Buy a good chromatic tuner
Over time, you will be able to trust your hearing more and more, and you will only be able to tune the violin with your hearing.Until then, however, it is recommended that a good chromatic tuner be used to ensure that each string is precisely tuned to the required range.
Tune all strings in turn
Start with the A string, then continue with the others. Touch each string and listen carefully to understand the pitch. Even if you are using a tuner, listening is still important to learn how to recognize the desired pitch. Over time, your hearing will develop to the point where you can tune your violin without aids.
Use tuning pegs and a “car”
If you only need to tune the violin a little, use the machine to tighten or loosen the strings as needed.
If the violin requires more serious tuning, use the tuners. It is important to turn them slightly, otherwise you risk damaging the instrument.
If the pitch differs from desired by only a semitone, use the violin machine to tune. If the differences are more significant, use tuners.If you are in doubt which option is better, consult a specialist so as not to damage the instrument.
Important factors to consider
A violin, like other musical instruments, will perform well if properly cared for. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- If the violin strings have just been replaced, they may take several days to stabilize. This means that new strings will need to be adjusted more often – so keep a tuner handy;
- Be aware that small changes in string tension can cause significant changes in the sound of the strings.Turn the pins slightly if necessary, as too fast movement may damage the tool;
- Tune your violin regularly. You definitely want your instrument to sound great, so you need to tune it regularly. Also, the next step on your musical journey is to learn how to tune your violin by ear.
Taking care of the good sound of the violin, the instrument will last longer and better!
How to choose a violin size?
When it comes time to buy a new violin, there are several important things to consider when choosing the most suitable instrument.
The most important aspect is the size of the violin. They are different: 4/4 is considered the full size used by adults. This is followed by 3/4, 1/2, 1/4; 1/8; 1/10; 1/16 and 1/32. When choosing a violin size, consider the length from the neck to the center of the base of the left wrist or the crease of the wrist.
If you choose a violin for a child, another method of measurement will be relevant – from the neck to the center of the base of the wrist, because the child is growing. The size of the violin can also be determined by age, but in any case, it is best to consult a teacher or other specialist.
The material of the violin is also an important factor. The surface of the body of the instrument is most often made of spruce, while the lower part of the body, sides and neck are made of maple.
Be sure to pay attention to the quality of the violin, which will ensure the excellent performance of the violin for years to come.
Violin – Literary newspaper
Born in Voronezh, where she lives.Prose writer, publicist, member of the Writers’ Union of Russia. Laureate of the German International Book of the Year Competition (2019), finalist (long list) of the Abramov’s “Clean Book” (2019). Lecturer at the Department of Publishing, Faculty of Philology, Voronezh State University.
Have been published in newspapers and magazines: “Shore”, “Milk”, “Russian binding”, “Rise”, “Thoughts”, “Literature Day”, etc. Author of prose books “Walking the Milky Way” (2014), “Living souls “(2017),” Walking the Milky Way “(2019, revised reprint).Participant of several literary collections.
(story from the cycle “People”)
Usually, Tanya was taken to a music school by her grandmother Zina, but her mother had a falling out with her and told the girl to go herself. Take tram number 15, get off at the Verkhnyaya stop, and then stick to the general stream of children and go with them.Tanya did just that.
The school greeted her with a familiar cacophony of sounds, a plank musical floor and portraits of bearded composers along a narrow corridor. Tanya dismissed boring music theory, wrote a solfeggio dictation for the top five and played Haydn’s concert in D minor without hesitation, earning Larisa Andreevna a gratitude in her diary. Now mom will certainly praise her, love her a little, and maybe even hug her!
The road home is always shorter. Tanya jumped into the tram and began to look at the houses running through the window.The houses were old, with peeling bas-reliefs on the facades. Soldiers with balls in their hands, steelworkers playing violins, collective farmers with books, ballerinas surrounded by flags and ears of corn were crowding on them shoulder to shoulder. Every time, driving past the stone paintings, the girl asked Baba Zina: “Why do the military have balls in their hands, and not sabers, steelmakers with violins, but ballerinas with sheaves?” She just shrugged her shoulders and pressed her granddaughter closer to the spacious, warm side. Mom, on the other hand, explained the confusion with subjects by cultural development, which was equally necessary for both the military and the workers with collective farmers, and even more so for the intelligentsia.Tanya did not quite understand what “intelligentsia” was, she was ashamed to ask, but she vaguely guessed that her visits to the music school were dictated by her mother’s plan of cultural development. And she was ready to embody this idea, and be cultured, and play the violin, and get only A’s – if only her mother loved her …
People entered and exited the tram, jumped into the closing doors, crawled off the steps, dragging nets with dirty, like earthen clods of potatoes behind them.They sat down children and old women, carried out strollers, pushed suitcases and bundles under the seats. The bell rang pitifully, the doors opened and closed with a thorn, the rails rattled at the joints.
