Why modern violinists sound the same?

September 8, 2020, 6:36 AM · Of course I grew up on Itzhak Perlman too. Mr. Perlman complained on the net, some time ago, that every violinist sound the same.

So, what do you think, why almost everyone have the same tone, no dynamics, intonation perfect?

I actually was posting on forums about this for a while. And now I know.

It's the amplification. Read these please:



So, by the time you might have realized the answer....

True touch sensitivity (you can express your emotions on a digital keyboard) is contingent with the fact, that that digital piano is not digital, but analogue.

Read the discrete mathematics.

So, an amplified violin is still analogue, right?

Does that mean, that you could call that a "digital violin"???

What do you think?



Replies (77)

Edited: September 8, 2020, 6:52 AM · a digital piano is digital not analogue, to get an analogue keyboard you'd have to go back to the 70s.
September 8, 2020, 6:53 AM · I generally love the old and new. They are often made to be irreconcilable musical aesthetics, but I choose to learn from and enjoy both.

This is not even about gut vs synthetics-I do not see that everyone plays the same, whether the recording involved Eudoxa, or Dominant post 70s.

Playing in tune is not a con. But even modern players have intonation slips (very mild usually), and older players knew to play in tune.

So in short, only a small percentage of players appear to be "homogeneous", and only when listened with a certain bias. It is OK to prefer one style above the other, but I can definitely hear differences among violinists.

(Always be wary of the idea that so and so must be played this or that way-the guidelines are important, but so is the individual artistry, whether in 1950 or 2020.)

September 8, 2020, 6:53 AM · wireless electric violin technology is presumably going to be digital also
September 8, 2020, 7:17 AM · Dear Adalberto,

It sounds like you have no idea about amplification. But I will answer, because you're a better violinist anyway, and I recognize that you do have some knowledge about amplification, that can be built on.

I recommend you read this too:


Best regards,


September 8, 2020, 7:48 AM · Your assertion makes no sense. Classical musicians do not play with amplification unless they are doing a concert in a stadium or similar venue, for some reason, which is very rare.
September 8, 2020, 8:31 AM · Almost all outdoor concerts involve amplification.
September 8, 2020, 9:36 AM · I think the reason all modern violinists sound the same is because their stories are all the same.
Edited: September 8, 2020, 10:22 AM · I've always thought that in the modern era, most violinists have a similarity that wasn't as true 80 or 100 years ago. The reason is, I think, that decades ago, before the recording era in general, there was limited exposure to different violinists, unless one heard them in person.

Therefore, I think, violinists learned with limited exposure to hearing other violinists. That's why, in general, I believe, it's much easier to identify the unique features of different violinists in early years of the recording industry. They can be quite different and unique to the soloist.

In the more modern eras, one has much more exposure to styles from all over the world, thanks to the technology of recording.

September 8, 2020, 10:41 AM · Hi!

so...... I have nothing else to do, and somene is promoting my music from soundcloud on fiverr...... so, I have to, in a sense.

Hi Lydia,

well, my assertion is grounded in mathematics.

for instance:

"A Pleasure to Play

We carefully designed the Oxygen 88 keyboard to emulate the feel and response of an acoustic piano. Graded hammer action means that the keys are slightly heavier in the bass and lighter in the treble areas—just like the real thing. We’ve also incorporated four highly musical velocity curves, so you can choose the one that best suits your playing style. In addition, Oxygen 88 includes three pedal inputs so you can incorporate two sustain pedals and one expression pedal for total piano-style control over your performance."

this is from M-audio webpage.

Musical velocity curves mean that the velocity value is continuous, not limited to fixed set of values (discrete).

Otherwise, I'm not sure about classical violin venues, so I would not argue with that....

- I've always thought that in the modern era, most violinists have a similarity that wasn't as true 80 or 100 years ago.

I also think that, because Mr. Perlman said so. And I agree with him on that. Perhaps not agreeing the exact place of the pinky on the bowhold, but I would not irritate him with those details.

-The reason is, I think, that decades ago, before the recording era in general, there was limited exposure to different violinists, unless one heard them in person.

So, you mean there were less recordings? But now there are, and those few recordings were all different. Now they are (with a few exceptions) very similar.

Therefore, I think, violinists learned with limited exposure to hearing other violinists. That's why, in general, I believe, it's much easier to identify the unique features of different violinists in early years of the recording industry. They can be quite different and unique to the soloist.

That's exactly what Mr. Perlman said.

In the more modern eras, one has much more exposure to styles from all over the world, thanks to the technology of recording.
This is the same argument.

So, Mr. Perlman did not know the answer, but exposed a problem. And I did my homework. If not my assertion, then why?

September 8, 2020, 10:55 AM · Thank you. I'm certainly in good company with Mr. Perlman. I've also been of that opinion since the 1950's. I don't know if that pre-dates Mr. Perlman's opinion. But whether or not so, I still feel honored by the comparison.
September 8, 2020, 11:14 AM · I see. Well...... I don't really know what to say. I'm not writing so much here, on violinist.com, exactly because of this.

People get angry if I get logical. I was just asking the question, then why?

September 8, 2020, 11:28 AM · No problem. Diversity of opinion makes for a free society.
September 8, 2020, 11:43 AM · Nobody is fighting you, it's just that nobody is quite sure what you're talking about because you're sentences are fragmented and you keep switching topics.

Are you arguing that, because of electronic amplification, violinists can sound the same? This can be true, especially in outdoor settings (although how much of this is due to the equipment and how much is due to the natural impedance of outdoor air is a source of argument).

