Get this to the largest Discussion !

Edited: May 20, 2020, 12:08 PM · Thought it would be fun to see how many replies we can get on one post.

Doesn't matter what it is. It could be a single letter.

Hope I didn't waste too much of your time!

Replies (114)

May 18, 2020, 1:29 PM · Sorry, if you wanted that, you'd need to post a video of you playing the fastest version of some Paganini caprice. Make sure to aim for the sound of "punching cardboard" as your tonal inspiration.
May 18, 2020, 2:22 PM · Ah is that a reference to one Mr David Krakovich? If so, he's trying with Scubert's "The Bee" at the moment
Edited: May 18, 2020, 2:52 PM · Well, there's always this dude playing all 24 Paganini Caprices, which is a pretty amazing feat of approximation. (It's two hours long, apparently delivered live. David K's got nothin' on this fella!)

May 18, 2020, 3:01 PM · I don't see how we're going to get there without getting into politics ;-)

Meanwhile, this cracked me up today, if anyone else grew up on video games:

May 18, 2020, 3:03 PM · Oh that's been around a while Christian. There's another one of a cellist simulating Formula One racing sounds.
May 18, 2020, 3:09 PM · Nice one, Lydia! :-)
May 18, 2020, 3:24 PM · We have to call David K. Either that, or someone has to come up with some baloney about how women are inherently disadvantaged in some miscellaneous aspect of music. THAT'll get you to 300 replies in no time.
May 18, 2020, 3:47 PM · Lol Cotton
May 18, 2020, 4:21 PM · I think the Covid Lockdown cabin fever is starting to show in this thread. lol!
May 18, 2020, 5:05 PM · I'm just wondering how long it takes for this conversation to include a rant about not using shoulder rests.
Edited: May 18, 2020, 5:11 PM · AW,

I'll go first

Why you shouldn't use a shoulder rest,

Using a shoulder rest takes away from the intimate experience playing the violin. I'm not a fan of that word choice but there's something liberating about felling the vibrations from the wood on your shoulder. Also, it seems to give a less robotic sound as the instrument can move with you letting you express more musicality. I'm lucky to have A Del Gesu copy so I am able to do this.

May 18, 2020, 7:20 PM · By politics, are we referring to the Meshi Party's chances in the next Israeli election? ;)
May 18, 2020, 8:21 PM · Shoulder rest...baroque in my repertoire...some crazy guy on YouTube...what is an 'A'...some poor scmhuck who wants to be a pro...women.

Thats pretty much the formula. I'd be sort of interested in a thread that weaves through all of the above seamlessly, like a river into the ocean.

May 18, 2020, 8:44 PM · Julie I agree haha
May 19, 2020, 12:33 AM · I wonder how long it takes for someone to bring up Chinese violins? Oh wait, I just did :)
Edited: May 19, 2020, 1:08 AM · I don't think any threads can beat The Paris double-blind experiment thread started by Steve Jones. It has 1128 responses.
May 19, 2020, 1:31 AM · I think that the violin is expressively a much more limited instrument than the piano. Or maybe this should go into the 'unpopular opinions' thread?
May 19, 2020, 2:52 AM · Well as someone who’s played piano for over 40 years I can say the piano is extremely expressive, but I think the violin is more so, it’s just easier, in my opinion, to be expressive on the piano.
Edited: May 19, 2020, 6:34 AM · Sometimes one says something that one thinks is important and it gets no response, and sometimes one says something meant to be a throwaway and it generates a long discussion. So good luck, Ben!

One of the longest threads I ever saw was whether the correct spelling was vampire or vampyre.

May 19, 2020, 5:54 AM · Cotton, lets talk about the men instead. Until a generation ago harpists used to be all women. How could this glaring injustice be tolerated for such a long time?!

I blame Spohr!