Twilight muffled the outlines of the houses and erased the bas-reliefs. The steelmakers lowered the violins and looked in bewilderment at the flexible bows stuck in their hard, stiff fingers. The balls fell out of the hands of the military and rolled towards the players who were solving the equations. The ears and flags fell off – the freed ballerinas happily whirled around in a fouette…
– Stop “Telman’s Palace”, the next stop “Square”, – the carriage driver announced in the voice of the announcer.
Tanya shuddered and jumped to her feet.
– Wait, wait! She shouted to the whole car. – This is my stop. I forgot!
She rushed to the exit, where the gloomy evening crowd was already creeping in. The girl caught her foot on someone’s bag and hit her knee painfully on the handrail. But there was no time to cry – Tanya made her way to the door, overcoming the resistance of people who had come from nowhere.
– Wait, don’t touch the composition! There the girl did not come out, – a bass came from the front platform.
The tram jerked and froze.
– Shame on you, girl, you are delaying all the passengers, – his aunt in a smoky beret hissed after her.
– It happens to everyone! – stood up another passenger.
– Hey, you thump on your feet, like on parquet! – someone’s sharp elbow poked Tanya in the side.
It was hot and crowded. A satchel with notes pounded on my wet back. The ribbon came loose and got stuck in the human quagmire, clinging to buttons and fasteners. But here is the salutary way out. The girl rolled head over heels down the steps, the doors banging shut behind her. The tram slowly crawled along the black, oily rails. And Tanya remained standing, pacifying her breathing, cooling her face heated by the struggle. She rubbed her bruised knee with her hand. She grimaced. But the tights are intact – that’s good. On the fly, with the other hand, she grabbed the tape that had slipped out of her braid and stuffed it into her pocket.There were unusually many hands. One of the two is usually busy.
– Violin! My violin! – pierced Tanya.
Her violin remained on the tram. Having overslept her stop, making her way to the exit, she completely forgot about it. And the violin remained under the chair, and left with the passengers, probably already far away. “What will happen now?” – thought the girl with horror, and tears poured down her cheeks in bitter streams. She knew how much her mother treasured this instrument, bought from her uncle Viti, the violinist of the Philharmonic Orchestra.How long did she look for the treasured quarter, how she hunted for the maple body. Then the bow was tugged, and Uncle Vitya spent an hour adjusting the instrument to Tanya’s angular figure, measuring her stoop and violin perfection. Also a new case with flannel lining! And rosin, and spare strings, and a velvet cushion, made to order. Trouble!
The girl froze, not knowing where to go – either home, or away from home. If he gets home, he’ll get there, that’s for sure. If away – then where? Perhaps to grandmother Zina? But Tanya barely remembered her address, she only knew that her grandmother lived in a two-story house called a barrack, in the left entrance with a creaky staircase, at the base of which another stray cat or cat always lay on the mat.But where was that two-story house? It seems there was a children’s slide nearby. Tanya remembered it because a grasshopper playing a violin is drawn on the side of the slide. But it was drawn incorrectly – not holding the violin in the way, and the bow is short and not taut as it should, and there are five strings, but there should be four. In addition, the grasshopper was left-handed, and Tanya doubted whether it was possible to play the violin with her left hand?
The evening haze thickened. The girl wandered dejectedly towards the park, behind which the old barracks were crowded.It was scary. But not because it was night and darkness all around, but because she did not know what to tell her mother now about the violin. How to report a loss? How can you explain your criminal forgetfulness? Will mom forgive her? Will she smile when she says the harmless: “Oh, you, Masha-confused”? Or will she scream all evening, remembering dad and grandmother Zina? As luck would have it, and dad is gone – he left.
It was even darker between the barracks than in the park. The only lantern in the entire courtyard illuminated a huge puddle, in the center of which an old tire sank.Trash cans and the skeleton of a sofa loomed a little further. A wrinkled poplar, a wall of a dilapidated barn, and … – here it is! – slide! The one with the grasshopper on the violin. Tanya took a deep breath and smiled. She groped around the entrance, pulled back the tight spring and entered the house. A pungent cat smell hit my nose, but was interrupted by the scent of fresh cinnamon rolls that only Grandma Zina could bake. The girl climbed the stairs and pressed the bell button. Shuffling footsteps – and the door flew open.
– Sharp! – the grandmother threw up her hands, – what happened? How did you find me? Why alone? – she grabbed her granddaughter with her hand soaked in flour and dragged her into the hallway.
Tanya held on to the last, to say everything in an adult way – judiciously and calmly, but could not stand it and burst into tears, leaning against the warm grandmother’s chest.
– I, I … – she sobbed, – I forgot the violin in the tram!
