What makes a student violin a student violin and a professional violin a professional violin?
I'm curious to know because it is my belief that once I understand what makes a violin a student violin, I will know when to change my instrument.
The difference is about $15,000.
Or the hands of a professional playing it.
Add: And everything that Paul said. Yet, I believe that the price tag may vary significantly :)
As a student you can also buy a professional antique violin if you have enough money, I have met someone who as starter bought antique Italian violin over €50,000 from auction.
Or you can search and find an old but restored instrument (German, Bohemian/Czech etc) around 800-1500 $ focusing on its response, playability and volume so you can play along a small orchestra or a piano and be properly heard, till you decide to get to this values that would get you a nice car or a small house instead.
Paul, as in there generally are no violins below $15,000 that would be good enough for performance?
"there generally are no violins below $15,000 that would be good enough for performance..."
$15000 was an approximate figure and offered partly in jest.
One has been to college, the other hasn't.
The owner's status.
Descriptions like "student" and "professional" have largely become marketing terms these days, with little or no real meaning.
I would think that a student violin is one that’s mass produced, or made by multiple people, or an early instrument from m a budding luthier. A professional violin is one that is made by an established luthier by him/herself I would imagine.
In my opinion whether or not an instrument is 'professional' does not depend on how it's made, but on its playability and tonal characteristics.
IMHO, the great dividing line is usually between instruments that are handmade by a single luthier, especially one with experience, training, and ongoing R&D in the field., and those made in workshop settings by multiple workers who specialize in individual parts. Sometimes you get lucky with a workshop fiddle, though!
I think that professional violins aren't always warmer and less edgy than student ones because violins vary so much.
So basically, a violin is like a person: you can't label them as a student or professional without knowing it's capabilities?
To me, a pro instrument would be characterized as
Don't forget set-up can bring about huge differences too! This is one aspect of the violin that I intensely dislike: there are too many parameters involved in setting up the instrument, and the player (or even luthier) simply never has the time and resources to try most of them out (combination of strings, soundpost positions, tailpieces, bows etc. etc.).
Roger wrote, "I don't think pro level instruments are easier to play, on the contrary."
I was recently talking to a professional violinist/teacher about this. As I understood it, effectively he found it ironic that people paid a lot of money for a violin that wasn't "easy to play" and that it forced them to compromise on the way they played (avoiding weak notes , inequality, etc). For him, a violin that was not easy to play meant that it had weaknesses that forced the player to work their way around them.
"Responsive" and "easy to play" are often conflated with one another, when we talk about violins. There are many aspects to response, too.
Lydia, can you expand a bit on the idea of wider or narrower range of colours? Are colours in this sense related to dynamic shadings (and the relation of bow speed, weight, position on the string)?
Color is the tonal output of the violin. It's not related to the decibel output of the instrument, per se. You can play something with a "piano attitude" that gives the listener the impression of softness, while still carrying to the back of the hall in terms of sheer decibels, for instance.
Very interesting Lydia. Thank you
Lydia, so in your experience, a good violin is less tolerant of unstraight bowing but more tolerant of slow bowing and contact point (near bridge or fingerboard)? This is interesting that I’ll definitely pay attention to the next time I try a good violin.
Of course it's true that great violins can be harder to play, and that includes many in the £10K to £20K range.
This is the first time that I have posted on this message board, and felt compelled to do so to pay Lydia a compliment regarding her eloquent and very helpful posts in this thread. Lydia, thank you very much, you have provided an outstanding explanation of Responsiveness, Ease of playing, Forgiveness, Sluggishness and a variety of other playing characteristics and how they apply to the instruments tonal color, Palette, and applicability to a variety of playing levels. Your explanations should be used as a “go to” reference for both makers and players.
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