Has your violin got a name?

November 20, 2010 at 02:17 AM ·

 I guess I'm just wondering whether people have names for their violins? I've personally never called one of my violins anything, but the other day someone asked if they could have a hold of 'Fred'. I replied 'Fred?' and he pointed to my violin and replied 'He looks like a Fred. Can I hold him?'  

So I think that has made me a bit more interested in whether people name their instruments! If so, I would like to hear their names too!

Replies (32)

November 20, 2010 at 02:26 AM ·

My viola is Stevie.  He's a little temperamental, but he sings very nicely if you tickle him just right.  I don't call him that though.  I usually just pick him up and say, "C'mere, booboola ... "

November 20, 2010 at 04:43 AM ·

 My violin is named Lemni. There is a mark right below the fingerboard in the shape of the infinity symbol or lemniscate. 

November 20, 2010 at 04:51 AM ·

This topic came up about a year ago. Last September I wrote:

I've named a number of my instruments - and not only violins. I have an antique reed organ named "Harvey", and a beautiful antique Knabe grand piano named "Michaela".

Oddly enough, I haven't given people names to many of my violins, or sometimes any names ( - I have over a dozen!). Many Strads and del Gesus have been named the 'Prince this' or the 'Duke that', or "the Sunrise", or "the Nightengale", etc. Well, one of my violins is a beautiful old French violin made by Desire (i.e. de-zi-ray). It's rather grand, with fleur-de-lies carvings, etc. So with  toungue-in-cheek mock pretention I call that one "The Versailles". But I named a cat after its original maker, and called her "Desi".

Ed Maday (of Long Island, NY) recently made a lovely violin for me -  the second one I've commisioned from him - based on Paganini's favorite del Gesu, which P. called "Il Cannone". So I call mine "Il Cannone Secundo".

I just got an excellent violin from the Cremona maker, Vittorio Villa, based on the "Soil" Strad. He actually encourages his clients to name their instruments that he makes for them, and this becomes a part of their official record. So in a fit of ego, I named my violin after myself - "Raphael"! However, it wasn't entirely megelomania. I also had in mind the great Renaissance artist, Raphael Sanzio. I've only had this violin since Thursday evening, but I've been so impressed with it that I've already asked Vittorio if he would make me another one - this time on a del Gesu model. To continue the Renaissance theme, I would call the next one "Michelangelo"!

To give an update, Vittorio Villa's "Michelangelo" has been completed, and in about a week or so I hope to have it in my hands. I've already seen photos and it's beautiful!

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November 20, 2010 at 06:41 AM ·

"Gravitas".  Well, what else for a violin made by Newton?

November 20, 2010 at 07:55 AM ·

 My violin is called Eowyn from the character in Lord of The Rings.

This is because Eowyn is a special woman, she is indeed gentle kind and loving and is loyal to her family, but she has courage strength and determination, indeed she is the one who (after disguising herself as a man) went into battle and destroyed the Nazgul, the one that no man could destroy, so imagine if she didn't go!

I think the above personality traits describe my violin to a 't' that's why I've chosen this name for her, and the name sounds quite nice too :)

November 20, 2010 at 12:05 PM ·

 One of my violins is Chinese it answers to the name Hu Flung Dung.

Its got a very poignant sound.

November 20, 2010 at 01:08 PM ·

Dion - LOL!

My friend friend named her violin Ada after the girl in the book Cold Mountain.  Ada was worthless for anything except making beautiful music.

We've been referring to my violin as my Pony.  The finish is a pretty dark bay color with black points and seems to have the same temperament as the ponies I rode as a kid - fun and pleasing but always ready to remind me that I don't know what I'm doing!

November 20, 2010 at 02:09 PM ·

Lena: Gravitas and Casanove - I'm not sure our violins are compatible!  

November 20, 2010 at 02:32 PM ·

My first violin that was German (that I no longer owe) was called Maeve Meyer. Maeve is an Irish name I really like and Meyer is a family name. My bow (that I still owe) was called Ella Ran.

My current beautiful violin has an all more complicated name and I spent ages trying to figure out the perfect name for her (quite dorky I am aware). The violin´s name is Efemía Kathleen (the "th" pronounced very softly). But I generally call it Mía. My bow is called Rosalyn.

And my harmonica is called Bean after Mr. Bean :)

November 20, 2010 at 02:56 PM ·

Fun posting, especially Jo's Lord of the Rings one. My special needs step-daughter loves the Peter Jackson trilogy and eats like a hobbit: first breakfast, second breakfast, elevenzies, etc.

As for my fiddle, it's a German workshop Strad copy from around 1920.  In keeping with its time period, I call it "Caligari" after the expressionistic movie hit of that same year. I guess that makes me "Cesare", the murderous somnambulist under Caligari's command!

November 20, 2010 at 03:30 PM ·

Well I suppose I told a lie when I first asked this question! I refer to my violin as my 'baby' and everyone knows what I'm on about! I suppose that is its nick-name. My three babies are my violin, my mandolin and my guitar.

I have named other things like my laptop though! That's called Boris ;-) I've also named a tin whistle I once had... Squeak!  

November 20, 2010 at 04:27 PM ·

My old German conservatory violin was part of the estate of an elderly man I knew named Delbert.  I originally named him "Delbert", but have since learned some of Delb's family history.  I discovered that the violin was originally owned by Delb's grandfather, William.  So now my violin's official name is "Delbert William".

My 3/4 violin came to me in a way I like to think was guided by my Guardian Angel -- thus her name, "Angelina".

The only bow I've felt really inclined to name is the new one I bought last month.  So far, the name's still eluding me.


