Do different rosins actually perform differently?
This article from The STRAD magazine about 2 years ago is posted on line.
I think it is worthwhile to read how a pro evaluates rosins.
I have used 6 of the 7 rosins tested (although since it has been over 60 years since I bought a cake of Hidersine I probably should not count that one).
The study described in the Strad article was not blind. It would have taken hardly any effort or expense for them to ask an assistant to rosin their bows for them with the different rosins. Everything was subjective too -- no rubric, no means of ranking the products.
C'mon, everyone knows that the deciding factor in a rosin's performance is the price tag
They perform differently for the player, though I bet some may not differ as much, and the audience will likely will never be able to guess the choice. But since the violinist can often hear/feel the difference, it is worth using one that fits him/her and the instrument.
I do find that different rosins perform differently. I am also a Leatherwood fan. I originally found that I liked the Supple a great deal, but hated the Crisp; I bought a pair. The Crisp, however, has turned out to be a great match for my backup violin and (carbon-fiber) bow -- and it's an excellent rosin for my son's cheapo student outfit. The Crisp is remarkably effective when rosining dirty or worn-out bow hair.
The "bespoke blend" is going to be like going to a strip-mall Mexican or Chinese restaurant. You order one of 500 items on the menu, and it's on your table in front of you, steaming hot, in 3 minutes. Now ... how do you suppose they do that?
Steam table & 12 sauces!
I saw a dramatic, instant improvement in my bow hand after switching from Hill Dark to Jade. And I'm pretty sure it wasn't the placebo effect because the switch was not entirely voluntary. I dropped my rosin cake on a concrete floor and shattered it so badly that there were no pieces big enough to use, went to the shop needing rosin immediately because I had a concert only days away, and bought Jade because they didn't have Hill Dark in stock.
I am convinced there are great differences! And whereas I indeed don’t like the extremely cheap ones that come with violin sets (too much dust), I don’t necessarily prefer the most expensive ones. Once, I got that new fancy Australian one as a gift (cannot come up with the name, right now), and it was really good, but not better for my setup than the Evah Pirazzi Gold, I was using at the time.
I agree with Emily. They behave differently, but the choice is personal, not objective.
A problem with some products is that one constituent may be snake oil. I have a theory that the price tag and the proportion of snake oil can be in positive correlation with each other. Caveat emptor!
I do feel that different rosins can make the violin sound differently. I couldn't bring myself to pay a very expensive price, but when I changed from the 'standard cheap rosin' to one that was a little better, I was much better pleased, and there was less dust too.
Remembering the old chestnut about the distinguished violinist (Heifetz?) who was complimented on the sound of his violin, has anyone ever applauded the performance of your rosin?
But would anyone even comment on the performance of someone's bow - and yet surely the quality of one's bow makes a difference?
I thought blaming the one brand for being hard to break in was a little much (can't they just gently score the rosin?).
Paul, Leatherwood is essentially handmade by one guy; I'd guess it's a side gig for him and not a full-time job. (I'd be surprised if he sold enough of it for it to be more than just him and maybe his wife or something.) It's effectively an artisanal, one-off product.
LOL! I love how the articles cycle at V.com. We had almost an identical one on the magic of Baker's a few years ago. Where is that epitome of schtick now?
Well, Rosin can inspire poetry, anyhow! ^^^^
Again-- yes, they are different. Not always better or worse.
Elisa - I clearly need to find some Baker's rosin, it is obviously inspirational ;-)
One question I have for people who think there are no differences between rosins: if changing the composition of rosin on the hair (different hardness, mineral content, whatever) makes no difference, wouldn't it be logical to think that changing the amounts of the SAME rosin would also make no difference?
Stephen, in that context I think it's like chocolate chip cookies or ice cream. "Enough is enough! More is too much!"
Well, yes. But you do believe there is a correct amount. This implies that rosin matters.
I think he means that a rosin by any other name is still a rosin....
I will make one positive vote for Hidersine-dark, cello grade, as a violin or viola rosin. jq
@Stephen rosins may indeed be different, but I think if one is truly trying to decide which is better or worse for himself/herself, then one should try to find a way to blind-test them. But there is hardly any way for an individual with finite resources to do that.
To compare rosins properly we should try each one on the same bow, with clean hair from the same horse.....
[I hate to reveal this, but its really not the rosin. Its actually the player.]
I've implied elsewhere on vcom that the quality of the bowhair amy have an effect too significant to ignore.
Elise of course the player matters, but the player needs to be matched to the violin, and the violin to the bow, and the bow to the bow hair, and the hair to the rosin, and the violin to the strings, and the strings to the tailpiece and the fine-tuners and the chin-rest clamps, and if you make even the slightest mistake in choosing ANY of these vital accessories, then your tone will be absolutely WRECKED. Or you will, at very least, always have that nagging feeling that it can be better for reasons that you can never hope to fathom.
Andrew Victor in an earlier post wrote an extremely well worded, concise explanation of the physics associated with bowing a string with a rosin containing bow. This is what Andrew posted:
For years, I liked the Millant-Deroux rosins, alternating between the Colophane 2000 and Jade depending on the season. I'd still recommend them to anyone needing to grab a reasonably-priced cake of rosin off Amazon.
Apparently Larica rosins are made by the original Liebenzeller formulas.
An objective comparison to answer that question would use only one bow (as to eliminate that variable unless on can find bows that are virtually indistinguishable in all aspects from one another), cleaned in the same fashion between trials, with unknown 2 rosins to the player applied in repeated random order but equal and sufficient number of times (that's at least 30) as to have valid statistical significance. Very tedious, any taker? Meanwhile do I keep applying $15 Magic Rosin every couple of weeks or dish out over $100CDN on a Leatherwood cake... let me think.
Magic makes good stuff! I was impressed enough to share it around a string quartet session and all the other players were as impressed as I was. The sound of the group was enhanced as well. I have and have used cakes of all 3 grades of Magic.
My understanding with regard to Liebenzeller rosin is that it was originally manufactured by hand by a lady who lived in Liebenzell, Germany. Liebenzell is a town located in the Black Forest area of Germany. The rosin was popular and well regarded. About 15 years ago it was no longer available. There was an outcry by the fans who greatly appreciated this rosin. A Swiss company named Seitz Rosin Manufacturing purchased from the Liebenzeller rosin lady, her recipes for the various types of rosin she produced. I would assume that this would be exclusive rights to the recipe but do not know. In 2008 Seitz Rosin Manufacturing produced this rosin and marketed it under the name Larica.
Good topic.Although I find Leatherwood to be excellent I try to keep rosining to a minimum and keep up regular bow rehairings.
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