Are you arguing that electric violins and pianos create analogue signals despite being digital? Well...this is kind of trivially true since all binary audio source data has to undergo digital analogue conversion somewhere down the line to get passed to a speaker. As much as M Audio wants to claim otherwise, the electrical signals used by their machine are not continuous (but you may argue that the differences are not perceptible to the human ear).

Is the argument that many young violinists sound the same when playing? Well, maybe. Competitions have a homogenizing quality on the contestants and presumably some of the elite are trained in a way that is more likely to be successful at competitions. Or alternatively, many are trained to be orchestral players, where blending tone is most important. Certainly you can claim that first violinists in an orchestra sound pretty homogeneous.

I can somewhat agree to this, but this is definitely not the case among the most elite of violinists. A fair few members of this board I'm pretty sure could identify the player through a recording alone. And many of the unique features of old violin recordings are due to imperfections in the recording process.

If you want to get "logical" you should post actual clips of violinists sounding the same. No one's getting angry or offended, but you've provided very little evidence so far, not any contextualization of Perlman's words.

September 8, 2020, 12:42 PM · You have to go further back than that. Violins used to be analog until Max Planck came along and digitized reality with the Planck Length. There's really nothing that violinists have been able to do, unless they can present a coherent alternative to quantum theory.

There have been previous discussions on "this topic", and my thesis is that violinists these days have access to the same teachers, teaching methods, and maybe most importantly, the same recordings, so there is less possibility for a player developing wholely without these other influences. Still, I think if you pay attention, there is quite a bit of variety. But sure, it could be digital analog amplification keyboard violins!

September 8, 2020, 2:06 PM · I don't have any notion why amplification would have anything to do with similarity of sound amongst players. It is extremely rare for classical violinists to be amplified. In the case of outdoor concerts (like Ravinia, Tanglewood, etc.) the soloist performs unamplified for the audience lucky enough to be under the bandshell-ish open-air auditorium. Their sound (and the orchestra's) is picked up by microphones and broadcast to outdoor speakers for the folks out on the lawn.

National styles have all blended. Modern players have taken the best of multiple approaches and found something that works for them. Furthermore, we've become faithful to the composer's intentions, for the most part. It's difficult for players who really have quirky interpretations to rise in prominence.

You can kind of hear this in fiddle styles, too. Most of the more prominent fiddlers these days are multigenre fiddlers who may, to a lesser or greater extent, blend elements from multiple genres into whatever their own sound happens to be.

Edited: September 8, 2020, 3:25 PM · I think this generalization that violinists today are all the same is entirely rubbish. People say "they're all the same" and then in the next breath they tell you they adore one violinist and despise another. One can't have it both ways.

What's more, I can give you a counterexample. 50 years ago the "great" violinists of the day had the same constant motorized vibrato (Stern, Grumiaux, etc.) Now you hear violinists like Mutter playing a measure or two in a concerto with no vibrato at all. And it's very predictable who will say she's wrong to do that, but I think it adds tremendous drama and interest to her recordings (good example is her Franck A Major Sonata), and what's more I think if Heifetz had thought he could get away with it he would have done the same from time to time. (Oh no. I just said "Heifetz." Here comes the Spanish Inquisition...)

Skride just issued a recording of all 5 Mozart concertos. You want those to sound different from all of the other recordings that have ever been minted of these pieces? That's hundreds of recordings, so that's a bit of a challenge, and anyone who actually succeeds will be excoriated for "disrespecting tradition" and so on, just ask Nigel Kennedy.

Now compare Heifetz. By the time he recorded the Mozart violin concertos there were, what, five or six high-fidelity recordings of those already in existence? (I'm discounting anything that's too scratchy to bother listening to.)

And furthermore pedagogy has improved since the "golden days" that Krisztian and Sandy seem to be pining for, so the plain fact is that there are more violinists now that are competent to record a set of Mozart concertos than there were in 1952 when Heifetz committed M4 to vinyl -- and more recording capability generally.

And since we're talking about technology, well it wasn't exactly "digital" but Heifetz recorded himself playing both parts of the Bach Double. Curiously it's on the same recording with his Mozart 4, and the funny thing is the album cover says "BACH" in huge lettering and then down below, the fine print tells you what's on the "flip side."

September 8, 2020, 3:17 PM · Dut do they really sound the same? Do, for instance, Joshua Bell, Hillary Hahn, Sarah Chang, and James Ehnes (to choose some of my favorites from approximately my own generation) sound the same? I don't think so.

Maybe what has really changed is that the technical level of _the next rank_ has improved tremendously due to a bunch of things - better and more technically successful teaching, the relative decline of national schools, etc - to the point where people who may not have Hillary Hahn's level of "something unique to say as an international artist" are still capable of playing highly _technically correct_ versions of top-flight pieces.

My bad angel really wants to bring up shoulder rests, because I know that my own playing sounds a lot more like the modern, homogeneous style when I use one - but my own argument is against me, because all of the top-rank players I listed use about the same shoulder rest and modern (trombone-style) shifts, and they still sound totally unique.

However I do think prior to about WWII, especially WWI, the intended consensus style involved much more variation in rhythm (even between the soloist and a pianist - listen to the Ysaye recordings for an extreme case), slides, expressive intonation (there's a cool book about How Equal Temperment Ruined Music which is easy to read but hard to figure out what to do about) etc. And I still kinda want to claim that shoulder rest use makes sounds more consistent, even though the evidence of top players is against me. Could also be synthetic strings - maybe not so much their actual sound as the subtler fact that the way they respond to variation in pressure _encourages_ a more uniform and simpler dynamic technique.

