Another Rosin discussion[No, not which one is the best]

January 13, 2018, 1:18 AM · Hello, it's been a while since I posted here. I am currently looking for a new cake of rosin.

I have tried:
Hill Dark and Hill Light
Andrea Solo
A Piacere

So far, Andrea Solo is my go-to when I am performing in a practice room, or an acoustic chamber. Now, I am getting less and less time to play the violin, and my apartment will have to suffice.

I bought my violin because it is very powerful, and Andrea Solo again, very powerful, and the great grip that I have with it.

I an hoping to use another rosin to quiet down the violin, with the similar properties as Andrea Solo. I am thinking about using Bernardel again. I am looking for a dark and rather quiet sound with decent grip of the strings.

At this point on my violin, it any strings will be VERY loud.

Please post your suggestions(short of using a mute).

Replies (22)

January 13, 2018, 6:40 AM · If you want to quiet down your violin you can just use LESS rosin. I don't see any other way since you don't want to use a mute, which I totally understand. Any such adjustment will alter your tone production approach over time, that's the risk.

If I were confined to an apartment and I knew I was going to be there for a few years I might consider buying some lumber, fiberglass insulation, and a few tools and constructing an insulated practice booth.

January 13, 2018, 10:04 AM · You want the same properties of Andrea Solo but different result? How can this be? Different result mean different properties. I'd just use less rosin if I were you.
January 13, 2018, 10:09 AM · The old Liebenzeller copper rosin had a soft feel and tone.
Edited: January 13, 2018, 7:27 PM · I don't think rosin really affects the volume much. Some rosins may make playing softly easier or vice versa, but 99% of the volume will be other factors (violin setup, bowing pressure, sounding point, etc.). Your choice of rosin will change the tone and feel, but the actual loudness won't vary a whole lot.
Edited: January 13, 2018, 8:12 PM · My experience has been that rosin choice can make a big difference- good and bad!

I'm not sure what "actual loudness" is, but different rosins can change the balance of overtones, which affects projection and apparent loudness.

January 14, 2018, 7:12 AM · Andrea Orchestra. I tried it before going to Andrea Solo and eventually Andrea A Piacere. The reason I didn't like it was I got a more subdued sound, which I think is what you are looking for.
January 14, 2018, 10:59 AM · If volume is determined by the amplitude of the string vibration, and if the amplitude is controlled by how far the string moves before the rosin goes from stick to slip, then the tendency of the rosin to flow should be a factor.

The glass transition temperature (Tg) of a rosin is analogous to a melting point and the lower the Tg, the more the rosin tends to flow. I measured the glass transition temperatures of about 20 commercial rosins a couple of years ago and found Jade, D'Addario Natural Rosin Light, Baker's, and Kaplan Art Craft Light to be significantly softer than the others. If my assumptions are correct, these will be lower volume rosins.

But, I would first look at using rosins designed for cello or bass. Cello and bass rosins are softer than violin and rosins should be quieter.

Edited: January 14, 2018, 12:04 PM · As to whether softer rosin will lead to more or less volume: I could reason either way:
(1) soft rosin is stickier and will pull the string to larger amplitudes,
(2) it's weaker and will give in at smaller shear forces, leading to smaller amplitudes...
January 14, 2018, 6:08 PM · How does rosin affect sound?
January 15, 2018, 12:21 AM · Now that's an thought-provoking article! It says that there the difference between the static and dynamic friction coefficients is due to temperature (higher temperature = lower friction coefficient), and also that truly sticky rosins have a different behavior.

Unforfunately, the article is not written as a scientific paper with sufficient detail about the evidence and methods to assess possible errors in the analysis. All plots are simulations which are incredibly difficult to do correctly (involving heat transfer, changes in material properties, sliding and rolling motion, torsional and bending string deformation, and wave propagation in the string), but there is zero explanation on the simulation method. I say this as someone who does and reviews computer simulations as a major part of my daytime job.

One major issue that I have: in the stick phase of the bow-string interaction, there is no dissipation and therefore no heating. In the slip phase, there may be some heating, but the heat is spread out over some length of bow hair; there's always some fresh, cool, high-friction rosin being supplied to the contact point. The notion in fig. 3 that the rosin on the bow gradually cools during the slip phase is strange.

Also, I find it difficult to believe that the temperature at the contact point varies so much within the slip-stick cycle. When materials slide over each other with moderate contact pressures (think of a finger sliding over fabric), they typically don't warm up dramatically.

