All violins being sold are described as having a good sound upwards to wonderful, depending on the price of the instrument.
I am reminded of 2 quotes, one of Heifetz, renowned for his sarcasm, who on being told that his violin had a wonderful sound by a gushing admirer,said to the violin "Hear that, you have a wonderful sound"
The other is attributed to Charles Beare,
"Violin tone is 80% the player 10% the violin and 10% the setup"
It is stating the obvious that a violin has no sound whatever, it exists in total silence, so saying that it has a tone is nonsensical, yet we all do this.
I have had a long performing career and played on many fine violins in my day and it is obvious now that many players are searching for a moving target, convinced that the right violin is around the corner and will enable them to fulfil their dream as player. The same often applies to the right teacher.
I am not claiming that all violins sound the same, that would be stupid, some have a good solo sound which does not blend with other instruments in say a quartet, and some are clearly just rubbish, but in a good instrument that is well set up you are listening to the player. The recordings of soloists playing different violins during their long careers bear this out. Of course they play on violins worth millions, however there is little perceptible difference in the sound and you would have to be an idiot to say that the violin had the tone.
Tone is very subjective and an instrument is like a partner. What can be beautiful can suddenly seem drab and ordinary on trying another violin. It is often an illusion and can be an expensive mistake.
Giving a violin a rest is a good idea and as the saying goes "makes the heart get fonder"
In conclusion it seems an obvious truth that the market is manipulated by dealers who get rich both on the antique value of the instruments and the hype which goes with it. We are also affected by the publicity of soloists and wanabees who shamelessly ride on the fame of their instruments.
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.