May 12, 2007 at 8:35 PMI bought the Doetsch viola! The Eastman was growing on me during the week, it sounded especially nice with the Prelude from Bach suite #2, but I decided still, in the end, that I wanted the Doetsch. It has a smooth, lovely sound that I don't seem to ever get tired of. Every time I put it back in the case, it was with regret.
And I played the Prelude from Suite #1 the best I ever have on my new instrument, especially the ending chord. I have an unfortunate tendency to land on chords sometimes and make them harsh, but this one sounded sweet, singing. The Telemann viola concerto also sounds wonderful on this instrument. Yes, a good instrument makes you a better player.
Still, it never really stops, you can always get something better. I just finished reading the article that Al posted about the teenage girl with a $115K violin whose parents are sacrificing virtually everything for her and her sister's music education. For some weird reason, that makes me feel better about spending a bit under $2K for my viola. At least it's paid for, and so is the house I'm practicing it in.
I think we’ll always go through stages that we hate the sound of our violin or viola and think that we’ve outgrown it. The notion of outgrow is not always clear though. The day before yesterday I had a rehearsal with the accompanist, who is really well-known in Canada (frequently on national radio and TV). Before and after the rehearsal, I felt strongly that my $1,500 strad copy wasn’t good enough. I expressed this to my teacher casually afterwards. She wisely offered me to try her violin, which always sounds very smooth and sweet when she plays. I also tried her bow on her violin, well, I didn’t like it any better than mine. So I asked her to play my violin, first with my bow and then with hers. Yes, you might have guessed, I didn’t know my violin sounded beautiful!
What I’ve learned from this is that, since it is very subject when it comes to choose a violin, the subjectivity should be affected by my shaky state of mind and technical immaturity. If I start to hate the sound of my violin again, I will have my teacher or a much better violinist to play it before spending more money on another one.
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