I fell in love with my violin because....

June 14, 2010 at 01:45 AM ·

I fell in love 2.5 years ago.  My swain (doodie) charmed me with his pure and poetic sound, gorgeous body, wonderful rich complexion but mostly, well, because we made amazing music together:

I know what did it - it was not the easiest violin to play, not by far.  The reason was two fold: first, the note was pure enabling me to hear that I was out of tune (you have to start somewhere :)) and second, while the sound was thin and reedy with most of attempts (not much technique after after a 40 year gap), with effort I heard the promise of a rich tone and, more important dazzling variety that the other violins could not match.  

My love has only grown stronger.  But what of his for me?  Can a violin fall in love with you?

Replies (85)

June 14, 2010 at 03:08 AM ·

This is an interesting question. I'm in love with mine. Have been for five years now. I actually knew "this is it" from the minute I first saw the instrument on the table at the shop! Despite the immediate attachment I was petrified when I bought it because it was more than I was anticipating on spending, and I had only gone to look, and others I asked about it didn't like it. Turns out I wouldn't have had a chance to buy it if I'd waited, and everyone who wasn't sure about the instrument has come around and complimented me on the sound. So this is a question I thought a lot about. I suppose it's the difference between lust and love - is this a temporary love that will wear out? Or will it last forever (or at least a good long chunk of time)? I'm happy to say it's lasted for me, and I'll never sell it unless I'm forced out on a street corner.

June 14, 2010 at 05:39 AM ·

Thats amazing - the falling in love before you even played it!  Just had to be the instrument for you.  It could have been a shakespearian tragedy if its sound had not matched its visual appeal!


June 14, 2010 at 12:16 PM ·

Because she is like an extension of myself. She reflects every tension, the clumsiness and lack of dexterity that is intrinsic in me. But occasionally she also gives me a tanatalising glimpse of the joy of a perfectly intoned note, a correctly timed phrase, man and violin in harmony.

I'd say it is very much like a real relationship in  the process of discovering what jars and what doesn't.

Also, as a man I have to admit that if anything is wrong then it is entirely my fault. I learnt that a long time ago!

June 14, 2010 at 01:12 PM ·

When I first saw my instrument - it exuded a sense of 'raw power'.  It's kind of hard to describe.  And when I played it, it had the projection and voice to back up its looks.  I'm still in love with it.  It makes me sound like a far better violist than I really am.

--Ann Marie

June 14, 2010 at 03:03 PM ·

It's my prosthesis.... I wasn't born with one already atatched.

Anne-Marie Proulx & I talked about writting an opera similar too what your thread is about, a violin acquires the conscience of a former player.  years later another passionate violinist acquires the violin and they and the violin become soul mates.

June 14, 2010 at 11:06 PM ·

Royce, seems to me that it was way more drammatic than this (lol)!

Something like as if the soul of someone a talented player loved was trapped in a violin and a mean  violinist (or collector?) stole the violin...  And at the end of the story, the kind talented player finally got reunited with the violin and could play a bit to liberate the sould he loved who was trapped in the violin.  Of course the mean violinist (or collector?) wanted to kill the kind and talented violinist. And after having played, the kind violinist said to the mean violinist (collector?) : "you can take my life, kill me and the violin now because I liberated the one I loved who was trapped inside the violin and we will now be reunited..."  

 (would need a little more poetic english than mine to write the story though ; )

Did I remember well the story???   The kind of opera to take a few tears out of every violinist eyes... ; ) 



As for the original question, yes I'm still in love with my violin.  I bought it new 2 years ago.  I knew it since first note.  I asked to my maker to play other violins in the same category as the one I already had for fun and this one, I couldn't get my hands off...  My mom just told her that I called my violin my husband... so my maker told to me,  "I think you are starting to cheat on your husband with this violin...!"    I took it for one week trial and of course trade my first violin for this new violin! 

What charmed me in this violin?  His golden tone that was the perfect power/beauty mixed my ears like.  Between better hands than mind... he has one of those sounds that haunts you...  (to my taste)

I brought my teacher to the shop as well to be sure nothing was wrong with this violin. My teacher also got haunted!  I'm so anxious to hear these brothers play the Bach concerto together!  (she said one day when we'll have time to get out of the program) 

Interesting discussion!  So glad to see players happy with their violins!


June 14, 2010 at 11:16 PM ·

Anne-Marie= You are totally correct!  We need to write this opera!

June 15, 2010 at 12:23 AM ·

Yes I agree but do you know how to write an opera???   ; )  I agree it would be a cool scenario... such drama in there!