May 19, 2020, 7:02 AM · I blame the Marx Brothers.
Edited: May 19, 2020, 9:41 AM · I just won a brand new Chinese violin on an e-Bay auction, and boy, it's shiny enough to rate a really top-notch shoulder rest! What's the best shoulder rest in the $200-and-up range for Baroque repertoire? I want to play Baroque because I saw this Israeli guy on YouTube who totally shreds Paganini but there's no way I can attain that kind of virtuosity at my age. By the way, I know Corelli and Vivaldi are both considered Baroque, but since they're Italian wouldn't they also be Romantic? And doesn't that mean their material calls for lots of vibrato? I need to know because a professional should know these things, and as a full-time busker I'm a professional by definition, or maybe even a proffesional.

While I'm thinking about it, what's the best way to store a shiny Chinese violin when living in a van?

May 19, 2020, 9:32 AM · In fact professional orchestral harpists were also men, and a female harpist was often the first woman accepted into a professional orchestra (see Alice Chalifoux). I wasn’t going to join this thread but inaccurate information bugs me. Almost as much as autocorrect changing every “were” to “we’re.”
May 19, 2020, 9:41 AM · Use however much vibrato you would use when singing the passage. Don't let the fact that it is Baroque music stop you from doing what your heart tells you!

One of the most disgusting things I see in pedagogy is when a violin teacher will sing a phrase in a baroque/classical piece with a beautiful and healthy vibrato, and then proceed to berate the student for using 'too much' when what the student plays is of a far lesser amplitude and frequency than what the teacher just sang.

May 19, 2020, 10:32 AM · How do I make an address in my post into a clickable link??
May 19, 2020, 10:39 AM · Hi, such a lovely community!
May 19, 2020, 11:33 AM · "what's the best way to store a shiny Chinese violin when you're living in a van?"

Depends if it was finished in Cremona or not!

Edited: May 19, 2020, 11:56 AM · Xuanyuan Liu: I know all that. I was engaging in deliberate, calculated stupidity, on the grounds that the goal in this thread was number of replies rather than the usefulness of the posts.

I figured that seven sentences containing at least six (and possibly as many as eight) instances of howling idiocy would elicit replies, and indeed that seems to be the case.

[EDIT: Literally the only thing in that post that can be taken at anything near face value is my interest in Baroque music.]

[ANOTHER EDIT: Julie O'Connor, further upthread, gave me the idea, however inadvertently. But shucks, I forgot to address "what is A".]

May 19, 2020, 12:07 PM · Jack, I think you're onto something. What do Villa-Lobos, Scarlatti, Messiaen, Palestrina and Enescu have in common? They're romantic composers.
May 19, 2020, 12:16 PM · Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog. Just kinda gross and I don't like it when people do it.
May 19, 2020, 12:22 PM · Hi! Violas rule!
Edited: May 19, 2020, 3:11 PM · All right, so two (2) completely serious questions.

(1) How do I contact the Editor? My screen name is not in accordance with forum policies, and as far as I can tell only the Editor can change it. [EDIT: Never mind. Pretty sure I got this one figured out.]

(2) How great an effect, if any, does antiquing have on the sound of an instrument?

May 19, 2020, 12:26 PM · What Laura said!
Edited: May 19, 2020, 2:44 PM · Jack L, I think you forgot to mention the specialist chin rest that is necessary for playing baroque. Haven't seen any ads for them lately but I reckon the starting ask for such a speciality add-on would surely be well north of $200. I don't think they last well, either. I've seen so many violinists start off playing baroque with a chin rest but a few months later the device has evidently deteriorated to the extent that they have to play without it. Caveat emptor!
May 19, 2020, 2:21 PM · Cellos are bas(s)ically bass violas.

