August 4, 2012 at 4:43 AMOur instruments can be like good friends or relatives to us, and certainly we tend to personify them.
"My violin is feeling temperamental today," for example, or, "I think my fiddle is unhappy with me today." Hilary Hahn even has a violin case that Tweets, but that might be an extreme example.
In fact, many of us name our violins, as was revealed in a recent V.com discussion.
Personally, maybe I'm strange, but I've never had a name that stuck to my fiddle. Other people have tried to name my violin for me, and occasionally I've thought about giving it a name, but it never quite feels right. Sometimes we call my fiddle "José" because we don't know which Gagliano brother made it, though someone said it looks like a "Joseph Gagliano." Hmmm. It still doesn't feel like a real name!
I have a feeling that if my violin wants a name, it will let me know. ;)
So have you named your violin? I'm not talking about the name pasted on the inside, I'm talking about a personal name you have for it (though those two things might be the same!) And please do share the name in the comments below, and tell the story behind the name!
Even though I'm very attached to it (yes it's a student violin, but it's my student violin), I can't help but think naming would affect how I approached it. For example, if I gave it a goofy name, maybe I would be priming myself to not play particularly seriously.
Or a feminine name might lead me to play *her* more delicately or something. A manly name might prime me to play *him* in a bolder way.
It's probably irrational, but I like *feeling* that I'm not limiting my expression by ascribing a name to it.
Mine have names -- the ones the original luthiers put inside -- and these are the names I know them by; but according to the voting rules, these don't count.
Has anyone else noticed, in the above-referenced thread, that it's mostly the ladies who give their instruments names? I just did a tally. The ladies win decidedly -- 16 to 5 at this writing -- a ratio of slightly over 3:1.
In our kids' studios however there are violins and cellos that are passed (resold) from one child to another as they are outgrown, and I prefer to use "ex" to designate these: The Ex-Liz or the Ex-Daniel, especially if Liz or Daniel (names I made up just to make a point) enjoyed significant musical growth with them. My daughter played the "Ex-Liz" for a year and then I sold it to another family in the studio, and I was rather disappointed when they moved overseas suddenly afterward, but that's the way it goes. The violin is closer now to its country of origin anyway. :)
later addition: my daughter wants me to say that her trumpet is Gulliver and my son's favorite guitar is The Lady.
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