June 15, 2010 at 12:30 AM ·

As far as I remember, start with the Libretto.

June 15, 2010 at 12:32 AM ·

I picked my violin out of a group because of how much the sound stood out amongst the others. I tried many, but I kept coming back to the Gliga. I loved it, and put a deposit on it then and there. I spent the next month working hard to pay the balance. Once I took it home, I put some rosewood fittings on it, and perfection pegs, it looked every bit as elegant as it sounded. Some days I just feel like giving it a cuddle. :)

June 15, 2010 at 12:39 AM ·

I'm glad I'm not alone in this :)  But am I the only one that has given my violin a name? 

June 15, 2010 at 02:06 AM ·

Elise, you are not alone.  Check out the following threads.

What is your violin's name

Do you name your violin

Does your violin have a name? How about a gender?


June 15, 2010 at 02:48 AM ·

 I had tried upwards of 50 violins before finding my current one (I bought it about 1 and 1/2 years ago). At first I was struck by how different it looked from the others on the table. It was a dark, reddish-brown color, and was clearly quite old. Fascinated, it was the first I picked up. I fell in love the second I bowed my first note! It's got a powerful, dark lower register, a pure, clean upper register, and a mellow, warm middle register. The sound pings out, and hits the back of any hall I've played it in. Absolutely lovely. I took it home, and even though I had about 5 other violins from various shops I had visited, the only one I would practice on was this one. All this time later, it's gotten me through college auditions, recitals, and much more really well. I love the fact that it was dusty, and was sitting in a shop for a long time, until I coaxed the sound back out of it. It's my own personal "Red Violin" (without the curse of course!). 

June 15, 2010 at 03:14 AM ·

I'm reminded of what radio talk show host Bruce Williams once said to a caller: "Don't love anything that can't love you back."

Seriously, though, I know what you mean.  Williams couldn't have been thinking of violins when he said that.  I have two from the late 19th century and one from the early 20th.  I got hooked on each of them for different reasons.  The one I pick to play on for a given session depends on repertoire and room acoustics.

I guess you could call it three-timing.  But even if the instrument can't literally fall in love with you, it will respond well to care and sensitive playing and a good string combination.  I know -- my instruments sound better to me now than when I picked them out.
EDIT: One instrument, in particular, caught my ear with its deep, dark, viola tone on D-G that reminded me of my first teacher's sound on her violin.  A Tennessee State Trooper had considered purchasing it earlier that summer, right before I had it out on approval.  But he couldn't seem to come to a decision fast enough.  After more than a week of comparison tryouts at home, I bought it.

June 15, 2010 at 09:15 AM ·

[Smiley  - thanks for those links, they are hilarious! Glad to see I'm not the only naming nut here - by a long shot.  Oh, and my car is BeBe - a red, white roofed Soho series mini :) - but I was thinking of adding vanity plates 'Minim' would be about as perfect as it gets...]

June 15, 2010 at 02:43 PM ·

There was also a thread about naming bows!

June 15, 2010 at 03:09 PM ·

well, mine would not be maid marian - it would probably be little john!  Kinda on the heavy side... but whoa does it have a whack

June 15, 2010 at 03:31 PM ·

The irrational and hormone-driven act of falling in love's one thing - forming a lasting relationship is quite another IMHO !!!!

June 15, 2010 at 04:04 PM ·

Good point David - there is definitely 'falling in love' (which you can do by yourself without any reciprocation) and 'mutual love' (which is mutual - perhaps when two people fall in love with each other).  Which is (I think, with 20:20 hind vision :) ), why I asked if it was possible for my violin to fall in love with me.  

Its an interesting question - do you feel that your instrument performs in a (good) way in your arms than it would in someone else's?  If so there IS a reciprocal relationship of sorts.  One could argue that the instrument actually needs you :)

Of course one could also be characterized as a nutcase :D

June 15, 2010 at 08:27 PM ·

The violin is inanimate. It cannot return your love. If it seems to do so, you are merely hearing your own reflection.

It's rather like Narcissus, who fell in love with his reflection in water.

That's enough pseudo-babble. Now practise !

June 15, 2010 at 09:29 PM ·

I would- but my violin is singing love songs to me....


June 16, 2010 at 05:09 AM ·

I sort of fell in love with the first responsive violin I had...which is an antique, decorated violin.  It's in need of repairs, so it's put away until I can afford to have it repaired properly. 

My current 'main' violin I bought through the internet...I heard it played over the phone, but that didn't really help much in retrospect.  I still enjoy playing it though - it's a good basic violin, responsive, sounds nice.