November 20, 2010 at 04:58 PM ·

 I usually refer to my violin as The Heberlein. However, at times I have called it the ex-Ebay....

Because my luthier purchased it on Ebay and repaired it!

November 20, 2010 at 05:55 PM ·

I refer to mine (just for fun...) as "the Tiger". 

And no, I am no golf lover and my violin is very faithful!!!  

I named it like this because of his reddish color with much stripes and his sound that is a wonderful mix of power and beauty in addition to a sort of a winning aura to it (just like a tiger animal).  In fact, I tried to find an instrument that had caracteristics that I like.  (I admire all things that are a mix of power and beauty.  My favorite violin sounds are that way but I also like horses, big wild "cats" etc because of this) 

Of course, I do know that I really can't always profit of the sound potential I hear.  Michelangelo told he saw the statue in the rock before craving it.  At a lesser level, perhaps one can hear interesting caracteristics in a violin without beeing able to profit of them in the ultimate way of mastering well the instrument!

Interesting discussion!  I always like to hear people's violin's names because we all somehow name them with what is significant for us! 




November 20, 2010 at 11:39 PM ·

 My violin is named Ed after Special Ed, a Crank Yankers character.

I've got mail!  Yaaaaaayyyyyy!!!!!!


November 20, 2010 at 11:43 PM ·

 Just kidding.  I named my violin Janos, a reference to Kodaly.

November 21, 2010 at 12:09 AM ·

Re bows, years ago I named my favorite bow at the time - a Rau I believe - Excalibur. (It's long gone now - perhaps back in the hands of the Lady of the Lake.) I knew I could never top that name, and never named a bow again. Someone mentioned naming their laptop. I named my first (to me) big and imposing PC "Va'al" - a reference to an original Star Trek episode about a god that controls a whole society and turns out to be a computer.

November 22, 2010 at 08:35 PM ·

I'm not ashamed to admit that my violin is called Clarence!

Vaughan :-)

November 22, 2010 at 09:30 PM ·

Raphael, are you the responsible human for the Klingon opera?

November 22, 2010 at 11:16 PM ·


November 23, 2010 at 12:14 AM ·

Lena - I didn't compose it, but it so happens that I played in the orchestra for its Earth premier. It made me think longingly and lovingly of Arnold Schoenberg. ;-)

November 24, 2010 at 11:37 PM · @raphael: LOL LOL LOL :)

November 25, 2010 at 03:14 AM ·

My violin is Sally and my bow is Beau.

November 25, 2010 at 12:18 PM ·

A few years ago my violin was named Ollie...but over the course of time it has adapted the anonymous pronoun "he".

The bow is "He's" sidekick...


November 25, 2010 at 10:43 PM ·

I have a dilemme for my bow... I used to call it non officially Seabiscuit (famous race horse) but I also lately discovered the great Secretariat.  But, as an amateur,  the story of Seabiscuit is even more inspiring though perhaps impossible in violin lol  (A too small horse with a too tall jockey who succeed in racing and even winning many times amongst the big horses.  How cute...)   On the other hand, Secretariat is like god of horses...

Perhaps I'll have to name it Double S (sounds a lot nicer than SS...)  actually a nickname for Seabiscuitsecretariat!  


Ps: Lisa, as a french speaking, I'm convinced that your bow must be beautiful with that name!

: ) 


November 25, 2010 at 11:52 PM ·

Don't call your bow Seabiscuit!  He was knob kneed and conformationally incorrect.  He won despite his shortcomings.  Secretariat is much more deserving.  The perfect race horse.  

November 26, 2010 at 02:03 AM ·

Yes that's true but can one just imagine how much harder it is to win with shortcomings... 

Having many shortcomings myself in violin (mainly conformation ones too!), I can just admire so much beeings like Seabiscuit who weren't perfect for the task...  and (in his case) made it so high despite everything. 

That's why that in this little naming game, I would still call it Seabiscuit too even if I definitivly want to name it Secretariat (god of horses...)!  Of course,  the poor ones who made our bows didn't have such a lucky gloruis life... but they still must not be forgotten (it's my way to honnor them all!) 

But I still agree about Secretariat's perfection! 


November 26, 2010 at 12:18 PM ·

Naming of bows?  I had never thought of giving it a name.  I think  I see the violin as an intimate but the bow as a tool!  Perhaps I've had too few to really get to know their differences, and hence characters.  The two I have are both permambuco and very different, - one is subtle, bendy and (relatively) light and the other strong, stiffer and  certainly to be reconed with if it decided to play the epee.  You probably guess which I prefer - and I usually refer to it affectionately as 'my bow'.

Yes, I know, I am going to have to improve on that. I'll try getting to know 'my bow' personally fora while and see what comes up...


November 27, 2010 at 03:01 AM ·

I've decided upon Freya- she is definitely female, with a delicate neck and gorgeous scroll.  She is my Norwegian goddess (in honor of her of Norwegian-American maker). I just came into posession of her brother, Freyr,  who has a more masculine neck & scroll, and a darker tone.

The other choices were Ole & Lena.     uff da!

November 27, 2010 at 05:11 AM ·

 I guess if I gave it a name it would be "Diane," my wife's middle name.  She bought it for me for my birthday and selected it based on tone since she doesn't play herself.

November 27, 2010 at 03:01 PM ·

My viola is a total tomboy, with really nice maple... I thought of her as an Anya, after the Disney Princess Anastasia. Long story short, she survived my house burning down (the only thing to do so), so I guess she really did 'rise from the ashes'.

November 27, 2010 at 03:06 PM · Caitlin: she needs a double name that includes 'phoenix'. Wow (and sorry about the house).

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