Written by The Weekend Vote
Published: June 26, 2015 at 4:45 PM [UTC]
Attitudes are evolving, when it comes to modern vs. old violins, and this week's article by Barton Samuel Rotberg gives us more food for thought. How important is it that a violin be loud; is volume more important than quality? And so what if the sound "under our ears" is not quite the same as what the audience hears -- it's still a very important element that matters a great deal.
And of course, all violins are different, and we each have our own experiences with the quality of instruments that we come across. What is your current thinking on this issue? Do you prefer old violins (100 years or older) or moderns? Or can you honestly say that you feel equally about the two? And tell us why, and if your mind has changed about the issue.
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That being the case I do not want to deal with the care and feeding of a mature concert instrument. Plus it would be wasted on me.
Two of my fiddles are from the 1800s. The third is from 1921. My penchant for older instruments undoubtedly goes back to the first lesson with my first teacher. Hers was a 150-year-old hand-made Czech instrument that had belonged to her uncle, an accomplished player. I loved the dark look and sound of it and sought out these characteristics some years later in the 4/4-size instruments I tried out.
Still, one instrument alone won't give me all I'm looking for, so I divide my time among the three I have. The 1921 fiddle has what I'd call a warm-bright sound that I prefer for more modern repertoire, but some older fiddles have this sound, too. So, old or modern, I'm happy to play on whatever best helps me get the sound I aim for at the time.
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