I just purchases an entry level Eastman violin to have as a useable back-up.  So I'm playing it right now along with the other one...and having fun comparing the two (yes, I'm easily entertained).  It's fun to listen to it as it breaks in...

So I'd say while I'm not really in love with any violin...I love playing a responsive instrument.  The cheap violin I had a  child (all that my mother could afford) was horrible.  I didn' t know how horrible though, until I went back for lessons 30 years later.

June 16, 2010 at 06:55 AM ·

I fell in love with my violin when i played the first few notes on it and felt like my chin was going to shake off. It's gotten more serious the more I've learned how to play, the extra tones sound like somebody talking quietly when I go forte+. I can't get enough of how we sound together, and my skill is still rudimentary.

June 16, 2010 at 10:43 AM ·

David, sounds (pun intended) as if your violin has a true Love....

Maybe we should start the 'Poems on my Violin' topic.... :D


June 16, 2010 at 02:58 PM ·

There is some truth about maintaining a relationship with your violin after you've, fallen in love with it".  A sure way to get the best out of it/from it is to continualy keep discovering it.  As I have gotten better through practice and instruction the better my violin keeps getting, well the better I am able to get it to perform/sound better.  Sort of like the old saying, "It's not that we marry mr or mrs Right, but that the couple evolves into such the more they learn about each other the more they learn how to be a mate to the other."  I keep learning how to be the 'violinist' that is needed to get the optimim and best out of this violin!

June 16, 2010 at 03:34 PM ·

Loosely on the 'does your violin love you' issue: I find it very likely that once someone has played an instrument for a long time they really can get more from it than the casual player - perhaps even comparing an intermediate player with an advanced one.

Is that true?  Or will the advanced advanced player instantly evoke more?

Should try this with my teacher - but it needs a recording device or a third pair of ears...

June 16, 2010 at 08:35 PM ·

Absolutely, the advanced violinist will sound better than the intermediate one.  Even if they switch violins.  I love it when I struggle with a particular passage, and my teacher takes MY violin and bow and demonstrates the right way to do it.  Indeed, when playing a different instrument, it requires time to acclimate, but high level violinists are able to do that almost instantly. 


June 16, 2010 at 09:31 PM ·

RE: advanced violinist -  Yep, last week during my lesson, I complained about the sound of the 1/2 that I took out on approval and how uncomfortable it was to play. My teacher picked it up and played the opening of Bach's Sonata #1 in G minor - it sounded fabulous (and in tune, of course). I don't know how she did it without having to adjust - there is at least a 4cm difference in string length between a 4/4 and a 1/2.  This is probably not a good example, as I'm hardly in love with that violin, and not yet an intermediate player, but I believe an advanced player does get more out of a violin instantly in most cases.

June 16, 2010 at 10:02 PM ·

Smiley reminded me of something that happened this past semester.  My teacher played my violin and I could not get over how well it sounded!  I would have never imagined that it would sound that good!  I had switched to Vision strings with a Gold label E like he has on his!  He did mention his observations about the adjustments he has to bare in mind when he plays it though!  He made his adjustments so quickly I would not have noticed if he didn't point them out....... well, he's the one with the PhD. Not Me!

June 17, 2010 at 01:38 AM ·

well so much for that question!  Well how about two advanced players - can they evoke the same good sound equally out of each other's violins?

June 17, 2010 at 02:22 AM ·

Yes they would.  If Hilary Hahn exchanged violins with Leonidas Kavakos, both of them would still sound REALLY good!  For that matter, if you gave either of them a $500 student instrument, they would make it sing.  Granted, they might have to work a little harder, but they would still sound amazing.  Remember, it's not the violin, it's the violinist.

June 17, 2010 at 05:34 AM ·

 Remember, it's not the violin, it's the violinist.

Smiley is right, as usual ! Years ago I noticed that if a good player was given an instrument to try, he/she would usually adjust quickly so as to make a very close approximation to their customary sound, or, occasionally, the adjustment would be impossible, and the violin would be given back pdq.

I wrote stuff on this thread already about the phantom of requited love and Narcissus. Personally I am more of a "Love/hate" guy when it comes to the violin, but despite all my professional struggles over the years I still tootle around in retirement. It's the PLAYING I retain a sneaking affection for, rather than one particular instrument, so that makes me promiscuous, IMHO.

When I went to look at the Vuillaume I eventually bought (1976) the train was delayed by an hour, the shop should have been closed but the dealer remained open despite having better things to do. Neither of us was in a good mood. I was persuaded to take the violin home, then I retired to bed with "man flu" for a week. Too deafened by the bug to hear anything that came out of the violin, I eventually took it in to "work", a professional symphony orchestra, where one of the most down-to-earth players liked the fiddle so much he immediately contacted his bank-manager so as to be in a position to buy if I did not. I decided to buy on the basis that I could always sell it on !

