Are there any recordings of note that feature a single violin overdubbed once or multiple times? Are composers composing new works for the violin that use this recording technique? Does it open up additional means of expression or harmonic possibilities?
I'm sure there are many such recordings, but I'm aware of two by Anne Akiko Meyers. One is from her CD called "The Four Seasons," where she performs all three parts of the Vivaldi Concerto in F major, RV 551, for three violins, played on her current del Gesu. Another is from her CD "Air, The Bach Album," where she performs both parts of the Bach double concerto, BWV 1043.
It's a great little trick when you have nobody to play with and you want to record some music, but I find it doesn't seem to scale. Once you start adding more than 3 layers of the same violin in unison, the sound gets this ugly quality, and while you can tell there are several violins, it doesn't sound a like an orchestra. Although if you had 3 or 4 different violins to play on, I'm sure it would sound like the real deal.
When I lived in Los Angeles I did violin backgrounds for Mexican pop recordings, usually with 3 or 4 violins. We discovered early on that if you overdub yourself or one other violinist at the unison, it clashes, sounds horrible. The small differences in intonation and vibrato become obvious. We didn't start to get the blended orchestral sound until 2 over-dubs, switching parts, or even instruments(!) on an arrangement in three-part harmony.
Not a single violin, but a lot of years ago I was involved fixing the strings for a local recording studio.
When overdubbing, if it starts to sound muddy and unclear, often simply time-shifting one of the overdubbed tracks a millisecond or two, either forward or back in time, can make things sound clearer.
I've been multitracking myself in obscure string quartets and other chamber works for years now, with success that you might call "variable" https://imslp.org/wiki/Category:Steve%27s_Bedroom_Band. I thought nobody would mistake the result for the real thing (the "cello" is the main giveaway, being in fact a viola dropped by an octave) but occasionally someone does get fooled. In one review I was pleased to be mistaken for a "talented group of students", which is a very long way off the mark. As Cotton say, doubling up (or more) all the parts to simulate a string orchestra does start to sound very strange; using two or three different violins helps somewhat, but unfortunately they all still sound like me.
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