How many violinists?

July 18, 2008 at 10:55 PM · How many violinists are there in the world? By violinist I mean anyone who regularly practices or takes lessons on the violin, of any age or level.

Replies (33)

July 18, 2008 at 10:59 PM · What?

July 19, 2008 at 12:18 AM · The answer is based on a very complicated regression equation with inputs of # of wars involving at least 5 rifles, birthrate, deathrate, age, religion, worldwide temperature and # of television sets.

Years of study with no funding means that dropout graduate students have been working on the equation for years. ;)

July 19, 2008 at 01:33 AM · Too many.

July 19, 2008 at 07:53 AM · most of them are so nuts they are off the planet, thus nullifying the original question,

Cheers,

Buri

July 19, 2008 at 12:27 PM · And how many violinists does it take to change a light bulb?

July 19, 2008 at 01:25 PM · How many violinists does it take to change a lightbulb, you ask?

The answer is two - one to change the bulb, and one to tune up the ladder.

July 19, 2008 at 02:31 PM · Less than guitarists and more than accordionists., and two of them are in my family.

July 19, 2008 at 03:19 PM · How many violinists does it take to change a lightbulb, you ask?

The answer is two - one to change the bulb, and one to tune up the ladder.

?! I thought it was one first violinist, they hold the bulb and the world revolves around them? :)

July 19, 2008 at 03:42 PM · If the violinist is any good (no personal experience in that area), they just play some Shostakovich and the lightbulb goes on all by itself!

July 19, 2008 at 05:12 PM · Oh. I thought that when a violinist walks into a room, the light bulbs go out.

How many violinists are there in the world? Answer: Take the number of conductors and multiply by 43. (It should be 44, but one is always sick or playing another concert somewhere.)

OK, so it takes 2 violinists to change a lightbulb - one to turn the bulb, and the other to take it from the top.

PS. What fingering do you use when you change a lightbulb?

PPS. For those violinists who are entirely un-mechanical, screwing in a lightbulb is just like tuning the pegs. (Actually, screwing in a lightbulb is very difficult, because it's hard to get two people squeezed inside it.)

Reminds me of the anecdote about Sir Thomas Beecham, who was rehearsing an opera in which the bass sings his aria and dies, and then the soprano enters with her aria. At this rehearsal, the soprano kept coming in late. Beecham repeated this many times, but the soprano still kept coming in late.

Finally, exasperated, Beecham said to her, "I don't understand. Here, Mr. Chaliapin dies so beautifully, and YOU come in late."

"It's not my fault," said the soprano, "He dies too soon."

"My dear," said Beecham, "NO opera singer ever dies too soon."

:) Sandy

July 19, 2008 at 06:43 PM · I remember hearing somewhere that 90% of the population of Israel has at least some basic training on the violin. Might be an urban myth, but I hope it's true--that would be effing SWEET.

July 19, 2008 at 06:50 PM · Now that I think of it, in my work as a career counselor, I always ask my clients if they have ever had training on a musical instrument. Most of them have, and I'd say maybe 20% have had at least a few violin lessons.

July 19, 2008 at 10:38 PM · I hope that you're not telling us that violinists are overrepresented as clients of career counselors. ;-)

July 20, 2008 at 09:47 AM · Wow Mara 90% is a huge exaggeration at best. I'd say 20% is a good conservative guess at most. Maybe 50% have some training on piano or something.

July 20, 2008 at 03:16 PM · Apparently not enough (violinists) to warrant the decline of shabby violin manufacture in all parts of the world....A more ponderous question would be: How many violins are there in the world, including those whipped-up this afternoon ?

July 20, 2008 at 08:26 PM · My guess is that violinists make up maybe one percent of the human population at best. But here little known fact: The egos of all the world's violinists, taken together, could inflate a large balloon to the size of the entire universe. (You'd need a stretchy, durable balloon for this experiment).

July 20, 2008 at 10:10 PM · Bill: How did you know that I specialize in counseling violinists? They all have the same problem: their superego needs tuning up.

And Laurie: I think that you have to have a big, big ego to have the nerve to get up in front of a group of people (especially the critical ones) and have the temerity to presume to know what Bach had in mind and how he wanted the music to sound, and then to actually play it (with no re-takes). This is especially a problem if you're playing Beethoven.