When my ears popped it turned out to be not at all bad, that violin, but our relationship was anything but "love at first sight". We enjoyed 17 years together until my ex claimed it in divorce. 

I met the conductor of a famous Manchester (UK) Orchestra at a party. Though I had left the band, he said he hoped I might come back and bring that "wonderful" violin with me. I must say that I was VERY annoyed that he gave me no credit at all for being able to play it !!

It's possible to LUST after a fiddle because of a seductive physical appearance, but "handsome is as handsome does".

June 17, 2010 at 03:00 PM ·

A former teacher was at a concert that Madori was the soloist.  Her string broke and the concertmaster handed Madori her violin.  Madori continued playing.... My teacher said Madori sounded like Madori.  The diferences of the violins were not very distinguishable after a minuet or so after she began playing the concertmaster's violin. And this former teacher also has a PhD.

{ I have a PhD in the back of a truck. Post hole Digger. ;)  Boo bad joke}

June 17, 2010 at 03:05 PM ·

SUPLAMENTAL:  Though the violinists with the PhDs that I have heard personaly sound the same no matter what violin they play, they tell me that they hear a difference wether they are playing it or a colleague is.  So what's with that?

June 17, 2010 at 04:12 PM ·

The difference will be in the tone of the instrument, e.g. brighter, sweeter, warmer, etc. This difference is generally more pronounced under ear, but is also quite discernible to a listener.  Other than that, as you pointed out, it doesn't matter what violin Midori plays, she will still sound like Midori.

On the other hand, if you handed Itzhak Perlman's Strad to an amateur violinist, they will still sound like an amateur.  Sad but true.


June 17, 2010 at 04:57 PM ·

People hearing a recording of their own voice for the first time usually get a shock. Similarly, it's not always easy to know what the audience hears when you play your violin. "Under the ear" is one thing, the sound a few feet away something else. You could record yourself playing, too, if you have the gear. This can be cruel !

Unless you are a very experienced buyer, beware of "falling in love" until you have had a violin played back to you - although maybe Midori might not be the person to choose ! Many a violinist/dealer has exploited their own playing ability to bump up the prices of what they have to sell. Your teacher might be the one to ask.

I tried a bow at a dealership recently. In that resonant environment my modest violin sounded as if worth megabucks ! I ALMOST fell in love all over again !!

June 17, 2010 at 05:09 PM ·

Yep, I have found that violins and bows always sounded better when I tried them in the shop. The magic somehow disappeared once I took them home. ;-)

June 17, 2010 at 05:46 PM ·

Royce wrote:

"A former teacher was at a concert that Madori was the soloist.  Her string broke and the concertmaster handed Madori her violin.  Madori continued playing.... My teacher said Madori sounded like Madori.  The diferences of the violins were not very distinguishable after a minuet or so after she began playing the concertmaster's violin. And this former teacher also has a PhD."

Just as an aside - what happens to the concertmaster under such situations - does she get the next violin and all the way down the line and the poor schmuch on the back stand of the second violins gets to turn pages? :D

 BTW I have a PhD but I don't sound anything like Midori.  So what gives.

Well, yes, its in physiology but nonetheless...

June 17, 2010 at 05:47 PM ·


That may be because many shops have trial rooms that are boomy; kind of like your bathroom.  Next time you take an instrument home and the magic disappears, try taking it in the bathroom to see if the magic returns.

June 17, 2010 at 08:40 PM ·

what happens to the concertmaster under such situations - does she get the next violin and all the way down the line

I've never known this exact situation, but one night, whilst playing fff in Tschaik 6 the wedge came out of my bow - hair everywhere. I was not the concertmaster, I hasten to add.

Just imagine trying to play the last movement of that Symphony pizzicato !

My wife was playing at the back, right next to the exit. She passed her bow forwards, mine went back, then she was able to sneak off with my broken bow.

I always assumed that should a concertmasters fiddle become unusable then violins would be passed forwards, until the player next to the exit would go and get the drinks in. If it's only a broken string, then someone on the second stand will put on a new one.

I do not have a PhD.

June 17, 2010 at 09:02 PM ·

Midori actually broke the E-string TWICE and swapped two violins in Tanglewood in 1986 when she was 14, and her own violin was a 3/4 - both times she took the violin from the concertmaster (The first one was a Strad) - playing in tune without missing a beat. Amazing!