May 19, 2020, 2:39 PM · @ M Zilpah. Broadly true. For example, Elgar wrote a viola version of his cello concerto. But on the other hand I very much doubt whether Kodaly's Op 8 (a virtuoso sonata for unaccompanied cello with scordatura tuning) would work successfully if transferred to the viola - the 4-octave+ range required would be pushing it somewhat (but Hindemith “might” have managed it).
May 19, 2020, 2:40 PM · I need to find that viola version!
May 19, 2020, 3:26 PM · So, totally agree with what Jack said about what Laura said. So, just my two cents.
May 19, 2020, 4:55 PM · @Jack - I love the term "howling idiocy"! Nice!
Edited: May 19, 2020, 6:50 PM · Well, if history is our guide, the best way to gin up posts is to either 1. Call strict adherents of Suzuki’s method “cultists” or 2. State that all Luthiers should agree to install geared pegs in all their fiddles and replace conventional pegs with geared pegs on all repairs. Oh yea, and cutting your own bridge is child’s play if you have any woodworking talent at all! ;d)
Edited: May 19, 2020, 7:37 PM · Lydia Leong
Edited: May 18, 2020, 2:52 PM · Well, there's always this dude playing all 24 Paganini Caprices, which is a pretty amazing feat of approximation. (It's two hours long, apparently delivered live. David K's got nothin' on this fella!)

A fascinating experience. And he even uses our President's tailor!

Googling on the title of the clip produces

An event featuring all 24 Caprices & "Aleatoric Philosophy." Perhaps he wanted it not to sound precise or over-educated? He seems to have a thing for autodidacts.

May 19, 2020, 7:39 PM · Fun trick if you really wanna become "one" with the vibrations of your instrument (keep in mind, this is only for REAL musicians! No posers!)

Buy a stethoscope, and put the earpieces in your ear canals. Now, tape the drum of the stethoscope to the body of your violin. Begin playing. That's it!

May 19, 2020, 7:54 PM · Erik Williams,

What's a "Real Musician" I've seen some professionals who don't have the slightest bit of musicality while some student violinist who do not have a perfect technique that will have more musicality then they will ever have.

May 19, 2020, 9:55 PM · Erik, I almost had an aneurysm reading that. Trigger warning!
May 19, 2020, 10:56 PM · @Erik, that works well for electrics too but you must have a Marshall stack and tape the stethoscope to the speakers at full volume.
May 19, 2020, 11:19 PM · What, no takers for Israeli politics and how the Israeli electorate clearly doesn't appreciate a candidate for PM who can play violin on a stationary bike?
May 19, 2020, 11:56 PM · This is a great thread already. Keep it up, ya’ll.
May 20, 2020, 12:08 AM · Andrew, some candidates move the Overton Window, and we thank them for their small bit of progress towards total dexterity for all humans.
May 20, 2020, 2:44 AM · Great thread, I've always wanted a feature on this forum where one less thread is visible on the first page.
May 20, 2020, 3:48 AM · The problem is, contention can create a long thread, but it can also get the whole thread deleted, as we saw recently.
Edited: May 20, 2020, 4:45 AM · Again this could go to the unpopular opinions thread, but now I'm talking seriously:

In my experience, this forum has been very good overall, but the more discussions about politics this forum holds, the least I like it. This should be a forum about music, a place where one could be free of all those worthless and bitter political discussions we are tired of listening, hearing and reading anywhere, in which all participants think they hold the complete truth and just try to enforce their views ("change/open up other peoples' minds").

I must say that musical discussions here are among the best I've read anywhere online. People are well educated, polite, know what are they talking about and give great advice (I am particularly fond of a couple of users, but absolutely everyone has given me really good advice). But the political discussion threads are quite far from that. I'd strongly suggest either the prohibition of political threads in the forum... or as an alternative, giving the users the option of ignoring threads so that we don't even have to read their title whenever we enter into the discussion page if we don't want to.

May 20, 2020, 6:27 AM · Miguel I absolutely agree. Music not politics
May 20, 2020, 6:48 AM · Miguel: Totally agree re political threads. Other forums elsewhere already specialize in that flavor of depravity.
Edited: May 20, 2020, 8:26 AM · Erin asked, "How do I make an address in my post into a clickable link??"

Right-click on this page and select "View Page Source." Search for "this dude", which is the text for Lydia's clickable link. See how she did it. That is how you learn how to do simple things in HTML.

