I have been working on double stops, and have found that the way I have been placing my rather large fingers on any given string has allowed contact with the next higher string. Changing the form of my finger placement now brings up a question. I discovered that a ring occurs when I play a stopped note on a lower string that is the exact tone of the next higher one.
When I play 4th finger on the A, and my E string rings, the bowed note sounds muted and the E sounds like an harmonic. If I touch the E to keep it from vibrating, the stopped note sounds full.
Is this normal or should I have the instrument serviced?
Not only is that normal, but it's how you know you're playing in tune. Sesrch "ring tones" on this site for more on this. Move the stopped note around *slightly* to improve the intonation and the tone.
Does that muted quality not project? I never noticed while listening to any recording.
I dont particularly care for that sound either. I know what you mean. I always assumed it was because my stopped E was a tiny bit out of tune. Let's see what others say.
Jerry this may actually be a breakthrough for you. Also when not playing double stops, when a finger is stopping a string, it should not touch any other string. This avoids dampening your sound, as you have recently discovered. This may require that you play more on the fingertips than you have been used to before. Enjoy the tone of your liberated violin! (a bit overdramatic but still)
I suspect the ringing open E is "stealing" some of the high vibrations from the fingered E (via the violin body)...
I strongly suspect that my intervent will be ignored, as it happened in the past :D
If you play a fingered note exactly the same pitch as an open string, the open string will begin to resonate as well, and out-of-phase with the bowed string. The effect is to reduce the net vibration that goes to the bridge and body, thus the thin, tinny sound, and the fuller sound when you damp the open string.
Thank you all, especially Don, for your input. I guess I should try to damp the open string.
It is resonance, and it is good, you are playing those notes in tune, at least relative to the open string tones. The double stop E-open E is occasionally used as a special effect in classical solos. And it is often used in American fiddle styles. Sometimes it is deliberately played out of tune.
I've experienced the phenomenon in the past on one of my violins. The open A was "stealing" some of the tone of the fingered A on the E string. Lightly touching the open A would reveal the full tone of the fingered A, as Jerry describes. A bridge replacement (the old bridge snapped in two during a performance) and resetting of the instrument by my luthier got rid of the phenomenon and the violin now sounds and plays better than before.
Just to be clear, of course it is a phenomenon that we are all familiar with. And I appreciate that Don Noon is a respectable luthier. But actively trying to damp the open string while playing? Never heard about, or read about it, and I have read most of the authoritative books on violin playing. I've also watched a lot of top violinists (also in real life, not just youtube) and have never seen it. I would actually be very interested if someone could refer me to a youtube video where a serious violinist is doing such a thing on purpose. I can, on the other hand, give a lot of counterexamples. For example Gidon Kremer's Amati resonates so insanely that, when he is playing the Amati, all his E's sound like an open string. Kremer doesn't seem to think it sounds thin or tinny. Apologies, I don't know why this gets me so agitated!
I occasionally do this damping (particularly having left the open C to play another harmony). But then my instruments cost thousands, not millions!
There's no need to get agitated about this, as it really isn't that big of a deal. I do notice that playing a G on the D string seems a bit deader than I'd like, due to the 2nd harmonic of the open G string... but so what. Players are much more sensitive than listeners to these kinds of effects, so I don't go out of my way to damp the G string.
Don you mention the (well-known) practice of vibrating open G by stopping G on the D string. There we are bowing an open string. How can that serve as an example of what I was questioning, where we are bowing a stopped string and would dampen an open string.
If you bow the open G string, the 1st harmonic of that note will excite a stopped G note (an octave above) on the D string... which you can then use for vibrato. The 1st harmonic of the open G will lose some strength in the process, but that's not terribly important.
You’re right, Jean, instead of trying to actively dampen the open string, I will strive to use more of my fingertips to finger the strings and let the resonance of my instrument do its own thing. Thank you all for your attention and helpful information.
jerry have fun on your violin journey (we are all on it) and please stay in touch here on the forum!
Don't forget that the open D (if in tune!) has a strong harmonic that resonates with the fingered A on the E string.
dampening that one is going to be tricky! we better start practicing all our repertoire anew! we should urge Simon Fischer to write a new book with dampening exercises! sorry for the irony. I repeat, all these resonances (they indeed happen to some degree on every pure note you play) are the essence of producing tones that are in tune with your instrument, and are good thing, not a bad thing.
The term is "sympathetic" vibration or resonance. You can use a free finger to dampen if desired.
? Dampen a resonating open string? Don't bother, it's not a problem for the audience. What can also happen is that the forcefully driven string will pull the resonating string into the same phase and even pull it into the same pitch. I have heard that happen on Scottish bagpipes, where the very loud chanter reed pulls the drone reeds into pitch. The Norwegian Hardanger Fiddle has a set of open resonating strings in addition to the standard four stopped strings.
I find that when I am playing E (4th finger on A string), it is typical that I am touching the E string enough to dampen it, and maybe that's my technique being bad, but when this does not happen, and I hear that open-string (unison) resonance, particularly with vibrato, it just sounds too weird. The dampening (string touching) is even more typical as I go to lower strings, but the effect seems less to me. None of the other resonances (involving a lower string) are bothersome at all to me, in fact they seem highly beneficial tone-wise. So it's really just that ONE resonance (the E-upon-open-E unison) that I find garish and would prefer to dampen. (A footnote in the next edition of "Basics" would suffice for me.)
Another useful resonating note on the E string is the first position G, which should resonate with a G string that is properly in tune.
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