Here is the video - the first time, the concertmaster takes the associate concertmaster's violin after handing over his to Midori. The second time you can see the concertmaster turning pegs (to loosen the other strings? Is that what you are supposed to do when you break a string?),  then orchestra members pass a violin to him, and he passes the broken one back: www.youtube.com/watch

Smiley, yes I know the trick, but I don't intend to turn my bathroom into the practicing room, so it does not work so well after all. :)

June 17, 2010 at 09:55 PM ·

I feel in love with my violin because, it´s a lot like me :) My violin has a beautiful open and joyous sound and is loud (not unlike me as I enjoy talking). I also love the smell of my violin, I love wooden smell so the wonderful smell of my violin just makes me love it more.

June 17, 2010 at 11:24 PM ·

 BTW I have a PhD but I don't sound anything like Midori.  So what gives.

Hahahahaha!  Read my previous post. I also have one, same problem! ;)

Smiley, yes I know the trick, but I don't intend to turn my bathroom into the practicing room, so it does not work so well after all. :)

I guess singing in the shower is safer for the violin!

June 18, 2010 at 12:17 AM ·

But Joyce, the acoustics of the bathroom are fabulous.  That's where I play.  Sometimes I play 5 hours straight, playing right through the bathroom breaks. 

June 18, 2010 at 01:17 AM ·

Elise: felt in love with the violin when I first heard Fritz Kreisler playing Tambourin Chinois and Caprice Viennois on old 78 recordings. I just went wild at 4 years old. Still today these recordings sound as magical as ever!!!

June 18, 2010 at 02:16 AM ·


Smiley is right, but I don't practice in a bathroom.  I do conduct A,B comparisons of violins and bows in a particular bathroom that is acoustically vibrant. The sound is more intimate, and I can hear all the nuances. Not all bathrooms are suitable.

Another reason why a violin sounds great in a showroom is the sympathetic resonance it makes with other instruments kept at the same place, In this respect, the improved sound quality is more subtle. Besides, one generally plays with less effort in a showroom than at home.

June 18, 2010 at 05:47 AM ·

The bathroom idea is OK because the sound bounces back and helps you to know how you sound to others. We have a concert harp and if I'm getting a big, big sound (and having a good "in tune" day) it resonates. If you play next to a piano and put a brick on the sustaining pedal, that can work too. One guy writing an a magazine found his violin sounded more resonant if he took out the sound-post. He failed to report on the eventual collapse of his fiddle. Maybe that didn't happen. Try this, folks, and post the results on violinist.com.

One day soon studio players will not have to travel to work - everything will be by video link, I'm sure. Will every player need to build an acousically neutral room at home ? The boffins, all of whom are doubtless PhDs, will need to put the echo on themselves. The future beckons !

I recall playing a concert in Mexico City (1968), when our concertmaster, playing "The Lark Ascending", I think, broke a string. He stopped the performance, addressed the audience in fluent English "Pardon, I have broken a string", went offstage to change it, then returned to the platform and began again. Maybe he didn't like the prospect of the Assistant Concertmaster's squeakbox, but I strongly suspect he was feeling nervous and welcomed the chance of a quick snort of some fortifying beverage or other.

Finally, I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned the adage "Marry in haste, repent at leisure".

June 18, 2010 at 06:31 AM ·

@Marc: "Elise: felt in love with the violin when I first heard Fritz Kreisler playing Tambourin Chinois and Caprice Viennois on old 78 recordings. I just went wild at 4 years old. Still today these recordings sound as magical as ever!!!

Lovely story - we need another topic on how we got our passion (a question that i would have a rather hard time answering..) but what of YOUR violin.  Do you have one in particular that you treat as your darling? :)

June 18, 2010 at 06:33 AM ·

@Smiley: "But Joyce, the acoustics of the bathroom are fabulous.  That's where I play.  Sometimes I play 5 hours straight, playing right through the bathroom breaks."

:o sorry, but the mind boggles...

June 18, 2010 at 06:40 AM ·

@Dave: " I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned the adage "Marry in haste, repent at leisure".

Indeed.  And that is kinda indirect proof that most people fall in love with their instrument.  If we were totally objective about them we would realize that ours was not as good as our teachers/orchestra or chamber group colleagues.  But I think most people bond to their violin and to them it is the best in the world...

Its a part of the passion of playing - am I alone in getting the tingles when I reach out for my violin at the beginning of a practice?  There's far far more there than just picking up any instrument.  I suppose other musicians get that feeling too - even a pianist (who must usually play on the instrument at hand) must get a special sensation as the fingers touch the ivories of their home piano.