– Violin? On the tram?
– Yeees! – Tanya was already crying out loud.
– Oh my God! – Baba Zina sighed. “I thought something had happened,” she lifted the tear-stained face of her granddaughter by her chin, and Tata realized that her grandmother was not at all angry with her.- Are you all right? Is everything all right at home?
The girl nodded, smearing tears down her cheeks.
– Well, well, stop roaring, – the grandmother stroked the girl’s disheveled head with the back of her hand, but the flour still fell on the collar. – Just think, violin!
For a moment it seemed to Tanya that the violin had not disappeared anywhere, but now stands behind it, on the floor, right on the striped rug. The girl looked back, but the violin was not there.
– Does Mom know that you are here? – Baba Zina caught herself.
– Ah, bad luck. Okay, I’ll take you right now, – grandmother grabbed Tanya’s palms in her big hands, hot from the oven. – Oh, you’re completely frozen. So, warm up first! March to the kitchen! – She commanded and resolutely pulled off the jacket from her granddaughter.
It was warm and cozy in my grandmother’s little kitchen. Clocks ticked. In a cramped bowl, an ankle plant with the funny name “golden mustache” was piled up.
Baba Zina hid the dough, washed her hands and put the kettle on the stove.Tanya’s favorite plate with a green rim, filled to the brim with captivating golden buns, appeared in front of Tanya. A sweet dope of cinnamon floated over the table.
Grandmother pulled a comb out of the heavy knot at the back of her head and began to comb her granddaughter’s matted hair. It didn’t hurt at all for her. Mom was usually in a hurry, angry at Tanya’s disobedient braids, and now and then pulled out the hairs. Tanya oykala, and my mother was even more angry about it. Grandmother glided through her hair easily and smoothly, as if the breeze was blowing over her head.If there was a knot, she tightly clamped it between her fingers and patiently untangled it. While the kettle was boiling, Tanya’s braid took on its original morning appearance. Only Baba Zina did not know how to tie bows as beautifully as her mother. But Tanya did not need this.
– Come on, get warm! – grandmother put a cup of tea in front of the girl and moved a plate of buns closer.
Tanya has never eaten anything tastier. The buns were small, two bites, caramel-crunchy on top, with cinnamon patterns, and soft as fluff on the inside.Grandmother did not rush, but only looked and looked at her granddaughter quietly, motionlessly, with sadness, or maybe with pity – Tanya did not really understand faces.
– Did you have enough of Tatochka? Baba Zina asked when Tanya’s cheeks turned red. – I’ll put you in a bag with me now. You will treat Mom, Dad.
“I don’t want to leave,” Tanya frowned. – Granny, can I stay with you?
– Sharp, mom will be worried. She doesn’t know where you are, ”Grandma took off her apron.
– Will not go! – Tanya was stubborn. – I’m afraid, I’m afraid! – repeated, clutching at the stool.
– What are you afraid of, Tata? It’s not too late yet. I will accompany you, – the grandmother, groaning, put on a woolen jacket.
– How can I tell my mother about the violin? – Tears sparkled in the girl’s eyes again.
Grandma’s tea buns have pushed aside today’s tragedy. But now the inevitability of a conversation with my mother grew in front of her again.
“I’ll explain everything to her myself,” promised my grandmother. – And tomorrow morning I’ll go to the depot. There is a corner of forgotten things. Your violin is not going anywhere. Probably already lying there and waiting for someone to come for her.
Grandmother and granddaughter dressed and went out together into the uncomfortable evening gloom.
On the way, Baba Zina talked about dancing to a brass band in this very park, where she ran as a girl. And she even made Tanya laugh with the description of one dancer who, in order to appear taller, put folded newspapers under his heels, and during Letka-yenka they took them – let them fall out! The boots were my father’s, two sizes too big.
Here is the house. The higher Tanya climbed the steep steps, the slower she moved her legs and the more she pressed her head into her shoulders. Even grandmother Zina overtook her, although she stopped twice to catch her breath.
Mom stood in the doorway – beautiful and unapproachable.
– Where are you hanging around? – her gaze was stern and unyielding. – Do you know what time it is? Classes ended two hours ago!
– Wait, Bella, I had it, – Baba Zina stood up for her granddaughter.
– Zinaida Nikolaevna, I’m not asking you! – Barely restraining rage, answered my mother. – I ask my daughter – let her learn to take responsibility for her actions, – she grabbed the girl by the sleeve of her jacket and dragged her into the house with a jerk.
Baba Zina nimbly dived after.
– Where have you been? Answer me!
“At my grandmother’s,” the girl babbled in fright.
– Yes, I had it, I had it! Baba Zina exclaimed in her hearts.- I forgot the violin in the tram. He is very worried.
