The legendary Jascha Heifetz famously told his students that it didn't really matter what kind of rosin one uses on the bow.
At least that's the lore here in Southern California, where the great violinist lived for he latter part of his days and taught at the University of Southern California. He apparently had an old cake of Hill.
I can't figure out if he really meant it, or if it was his way of saying, "Stop obsessing over what kind of rosin I use; if you want to play like me, practice!"
At this point I have three different kinds of rosin in my case: Melos, Andrea and Bernardel. In other cases I have an ancient cake of Tartini (do they make that any more?) and some clear Magic Rosin, through which I could see a cute frog on the day I bought it but never thereafter. In contrast to the careful instructions of rosin-makers who warn against using more than one type, I switch around every few days, depending on what it seems the bow wants, in terms of sticky rosin or not. Lately I've been curious about the Leatherwood Bespoke rosin - there's something sort of romantic about the idea of choosing what kind of sap will go into my rosin and having it made for me. Would it work miracles?
Very young students tend to need their rosin encased in wood, to reduce the chances of either dropping it or of rubbing off the rosin with the cloth around it, while trying to rub it on.
Rosin can last for decades, if you don't break it. Once you drop it onto a hard floor, it can shatter like glass. It's best to just chuck it at this point. If you put the compromised cake back in your case, it will continue to produce tiny rosin crumbs that spread everywhere as it rattles around in the case. A number of people are allergic to rosin and require the hypoallergenic variety -- I'm glad this now exists.
What is your experience with rosin? Does it matter what kind of rosin you use? What is your favorite rosin these days? What qualities do you look for?
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