So, if you take the size of the ego of the typical violinist and multiply by 300, it's still well below the ego of the typical presidential candidate.

:) Sandy

July 21, 2008 at 05:25 AM · Sandy, what is the exact scientific ratio we're talking about, here? Two presidential candidate egos=Universe? Or only about a Galaxy?

July 21, 2008 at 02:57 PM · This is brilliant. Didn't think about adding presidential candidates to the worldwide violinist number regression equation. ;)

This could be a terrific new finding! ;)

I will be happy to pass along contributions from any interested potential funders and angel investors. If you email me I will give you a PO Box. When you send the money, please be sure to send it in a large box so that it can contain a lot of money.

July 22, 2008 at 10:45 PM · sandy: no retakes? ever? in bach OR beethoven?

July 23, 2008 at 12:08 PM · Hi, Ella: Actually, you do re-takes all the time...after the fact. When the concert is over, you keep going over every little thing: I should have played that note in tune? Why didn't I use a different fingering for that passage? My vibrato didn't sound right? Oy, was that a bad shift in that one passage. Etc.

July 23, 2008 at 12:28 PM · This is a very funny thread. Even though that wasn't its intention.

July 23, 2008 at 08:51 PM · A viola player of my acquaintance tells me that if you laid out all the violin players in the world end to end, it would be a good thing.

July 24, 2008 at 02:04 PM · OK, just to keep this statistical thing alive...

How many violins are there in the world?

How many bows are there in the world?

How many professional violinists are there in the world? How many amateurs? How many teachers? How many orchestra violinists? How many orchestras? How many violinists who know how to play other instruments? How many violinists have made recordings?

And (here we go again!), who is the greatest violinist who ever lived? And how many are there?

Sandy

July 24, 2008 at 02:54 PM · Sandy, you missed one question.

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin, and if they are dancing to violin music, what piece?

July 24, 2008 at 03:19 PM · Hi Michael, to make things easier (and to start out) I would suggest a head count of all the violinists in American orchestras...then head to Europe, etc. Then you can add in the soloists.

July 24, 2008 at 03:56 PM · What happens if you get a presidential candidate who plays the violin?

July 24, 2008 at 04:18 PM · Then he/she can get us an official count for sure ;-)

July 24, 2008 at 05:14 PM · Roland: Got to be Paganini's Witch's Dance.

July 24, 2008 at 09:35 PM · How many of Sander's violinist clients improve after seeing him? And it what way? Does he improve their intonation, their tone, or their rhythm?

I think we need someone objective to really gage this one. It wouldn't be fair to make Sander evaluate this one.

Since I'm several timezones away from Sander, I think I make a very objective observor. So, from a objective stance, I'd say that Sander's professional counsel improves his client's intonation by 12%. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. ;)

July 24, 2008 at 10:08 PM · How accomplished does one have to be, to be considered a violinist? Rather than someone whom causes great distress to a violin?

July 25, 2008 at 12:24 PM · Hi, Terry:

You wrote:

"How many of Sander's violinist clients improve after seeing him? And it what way? Does he improve their intonation, their tone, or their rhythm?

I think we need someone objective to really gage this one. It wouldn't be fair to make Sander evaluate this one.

Since I'm several timezones away from Sander, I think I make a very objective observor. So, from a objective stance, I'd say that Sander's professional counsel improves his client's intonation by 12%. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. ;)"

Thanks for the comments. Actually, I don't give my violin-playing or musical clients any musical advice whatsoever (not being a violin teacher or a professional). However, I have had a client give me advice. A high school student I once counseled who played was telling me about her seriousness about it and that she had even coached a few of her fellow students. She noticed all of the violin "stuff" on my bookshelves and asked if I played, and asked to hear anything I might have. I had one old tape of a rehearsal for a "recital" for my Rotary club a few years before. She gave me some very, very sage advice about playing less timidly and with more authority and confidence. I should have paid her.

Cheers, Sandy

July 25, 2008 at 03:53 PM · Hi, Sandy

That's a great story. I imagine that not only did it make a nice connection but you picked up something too! A nice little side benefit.

Didn't mean to offend anyone with my statistical comments, but sometimes do find it amusing how some people, not you, are willing to take statistics to prove anything.

Regards,

Terry

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