Uneven and crunchy sound while playing

April 19, 2017 at 12:32 AM · For some reason I'm not able to get a smooth steady tone while playing. Many times I get a really crunchy noise and the only way to temporarily make it subside (notice how I use subside instead of go away) is to apply more rosin to the bow but even then I still hear a crunch and uneven tone. I am still using the cheap rosin I got for my rental instrument from a local music shop and I'm thinking that may be the culprit. If anyone has a way to address this problem a reply would be greatly appreciated. Thank you ??

Replies (25)

April 19, 2017 at 12:37 AM · If you wouldn't mind posting a video demonstrating the issue that would be rather beneficial to the responses members on here are able to offer

April 19, 2017 at 02:03 AM · https://1drv.ms/v/s!An9wSgygpYoWayPSPG4Cd3cw__Q This is a video of me playing a part of a piece that I'm doing for a competition coming up, I haven't rosined the bow in couple of days and this is with my new/best bow

April 19, 2017 at 02:08 AM · Also sorry for the audio quality I'm recording it using my phone and my room really isn't the best place to record music from

April 19, 2017 at 02:34 AM · I think the issue is technical and not equipment-related (although it could be exacerbated by equipment, if you have a bow that handles clumsily).

Have you done any exercises for smooth landings at the start of entrances, and for drawing long, smooth bow-strokes?

April 19, 2017 at 02:50 AM · I agree with Lydia that this may be a technical issue. Haven't had a chance to watch your video. What you describe could be caused by a multitude of things:

1. inconsistent bow speed

2. overly tight bow grip

3. unregulated bow pressure

4. inconsistent contact point

5. bow hair problems

6. worn strings

There's probably more...

April 19, 2017 at 03:03 AM · Crunches can be caused by rough bow landings (as Lydia wrote), inappropriate contact point for the note and/or bow speed, or inappropriate bow speed for the contact point. In the piece you played, the right contact point and bow speed needs to be found for each note, and you have a wide range of notes from bass to treble, making the job pretty complex!

April 19, 2017 at 11:02 AM · hi Justin, to avoid crash landing with the bow (which is a common error, you are certainly not alone) practice on making it a habit to place the bow first, only then draw it. even if the placement only lasts a fraction of a second, it has to be placed first! by the way, more advanced violinists do violate this rule with good results, but it is a good thing to do as a beginner.

April 19, 2017 at 11:06 AM · These are all great solutions I'll work on my technique a little more thanks!

April 19, 2017 at 11:06 AM · These are all great solutions I'll work on my technique a little more thanks!

April 19, 2017 at 11:57 AM · Justin you sound good! The joy of violin playing comes through.

Landing your bow without crunch is hard. Jean's suggestion is one that you'll find useful forever, even after you learn how to land smoothly from the air, especially if you play in an orchestra where soloistic techniques are sometimes impractical.

I will only offer the following additional suggestion. Watch a few videos on youtube of ducks or geese landing on water.

April 19, 2017 at 02:02 PM · One possibility to think about: I feel the landing beeing ok, but after it there seems to be some kind of cautioness causing your left hand to somehow stop or get nervous.

If you land succesfully keep the right arm in motion or use the version of jean to not land the bow in motion. Both possibilities should solve it. Maybe at your stage you should prefer Jeans version.

By the way, the sound is quiet good, I like the obvious connection between right and left. Keep on doing!

April 20, 2017 at 12:45 AM · You may be taking the bow too far from the string and subsequently coming down with too much momentum in the wrong direction. Practice continuous landings on an open string perhaps?

April 20, 2017 at 03:27 AM · Justin if you don't mind my using your post to ask a similar question regarding myself:

When I play slurred notes on a long bow, I get a crunchy sound. The more notes on one bow, the less pure and clean they sound. It's easier for me to have a clean sound with short detache.

What factors are involved in this technique? Quick dropping of the left fingers, even bow speed and contact point, no tension (of course)... am I missing something? More rosin ... lower nut/bridge ... I'm not sure.

For sake of clarity, I'm working on the first exercise in Schradieck book 1, hence the slurred-notes difficulty.