THere's also something funny about how style sounds to us over time. I had Perlman CDs in the late 80s, recorded in the early 80s. At the time, they sounded to me like crystal perfection but also "like everybody else" and totally modern, because he was the leading light of the generation that was performing then. Now, when I listen to those same recordings, they sound like reference to a vanished golden age, hearkening back to the WWII area. Clearly the recorded sound hasn't changed, my ear has (and my assumed baseline of style).

Edited: September 8, 2020, 4:14 PM · I love gut strings and all their (in my view) superior, expressive range, but just do not see how everyone "plays the same" just because they may use synthetics. Yes, gut allows for some individuality, but it is always up to the musician, not just the tool.

Not every modern player uses a shoulder rest, though most do. But the variables in shoulder rests, body shapes, and way they are used tells me this cannot be a reason for homogeneity. Some use it to add a bit more support, others in a bit more restrictive way (and both can play well and with individuality.)

One could argue that *properly used*, a shoulder rest has made technique easier to achieve by many, but this is an argument, as many good players who used to use shoulder rests and no longer do can still play thirds and fingered octaves just as fine. (No sr vs no-sr argument intended-I do use one, but have nothing against non-sr users... further, I would add it is theoretically ideal if the player is able to play great without one.)

Perhaps we just have better access to a higher violinistic standard even without teachers given the wealth of vetted violin teaching material available.

But I must say that these older players knew how to play, so I am always wary of the "modern is always better" approach.

As for our modern urtext culture, I would say individuality should not be lost to being faithful to the score. The musical message must be individual and also faithful to the composer's ideal, if one can be firmly established. Still, I hear many different Mozart Concerti by the "modern" virtuoso that really do not sound like each other (plus hand shapes and vibrato cannot be the same by nature.)

So in short, modern and old can be great, and there is diversity-and sometimes similarities-in both eras.

No disrespect meant to Maestro Perlman, as I more or less get where he is coming from.

September 8, 2020, 3:49 PM · I think most people would feel we can tell apart the violinists in the generation of Menuhin, Szigeti, Heifetz, Gitlis, Ricci, Oistrahk etc with a lot of listening.

If I have to play the same game with Perlman, Zukerman, Kyung-Wuh Chung, Sarah Chang, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, etc., that might be more difficult.

What Lydia said about "... we've become faithful to the composer's intentions, for the most part" — I think, for the most part, that is actually not true. And that goes for both mainstream and historical players, particularly from on early-Romantic rep and going backwards in time.

September 8, 2020, 3:50 PM · Paul: Just to clarify, I am not "pining" for the old days. I love the playing of many, many of today's violinists. But I have a lot more trouble identifying who is playing than of the great violinists of the bygone era. Maybe it's just my age.
September 8, 2020, 4:02 PM · Dorian, I think I can tell most of those players apart, live or in studio, because I am very familiar with how they play and sound. I am sure you can too. It is just a matter of familiarity-or perhaps, a big factor. Many of us just know very well how Heifetz sounds vs Oistrakh and the others. But Perlman vs Zukerman, Hahn vs Chang sound is very easy to tell apart, in my humble opinion.

(I do like to love all, so did not mean to argue or be negative.)

Edited: September 8, 2020, 6:42 PM · I agree with Adalberto in that familiarity is a huge factor. I actually have a much easier time telling apart modern violinists than older ones -- but that's because I've spent very little time listening to recordings from before 1980. (I was introduced to classical music through the radio and the internet rather than through family or teachers.) I honestly had never heard of Grumiaux, Szigeti, Gitlis, and Ricci before I joined this forum about two years ago!

That said, technique and style do seem to be more uniform today, largely because the world is so much more connected and people are taking influences from everywhere rather than just within their geographic area.

September 8, 2020, 9:40 PM · Sandy that's perfectly fair. I made the mistake of reading a couple of Krisztian's posts before yours and I didn't have very many brain cells left.
September 8, 2020, 10:11 PM · They don't all sound the same today, but there's something missing. Both old and new have great violinists, but it's a question of style and philosophy. I was just leafing through my copy of The Great Violinists the other day and thought this quote from Kyung-Wha Chung was very apt: "Players like Kreisler made such fantastic glissandos and they were absolutely beautiful. If we would do things like that today, everyone would think we were mad. Our style is the reflection of our present society and sometimes I feel we are too inflexible.".
September 8, 2020, 11:43 PM · I wonder if the people who see more heterogeneity in older recordings are not picking up particular styles, but rather recording artifacts due to the limits of technology and vinyl masters of the time.

How many people on this board have actually ever heard Heifetz, Oistrakh, Kogan, Milstein etc... play beyond the recordings we have?

With regards to lists of modern players, I feel like there are those who stand out more than others. For example, Hilary Hahn is probably most obvious, IMO (well, except for Nigel Kennedy I suppose), Sarah Chang probably the least, among the list of famous ones.