Now ... here is how you do it.

[A HREF=""]Your link text[/A]

So, Lydia's link becomes:

[A HREF=""]this dude playing all 24 Paganini Caprices[/A]

However I have made one very significant change. The left brackets in the foregoing must instead be "less than" characters, and the right brackets must be "greater than" characters.

You can just copy my example, insert it into your post, change my place-holder link to yours, change my place-holder link text to yours, and finally change the left and right brackets to less-than and greater-than symbols.

It's very important that you TEST your link and that you make sure nothing on the rest of the page has been screwed up by the HTML that you've inserted, such as the page width or the formatting of the posts coming after yours.

Edited: May 20, 2020, 8:41 AM · I did a course in HTML once, but it was useless, as most people use HTML Wizards, and the code is unmaintainable, as those Wizards generate 50 lines of code for every one you'd write yourself. But ultra basic stuff like this is probably worth knowing.
May 20, 2020, 8:37 AM · Thank you PD, I will try it! Maybe a little later, when I am fully awake...
May 20, 2020, 9:53 AM · Gordon, if someone did a course in Oz, the course in Oz was a medical degree, and people used an Oz Wizard (for purposes of watching), would that make the course in Oz useless?
May 20, 2020, 10:25 AM · Terracotta?
May 20, 2020, 10:30 AM · Trevor, the only viola version I have of Elgar's 'Cello Concerto bears claims that it was produced by someone called Tertis. Mind you, bearing in mind that Anna Magadalena's manuscript of the E-minor Sarabande was found among Elgar's papers (, it mightn't be too surprising if Elgar's original draft for viola of what he decided to publish as his 'Cello Concerto were to turn up among Tertis's papers.
May 20, 2020, 1:45 PM · OK, let's start a REAL controversy!!!
How are these for controversial opinions?.....

- Misspellings on this website regarding a contest between which performances of the Bach Sonatas is the best is simply a diskrace.

- From now on, opera singers should always wear masks.

- Beethoven was so closed off to the opinions of others that as he became older he just stopped listening to anybody.

- Until this pandemic is over, none of us will be able to get a bowhaircut.

- When we can start playing in orchestras again, we'll have to sit six feet apart, and the conductor is going to need binoculars.

- All of the important violin performances ever made are on YouTube.

- The music critics who hate violinists should be taken down a peg or two.

Please, everyone, be well and stay safe.

May 20, 2020, 3:20 PM · Hi
May 20, 2020, 3:39 PM · How about the idea that a viola is just a deeper sounding violin? :)
Edited: May 20, 2020, 4:27 PM · Some of us would be tempted to respond that the violin is just a stunted viola. ;)

EDIT: Having said that, though: back in February I finally got the chance to hear a Curtin violin up close and Oh. My ... The lower strings on that fiddle, and the G string in particular, had an almost viola vibe to them. Blew my mind, and gave me a lot more insight as to why a working pro would invest in a hock-your-house level of instrument.

May 20, 2020, 5:56 PM · My small string orchestra is firing up rehearsals again next weekend, and we will all be in masks, 6 ft apart, and of course no stand or music sharing. There are not that many of us but this is going to be interesting. We're playing at a wedding in 5 weeks if they don't lock us back down again. First rehearsal since early March.
May 20, 2020, 6:29 PM · @Jack, I can believe it; never had the chance to play one of his instruments (and at 50K and up each, probably never will lol) but I have heard one, and you're totally right; they are amazing violins!
May 21, 2020, 12:41 AM · Richard: yeah, I'd say they've earned their reputation.

Trevor: about those Baroque chin rests, I just assumed they were transparent and therefore probably fashioned from custom-blown and -fitted artisanal glass of the highest purity humanly achievable. I'd think that would tend to leave their durability open to question.