June 18, 2010 at 11:26 AM ·

You know someone really is a true violin geek when you don't read the newspaper when in the bathroom but play/practice your violin instead! ;)

June 18, 2010 at 12:00 PM ·

Hey Royce,

I think the correct terminology is orch dork.  And c'mon guys you don't really think I play in the bathroom do you?  Besides, playing while pooping is very bad for your technique.  Causes all kinds of tension in your left side as well as right side.  For that matter, also your bottom side.  Cheers.

June 18, 2010 at 12:27 PM ·

er, this topic is supposed to be an analysis of love... (pun definitely not intended...)

I have a bathroom that is big enough for a trio to play in (If one player does not mind sitting in the bath) and the accoustics are truly amazing.  Indeed, we've started calling it 'the music room'.

But I'm not sure what that has to do with falling in love with your violin.  Our love knows no territorial  limit and extends from the basement to the bedroom. 

[oops... entirely platonic I assure you]

June 18, 2010 at 01:01 PM ·

Yes I felt in love with two violins: How can that be possible!!! And even jalous when someone showed to much interest... They saved me when I had difficult times... Is there an hidden soul like in the red violin? Paganini spoke about his violin like if it was a real person.

June 18, 2010 at 04:22 PM ·

I'm beginning to speak about people as if they are real violins :o

IF they are worth it that is... :)

June 18, 2010 at 05:05 PM ·

Smiley, I'm glad to know that you don't really practice in the bathroom for 5 hours, otherwise you might consider changing your name to Smelly... :D

Unrequited love! That's my relationship with my violin right now... :(

June 18, 2010 at 06:19 PM ·

when I feel that way I go back to a piece I played a while ago - it does not matter how simple - and play it with passion... it requites me well :D

June 18, 2010 at 11:04 PM ·


Yes, I have been called Smelly before, but thankfully, it was a mistake, and not a result of olfactory emissions on my part.  Poor Elise.  She started this perfectly innocent thread and it's been hijacked and taken straight to the toilet (figuratively and literally).

Hey didn't Beethoven write a song called Poor Elise?  No, that was Fur Elise wasn't it.  Never mind.


June 19, 2010 at 01:05 PM ·

Beethoven also wrote "rage over a lost penny". Over here in the UK you had to put a penny in the slot to enter a toilet cubicle and "spend a penny". The height of desperation was said to be diarrhoea and a bent penny. A penny for your thoughts ?

June 19, 2010 at 01:21 PM ·

@Anna: " feel in love with my violin because, it´s a lot like me :) My violin has a beautiful open and joyous sound and is loud (not unlike me as I enjoy talking). I also love the smell of my violin, I love wooden smell so the wonderful smell of my violin just makes me love it more."

And do you also smell nice and woody too?  Perhaps Cedar bath lotion...

June 19, 2010 at 03:36 PM ·

It really is amazing at how an instrument can fill so, so many holes & empty spaces in someones soul/heart/life, and that we need music, not just to listen and enjoy others playing music, but we ourself playing also!

We've had discussions here before regarding the naming of instruments (including bows).  A name gives value..... The story of Beowulf, the warriors named their swords but slaves mentioned were seldom if ever by a name with one commentator saying, "The sword had a higher value than slaves (with slaves at times seen as food to feed the sword)".  And what a high value it is!  Not only does the violin suddenly attain a Higher Value but so do we!  We cease being, Smiley, Royce, Laurie, Anne-Marie.  Now it's, "Oh, this is the friend you told me about..the Violinist."  At that moment being a violinist takes a step over what else we may be... it doesn't matter if you are a Custodian or a Research Scientist in effect what the person above is saying, "You are not JUST A... you are a VIOLINIST ALSO!"  If it were not for our violin we would be incomplete therefore it not only adds to the definition of who we are.... but is a definition in itself. We now can say we have meaning even though we did before we picked the instrument up, now that I Have picked it up, Now I am complete!  I now have more than just a meaning of & to my life but life itself!

June 19, 2010 at 03:49 PM ·

If the sword deserves a name, a pen, which is "mightier than the sword' must deserve 2 names. A violin must be worth at least 3. I, the owner, probably merit a whole sentence. Not a prison sentence, I trust.

I still love my harem of 5 violins but am quite sure there would be many other players who would not like any of them one little bit. That's the way it goes.

