Study: How different strings affect violin qualities
I found this scholarly paper comparing Dominants, Kaplans, and ProArte strings to each other. "How Different Strings Affect Violin Qualities" https://asa.scitation.org/doi/pdf/10.1121/2.0001007#:~:text=The%20brand%20and%20model%20of,their%20playability%20and%20sound%20quality.&text=Subjects%20rated%20the%20difference%20between%20the%20two%20violins%20again.,D2%20and%20D1%2DK2).
Super interesting read! Two take aways from this that are interesting: 1. Most of the differences are not statistically significant. Considering the large price range of these strings, that is worth noting. 2. The cheapest strings (Daddario ProArte) arguably perform the best. They scored the highest in the "overall quality" as well as in richness and resonance which are often the qualities most desired.
Just some food for thought.
I wonder how much the psychology of knowing you're playing on expensive strings plays in (pun intended) to your overall experience with them. I mean, when you're spending $100 or more on three strands of plastic filament wound with kitchen wrap... Not to mention the running gag that is the violin E.
Buy expensive strings instead of practicing guys.
Good point. I imagine all kinds of experiemnts could be done (may already have) where the blind test subjects are told false information about the price of the strings to see if it affects their perception.
The 3 strings compared are, Dominate, Kaplan and Pro-Arte. "Food for thought" I'm sorry, I want a different menue.
Jeff, same here! None of my all time favorites is included.
Mmmm. There's some degree of confounding violin factor involved here. Quote: "A pool of similar student quality violins (all being sold around $600 Canadian dollar) with the same type of strings were assembled at a local luthier shop. An experienced violinist, as well as two violin makers, were invited to select the two most similar violins from the pool. The violins and their strings were relatively new. Because they were coming from the available sales stock of a workshop, they had not been played on a regular basis."
The real lesson might be to avoid getting too neurotic about $600 instruments.
$600 CAD is a little less than $450 USD. I entirely agree. If you're playing something just a cut above a VSO, $27 for a set of Pro Artes from Shar might well be a better value than $45 for a set of Dominants on Amazon (about $65 on Shar).
So putting Evah Pirazzis on a Stentor Student II might not be worthwhile? Who knew?
Oh, I see tons of students and amateurs with cheap violins and either EPs or EPGs. The sound is seductively good when they first go on, and they take forever to go false (and almost never break), so people keep them on the violin for 2+ years, not realizing that they've long since become dull.
The experiment appears to be not very rigorous in its setting.
Claudia Fritz has also conducted "blind" experiments comparing how listeners perceive new and old violins. She obviously did her best to be scientifically rigorous, but inevitably left a few potentially influential factors dangling. In none of the studies have the results been statistically significant, meaning nothing can be concluded with any degree of certainty. End of debate? Well no - the discussion we had here a couple of years ago went on for more than 1200 posts.
IF, the violins were overly bright.. MAYBE the pro-arte are preferred, but.. they sound so dull after a couple of weeks that I wouldn't recommend them. Dominants last a long time.
The main problem is that all of this is subjective. There is no agreement on what a violin should sound like. We all have our opinions about makers, strings, and all other aspects of the instrument.
The assessment of musical sound by humans is subjective. However, all the elements of it are quantifiable. The one that is left out of every analysis I have seen so far is, however, also quantifiable: audiographs of the human participants (i.e., hearing sensitivity (i.e., loudness) vs. frequency). I suspect if this measurable human element were included in instrument, bow, string and rosin evaluations more quantitative results might emerge.
Any study that recommends Daddario strings is suspect in my book!!