Edited: May 21, 2020, 7:21 AM · When I was a kid my dad showed me that you can laminate layers of colored acrylic sheet (aka Plexiglas) together using solvent (he's a chemist too) and with his help I made myself a custom chin rest using chisels an a Dremel tool to carve it out. Unfortunately it was a terrible CR, but I insisted on using it and my teacher didn't protest. It looked really cool.
May 21, 2020, 8:37 AM · That is really cool. Seems like the idea, given enough time and motivation, might be worth playing around with unless I'm missing something.
Edited: May 21, 2020, 7:22 PM · Carving acrylic isn't all that easy. If the tool is turning too fast it melts. And it doesn't have a grain that you can follow like wood.

That was the 70s. Nowadays 3D printing should give us all kinds of cool violin parts, especially things like CR where there isn't a lot of voodoo about how different materials affect your tone (like there is for tailpieces, etc.)

May 21, 2020, 3:24 PM · Jack, glass has a s.g. of 2.5, so a glass chin rest would be substantially, and noticeably, heavier than a similar one made of wood or molded plastic. And then there is the engineering problem of attaching it to the violin, which may not be a trivial issue.

I wonder if a glass chin rest has been made to suit a glass violin. Glass violins have been made; I've seen one in the Waterford Glass Museum in Ireland, but I don't remember if it had a chin rest. Glass violins are indeed "playable", if only in the sense that you can see them being demonstrated on YouTube, but they wouldn't be many violinists' first choice for real playing in the real world.

May 21, 2020, 3:47 PM · Started to make my own chinrests. Cool thing is, you can make them to your liking and are not thrown back to what is available, choosing for the lesser evil.
Anyone else here amongst the tinkerers, except Cotton and Paul?
(I think it's not that relevant to make it an own thread, but here if it helps the original goal...)
May 21, 2020, 3:54 PM · But wait--for those folks who are desperately seeking a rationalization for not practicing, wouldn't a glass violin be just the ticket??
Edited: May 21, 2020, 5:06 PM · Not to discuss politics, but a certain POS President wants to make things so bad with China, that Chinese violins will be a thing of the past, what are all our Chinophile violin promoters going to do when the supply of cheap Chinese violins completely dries up due to increasing trade war and possible real war with China, me thinks they won't possibly switch to quality antiques, it'll be Romanian for the high end, and the stuff they're pushing at the low end will be Indonesian and Vietnamese, or may be even Indian
May 21, 2020, 7:00 PM · Something I’ve often wondered but not worth starting a thread on, ( lots of these really):
Why is the fourth finger referred to as the pinky finger, and is this just an American thing?
Unfortunately whenever I hear it I think of day old”pinky” mice used as food for small reptiles .
May 21, 2020, 7:05 PM · Now I'm kinda tempted to have a shot a whittling a chinrest, just to see if I can.

Trevor, some aspects of this conversation bring to mind an essay that was going around a while back, purporting to calculate the value of a human soul using a golden fiddle (as in "The Devil Went Down to Georgia") as the measurement standard.

Paul's mention of 3D printing prompted a YT search, yielding this fellow's demo of 3 3D-printed violin-ish thingies. Two sound horrible; another one is just about bearable.

Edited: May 21, 2020, 7:29 PM · The origin of "pinky" is apparently Dutch.

Two other materials come to mind for fabricating a chin rest: graphite and pyrolytic boron nitride. Both are still more dense than rosewood or ebony.

That's another advantage of acrylic -- it's about as dense as ebony. Carving it would be a good job for CNC. You can just program the mill to turn the tool really slowly.

Edited: May 22, 2020, 3:48 PM · Paul, one of my Dutch-speaking relatives in Belgium confirms that "pink" is Dutch for "little finger". I would guess that this meaning of "pinky" in the US probably originated from Dutch settlers a long time ago. However, "pinky", meaning "little finger" isn't common usage in the UK - as a noun it is not even mentioned in the OED.