Listened to your recording. It sounds beautiful! But what do I know at 8 months anyway ;)

April 20, 2017 at 04:59 AM · If the notes aren't even in length, blame the left hand. If it's tonal choking, I would suggest you to

1. use more bow

2. keep a straight bow

3. keep a consistent bow speed (except dynamic swells)

4. don't press too hard on the bow stick

5. keep a relaxed bow hold.

April 20, 2017 at 11:39 AM · No I don't mind at all be my guest this is a discussion forums after all

I also had problems with slurred notes when I started playing a couple of years ago. What I did was try to find a good video of someone slurring notes properly and try to imitate their sound. Once I was able to imitate it I looked at my bowing to see how it has changed. Then I keep that change and practice with it until it becomes habit. That's the way it worked for me, give it a try and see if I'd does well. Remember practice makes permanent not perfect so try to practice properly.

April 20, 2017 at 05:01 PM · I have found a great idea that helped in understanding the concept (but no credit, I read it elsewhere). :)

A "smooth bow", and a smooth bow change, are not just a constant use of balancing weight and speed.

Rather, you constantly put in tiny "bumps" of energy from the arm that are very consistent and calm and adjust to the needs of the note, which keeps the bow sounding as though it goes on forever (including bow changes,and consistency of sound from tip to frog).

April 20, 2017 at 06:58 PM · I think that's true. It's a matter of energy consistency.

April 20, 2017 at 10:55 PM · Justin, I'll try that out. Another topic to add to my research list.

"You constantly put in tiny "bumps" of energy from the arm that are very consistent and calm ..." - From the arm or the index finger?

April 20, 2017 at 11:02 PM · Video is not working, but apart from the observations already made, re-visit bow distribution/usage. For example, where do you intend to play slurs, where to begin phrase or re-start after the rest? Sometimes, sound suffers if you simply did not do proper "bow budgeting" - there is only a limited number of mm you can spend!

Also, consider your fingers (and other joints) as "shock absorbers" or springs - the movement comes from big muscles, not from the tips of your fingers.

April 20, 2017 at 11:07 PM · @G.A.: Mostly the arm, which keeps the weight in. Add any finger (s)as needed for volume control or changing the sounding point.

April 20, 2017 at 11:23 PM · @Rocky The video is fine make sure to get the whole link

I usually start to play slurs at he middle of the bow and a lot of the time I do run out of bow space. Another reason that I've found out that is causing that scratchy noise is that I slowly drift towards the bridge as I play. Also im needing to apply more rosin than usual to get a good grip with the bow is this normal? It may be due to my weather over here since it's mid spring and there is a lot of temperature fluctuations. It also may be due to my cheap rosin but I would like a professional opinion on this.

April 21, 2017 at 04:51 AM · You shouldn't have to put on tons and tons of rosin, I don't think. I think that energy should originate from the arm and travel to the fingers, which gently apply the energy to the bow and string.

April 21, 2017 at 10:34 AM · G.A., the slower your bow moves (e.g. because you want to slur a large number of notes and it is not very fast) the less pressure is needed. on the other hand the slower your bow moves the less loud you play, so the noises that your bow makes can be heard better. but people listening to you from a distance will usually not hear these noises. but still the sound will be a little bit less clear because of this. at the same time the clue to maximal clarity is to always try to bow fast enough, even if you have to slur a large number of notes. i.e., use your bow length to the maximum. a final hint is that closer to the bridge you can bow slower and still make enough sound. it's all experimenting and learning about how to make different sounds with your instrument!

April 21, 2017 at 12:25 PM · Justin, you don't need tons of rosin. I use 5-6 swipes for an hour of practice. If you read the "rosin threads" that come up continually on this site, you will see that there is a "race to the bottom" in which people seem to be competing with one another in terms of how little rosin they use ("two swipes every other month," etc.).

It is a very good self-experiment to play an open string and a well-ringing stopped note (e.g., D on the A string) and try systematically varying your bow speed, your bow "lane" (between the bridge and fingerboard) and your downward bow pressure (which is a compromise term between "force" and "weight" even though all these terms refer to the same physical effect).

May 6, 2017 at 03:45 AM · It was the rosin that was the culprit I just bought a cake of Andrea solo rosin and now my playing is as smooth as butter

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