September 9, 2020, 1:43 AM · Re releases of Historical recordings are usually done from very high quality analogue reel to reel master recordings, not vinyl, reel to reel master machines are every bit as accurate as modern digital recording, except in one respect, signal to noise, which is still incredibly high, microphone made in the 60s are still reference standards today, so you can't use recording quality as a downside to historical recordings unless the master tapes were lost and they're actually recorded from vinyl.
September 9, 2020, 3:12 AM · The only way to settle this is by science! I find my subscription to IMSLP gives me access to 93 recordings of the Mendelssohn concerto played by violinists of all ages - a pretty good sample size. Of the Sibelius there's a paltry 47, but with those two you get some stylistic contrast and don't have to fast-forward through a long tutti. Then I'll get a willing helper to give me a "blind" audition, at which I'll mark all the ones whose playing seems in some way distinctive. Then, of course, I'll have to calculate the proportion of distinctive as compared with run-of-the-mill players in each age. All this I will do if they reimpose our lockdown.
September 9, 2020, 4:31 AM · Recordings initially were straight takes, which makes some of those Heifetz recordings even more astounding, if you think about it, because they were essentially live performances. Today, players can splice in notes and auto tune. You can also play sul tasto next to the fingerboard, and sound bigger than a 90 piece orchestra with all the studio trickery that exists now. So I would say, recordings 50-60 years were more genuine in a way, even though the technology was more primitive.

Also the playing equipment has changed a little bit. Many people are using synthetic or steel strings and shoulder rests, which sounds very different compared to someone using gut core strings and no shoulder rest.

September 9, 2020, 8:03 AM · For Krisztian:

Analogue and digital techniques each have their qualities and defects, but I don't think this has any relation to present-day "sameness".

However, I'm sure that the transition from purely acoustic to electrical recording, and then from mono to stereo, has allowed the player (and the listener!) finer graduations of tone and articulation.

My father had a 78rpm shellac of a consort of viols: it just sounded dull. Likewise for Bach's third Brandenburg concerto.

Pre-electrical recording needed powerful tone to cut the groove in the wax cylinder or disc, and a vigorous vibrato to cut through the hailstorm-on-a-tin-roof surface noise. Likewise in later shellacs (1940's) and mono LP's (1950's) where the sound can seem constricted.

The stereo recordings of the 1960's onward allowed us to capture finer nuance and a rainbow of overtones, and the players respond with a less "beefy" manner (which the oldest amongst us can find a little "wimpish"!)

For Nate:
I too prefer gut, but....

Shoulder rests?
I have set up mine to avoid clamping the back plate, and it also allows me to make more of the lovely sounds going round in my head.

Edited: September 9, 2020, 9:35 AM · The penny drops, clunk. Krisztian is talking strictly about violinists' recorded sound, not how they play or how they sound in a live arena. The very word "equalization" speaks volumes about what goes on in a recording studio. Most of us could probably only testify to having heard a handful of top players in the flesh. In 55 years of concert-going and -giving I could probably claim to have heard at least 50, but although I have a vivid mental image of many I'd never trust my memory to compare what Oistrakh sounded like in 1969 with Julia Fischer in 2019
September 9, 2020, 11:12 AM · A factor not mentioned yet; the competition system can homogenize and distort a performing arts genre, people prepare for the assumed preferences of the judges. Look what has happened to Olympic ice dancing, Ballroom dance, the TV Pop song competitions. I remember that for the too-few orchestra auditions that I have done, you play it safe, try not to lose, don't slide, don't use unusual tempos or personal interpretations.
Edited: September 9, 2020, 11:58 AM · Joel makes a good point. I noticed, for example, that Ray Chen's performance of the Franck Sonata at the Queen Elizabeth seemed way too ... is "refined" the right word? Well, it was beautiful, I'd pay for a recording of that. But ASM's recording, to me, is just so personal and individual by comparison. But she doesn't have to compete any more. I can easily imagine Ray in Rosand's studio preparing for the QE and getting quite a scold, "Now listen, Ray, try not to wink too much at the judges when you're ripping through the IRC like it's in Suzuki Book 2, and no big time drama in the Franck! The stakes are too high!" But whatever Rosand (or whoever) told him, obviously it worked.
September 9, 2020, 6:42 PM · There is more diversity of style in other instruments and singers than there are in the violin world. Even pop music has a bigger diversity of singers. In the pop world you could not get away with being so similar to another singer.
When I first heard South Indian violin I was amazed at how different the violin could sound. That was a huge revelation - that the violin could have virtually any voice, certainly copy the nuances of any singer, and that the method of classical violin teaching kept the style within certain boundaries. Maybe because violinists play in orchestras and have to be part of a very large ensemble? My teacher at college was very disparaging of all the non-Western music that was going on in the establishment and suggested I narrow it down to classical studies (as there just wasn't time to waste on these musics he viewed as inferior) . I didn't! I think he was typical as a teacher though. Classically trained violinists are encouraged to be narrow in their outlook musically and there is this stress about reaching a certain technical summit, covering certain repertoire etc. No time for anything else. L.Shankar came to my college and I was telling the leader of the orchestra that she must hear this amazing musician - that's it's a once in a lifetime opportunity... She told me that she was going to practice her orchestral parts instead and told me, "I have my priorities straight!".

As to amplified violins being analog or digital: If it's through a microphone or a pickup, it is an analog electrical signal. There are digital effects which still have an analog path. There are ways to convert the analog signal to midi in which case it is digital in output. digital recording takes the analog signal and converts it to digital. So there you go!!!

September 10, 2020, 8:44 AM · "Even pop music has a bigger diversity of singers."

Yes but if you hope to be interviewed on NPR, your singing needs to sound breathy and plaintive.

September 12, 2020, 12:40 AM · Hi all!

