Strings to tune down
Since one of my kids is playing the trumpet, and I got tired of transposing on the fly when helping him along with his etudes and pieces, I took one of my tinkering projects and tuned it down to B. It's not a great violin, but not bad either - even and balanced, well playable up to the higher registers, and resonant enough but nothing to rave about. Let's call it a student grade violin, and if it would be in nicer condition without dents and a repaired crack, it might be worth 1,5k, to give you an idea what I'm talking about.
Since I tuned the Tonicas down, it sounds quite cheesy, reminds me of rubber bands. Maybe high tension strings would help?
Any suggestions, be it out of experience or just maths...? But no super expensive stuff please. It's just for faking-a-trumpet :-)
Strings are optimized to be played at a certain tension. When you tune down a string, you also drop its tension resulting in the tonal strangeness you noticed.
It's not clear (to me) what you mean by "tuned it down to B." Tuned what down to B? It might be clearer to say that you tuned it down a half tone, whole tone, or whatever it is.
Trumpets are "in B flat" (in German B becomes H, and B flat become B, for paleographic reasons) meaning that a written C will emerge a tone lower.
I'm not an expert at violin string design, but I do know that piano string gauges are chosen for how close they will be to their breaking point. The higher the tension when at pitch, the brighter the tone and the less inharmonicity there is (sounds better in tune). However, when you get closer to the breaking point, of course there's a greater possibility of breaking the string, so there's a tradeoff. If you put on a thicker string on a particular pitch, you're not really raising the tension--the percentage of breaking point will actually be lower. It'll project less, and have a warmer, fuzzier sound.
Tuned down a tone, a low tension string will be eve soggier than a high tension one!...
A normal set of Tonicas can be regarded as medium tension, right?
Improvise a violin capo.
You could also buy them a C trumpet, if they aspire to orchestral playing they will need one anyway.
You could check to see if a set of 3/4 size strings are long enough to fit your 4/4 violin.
Buying a C trumpet won't help a young trumpeter who is still in school bands because he will need to learn to transpose down a whole step to play band music. And if you don't want to do that your child may wonder why you're making him do it.
George, the capo would only serve to raise a Bb violin back to C!
There is a very simple solution: Just pretend that you are playing on a viola and the music is written in octave bass clef. ;)
Yes, I have sometimes used my viola as a "violin in F" to sight-read cor anglais or french horn ("cor d'harmonie") parts.
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