– What about? Violin? – shouted mom. – Are you worried? Look at her – she is not worried, but mocks me! Do you know how much I paid for this violin? – Mom’s face was distorted and became unrecognizable. – Do you know how long you waited for Uncle Vitin’s son to grow out of her? How worried that the Grinevs would not take this violin away? What am I saying! Who am I talking to! – Bella whirled around and rushed away, deeper into the apartment.
The grandmother took off her boots, began to fussily undress Tanya, but the girl broke free and ran after her mother.
– Mommy, I, I, I …
– What do you yak like a donkey? The woman interrupted her. – It’s disgusting to listen. My eyes would not look at you! Unlucky, all like a father.
– Nothing, nothing, she’s going to cool down, – whispered grandmother, changing the petrified Tanya’s shoes into slippers. “Don’t be offended by her, she’s probably tired at work.”
– Bellochka, don’t worry! Tomorrow morning I will go to the depot, return the violin, – Baba Zina did her best to restore peace in the family.“I just ask you, don’t scold Tatu, she’s inadvertently, she’s a child,” she added quietly so that her granddaughter would not hear.
– Carry everything with your Tata, as with a written sack! If only someone took pity on me! How much effort I put into it, how much work and care. And she, ungrateful …
“But it’s just a violin. Who needs it? There will be!
“What nonsense are you talking about! Bella laughed nervously. – Just a violin, you say? Yes, this violin… she’s worth it … If you don’t scold Tanya, she will lose her head! – the woman resolutely tightened the belt of the robe. – Here’s what: you better go home, Zinaida Nikolaevna! Somehow I’ll figure out how to raise my daughter. Without your help. You have already educated yours!
She grabbed Baba Zina by the coat and, without giving herself up, threw her out the door.
Tanya stood near the window, gnawed her nails and looked askance at her mother like a beast. Her eyes shone dryly.
– Why did you drive out Baba Zina?
– I didn’t ask you!
– She is good.
– Yes, you are all good, only I’m bad! – screamed mom. – When I die – you will understand then: who is good, who is bad, – she fell into a chair and closed her eyes.
– Don’t, mommy, – Tanya shook in soundless sobs. – Do not die! I’ll find a violin!
– Where will you find her now, you fool? Someone clever has already found it. And let your father buy firewood in a thrift store – you will peck at them!
– I will finish the year with excellent marks anyway.Promise! – Tanya did not give up, swallowing tears. – And I’ll learn Oginsky’s Polonaise!
– Teach, – mother answered indifferently and went into the kitchen.
Tanya shook, then again. Her legs gave way and she fell to the floor. She screamed, thrashed, cried, thrashed her hands. Her pain was so unbearable that the girl could not breathe. Air went in and out of her only with a cry. Only knuckles knocked down to blood helped to carry the flour. Baba Zina left. If dad were at home, he would have hugged her and took her to another room.He would say that everything will pass, everything will work out, and it is not necessary to play the violin to be loved. But he was not there either.
Mom ran into the room with a twisted face. In her hands she was holding a glass of water and some pills.
– Here, have a drink! – she held out the medicine, but Tanya threw her hand away. – Oh, are you so ?!
Mom leaned on her daughter with her whole body, wrapped her hand around her head, and began to push yellow peas through her closed teeth one by one.The daughter kicked, but the mother was stronger. The woman poured water into her daughter’s mouth. Water ran down my neck and dripped onto the carpet. The daughter was wheezing and torn. But the pills did their job, and soon the hysteria subsided. Tanya went limp and sat, leaning against her mother’s shoulder, sobbing and trembling all over.
“Everything, everything, everything,” my mother repeated, thinking that she should show her daughter to a good psychiatrist. And the girl basked in the rays of this casual, short-lived intimacy.
The next morning, grandmother Zina came.In her hands she was holding Tanya’s violin.
– Here, your violin was found, intact, – she handed it to her granddaughter, – as I thought, in the corner of forgotten things stood.
Mom grabbed the case, clicked the clasps and looked inside – everything was intact, even the rosin was in place.
“On time,” she remarked with satisfaction, “she just needs to prepare for a specialty. Well, say thank you for keeping quiet? – she poked Tanya in the back, – and straighten up, finally!
How the girl wanted to rush over the threshold to her grandmother Zina, to snuggle up to her downy shawl, wet from the rains! I couldn’t wait to say thank you not only for the found violin, but also for the fact that it just is – so warm, so kind.Praise the cinnamon rolls. Ask about a ginger cat with a torn ear. But my mother was standing next to me. And Tanya only smiled wryly, said “thank you” and kissed Baba Zina on her cold cheek.
– Well, that’s it, it’s time for us to study, – said my mother. – Goodbye, Zinaida Nikolaevna! – and closed the door in front of my grandmother’s nose.