I'm glad this didn't get down to personal insults. I'm sorry if I have offended people here some years ago, but I already explained why. You don't have to accept my apologies, but I will really try not to offend anyone again.

See, the world is changing, how people interact in this forum is changing, and I'm happy about that. But, I have to admit, that this is probably, because I have changed. So, people react differently to what I say.

Being polite is necessary to a certain extent, but don't forget, that the world is quite small! We try to bury our treasures, and you never know who might find them.........

As for the A/D conversion, there are folks who know this better. But, just a hint, I actually found a treasure of mine.......... an old Panasonic shell-lock tape walkman. Perhaps that was one of the best A/D at that time (the Sony walkman was a little bit better). Where I went to high school (a private ethnic school in Budapest, so later I had to change to an upper class one), you could not actually enter the building without a 150 dollar walkman :DD

But, I'm saying, those years were funny, because you could go and see concert venues, you had the first open air parks with DJ sets, parties up in the woods, going down from the mountain to the city at 7 am drinking a coffee at the square..... that was the first time bald shaved gym guys were eyeing us suspiciously for he first time. You know the kind of guys who don't care about anything. Here a least, people adhere to certain norms, that playing an instrument has a value in society.

The problem is, with A/D, is I think that the former technology actually relies on the latter......... :/)

So, as for the A/D, I found this:


people here are probably knowing better the youtube videos about violinist sounding the same.

But, again, it is more complicated than that. The "digital" piano has samples that are digital. It is the keypress mechanism mapping which is analogue.......


Edited: September 12, 2020, 6:00 AM · "people here are probably knowing better the (than?) youtube videos about violinist sounding the same"

First, I don't find violinists sound the same, and secondly, I suspect our hearing (i.e. ears + brain!) can be much finer than any recording system.

And remember that the microphone membrane is analogical, as is the speaker cone.

Edit. There can be similarities in timbre (modifiable by both analog and digital means) but also in the attack and release of the sounds (harder to modify without degrading the sounds) as well as the subtle changes of timbre and vibrato during a note.

September 12, 2020, 5:58 AM · the walkman is 100% analogue
September 12, 2020, 8:45 AM · "Mr. Perlman complained on the net, some time ago, that every violinist sound the same."

Where? What exactly did he say?

September 12, 2020, 10:35 AM · Christopher, you apparently don't listen to contemporary classical violin composition much. :-)

The influence of world music has become more and more significant in contemporary composition, and there are plenty of contemporary classical composers (both ethnically or culturally Indian, and not) whose music is extensively influenced by Indian music.

September 12, 2020, 2:31 PM · Fair enough. It's been a long time since I did. Composition is one thing though. I'm talking about how the classical violinist is generally taught. Not just talking about Indian music, that was just one example, but the lack of exposure to all of the other musics outside of classical as a style of playing on violin or not. I think there is room for originality in classical violin and looking outside the tradition may be key to this. As violinists we may be able to hear the subtle differences between violinists but the layman could probably not tell the difference.
September 12, 2020, 2:31 PM · Fair enough. It's been a long time since I did. Composition is one thing though. I'm talking about how the classical violinist is generally taught. Not just talking about Indian music, that was just one example, but the lack of exposure to all of the other musics outside of classical as a style of playing on violin or not. I think there is room for originality in classical violin and looking outside the tradition may be key to this. As violinists we may be able to hear the subtle differences between violinists but the layman could probably not tell the difference.
Edited: September 12, 2020, 4:33 PM · I agree with Lyndon. I don't see how an A/D or D/A converter would be part of the design of the Sony Walkman. It's just a portable tape player, right?

"As violinists we may be able to hear the subtle differences between violinists but the layman could probably not tell the difference."

The layman can't tell John Coltrane from Dexter Gordon either.

September 12, 2020, 6:04 PM · I would bet you that the vast majority of modern gigging violinists are versed in at least one style beyond classical.
September 13, 2020, 12:47 AM · The Problem is NOT the cause of AD DA conversion. When recording, the order of importance is often:
- room, instrument, musician, mic placement, instrument setup
- mic
- preamp
- AC converter

Top AC converters have the least effect on sound in top studios. Today we also have excellent Harmonic Distortion vst plugins that gives us back some "not so clean sound" we liked in analog gear.

Today's recording gear makes is easier to get a best out of a good musician than the recording environments of 30 years ago.

So the 'potential' for great classical recordings is here.

I would say the art of improvisation and arrangements are require for hearing more variation between musicians. Change is often a good thing..

September 13, 2020, 3:51 AM · JRay: Perlman says as much in the well-known documentary "The Art of Violin".
September 13, 2020, 12:48 PM · "Perlman says as much in the well-known documentary "The Art of Violin"."

Thank you for that, Jean. But Perlman didn't say that all modern violinists sound the same, and I think it's a careless and harmful myth as such.

Perlman said something which might be interpreted in that way at the beginning, the introduction to, and also as a separate "trailer" or ad for the documentary, which spoke more about the distinctiveness of early violinists, which is a good motivator for listening to and discussing each of those violinists. And I suppose he was paid to do so.

Perlman said the following (slightly edited):

"If you compare violinists of today and violinists of let's say the 1920's, 30's, 40's, and 50's. In my mind, to my ear, I don't feel that one of them sounded like the other. I feel that they were all individuals. Let's talk about Kreisler, Elman, Heifetz, Francescatti, Milstein, Menuhin, Oistrakh, Stern. Everybody sounded different."


