Instrument pyjamas

November 14, 2020, 3:35 AM · I didn't have any intention of buying pyjamas for my violins, but I will if they are recommended. What do you think? Let's see if we can make this the longest vcom thread ever!

Replies (45)

Edited: November 14, 2020, 4:44 AM · Good luck. This I think is the current record

Edited: November 14, 2020, 5:47 AM · And did you re-read Erik's post, Lyndon? ;-)
Edited: November 14, 2020, 6:25 AM · Only silk pajamas made from the mystical silkworm farm on Mount Fuji :)

On a related topic, my Bobelock case came with what looks/feels like a silk bag with drawstrings. I'm sure it's not silk but it feels like it. It does have a blanket and I haven't found a need to use the bag for my lovely antique violin but it's there.

Edited: November 14, 2020, 6:50 AM · I haven't decided on silk, Egyptian cotton, or winceyette.
Edited: November 14, 2020, 1:26 PM · My Chinese technician, Xi, came back from a trip home with two custom made red silk draw-string violin pyjamas.

Just wish she had brought me a matching nighty... <3

November 14, 2020, 11:57 AM · I remember having a green silk or silky-velvet violin bag with a "tie-string closure at least a half-century ago. I came to the following conclusions:

1. If you only play at home and case your fiddle when it is not being played YOU DON"T NEED A BAG. A "blanket" in the case is all the protection you need.

2. If you play away from home, removing your bagged fiddle from the case and then from the BAG and returning it to the BAG and thence to the case are extra handling steps that potentially endanger your instrument. Been there, done that - but didn't do it for long.

November 14, 2020, 12:05 PM · I agree with Andy. I feel like dealing with the bag is an opportunity for butterfingers.
November 14, 2020, 12:42 PM · Another anti-bag vote here.

I'm more interested in the "pyjama" spelling, which I assume is British, and maybe other Commonwealth countries as well? My violin spells it "pajamas."

November 14, 2020, 1:06 PM · Won't it increase heat and humidity?
Edited: November 14, 2020, 1:28 PM · Hi Mary Ellen, pyjama is Hindustani/Persian - they came back from the colonies to England, so in that sense it is UK English ;)
November 14, 2020, 1:32 PM · OMG! The issue of "The Bag" has returned. Back when I began lessons violin bags were all the rage. The fact that I "think like an engineer" made me question the bag design with a drawstring closure at the top and that had to fit into the case where the surrounding area was smallest. With the help of a friend we designed an isosceles triangle shaped bag closed at scroll end (point) with a velcro closure at the bottom. We sewed a couple hundred of them and they sold! Then they went out of fashion. I think I gave away the last of them about a decade ago.
November 14, 2020, 3:00 PM · Elise - you've got it backwards. It is an American/British difference but the Hindi spelling is pajama, from pai jamah, so in this case the American usage is closer to the original.
November 14, 2020, 3:21 PM · OK Irene - so where does the word (spelled) pyjama come from?
November 14, 2020, 4:02 PM · Perhaps the Brits felt that it was unacceptably straightforward to spell a word with the vowel sound it uses.
November 14, 2020, 4:15 PM · "Perhaps the Brits felt that it was unacceptably straightforward to spell a word with the vowel sound it uses."


To be fair, we're not consistent with spelling and vowel sounds in American English, either.

Edited: November 14, 2020, 8:16 PM · On the matter of violin bags, I agree with Andy's reasons. I have a silk one that I stopped using about six weeks after I bought it. Oh yes, being Canadian, I spell "pyjama" with a y.
November 14, 2020, 9:18 PM · I put my violin in the bag once, and was terrified I would damage my instrument. That was probably the last time...
November 14, 2020, 9:23 PM · I agree with Andy. My violin goes commando.
Edited: November 14, 2020, 11:07 PM · @Irene - The Hindi for "pyjama" is "???????" and the definition is
???????? ?????? ??????? ?????????.??? ?? ???? ?????? ???
?? ????? ????? -
????? ?? ???? ??? ???????? ?? ?? ????? ?????? ?? ???? ?
— ??????? ????? ??????
How you transcribe it in Roman alphabet depends entirely on the pronunciation. Google says puh-jaa-muh so we're all wrong

Edit - That looked perfect when I copied it into my post, but didn't come out quite right

Edited: November 15, 2020, 12:47 AM · If "pai jamah" is pronounced "pie jama", then that would explain the spelling "pyjama".

Incidentally, Chambers has the etymology as Persian+Hindustani paejamah from pae = leg and jamah = clothing.

Edited: November 15, 2020, 7:44 AM · The spelling differences may reflect local variations in pronunciation, beginning in the early 19th century when the word first made its way into the English language. George and Steve both make excellent points -- putting on my English professor hat :)

November 15, 2020, 10:08 AM · Perhaps the most reasonable use for a bag is for climate control when traveling, especially by air. Even then, it should be removed to avoid accidents when starting or finishing playing sessions.
November 15, 2020, 10:46 AM · Never mind violin pyjamas, hats are far more important!