Tanya heard her grandmother sigh outside the door, how she went downstairs, stepping heavily and guiltily, how she remembered halfway through the package of hot buns in her bag, gasped, wanted to come back, but only waved her hand, not daring to break the fragile peace between her mother and Tata.How she walked along the muddy road to her yard with a hill, how she entered the entrance and ruffled a ginger cat behind the ear. Then she went up to her second floor, put on a checkered apron, kneaded the dough and baked new buns …
90,000 Moskvich found a Stradivarius violin on the mezzanine :: News :: TV Center
Moskvich inherited an old violin. The Stradivarius mark on the musical instrument confirmed that the maestro himself could have performed it.
Here it is – an amazing legacy found on the mezzanine.Yuri Kurnosov had known for a long time that his aunt from the town of Uzlovaya in the Tula Region kept an old violin. But somehow I did not remember the relic – a relative had been ill lately, he helped to look after.
“Shortly before her death, she said to me:” Do not forget, there is an old violin on the mezzanine, so don’t throw it away by accident, because it is our family value! “, – said Kurnosov.
Yuri did not immediately look at the mezzanine. But, having found a violin in the case, he froze. Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, 1691.The lightest, almost airy tool. Stradivari violins in the world to be counted, to find another one is a sensation. And, of course, millions of dollars.
An expert was invited to confirm or refute the guesses. Having carefully examined the wood and varnish, the specialist delivered a verdict: this is not the 17th, but rather the 19th century. In addition, it became known where and by whom the violin was made. Another one was discovered under the signature of Stradivari.
“German masters and the place of production of this instrument – Mittenwald are written in small letters below,” said Larisa Kerchenko, an artist-restorer of bowed musical instruments.
Mittenwald is a small town in Bavaria, famous for violin makers since the 17th century. Spruce from local forests is an excellent material for violin. The expert immediately had a version: this copy was most likely made to order for a teenager or a woman. In the image and likeness of Stradivari violins, only slightly smaller in size. The find has already been reported to Germany. It is possible that there will be a continuation of the detective story – the names of the masters are known.
“Maybe there are some traces, there are descendants in Germany, and they would, of course, also be interested in holding the violin of their grandfather or great-grandfather in their hands,” Kurnosov shared.
Not only hold it, you can also listen – the instrument has been preserved perfectly and may well sound, but only after competent restoration, TV Center reports.
“It is necessary to restore the lost details here. There is no bow, stand, and headpiece inside. You need to stretch the strings and give the musician a try. I can assume that it will be a very beautiful instrument, and that it will probably sound beautiful, judging by its weight, by the way the violin is made, “added Kerchenko.
The owner of the relic, Yuri Kurnosov, is not a musician, but a writer. But the family has someone to play with. His son studied violin at the music school. And it is possible that three months after the restoration of the instrument, the voice of this violin will be heard in one of the famous concert halls.
Yulia Bogomanshina, Alexander Terentyev. “TV Center”.
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The device and structure of the violin
July 9, 2020
The violin is a wooden hollow bowed instrument with four strings.The structure of the violin is complex, and in addition to the main parts, body and neck, the structure of the violin includes many details, without which the musician could not produce sound.
Violin structure diagram
The body of the violin consists of the front and back parts (decks) and sides, which are made separately.
For the back of the violin, called the back, use a solid or glued piece of wood, most often maple wood.
The top is made from resonant spruce, the material that best conducts string vibration to the body. The top has two f-shaped cutouts. These cutouts are also referred to as f-holes and serve to further enhance the acoustic qualities of the cabinet. In addition, a special wooden stand called a spring is attached under the top deck. It is located under the G string, under the leg of the stand. The spring reinforces the structure of the housing and improves its acoustic properties.
The sides of the violin, called the shell, are made of maple. The higher the shell wall, the more voluminous the body becomes, which in turn affects the tone of the instrument. The larger the volume of the body, the thicker the timbre, and vice versa – the smaller the volume, the more piercing the sound will be.
There is also a built-in shower inside the body – a spacer that connects the upper and lower deck. The location of the soul is individual for each instrument – the location of its position greatly affects the sound of the violin, so only a master can rearrange it.
In addition, there are so-called corners on the body – according to them, the musician orients the position of the bow when playing.
The strings of the violin are attached to the neck, or tailpiece. Ancient instruments had a wooden tailpiece made of solid black or mahogany. Modern underpads are made of plastics and light metals. These tailpieces often have an additional tuning mechanism similar to that of a guitar.On the one hand, the neck has holes for the strings, and on the other, there is a special loop with which it is attached to the body of the violin.
The button on the bottom of the tool is designed just for attaching the pod with a loop. The neck is fixed on it on one side, and on the other it is held by stretched strings.
The strings of the violin are raised above the neck and body with a loose stand made of wood.The position of the stand varies and affects the sound of the instrument by changing the length of the vibration of the strings.