Perlman implies that violinists aren't as distinctive as they were before, but that's far from the harmful and incorrect position of saying that they all sound the same. He further qualified and later contradicted his own statement to some extent.

"In the evolution in the style of playing between, you know, a contemporary violinist and a violinist, you know, in the 40's and so on, I think has to do with what they did with the music you know. Something to do with the shifting or slides if you want to call it. There was a different slide. Some of the old fiddle players would slide back and forth and back and forth, you know, and these days, you know, [adopting a formal and upright pose], it is taboo, you know, you don't slide back and forth, because you'd be called "old fashioned". And, uh, I wish I had more of those old fashioned things."


"You know when you listen to somebody like a Szigeti, who for me, was the most contemporary sounding fiddle player musically, he actually did not sound like what we were talking about, old, you know the old fashioned. He was, what made him so amazing was he was actually, if you were to hear him today you would not feel that his musicianship and the way that he performs a Beethoven Sonata has aged at all."


There he seemed to reverse his position of lamenting the "old fashioned" playing to championing a player from the older generation who doesn't sound (as) dated.

He also said that he had difficulty distinguishing Szeryng's playing from others.


"For me Szeryng was like a chameleon. He sounded like everybody. Good. But it's like everybody."
"I would always have a problem figuring out who it was. I always had a thing with my wife. I'd say "who is playing?" Well I can't, I don't know who it is, ah, it must be Szeryng, because it's good."

So we have the distinctive "old fashioned" players which he can't get enough of. And yet one of the old players sounds modern and relevant. And another isn't distinctive, but "good".

In this video, I don't think that Perlman meant to criticize modern players as being bad or sounding the same, but was instead celebrating some of the history. He also made a point about the difficulties of playing the violin. Elman further spelled out a position of the older generation as follows, which is certainly fair.

"We have, and when I say we I mean the older generation. We have the right to think the way we think. I wouldn't say that the older generation are better, but let's be very frank, if the young generation are as good as they are I think they owe us a debt of gratitude."


September 13, 2020, 10:38 PM · Uhum.... Christopher, yu are probably referring to 'drupad', a vocal indian style. it is actually north indian.

Paul, walkmans at that time had an xbass sound enhancer.

Well, I think it might be amplification... just add an autotune plugin to the mike signal.... and you have a limited number of intonation values... that is digital...

Anyway, the xbass knob was the reason why those walkmans were so costly at that time. You also had to invest in rechargeable batteries, unless yu would use 'rewinding battery sets' for listening to side A twice.... All I can say, that most of the parents there still had very cheap Ddr made Trabant cars... then you know everything.....

September 13, 2020, 11:59 PM · the xbass tone enhancer was a tone control involving a couple capacitors and resistors not digital and not expensive
September 14, 2020, 7:20 AM · Krisztian: No I'm not!!
My point is not about any particular style of music, just styles outside or way outside of classical music. Basically, everything else...

Quoting Lydia:
"I would bet you that the vast majority of modern gigging violinists are versed in at least one style beyond classical."
I think the operative word here is 'gigging' violinists'!! :)

September 15, 2020, 10:24 AM · Autotune?

Soloists do not record in separate booths from their pianists or orchestras, so cannot be digitally re-tuned. Stitching together multiples takes, on the other hand, is common.

September 21, 2020, 7:23 AM · So, someone was asking for a comparative research statistic on moders vs. aged players, emphasizing, that that day technology was unsuitable for recording.

Well, THAT day technology was. But then, why this for example is okay? Because it is already vinyl. Not the Ysaye method.


Second, maybe you can argue with walkman AC/DC technology, but you cannot say anything about vinyl, e.g. it is not totally analogue....... then?

September 21, 2020, 10:41 AM · Hi Krisztian: Which section of the discrete mathematics wikipedia page is more relevant to your argument? That whole thing is really long...
September 21, 2020, 10:41 AM · Vinyl 33trpm et 45rpm discs appear around 1950.
However in the 1940's, 78 rpm shellacs with "ffrr" (full frequency range recording) had excellent (mono) sound.
Vinyles in mono (1950's) and stereo (1960's) were still entirely analogic.
September 22, 2020, 10:08 AM · Hi Peter,

please watch this video on youtube, if you would like to know what was going on:


This can be explained by the Lorentz-force:


In physics (specifically in electromagnetism) the Lorentz force (or electromagnetic force) is the combination of electric and magnetic force on a point charge due to electromagnetic fields. A particle of charge q moving with a velocity v in an electric field E and a magnetic field B experiences a force of

F = q E + q v × B {\displaystyle \mathbf {F} =q\mathbf {E} +q\mathbf {v} \times \mathbf {B} } {\mathbf {F}}=q{\mathbf {E}}+q{\mathbf {v}}\times {\mathbf {B}}

(in SI units[1][2]).

So, if you use two different emitting sources of electromagnetic waves, then those waves intertangle with certain anomalies present. The sources can be like two different speakers from the same electric field configuration (a Hi-Fi stereo, or TV antennae). You can use this method incorporating a partial-derivate algorithm, as far as I know, to synchronize two High-powered TV antennae on nearby mountain ranges.

Perhaps I don't understand either, but it's strange that really long wavelength electromagnetic waves (1 km wavelength range) can travel really fast, perhaps because the two different sources provide different speed possibilities to the charge q, which is a photon, another possibility of conceptualizing electromagnetic wave.