I believe I am but one of few in my orchestras who uses the term "pinky". Now I wonder why that should be :)

Edited: May 23, 2020, 1:46 AM · Chambers has eight definitions of "pink", four of which have a noun pinky associated. It's mainly Scotland and America where pinky is your little finger, from the Dutch, as you say. If you can't see it in the OED, it may be because that damn book has so much content it's hard to see any of it, or stay awake until you've finished reading a long article!.
May 23, 2020, 3:28 PM · Hm. Paul, why is it important to have a sense material for a CR? Sure, it adds stability, and it will not be possible to carve a delicate but stable firm from a very soft material, but I made several prototypes from softer wood like larch and spruce (just to check form and angle, they're easier and faster to carve...), and I have found both stable enough. I found only a small but noticeable correlation between weight and damping effect in my favorite center mounted model, so it might be thinkable that using lighter wood might help the sound.

It would need further experiments to check whether the effect in a side mounted model was larger or not, but however I'm a believer in mounting a CR as lightly as possible, and with a serious dosage of cork or rubber for acoustic decoupling.

May 23, 2020, 3:31 PM · If it's as much stability as possible you're asking from a CR, then do yourself a favor and RELAX! Not much force is needed to balance a violin or viola on a shoulder...
May 23, 2020, 7:36 PM · Nuuska I just meant probably you wouldn't want one EVEN MORE dense than ebony. I wasn't too clear about that. I agree that lighter might be better. Aren't there some made of boxwood? As far as synthetic materials it depends how rigid you want it to be and it can't be brittle because there's a fair amount of stress on it where the hardware is attached. Assuming you use the regular clamp type hardware.
May 24, 2020, 7:08 AM · Ah, now I got it. Totally agree!
Personally I had preferable results with nut and birch. There will be other options.
May 25, 2020, 7:45 PM · What do you guys think about Tchaikovsky and his 6th symphony? Was his death by Cholera, or was it suicide? I think that the secret meaning behind his 6th symphony was his suicide note, and it is pretty clear to me in the 4th movement. Any thoughts? Also, I saw somewhere online that Shostakovitch was pro Stalin, but also read the he was anti. I think he was anti, put there is always room for arguments. Any thoughts?
May 25, 2020, 9:33 PM · Shostakovich's musical and political motivations were likely quite complicated. And unfortunately everything that you can read about it is tainted by all of the criticism (and praise) of his work that appeared in Pravda. I think anyone who listens to his work now, and who claims to "hear" pro-revolutionary or anti-revolutionary themes or constructions, is probably operating under a delusion.
Edited: May 26, 2020, 8:08 AM · @Paul, my dad premiered several of Shostakovich's works in the US. He didn't believe any of that issue of his work changing because being pressured by Stalin (as Khachaturian was, and was very dismayed) and pointed out that after the critique for formalism, Shostakovich won the Stalin Prize.

Was it because Shostakovich acquiesced? We may never know, but his subsequent works were certainly not inferior to his previous ones.

Edited: May 26, 2020, 8:10 AM · Thanks Dimitri that's interesting to know. And the history is important. But I'm not aware of scholarship within the last 20 years that moves the needle on it. It's a gray area and all I can say, as a music lover, is that I have really enjoyed what I've heard of his writing.
May 26, 2020, 8:11 AM · Well Paul, likewise, and you might have noticed that I'm named after him (but with three "i").
May 26, 2020, 4:20 PM · Tyler, things I have read include that Tchaikovsky's symptoms are more consistent with arsenic than with cholera, and that he committed suicide on the orders of a "Court Of Honour" who were worried that he would otherwise bring dishonour on his old alma mater - but I don't know any more than you can read about it in Wikipedia.
June 3, 2020, 1:06 PM · What's up everyone, I haven't logged in since 2011! Cuz I was too busy practicingggg
Just kidding :/
Edited: June 3, 2020, 9:22 PM · "Tchaikovsky's symptoms are more consistent with arsenic …"

At first I read that as "Tchaikovsky's symphonies."