The neck of a violin is made from a single piece of hard wood, such as rosewood. The neck has a fingerboard, a neck and a twisted head on which a tuning mechanism is installed.
The fingerboard is made of ebony or other dense wood. The fretboard has no frets, so the notes played by the violinist require precise knowledge of their location.
There is a nut between the neck and its head, which raises and fixes the strings above the neck.
The headstock consists of a peg box and a neck for which the musician holds the instrument.
The violin pegs have an interesting wedge shape. They simply slide into the tuner box and do not have a gear mechanism like a guitar’s tuner. As the strings are pulled, the wedge tuners lock securely in place but still allow tuning.
The headstock ends with a decorative curl – a very recognizable part of the violin. This is where the violin maker demonstrates all his woodworking skills. Some masters stylize the curl in the form of a lion’s head or other sculpture.
Strings used to be made from natural veins, but today they are usually made from high carbon steel or synthetic materials. The violin has 4 strings tuned in fifths.The first string is tuned to the E of the second octave. The second is the La of the first octave, the third is the Re of the first octave, the fourth is the Salt of the minor octave.
Strings 2 and 3 are braided – aluminum, steel or nickel alloy, and string 4 – silver braided. The braid material affects the tone of the string. It is important to remember that strings are sized by size, and you need to choose a size appropriate for the size of the violin, as this affects the sound quality.
Violin Parts Arrangement and Accessories
Talking about the device of the violin, it is imperative to mention the accessories, without which violin playing will not be possible.We will list the main ones.
The typewriter is a mechanical string adjuster built into the neck of a modern violin. The typewriter greatly facilitates precise tuning of the tuning and is very fond of many musicians.
Mute is a wooden or rubber plug with two or three prongs. Such a mute-comb is inserted at the base of the strings, thereby preventing them from resonating strongly. Thus, the violin sounds much quieter, which is very useful for beginners who do not want to annoy their household with loud sounds.In addition, the mute is used as a visual medium in violin ensembles and orchestras.
The chin rest is a platform for the musician’s chin. It has several provisions that are adjusted for convenience reasons.
Bridge – for a more convenient positioning of the violin on the collarbone, a bridge was invented. This is a special metal, plastic or wooden platform with a pad on one side and a place for attaching a violin on the other.Cars, like violins, differ in size, but there are universal models that have a sliding mount.
Pickup – there is a special piezo pickup to connect the violin to sound-amplifying equipment, which is mounted either inside or outside the violin. This pickup picks up the vibration of the strings and converts them into an electrical signal.
The bow is the main violin accessory; it is with the help of it that sound is produced.Bows, like violins, are sized.
Violin bow device
Violin bow device
The bow is a wooden cane, one end of which has a head, and the other – a block, and a horsehair is stretched between them.
The block has a screw to adjust the tension of the hair.
Hair can be natural horse or artificial.He must be rubbed with rosin before each game. The quality of the hair and rosin determines the sound of the violin. For example, black horsehair has a coarser structure and is sometimes used on cheap bows. For a violin, white hair is more suitable, with its help you can extract a more delicate violin sound.
Number of impressions: 2603 90,019 90,000 Violin passport | MuzRuk.net
Group: bowed string instruments
Homeland: Italy, late 15th-early 16th century
Provenance: bow with a stretched string – multi-stringed bow viola
Timbre: melodious, gentle, similar to the quivering human voice
Sound production: bow along the strings
Virtuosos: N.Paganini and others
Device: The body is very elegant: with smooth curves, with a thin “waist”. A neck is attached to the body and ends in a curl. In front of the curl in the groove there are holes into which the pegs are inserted. They pull the strings. The bow consists of a cane on which a horsehair is pulled.
This is interesting!
The violin is called the “Queen of the Orchestra”.
The famous violinist Paganini was accused of witchcraft, because in those days when he lived – in the first half of the 19th century, it was not believed that an ordinary person himself, without the help of military force, could play the violin so splendidly.
Green Grasshopper Playing Violin,
Butterflies, birds and fish were heard.
Let the first violin be presented to me too,
Where the ringing secret is in every string.
I will study, and next summer
I’ll play a duet with a grasshopper.
“Night violin” In the ancient castle until the morning, the gray-haired Earl played the violin, Forgetting to shake off a smile From his bloodless mouth.Lost in the white haze Sounds froze in the frost, And he wrote the words of parting Hoarfrost with his finger on the glass. A forgotten polonaise The old violin was playing, And in the trumpet wept wearily Either the wind, or the devil. A crumpled blanket underfoot, Like a defeated banner. The candle flame trembles a little, Wax staining the parquet. And the old man drew his bow. And rosin pollen Attacking horses Pranced over the table. Here in the old days With a young lady Potocka Chirping a cornet in Polish About amorous affairs. The Polonaise was quiet. In the corner Under the pieces of plaster On the last round of the mazurka, the Fly clung to the spider.
