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The Weekend Vote

V.com weekend vote: Have you ever forgotten your fiddle somewhere?

April 26, 2008 at 6:04 AM

Can you believe the guy in Newark who left his borrowed, $4 million Strad in a taxi? Or how about the one in the United Kingdom, who left his £180,000 Goffriller violin and Sartory bow on a train? Not to mention the Toronto Symphony violinist who accidentally left his modern fiddle at a streetcar stop.

I mean, don't these people care about their instruments? What's wrong with them? Can you believe it?

Actually, yes, I can believe it. Easily. What's wrong with them? It's the same thing that's wrong with all of us: we're human.

People leave valuable violins and cellos in public places, it happens. It's just that more often, one discovers the problem -- and is able to find the fiddle -- before having to enlist the police or local newspaper to help.

When you carry a violin or other instrument with you constantly, it becomes part of your everyday baggage, like a purse or briefcase. Have you ever left your purse, backpack or briefcase somewhere? Probably not often, but quite likely, it has happened during your life.

For me, I have several times nearly forgotten my fiddle at a restaurant, so I'm always putting myself and whomever is with me on guard. You can see how it happens: I stash the violin somewhere under the table or beside it, then I proceed to get involved with my meal, to talk with my companions, to forget myself, and well, to forget my fiddle! The few times it has happened, I've remembered it when I got to the door, or just outside it, but I felt the pang of sheer terror nonetheless.

Have you ever forgotten your fiddle somewhere? And if so, where? Share your story!


If you answered "yes" to the above question, let's talk about where you left it:


From Manuel B. Jiménez
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 7:37 AM
If I´m not wrong, some famous soloists have forgotten his violin: Boris Belkin, Pierre Amoyal, Gidon Kremer,...
From Vaughan Jones
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 9:23 AM
I've left it in the pub loads of times, thankfully always remembered just as I got outside.

A friend also left his french horn on a London underground platform, he got on the train and noticed it still sitting there as the train was pulling away from the station. He got off at the next stop and hurriedly got on the next train back, only to hear a security announcement that the train would not be stopping there because of "a suspicious looking unattended package"..... as the train sped through the station he saw his French horn surrounded by police, cones etc and the whole area being evacuated because it might be a bomb. Luckily he got the instrument back before they conducted a controlled explosion.

From Michelle Diehl
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 10:46 AM
I left my violin on the top of my car. I set it there because I was carrying a few extra things and couldn't get to my car keys to unlock the car door. Thankfully, I only drove as far as the exit of the parking lot before I realized my mistake.
From Rick Savadow
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 2:09 PM
I remember that Yo Yo Ma famously left his (Strad?) cello in the trunk of a NYC cab some years ago.
I, not so famously, left my Guarneri (cheap factory made copy that I love anyway) on the luggage rack of a commuter train. It took me 4 days to get it back from the station it went to.
Since then I keep it with me, especially if its the only thing I put up there.
From Patricia Baser
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 2:39 PM
Well, I once sat my violin down next to my car as I loaded all of my teaching materials into the back seat. I was at the first school of my daily routine of traveling to several buildings each day, and I was often operating on only a few hours of sleep (my daughers were a toddler and a baby at the time). I forgot to out my violin into the car and began backing up. I heard a crunch and my first thought was "this part of the parking lot isn't gravel". My next thought was not printable. So, after a few more unprintable thoughts, I got out, saw the skid marks on my case, opened it up and saw I had broken the neck of my violin. $1100 later (all but $100 covered by insurance), my violin had a new neck and actually was set up better than ever. Did I plan to do it? Of course not. But sometimes people are so used to a routine and/or are dealing with many stressors and they just do something stupid.
From Donna Clegg
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 3:24 PM
Left my violin at my brother's house where I had gone to visit and attend a fiddler's convention. Had a upcoming concert, so he graciously drove 2 hours to meet me half way and return my fiddle.
From Bruce Bodden
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 5:32 PM
Restaurant - remembered after walking only 1/2 block.
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 5:31 PM
I used to own a humble cabin in a beautiful rural area. One weekend I brought my fiddle with me to the cabin because I had a gig at a festival. On leaving the cabin Sunday around noon, I packed my personal things and loaded them into the car first. I left my fiddle where I could see it clearly when I made my final trip to the car. After I had driven for about an hour and a half, I put my right hand behind me to touch my fiddle case and be sure it was safe, but there was nothing there. I pulled off the road and considered what to do. I didn't have time to go back and get my fiddle and still make it on time to my gig. I really wanted to go to the festival, and I hoped I could borrow someone's fiddle to play the gig. Fortunately, I was right on both counts. Yay! After the festival I drove back to my cabin to pick up my violin and bring it home. During this extra step in my journey, I watched a beautiful sunset behind the mountains. In this case, forgetting my fiddle was not bad at all.
From Carrie Salisbury
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 6:04 PM
This story is my testimonial about the truthfulness of the BAM viola case. It was one of those days, you know? Teaching and working all day, had to bring home extra passengers AND groceries in the car, which meant that my viola was de-moted to the trunk (something I never do!). Well, in my haste to get all of my visitors into the house, I popped the trunk, then ran to unlock the door. I never went back outside for the viola. And it rained. All. Night. The next morning I looked out the kitchen window and saw the trunk of the car (still popped up) and I ran, streaking out the door barefoot and in my pajamas. The case was soaked and all of the music in the outside pocket ruined. The viola on the inside? Dry as a bone. Thank you BAM.
From Richard Hellinger
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 8:56 PM
I have never forgotten my violin, but I forgot to put my bow in my case once and left it on the stand..
From Jennifer Leong
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 8:57 PM
At the music camp I go to, we have a big concert on Saturday night. Because the performers make up a large portion of the audience and people are going in and out throughout the concert, all instrument cases are left in a hallway. A few years ago, I left my violin behind and didn't notice until the next morning. The funny thing was, I left the concert with a friend, we both had an armload of stuff, and she had to run back for her violin because she forgot it. You would think I would have noticed that I didn't have my violin at that point, but no (I can't remember if I was high from the concert or if I had partying on my mind). Subconsciously I may have been trying to lose it because an opportunity had just arisen to buy the violin I now have. (The next morning my old violin was right where I'd left it, and I sold it when I got my new violin.)
From Laurie Niles
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 9:30 PM
Oh my gosh, Vaughan, that story about the underground had me rolling!