June 19, 2010 at 04:39 PM ·

I wonder if I am the only person here who still has her childhood violins?  A half size - I have no affection for it at all and hardly remember it.  But I also have my 3/4 (come to think of it have not looked at it for many years) AND then there is my school-period full size german workshop model.  My father bought it from a player who retired from the Leicestershire symphony - must have been his backup or something.  And the latter truly does occupy a permanent slot in my heart.  So, I must admit to feeling a bit guilty when I fell in love with Doodie - but the feeling is very different for the two so there is room for both.

June 19, 2010 at 04:48 PM ·

David- Hahahahaha!  You are quite a card bro! :^D

June 19, 2010 at 07:17 PM ·

Yes, I find a bit weird the way David names his collection of violins...

When he's sick of one, he just can take another one right?  (lol)  Fourtunately, violins are not people so it's just funny!!!  

I personally just want one violin though (lol) because I really see it as someone (call me crazy ; )



June 19, 2010 at 11:18 PM ·

"Fourtunately, violins are not people..." 

They are not???

Oh, dreams dashed.... :-\

June 20, 2010 at 06:35 PM ·

"If the sword deserves a name, a pen, which is "mightier than the sword' must deserve 2 names. A violin must be worth at least 3. I, the owner, probably merit a whole sentence. Not a prison sentence, I trust."

I get all of that David - except why you as the owner would necessarily be worth a whole sentence.  After all, many lowely people have owned stellar violins signiricant, at least to history, more than they are....

And I wonder how many names a violin gets in its lifetime?  We typically only get one personal one...

June 21, 2010 at 12:36 AM ·

So true Elise.  Gitlis told something like:  the question is not to know if I own a violin because I'm just a person in its life...  

That is frightening, no?  Who will have my violin, will he ever get the violin fame he deserves (Because I really think my violin has more talent as an instrument than I have as a person. He went some places I'll never be talented ennough to play in.), will someone break it, will he finish in his case forever, will the person who'll have it break the "golden" setup I worked so hard to find and fix it to sound "modern" as I hate???   And most importantly, will he be loved???  (I just hope he will be special for someone and not just another violin somewhere)

Yes they should outlive us!


June 21, 2010 at 11:48 AM ·

Its a bit daunting - but I don't think frightening.  I live in a house built in 1880 - I dearly love the place and certainly feel it is mine - yet I know I'm just one resident in a long series and that the place will be loved by others. 

I think that is a defining feature of true love - that if and when you are no longer there you wish your loved one will yet find happiness.  I think thats really whats meant by the phrase that 'love is generous'.  Doodie was in pretty bad shape when my luthier bought him in France - he restored the violin to pristine condition and I bought him - that means a big improvement in condition and fate.  Hopefully that will continue when I have to pass him on.

I can't write 'violin' and 'it' :D

June 22, 2010 at 04:07 AM ·

I have a violin that came to me from my father. I understand. It is an ordinary violin, irreplaceable.

June 22, 2010 at 06:19 AM ·

I find it so hard to love my violin when I am playing like a geriatric idiot, when it sounds terrible.

That's when I have to try hard to remember the old days, as when I recall how my wife looked when she was 18 ............

June 22, 2010 at 08:04 AM ·

 The "old days" are getting better and better every day.

June 22, 2010 at 10:09 AM ·

@Dale:I have a violin that came to me from my father. I understand. It is an ordinary violin, irreplaceable.

how odd - I had not thought of that before -  I think my (old) violin is the only thing my father ever bought me.  It is my only connection to him.  I think he paid (BP)10 for it.  Thank you...

June 22, 2010 at 11:56 AM ·

@ Elise, My father bought mine in a pawn shop in 1937, when he was 19, long before I was thought of. It has come to me many years after he left this world. I can't say he left it to me. It was actually my mother who gave it to me. Perhaps, when the time was right.

June 22, 2010 at 12:28 PM ·

When you love your violin, 

You got to understand,

she needs a slow hand

one that takes its time

does't come and go in a fevered rush.


June 22, 2010 at 05:53 PM ·

I'm falling more and more in love with my violins all the time!

My first violin (Delbert) was a gift from my best friends.  He was missing MANY parts, and looked as if he'd been through a major battle.  How could I not love him?  He's been through several repair episodes, gradually emerging from his "ugly duckling" status and moving closer to "swan-dom".   Even through he could stand refinishing, I feel that his "battle scars" serve to give him character.  He has a wonderful, mature voice that hints of SO much musical wisdom still to be tapped.

My newer violin (Angelina) waited six years for me!  This past January, I'd purchased an inexpensive Chinese violin (which I learned was totally unplayable because of a multitude of structural defects!).  When my luthier explained to me that there was no hope for the violin to ever be made playable, I returned it to the music store.  They had a German violin (made in 2004) that had been languishing in the store since her "birth".  They were unable to sell her because of an inventory control glitch (their computer system didn't believe she existed!), so they traded her to me for the unplayable Chinese violin.  Their "string guy" played her for me, and I could hear that she had SO much potential!