Smooth movements bow
Throw strings in awe.
Motive murmurs from afar,
Sings about a moonlit evening.
How clear is the overflow of sounds,
There is joy and a smile in them.
A dreamy tune sounds,
Its name … (violin)
In a symphony orchestra, her voice is the most important,
The most gentle and melodious, if you use the bow smoothly.
A tremulous, high-pitched voice we recognize without error.
Name, guys, a magic instrument … violin
As if a girl was singing,
And it seemed to brighten in the hall.
Slides the melody so flexibly.
Everything is quiet: playing … (Violin)
Violin on canvases
Mihai Kovacs. Angels playing
By its origin, the violin is a folk instrument. It is still widely used in folk instrumental music in many countries of the world.The same is evidenced by ancient scientific treatises, memoirs and other books of the 16th-17th centuries, where the violin as a folk instrument is opposed to the viola, which was prevalent mainly among the “privileged” strata of European society. The French musician Philibert, nicknamed the Iron Leg, wrote in 1656: “We call violas those instruments for which noblemen, merchants and other worthy people spend their time … another kind is called a violin … you meet few people who use it, except those, who live by their own labor … it is used for dancing at weddings, masquerades. “
John Lewis Krimmel Blind Fiddler (after David Wilkie) 1812
The violin was the favorite instrument of itinerant musicians. They went with her from city to city, from one village to another, taking part in folk festivals, playing at fairs, in taverns and taverns, at weddings and funerals. The violin was so long a “grassroots” instrument that even a disdainful attitude was established towards it. Un violon was often used by the French as a contemptuous term, a nickname for a worthless person, an eccentric, and even as a curse.”Sentir le violon” (“smells like a violin”) meant to become poor, to become miserable. Professor BA Struve wrote: “The word” violon “here completely loses its musical meaning and becomes synonymous with a person rejected by society.” In the memoirs of Oxford University professor Anthony Wood, it is said that members of musical assemblies “regarded the violin as an instrument of the common folk fiedler and could not bear its presence in their midst for fear of making their assemblies empty and vulgar.”
The violin was born around the end of the 15th century as a result of a long, centuries-old evolution of the bowed instruments that preceded it.The most ancient of them was fidel or viela (in Germanic countries the first name was used, in Romanesque – the second). It is possible that the Old Russian “closure” also belonged to the fidel type instruments. In its most “classical” form, a fidel (viela) was an instrument with a guitar-like body, a plank flat head and perpendicular to it tuners; it had two resonator holes in the form of brackets, and sometimes four additional holes in the corners of the top deck.The fidel (viele) was played in the Middle Ages by German minnesingers and French jugglers – minstrels, who were in the service of the troubadour poets, walked through cities and feudal castles, singing songs. Viela is often mentioned in medieval songs, poems, and poems. In one of the songs of the famous poet and musician of the XII century, Colin Muse, it is sung: I walked to the meadow, I took off the viela and bow And sang the musetta. Viela enjoyed popularity in all strata of society – both among the people and in court circles, in churches and monasteries.The German poet at the court of the Czech king Wenceslas II, Ulrich Eschenbach, sang the viela in the following heartfelt verses:
Of all that I have heard so far, Worthy of viela only praise; It is useful for everyone to listen to it. If your heart is wounded, then this torment will be healed From the gentle sweetness of the sound.
And if the viola constituted, as it were, an “aristocratic” branch of the European bowed instruments, then the violin arose as its “plebeian” branch. Stefan Mallarmé wrote about the viola: In his labors he fell asleep with the viola, a seraphim And weeps quietly in the silence of flowers.The moon is sad. Bow – graceful mime – One viola is ready to revive. In the origin and formation of the violin, one of the most widespread bowed folk instruments in the Middle Ages, the rebeck, also played a role. Rebecque comes from the ancient Arab instrument rebab, which the Moors brought to Spain in the 8th century during their conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. Rebeks are close to the so-called “Polish violins” – huts – three-stringed bowed instruments of Polish folk musicians.
Later, the viola throughout Europe yielded its dominant position to the violin, but not without a struggle, which often acquired a clearly tangible social connotation.Especially the social meaning of the struggle came to light in France. In 1740, at the time of the decline of the art of violin, one of the representatives of the aristocratic culture Hubert Le Blanc published a treatise with a characteristic title: “In Defense of the Bass Viola Against the Encroachments of the Violin and the Claims of the Cello.” “The monarchs and princes of France,” he writes, “judged fairly in favor of the viola, giving her a place in her study, in her room, near their august person, while they still left the violin in the lobby or sent it to the stairs, a place feline love scenes, where the latter are treated to their charming music, and the violins are right there with theirs ”.It is curious that in France the violin was first admitted to the “Stable Ensemble”. This ensemble existed in the late 16th and early 17th centuries and was intended to serve royal trips, hunts, picnics. Then, at the French court, the ensemble “Twenty-four violins of the king” was created, the functions of which included, again, mainly playing during dinners, at balls, in the morning, “when the king got up”. Violinists have long been in the position of lackeys. It was in such an environment that the violin began its “academic” life.