Edited: September 22, 2020, 5:50 PM · David, I have the Veracini. The Piacenza is a bit cheaper than mine, but that's indeed the brand I was talking about. It's a pity they don't have the Veracini at Thomann - or the Venezia, which is a bit more expensive than mine, but didn't exist when I got my violin. Both are closer to the price range you mention and intended for intermediate players rather than beginners, as I think the Piacenza is.
Edited: September 22, 2020, 5:57 PM · There seems to be a glitch in the system...
needs fixin....

The above post is from "sue violin" on 'Advice on buy cheap violins', but her post is cloned onto my post..

Edited: September 23, 2020, 8:12 AM · Krisztian, you seem to have some general level of erudition, and your heart seems to be in the right place, but then everything you say is utter nonsense. XB tone control? As Lyndon said, $0.50 in analog components. "it's strange that really long wavelength electromagnetic waves (1 km wavelength range) can travel really fast." No, it's not strange at all, it's high-school physics. And vinyl is a purely analog storage medium even though digital processing may have been used to produce the engraved signal. Your posts are spectacularly incoherent. Allowances can be (and generally are) made for folks whose native language is not English, but you don't seem to make any effort to create anything resembling an intelligible paragraph or to present cogent arguments on individual topics. An objective observer might wonder if you're just trolling. What gives?
Edited: September 23, 2020, 1:23 PM · I do not think he is trolling-if he is, it is not effective. But I wish the point was made clearer. It seems as two topics in one, and not related at all to stylistical differences among violinists of different times.

As soon as the "autotune" link was suggested, I tuned out.

Perhaps Mr. Gabris should elaborate his view in bullet points, so we can all know what he is getting at, and what his perceived conclusions may be. Right now, I am only "getting" that modern players play "the same" due to modern technology, which can be a valid opinion, but at the same time doubtfully what Mr. Perlman (and many of us) had in mind.



September 23, 2020, 11:54 PM · Hi Adalberto,

Please do not call me mr. Gabris again, or, I'll edit your post! :D

So I try to answer Paul, with bullet points. But I'm glad that he is talking mainly about what I wrote, and I don't find he's language offending.

Actually my mother tongue is not English, that is true. I speak better French.

Krisztian, you seem to have some general level of erudition, and your heart seems to be in the right place, but then everything you say is utter nonsense.

*So, he's criticizing my point.

XB tone control? As Lyndon said, $0.50 in analog components.

*I have to admit, I don't read what Lyndon posts.

"it's strange that really long wavelength electromagnetic waves (1 km wavelength range) can travel really fast." No, it's not strange at all, it's high-school physics.

*It is high school physics.

And vinyl is a purely analog storage medium


even though digital processing may have been used to produce the engraved signal.

*That might be also true, I don't know.

Your posts are spectacularly incoherent.

*I know. I was always like that.

Allowances can be (and generally are) made for folks whose native language is not English, but you don't seem to make any effort to create anything resembling an intelligible paragraph

*Yes, because I read, I had to read too many incoherent things.

or to present cogent arguments on individual topics. An objective observer might wonder if you're just trolling. What gives?

*No, I'm not trolling.


September 24, 2020, 4:51 AM · But, Adalberto, you know what?

It really takes time, as you know it too. Of course I had to do something else after music private kindergarden. It was just not pertinent.

But, the reason I was going to India, is because I heard about a concept, the unplayed note.

So, maybe I found out something about that this morning. I was just watching some old socialist tv commercials on yutube.

It was quite chilly, but the heating was on. I was thinking, it's so nice to rest till sunlight, I felt safe, despite some weird folks rumbling outside. But that was always like that here.

So, the digital/analogue question IS present in a certain science paper.


Edited: September 24, 2020, 6:01 AM · After all, why should the word "So," imply a logical conclusion to the preceding remarks.

Krisztian, thank you for another of your "streams of consciousness" ;)

Edited: September 24, 2020, 10:52 AM · I think there are big differences in sonic textures between a live recording and studio recording, perhaps even more so with the methods available today for sound reproduction. By the mid 1980's digital recording had become mainstream in pop and classical music. If you compare a pop album from circa 1985 to the late 70's there are some pretty dramatic differences. A Peter Gabriel record from the 80's sounds it only come from a studio; there are a lot of synthesizers,drum machines, sampling, noise reduction, and note for note editing/processing - in other words, it doesn't have a "live" ambience. By comparison, a Led Zepellin recording from the late seventies sounds much more organic and less mechanical to my ears; I hear the "mistakes" from the musicians. Is something lost when the mistakes and the noise are removed. Is spontenaiety lost in the creative process of making records when technology changes? I don't know for sure. Maybe there gains to be had. I think I have to ask Peter Gabriel!
September 24, 2020, 11:49 AM · Is it just me?
September 24, 2020, 12:08 PM · No Paul, this thread is a test of my sense of reality as well. People just keep responding...
Edited: September 24, 2020, 5:03 PM · My turn!

In the early days of digital recording (early 70's) for vinyl discs, digital post-editing was still too complicated and expensive, and so there was a preference for live recordings.........

September 24, 2020, 5:12 PM · Digital mastering didn't come till around 1980, before that everything was 100% analogue
October 4, 2020, 10:55 AM · Raymond, I don't know.

I was listening to this before coronavirus:


It was just that maybe something is lost, but you never know. With the equipment, perhaps you can emulate back something similar that was lost. I mean, if you synthesize some old phono recordings, and somehow link that to a sample, or effect.