January 15, 2018, 1:44 AM · Update: I found a paper: The tribology of rosin by J.H. Smith, J. Woodhouse (2000). (can't paste the link from mobile) The authors present actual measurements and conclude that a physical model based on melting cannot explain the behavior of rosin. This was in a test setup that did not have much resemblance to a string-rosin-hair interaction, though.
January 15, 2018, 2:10 AM · As a strongly science-committed ex-scientist I never thought I'd say this, but you can have too much science. When it's hard enough for a listener to tell even what species of violin is being played, do esoteric issues like the performance of the rosin really matter?
January 15, 2018, 3:45 AM · @Steven, I suggest you trying Vienna‚Äôs Best rosin. Very smooth and forgiving.
January 15, 2018, 5:37 AM · I observe that violinists have strong opinions about differences between violins, bows, hairs, rosins, strings, fine tuners, and so on, not to mention shoulder/chin rests. The number of combinations that you'd have to try out to find out what works best is staggering. Understanding why some things are perceived to be better under some circumstances and not under other circumstances allows one to find the optimal solution, or to conclude convincingly that it doesn't matter.

As for rosin, there is a clear difference between the average double-bass rosin and the average violin rosin, so we can't rule out that all violin rosins are not equal.

January 15, 2018, 6:30 AM · The tribology of rosin:
January 15, 2018, 7:56 AM · Just to provide an historical link:
Note the good stuff from Tom Quinn.
January 15, 2018, 3:58 PM · Hello Robert I have tried Vienna's Best rosin. I liked it when it was in shape, but it turned into a pancake a little too quickly. I think you may know what I mean.

Michael, I want to try Andrea Orchestra, and I may end up picking one up eventually, they are just not available locally for the time being.

January 15, 2018, 11:57 PM · Tom Quinn, would you be willing to share your list of Tg values?

Is "kaplan dark" by any chance in your data? That's the one that came with my rental violin; if "kaplan light" is already exceptionally soft, maybe it's time that I get a more middle of the road one.

January 16, 2018, 1:31 AM · I'm starting to perceive an analogy here with the sports equipment delusion. Obviously in order to feel they can perform to the very best of their ability, top golfers believe they need to use the best equipment (clubs, balls, gloves, shoes, trousers etc). The weekend golfer misperceives the top golfers' equipment as being contributory to their success. Consequently a marketplace springs up for the sale of golfing paraphernalia, and the relative merits of the products are hotly debated on the greens. Now, when a violinist of modest accomplishment perceives a deficiency in their playing they think it must be down to one of the factors Han lists above. I'm sure certain differences between rosins do exist, but I'm equally sure that obsessing about finding the "right" one diverts the player from the proper pursuit of music making.
Edited: January 16, 2018, 12:12 PM · To clarify my stance: in principle, I assume that it (such as the above list of things) doesn't matter, unless proven otherwise. But I'm still making some effort to find some kind of proof (e.g., physical reasoning, experiments) and sometimes, the proof does show up.

(Edited for clarity)

January 16, 2018, 6:45 AM · Rosin matters a lot, but it won't necessarily matter for the audience. It does, and yet it doesn't, by affecting the whole of the performance, but most (being generous-probably none) listeners won't notice which rosin a player is using. Strings are an easier tell, but many players perform so well or have so great instruments that it makes little difference to the average listener (and I say this convinced that strings do matter, and that gut=/=synthetic=/=steel.) So yes, there are differences, but maybe not worth going overboard with finding that perfect "concertante" rosin, "orchestra" rosin, "practice" rosin, etc.

I know that Bernardel, Andrea Solo, and Guillaume (for instance) are all different, but all can also be used for whatever musical purpose, IMHO. I like the tone and feel of the latter (feel/maneuverability being important, as that also affects the confidence of the player and thus, the performance), but all are more than good enough.

Edited: January 16, 2018, 8:57 AM · Adalberto's argument is effectively that of the top golfer whose game is exquisitely attuned to a particular brand of club and feels physically or psychologically at a disadvantage using anything else. That may also have some validity in the case of top violinists but speaking, if I may, on behalf of the humble player and average listener I'm prepared to suggest that those in the audience notice only the music, very rarely even the instrument. We wouldn't be very impressed if after a poor performance the violinist offered the excuse that he or she ran out of the right brand of rosin.

Wouldn't it be interesting to find out what make of rosin Paganini preferred? Joachim? Kreisler? Heifetz? Oistrakh? Maybe today we have too much choice and that worries us.

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