ITALY OR POLAND – THE HOMELAND OF THE VIOLIN? (Two versions about the homeland of the violin)
As in the famous song “Vologda Argues and Kostroma Argues”, musicologists are still arguing about where they first began to make violins. Let’s “listen” to both points of view, especially since I have collected a good collection of paintings by Italian and Polish artists.
Craftsmen from Milan.
As you know, from the 17th century the viola began to give way to the violin – first in Italy and the Czech Republic, then in Germany, and finally in France and England.The viola lingered the longest in the last two of these countries, and in France it even survived until the middle of the 18th century. The first indisputable evidence of the appearance of a violin and instruments of the violin family in Italy at the beginning of the 16th century is confirmed by paintings and frescoes by the Italian artist G. Ferrari (1480-1546), in various churches near Milan. The earliest of these paintings is La Madonna degli aranci (Madonna of the orange trees) in the church of St. Christopher in Vercelli, where Ferrari lived from 1529 to 1536, was painted around 1529-30.It depicts a child’s play on one of these early violins with a primitive outline and three strings. Another Ferrari painting at the Sacro Monte (Sacred Mountain) in Varallo depicts an angel playing the violin.
Gaudenzio Ferrari Madonna of the Orange Trees Church of St. Christopher in Vercelli Gerrit Doe. Violinist Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin. A young man with a violin
The violin has been a solo instrument since the 17th century. The first works for violin are considered: “Romanesca per violino solo e basso” by Marini from Brescia (1620) and “Capriccio stravagante” by his contemporary Farin.The art of violin was also greatly influenced by the art of singing, it is a fact that up to the 19th century, violin masters of France, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Tyrol and Austria created their instruments, imitating the national art of singing. For example, violins by French masters repeated the slightly nasal pronunciation of French chansonniers, Tyrolean violins had the characteristics of Tyrolean folk singing, German violins were close in their sound to a boy’s treble, since boys’ choirs in Germany are a national art form, etc.A. Corelli is considered the founder of artistic violin playing; followed by Torelli, Tartini, Pietro Locatelli (1693-1764), a student of Corelli, who developed the bravura technique of violin playing.
Giovanni Battista Lutheri Dossi. Apollo Michelangelo Merisi de Caravaggio. Rest on the flight to Egypt Guido Reni. Saint Cecilia Giovanni Bellini Violin. Detail of the altar of the Church of St. Zacharias, Venice
Violins of the Slavs. Art critics are considering the question of the origins of the violin from the Slavic countries. Many facts point to the early development of bowed instruments in Poland, Russia and Ukraine.This is evidenced by both iconographic material and archaeological excavations. For example, in Opole and Gdansk, stringed instruments dating back to the 11th-13th centuries were discovered: a two-stringed instrument similar to a pochette (pocket violin), and a five-stringed instrument, almost twice as large in size; they were made from linden, a tree used to make tableware.
Jan Kupiecki Youth with a Violin
The ancient Polish bowed instruments include three-stringed gensle and huts, the body of which was hollowed out from a whole piece of wood.The name “mazanka” (mazanka) comes from the ancient Polish word “mazanya” – which means to pull the bow along the strings. Ancient huts had a small pear-shaped dugout body, a peg box and a fretboard without frets. They were tuned in fifths and had a tuning higher than modern violins. For the first time, mud huts began to be made at the beginning of the 15th century, which brings them closer to the Russian folk instruments of buffoons, known to us, in particular, from the fresco of the church in Meletov and excavations in Novgorod. Another type of ancient Slavic bowed instruments belonged to the three- and four-stringed gensle (Poland) and “smyk” (Russia).In size, they were larger than a hut, with an oval body, without frets and were also held by the performer on the shoulder.
Vincent Vodzinovsky Reapers on vacation Zhibinov Alexey Petrovich. The Silent Violin by Edgar Degas. Violinist and girl Edgar Degas. ViolinistMarc Chagall. Violinist
James Tissot. BravoFritz Sonderland. Music lesson.
Eduard Charlemont. Music lessonPetrov-Vodkin Kuzma Sergeevich. Violin by Vladimir Olenberg. Singing lesson for Ginger Adolphe William Bouguereau.Far From Home Edward John Poynter. Music by Berthe Morisot. Music lesson
Passports of other instruments here. “Passport of the violin” file for printing – here.