June 4, 2020, 12:07 AM · Jack I'm glad I wasn't the only one who read that wrong haha
June 4, 2020, 3:45 PM · Hi Everyone! I'm really sad that the music camps being offered in the summer have been cancelled, but fortunately, there is a new virtual summer music festival called Inside Music Academy where students are able to learn from internationally acclaimed faculty and meet fellow musicians from all over the world! It's open to all levels.

If anyone is interested, you can visit:

I hope you all have a musical summer!

June 4, 2020, 6:46 PM · Jack and Jake may have a point in saying that Tchaik's symphonies are more consistent with arsenic - They certainly have no choleratura!
June 5, 2020, 4:17 PM · Just had my 18th c violin back from the luthier where it has been for the last week or so. I thought, in view of its undoubted age that it would need repegging, especially since the small ends of the pegs were projecting about 3/8" outside the scroll box. This meant that the string holes in the pegs were now each in the wrong place, making it quite difficult to route a string correctly from the peg to its notch in the nut without fouling another string - the A string crossing the D in its pegbox routing was a difficult one.

I was prepared for a possible rebushing. My luthier considered that was not necessary because the pegs, despite their undoubted age, could still be turned easily without sticking. So what he did was to shorten each peg by the amount it projected outside of the pegbox and to drill a new string hole in the peg in the correct position, the old string hole no longer being used. Perfect and inexpensive solution for this old gut-strung violin which I use almost exclusively for baroque playing, where tuning from the pegs is important.
Edited: June 5, 2020, 4:52 PM · Hi everyone,

I have just inherited a violin - and I am trying to find out more about it.

Does anyone recognise this monogram?



Edited: June 6, 2020, 1:14 AM · Trevor - I guess that would always be a luthier's first option, until the holes are so worn that the pegs need to be inserted right up to the hilt! Something I've noticed in my 200 y/o unbushed violin is that where the A-string passes over the D-peg it now touches town on the peg itself, with the consequence that tuning the D slightly affects the A string and vice-versa. It sounds as if that's what you're describing, but just drilling a new hole doesn't change the fact that the peg is fatter than it should be where the A-string crosses over. Of course, if it's the coil of D-string that the A string is contacting then a new hole might be an adequate solution.
June 6, 2020, 7:12 AM · Steve, the main problem was indeed that the A-string was fouling the coils of the D-string. Problem now solved. I'm not sure whether there is still a minimal contact of the A-string with the D-peg itself - there doesn't seem to be any problem with tuning - but should it become an issue then that old standby of applying soft pencil lead to the area of the D-peg in question may well do the trick.

My violin shop is officially closed during the covid crisis, but is open to individual customers by prior arrangement for things such as repairs and specific purchases, up to and including instruments and bows. While I was there to collect my violin I took the opportunity to purchase a new cake of rosin.

June 7, 2020, 3:58 PM · I improved the tone of my instrument greatly by using the Warchal "credit card method".

Highly recommended, especially if you play on "soloist" strings.

June 7, 2020, 4:02 PM · What's that?
June 7, 2020, 9:47 PM · Erin, it's scraping the strings for gunked-on rosin with a credit card.
June 8, 2020, 2:09 AM · Here's something I've been genuinely wondering about but didn't consider likely to be worth a separate thread.

This obviously doesn't apply to classical music, but would it be physically feasible to string a small viola, say 15", G-D-A-E? And if so, would there be any reason to do so?

June 8, 2020, 7:00 AM · @ Jack L, I would expect that the larger internal dimensions of a 15" viola configured as a violin would significantly help the response of the G string compared with most 14" violins. One of my violins is a 14-1/4" (gut-strung), with bout widths and rib depths pro rata, and has above average response on the G string. I use medium gauge Chordas (plain gut) for A440 tuning with no problems.

However, regarding the choice of string gauge, the E in particular, for what is in effect a 15" violin in A440 tuning, I'd rather leave that advice to the experts.