November 15, 2020, 3:38 PM · Gordon, Parker - its not so complicated; if you take the over-night plane to England from the USA, you go to bed in pajamas and you wake up in pyjamas.
November 15, 2020, 6:40 PM · My local violin dealer/guru told me not to use The Bag because he has done so many repairs on instruments that were being bagged/unbagged, that he warns against ever using the bag at all.
November 15, 2020, 7:00 PM · Elise: That's funny! En France aussi, on se reveille dans "les pyjamas" :)
November 15, 2020, 7:30 PM · In Hindi, I believe it is pa-ja-ma...the consonants having the understood "ah" sound. But then again, I was a terrible Hindi student...
November 15, 2020, 8:23 PM · If the constants come from Sanskrit then we're almost certainly getting those wrong too.
November 15, 2020, 9:16 PM · If, as Gordon hoped, we want to make this into "the longest vcom thread ever", we're going to have to find something more interesting to talk about than violin bags and the spelling of pyjama . . .
November 16, 2020, 7:14 AM · It appears that pa/pyjamas are not favoured.

However, in the interests of making this the never-ending-story of I think its appropriate to ask who uses a:

Dressing gown: (material under the violin, folded over before closing the lid);
Sheet: a piece of soft cloth lain over the violin;
or a
Duvet: a (usually violin-case-shaped) thick (often velvet or something similar, and usually came with the case or is sown in), also lain over the instrument.

I use a sheet, a cloth I bought from a dealer which also serves to dust the violin after use.

November 16, 2020, 7:28 AM · I use the duvet that came with my Bobelock case (along with the unused bag that also came with it)
November 16, 2020, 7:40 AM · My violin and viola are both neglected and are without duvets. I might make some... What are the best materials to use for the side touching the instrument? I suppose velvet for the top is fine.
Edited: November 16, 2020, 7:53 AM · The point of the duvet is supposedly to keep your bow frogs from continually bouncing their bony little bottoms along the lower bout of your violin.

Every year when I go to Suzuki camp with my kids, there is someone there (one of the teachers, I believe) who is selling decorative violin cloths. Not really selling -- but accepting donations for them, and then all the proceeds go to scholarships for the camp for families who can't afford it. I doubt they make much bank that way, but it's a sweet thought.

Regarding fabric, generally one side is velvet (designed to pick up as much grit as possible from the floor of your orchestra's rehearsal room) and the other side is something with sheen, some kind of faux silk. Good way to get rid of your closet full of disused bridesmaid's dresses perhaps. (Not really thinking of myself there.)

November 16, 2020, 8:06 AM · Thanks for your reply Paul! I will have a look around some charity shops for some fabric and check out my local Drapers. This could be a fun Christmas project, its not like I have assignments due in January anyway...

Velvet picking up grit from orchestra floors? Why would the "duvet" come into contact with orchestra floors anyway? Just leave it in the case, unless I am missing something.

November 16, 2020, 10:27 AM · Back in the day, I was once given an absurdly-soft diaper cloth for my violin (with spots, I think). No idea is such things can be found any more. Probably in old ducal estates in the UK, where the maids never toss anything out. Excellent choice for the blanket option, before one could easily get microfiber fabrics.
November 16, 2020, 7:49 PM · If you want to make this a longer thread then we could start using languages other than English...with no translation supplied !
November 17, 2020, 4:06 AM · Is diaper another word for nappy? I’m pretty sure you still can.
November 17, 2020, 4:22 AM · No-one tossed used nappies/diapers out until the disposable ones came along. You boiled the nappies every time they get soiled, then after the child grew up you had a nice set of strainers for cheese- or beer-making.
November 17, 2020, 6:55 AM · Terry towel nappies then.
November 17, 2020, 8:48 AM · "Why would the "duvet" come into contact with orchestra floors anyway?"

Because people drop them. You can ask the "second why" but it's what I see. A theoretical conundrum but an empirical fact.

November 17, 2020, 11:35 AM · Not terry towel. But very soft cotton.
November 17, 2020, 4:43 PM · I'm Canadian, and I grew up with the spelling "pyjama", although I understand people who spell it "pajama", just as I allow for them leaving the U out of various words, like "colour", or spelling the verb "practise" the same as the noun "practice".

Frank Zappa did a song called "Po-Jama People".

My violin and viola don't have bags, just blankets.

November 17, 2020, 6:26 PM · I always put the duvet in the case when the violin is out. I didn't observe what adult community orchestra players did but my children students would frequently carelessly toss them aside on the ground. Gradually I accumulated quite a few because they would forget that they were supposed to have one and not take it back next week. There are much reduced frequencies of abandonment of rosin, shoulder rest, the bow, the violin... (Sheet music and book abandonment tops even case blankets though.)
Edited: November 17, 2020, 11:30 PM · I keep my case's lid up and I put the duvet an inch or two over the zip, so that if I want to put my bow down, the hair won't get caught in the zip, as happened once.

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