Since I brought her home in January, I've witnessed the "opening up" process first-hand.  Thinking back to how she sounded five months ago, it's hard to believe she's the same violin.  She's SO much sweeter and richer in tone, and I'm confident that she'll continue to improve.  I never dreamed that I'd be blessed with such a fine instrument -- I just hope to be worthy of her!


June 24, 2010 at 02:36 AM ·

Marsha - seems like hte chinese violin was actually just a go-between - his job was to introduce you to Angelina, any other route and you would likely have ended up with the wrong instrument!

I hope we will get to hear you two playing anon....

February 15, 2011 at 12:31 PM ·

for me its a love/hate relationship....I love my violin and she hates me

February 15, 2011 at 01:23 PM ·

I haven't fallen in love with my violin itself, but with the violin in general.

There is a respect and fondness between my instrument and me, like a relationship between good friends. We fight often, we disappoint each other, and once in a great while we make beautiful music together. At once sweet, giving, and inspiring, she can be moody, obstinate, temperamental and downright nasty sometimes, without warning or explanation.

All the while, the bow seems content as the third wheel. When we're not on speaking terms, the bow happily passes along messages between us. Eventually one of us lashes out at the other, a major fight ensues, and we'll either go our separate ways, or stay and work it out. Making up can be extremely difficult sometimes, as neither of us wants to admit wrongdoing, but when we do, there is an awakening. It is this love-hate part of the relationship that keeps the passion from dying. I've tried other fiddles but the mutual respect was never there. This one's different. It's not only that I stay with her, but she chooses to stay with me.

...Maybe I have fallen in love after all... ;)

February 15, 2011 at 01:31 PM ·

If I may be so bold as to post a second time in a row... What made you fall in love with the violin as an instrument?

For me, I chose to play violin because my older sister played, and I stuck with it because I was told I had talent... But I didn't fall in love with the violin until I watched Itzhak Perlman on Sesame Street as a kid. That very short clip of him with the little girl ("Some things that are easy for you are very difficult for me") showed a gentleness rarely seen from superstars. And when he played, he seemed to not only play with his hands, but with his heart. That stuck with me and inspired me, even to this day, as I pick up the fiddle again after so many long years. Music comes from the heart, and the violin is the voice of the soul.

February 15, 2011 at 03:40 PM ·

Yes that must truely be love...

When we think about it, we would never accept to do everything for someone, to often get betrayed after all those efforts and time invested, to always find alone our own motivation and to have a stoïc partner who seems totally careless towards us!    We would never accept that comming from another person. 

But, I guess good violins give it us back when they have good sound characteristics and playability.  We must love them for that. (still, you have to do the other 90% of the job... ; )     


February 15, 2011 at 04:48 PM ·

Elise, thanks so much for starting this discussion...what a good topic.

There aren't enough words to describe how much I love my violin and why. On the other hand, I love my wonderful huband for buying it for me. He took me everywhere, learned how to deal with Violin Dealers, listened to me play the same tunes over and over on hundreds of violins...before I fell in love. It's not just it's physical beauty (because it is a knock out) but it has...well I can't say that publically but what can I say? It's a guy. I admit, my husband is a bit jealous and now has to come upstairs while I'm playing my love to ask, "Are we going to eat dinner tonight or what?"! 

So, yes I love my violin, but I love my husband even more!

February 15, 2011 at 05:27 PM ·

Yes, the financial issue is quite important...
 If I'm studying, it's because I want to be able to pay myself that wonderful hobby later on!   The problem is "when you sponsor yourself, you're not practicing..."

Maybe you found the most "clever" option... : )

February 15, 2011 at 09:11 PM ·

We are just good friends.

February 15, 2011 at 10:39 PM ·

Its a bit strange reading this topic now - seeing as how I traded in Doodie for Gravitas just a few months ago.  How could I be so fickle?  I do still have my childhood violin - but that is not a love affair, that is more a connection to my other violin self, and even more to my father who bought it for 10 pounds from a retired Leicester symphony orchestra member (its a Wolf Brothers 1888).  Perhaps a brother rather than lover is a better description... 

I was able to pass Doodie back once I reached a point where he could not deliver - the relationship and the sounds became strained.  I think that has made me more cautious about my feelings about Gravitas - its more of a partnership and less of an affaire... 

But who knows where it will lead?

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