August 2, 2008 at 12:18 AMRachel Barton-Pine has me thinking about "funky fiddles."
She mentioned quite a few of them in her interview with Violinist.com this week; in fact she said she aspires to own every kind of stringed instrument played with a bow and held with the arm.
I did a little research, and er, Rachel, this goal might involve a bit of travel and also some serious dinero. Check it out! I'm not even beginning to list them all, but I did compile a list of links to inform you about a few of the most "common" such instruments, just in case you see a few unfamiliar names in here:
BTW making that list of links made me completely bug-eyed, even if most of them come from wikipedia...=8-I
What I'm asking, here is: have you ever in your life encountered any of these instruments in any way? Have you played one? Heard one? Did you pick one up in your travels and now have it in your studio or on your wall? Is one of these instruments part of your family? And if you say yes, please tell us below what this instrument sounds like, where you got it, what it means to you, what makes it interesting, etc.
I have my hands full practicing my regular fiddle...
Book 4 Suzuki training is intense. We're just now learning about all the new editions and the errors in many of the older versions.
Viola da gambas are cool. the closest I ever got to seeing one was a brocheure for a viola da gamba concert.
I own an Oktav-Geige, the last one ever made by Johann Reiter of Mittenwald (and assembled for me in 1969 several yeras after Reiter's death by Erich Sandner, who took over Reiter's shop after his death). I have either no. 103/103 or 104/104. Whether it is 103 or 104, it is the last one ever made. The body is shaped like a cello, but it is the size of a 17" viola, and played under the chin (but without a regular chinrest, just a very narrow and thin ebony strip of a chinrest to keep you from damaging the belly of the instrument with one's beard and body oils. When struing with Oktav-Geige strings (from Otto Infeld, and tuned an octave below the violin), it sounds like a cello. Some people string them with fractional-sized cello strings and tune it like a cello, some string it with regular viola strings and play it like a viols. Because of its larger sound box, it sounds quite nice as a viola (perhaps better than a viola, again owing to the size of the resonating chamber). I keep mine tuned as an Oktav-Geige G2 D3 A3 E4. I usually play it with a cello bow, sometimes my viola bow. I love the deep cello-like resonance.
One time, a Chinese chamber ensemble came to Austin and I figured it was the chance of a lifetime to have an expert look at my erhu so I brought it with me. After the concert they let people come up on stage and look at the instruments and ask questions and such, so I asked the erhu player to look at my erhu. She asked me how much it cost. "Twelve bucks," I said. She looked real skeptical, but she started playing it and it really sounded nice when she played it.
Last semester at college I had the opportunity to pick up the soprano viol da gamba and I played in a quartet with two of my classmates and the guitar professor. I learned how to tie frets, too. That was fun. When one of the gut strings breaks, you save it for fret material and after you tie the knot you have to burn the ends off. Mmmm... burning sheep gut... wonderful aroma... :)
I asked what the difference was between the two instruments. They looked identical to me but have different names.
I think one is the Chinese name and the other is the Korean name for the same thing. There also was some explanation about gut, metal, or synthetic strings being a part of the different names.
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