Edited: October 5, 2020, 11:35 AM · Krisztian, we are in complete agreement here! For a long time I have wondered whether it would be possible to create a device (a "modeling preamp"?) that would take a CD signal (already digital!) and add some effects to make it sound like a vinyl record being played through a tube amplifier. Add a little distortion, etc. And of course the device would also have orange lights inside it to simulate the presence of vacuum tubes even though it would really just be firmware doing the actual work.
October 5, 2020, 3:41 PM · EFLAC files are pretty darned close to vinyl Paul.
Distortion etc? Maybe that's the ringing in your ears that you mentioned on another thread.
Edited: October 5, 2020, 4:04 PM · What a stupid idea Paul. Vinyl through tube amp sounds so good because it doesn't distort the sound as much as digital does, not because it adds some kind of magical distortion. Duh!!
October 5, 2020, 9:12 PM · I love pushing Lyndon's buttons.
October 5, 2020, 9:31 PM · then you're a troll
October 6, 2020, 7:12 AM · Paul you are aware of yourself leaning more and more towards the troll side, roughly since corona? It seems to impact you and I can certainly sympathise.
Edited: October 6, 2020, 9:29 AM · I've always been a semi-troll. It's only since coronavirus that folks' antennae have become more sensitive to it.

But actually I was not just pushing Lyndon's buttons, but I have actually wondered if it's possible to take a CD digital signal and apply some kind of processing so that it will have the "warmth" or whatever characteristics "audiophiles" like Lyndon ascribe to vinyl records and tube amplifiers. Already you can get software plug-ins for DAWs that will supposedly give your recording that "trademark" sound of some specific tape machine from the 1960s or whatever, and you get a stomp box for your electric guitar that digitizes your signal and then processes the signal to make it sound like you are playing your guitar through one of dozens of different amplifiers and speaker cabinets. So the idea isn't as far-fetched as maybe Lyndon would like to believe.

October 6, 2020, 10:17 AM · Hi Paul,

Interesting.... well, I was just chilling in an ice cream shop, with vanilla cream, and was wondering why on earth these people would not understand this....

Yes, I was in Montreal on a summer university, if you want to know this much. But I did not take the phd scholarship, because I was told, that I don't even know what I'm up to, and later I might regret accepting something, that forces me to follow a different path, that I always wanted to do.

To be honest, I still regard myself as a traitor of my own, because I never had the courage to declare, I want to do this (music), I was always pretending to be interested in something else, and secretly learning. I am even afraid to write down music :DD

This of course had to do with "social face", that was for some reason very prominent at that time here. But, of course I made a lot of mistakes too. So.... I'm not sure. What to write. I think, Paul, that you actually know the soundcrafting technologies better, and if I'm correct, you're still very young, so I think it is worth explaining it once more.

"take a CD signal (already digital!) and add some effects to make it sound like a vinyl record being played through a tube amplifier."

You can do that. But that is still fully digital. Digital means, that, well.... take a coordinate system, take a pencil and draw a coordinate system. High school math (there's something soothing about math geometry done by pencil).

X axis, Y axis. Units of measurement are 1. So, coordinate (1,1), and (4,4) would give a straight line, if connected. that is called a vector.

Now, how many points do you have in that vector? If you're analogue, then you may say infinite (you can scale down the size theoretically infinite, but I'm not sure about that, because I don't know if there is a thing such as a infinitely small point). Perhaps you might know later.

If you're digital, than the answer is 4.

I'm sorry folks, this is not really about violin sound, but the question is related to sound, and music (even if it is about amplification and effects), and Paul is a violinist.



p.s. don't forget to reward yourself with an owl (sorry bowl) of prunes :DDD

Edited: October 6, 2020, 11:41 AM · Well, as has been explained before, eventually all "digital sound" must be converted back to analog because our ears are analog devices. That's what the "modeling amplifiers" do.

It's noon here so Lyndon has probably just finished having his breakfast (an owl of prunes?) and practicing one of his clavichords (which I envy), and we can expect further insights from him, no doubt.

From waves.com comes the Kramer Tape Plug-In. Here's the blurb:

"Developed in association with Eddie Kramer, the Kramer Master Tape plugin is modeled on a rare vintage 1/4" reel-to-reel machine. With adjustable tape speed, bias, flux, wow & flutter, and noise parameters, the Kramer Master Tape provides comprehensive control over the contours of your sound. And to top it off, we’ve added a flexible slap & feedback delay, ideal for rock, dance, dub, you name it. For recording, mixing, mastering, and more, bring the richness and warmth of real tape saturation to your DAW with the Kramer Master Tape plugin."

So you can see I didn't make up the stuff about dialing in a little noise and distortion either. They are inevitable in analog playback devices.

October 6, 2020, 12:13 PM · Ok. But..... I'm answering the question.... Krisztian, always answer the question!!!!! :DDD

Please I don't want, or would not like to talk about this more, but.... the ear is I think digital. Because the sound waves (which are analogue) are converted to electrical impulses.

well, laughing with Lyndon is my favourite game. IAM fin..ally able to do so. If you want to know why..... watch any Danish Dogma films, Winterberg, Lars von Trier, or the Tattooed girl (part 1). Birthday from Winterberg is quite heavy. Only watch it if you cannot sleep.

Otherwise, answering the question, I don't know how to say in an acceptable way... (by the way, Jarmusch films, Paterson for instance is good for sleep).

uhhhh... Now I know how to say it, watch Fritz Lang....... Metropolis........

Blurb... I looked it up...... laaater :D

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