June 8, 2020, 7:42 AM · The best reason to do it is if you are at a gig sitting next to a violist with a small viola and you can quickly swap their strings during the interval while they are in the toilet or at the bar, then see how they cope in the second act.
June 8, 2020, 11:45 AM · I restrung my narrow-ish spare viola as a violin: viola G, D & A, plus a dangerously tense E! (My 15.5" violas have a vibrating string length of only 14".)

Two reasons:
- to save wrecking my viola intonation during violin lessons,
- so my young violin students could film me with apparently small hands on those smartphone thingies.

Big tone - a real "mezzo" violin!

June 8, 2020, 2:03 PM · Thanks for the remarks, guys. I may grab a 15" and try it just to see for myself. Mezzo violins in particular made me wonder about this in the first place.

Tagentially: back in February I finally got the chance to see and hear a Joseph Curtin violin up close for a couple of days, and ... wow. I don't think I've ever personally encountered a violin that sounded, for lack of a better word, richer. The G string was particularly memorable. I don't know what kind of hoodoo Mr. Curtin does on his violins, but it obviously works. If I had a house to hock I might think about it. ;)

June 9, 2020, 6:56 PM · Gordon Shumway, I’m watching you.
Edited: June 10, 2020, 7:31 AM · Gordon, that would be an interesting exercise to be on the receiving end of as well. Off hand, if someone did it to me I'd probably--in descending order of probability--(1) blow off everything on the C string; (2) fake it completely; or (3) shift upward by 2 positions (1st to 3rd, 2nd to 4th, nth to xth) ... and play an octave higher than written.

If I were on the giving end of the problem and thought I could get away with it, I'd probably try taking bets.

Either way it sounds like a "didn't need the gig anyway" situation. ;)

June 10, 2020, 4:35 AM · Adrian - your reasoning has me scratching my head. Presumably you wouldn't play a viola of any other size for the same reason? In my amateur world flexibility/adaptability is more important than mechanical precision. If you'd found yourself in my position, New Year's Eve c. 2000, you'd have spurned a loaned viola and turned down the chance to make up an ad hoc quintet/sextet with two members of the Chilingirian quartet and one of the Allegri.
June 10, 2020, 2:36 PM · Steve, I'm sure I should have enjoyed joining you for a quintet on New year's Eve in such company! But usually folks (and I) expect at least quasi professional intonation...
I have indeed played both violin and viola in the same concert, but I am more disturbed by slightly different violas; I have even ensured that my two violas have exactly the same vibrating string length.
Edited: June 11, 2020, 4:41 AM · Adrian - My intonation might better be termed "queasy professional". I do believe you're right, that frequent switching between instruments of slightly different sizes has a detrimental effect. It's only since I gave up orchestral violin playing that I've become a collector of old instruments whose dimensions are often quite variable, and this undoubtedly hasn't done my intonation any good. However, I think the difference between a violin and even quite a small viola is great enough that after sufficient experience one can effectively throw a switch and go into one mode or the other with equal accuracy.
June 11, 2020, 7:18 AM · I play, or at least play at, both violin and viola. Of the two I prefer the voice of the viola, and finding intonation significantly easier to nail is a nice bonus. Whether that's due to a physical characteristic of the instrument itself, or some arcane feature of my mental wiring, or simply that I play the viola more than the violin, I don't know. Things get awfully squishy when psychology comes into the picture.

It does take me a minute or two to re-calibrate when switching between 15.5" and 16" instruments. I'm still trying to decide whether to go for the more robust low end of the 16" or the easier handling of the 15.5" when I "upgrade" my primary viola in a year or so.

("Upgrade" is in quotes there because it's frankly a matter of sheer self-gratification rather than any real need. Some of my friends who'll never be professional auto racers own Corvettes and Porsches, too.)

June 16, 2020, 8:24 PM · Bump
June 17, 2020, 11:47 AM · I hope you're not looking at me. ;)

4 out of the past 12 messages--not including this one--is practically spamming, and I'm not even a classical vio*ist in any meaningful sense of the term.

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