I'm glad your violin survived the rain, Carrie. Whew!

From Laurie Niles
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 9:34 PM
Pauline sent me the link to the story about Yo-Yo Ma leaving his Strad cello in the trunk of a cab! Thanks Pauline!
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 10:19 PM
At the bottom of the article there's an editor's correction that says it was a Montagnana, not a Strad. If you want readers, call it a Strad for awhile!

I've never forgotten one anyplace but there are times I wish I had.

From Yixi Zhang
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 11:00 PM
I once forgot that the violin was carried on my own back right after some shopping and an ice cream.
From Karen Sternkopf
Posted on April 26, 2008 at 11:23 PM
I haven't left my violin anywhere, but have almost left my bow a number of times at rehearsals and gigs. I am so terrified of losing it, that when I am out with it (restaurant etc.), I loop the carrying strap around my foot, like I do my purse. If I forget it, I remember quickly as I almost trip while getting up to leave!
Also, while driving with it, it is seatbelted to the seat because for somde reason, my insurance won't pay for damages if I don't.
From Ray Randall
Posted on April 27, 2008 at 12:39 AM
A concert violinist friend left his in a restaurant, got an hour away when the brain cells kicked in. He said he set a speed record going back and it was right where he left it. That can happen to any one of us any time.
From Bonny Buckley
Posted on April 27, 2008 at 3:04 AM
Amazingly I have never forgotten my violin anywhere. I have, however, forgotten just about anything and everything else, including one time I left my passport at home when I was going to leave from Shanghai to the US! Fortunately I was spending the night in Shangers and was able to connect with a friend who was travelling to Shanghai who was able to get it and bring it to me.
From Emily Grossman
Posted on April 27, 2008 at 7:39 AM
I leave mine at the coffee shop on occasion, but since that's my second home, the workers (my friends) catch it and save it in the back for me until I return.

The worst thing I ever did to a violin was forget it in the car while traveling through North Dakota. I shudder when I think of how safe and warm I was in the hotel while temperatures reached -30 that night.

From Bob Reese
Posted on April 27, 2008 at 4:06 PM
I am generally very, very protective of my violin and am always very conscious of where it is when I am out for a performance or anytime I have it in public. Having said this, I do recall one instance a number of years ago when it was an especially hectic day, and I had driven to my instructor's house, some 40 miles away, for a lesson only to look in the backseat of my car to take out my violin case and find that it wasn't there. It was sitting back at home exactly where I had left it!!!
From Hannah Wright
Posted on April 27, 2008 at 10:10 PM
i've not really left my violin anywhere, but once I forgot to bring it home from my locker and I didn't get to practice that day!
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on April 28, 2008 at 12:04 AM
I checked "no," and then today I still didn't forget my violin, but I forgot some personal music in a folder at a concert this afternoon! I went back and looked for it but it was apparently too late. Ugh.
From Scott Hiner
Posted on April 28, 2008 at 1:12 PM
Not a violin story here (I didn't play in my younger years, but picked it up as an adult and music teacher), but one of a cheapo Stratocaster copy Squier guitar. I used to keep it in a bass guitar case, which is about 8 inches longer than the guitar was. And thank God for that. I played in jazz band in high school, and we were going on a runout concert. We were carpooling in some parent minivans, and I put my guitar behind Ms. Acevedo's van and went inside to get some more gear. As I was walking back out, I heard a crunch, and saw Ms. Acevedo screech to a halt, having been backing up. I dropped whatever it was I was carrying (hope it wasn't too fragile!) and ran over. The top of the case had completely collapsed under the rear wheel. I opened the case... not a scratch. The van had run over the eight inches of empty space and just missed the headstock of the guitar.

In college, I hocked the guitar. I kinda miss that old piece of junk.

From Dottie Goldfarb
Posted on April 28, 2008 at 5:27 PM
2 stupid things that I did: My daughter dropped me off at the airport on the way to a chamber music workshop and drove off with my violin still in the car. She lived 30 minutes from the airport. My friend and I missed our plane but got there on time. 2nd stupid thing I did was at the same workshop went on stage with my quartet and left my violin backstage, said "whoops, I forgot something, went back to get it and came back to a round of applause which I bowed to.
From Oliver Bedford
Posted on April 28, 2008 at 7:20 PM
No, but I was once running down the street with a 200-year old violin when the lid of the case flew open and the violin bounced up and down on the road. Almost miraculously the only damage was a slight scrunch on the bottom edge!
From Oliver Bedford
Posted on April 28, 2008 at 7:27 PM
ps I meant the lower top edge!

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