Help with Understanding String Tension
I am led to believe that lower string tension is better (for sound and the violin), and for this reason, I have stop using strings like Rondo and PI. I am currently using Larsen Tzigane and Virtuoso...
1) I have read somewhere that if a violin is "keyed" to the max, it is more appropriate to use higher tension. What does "keyed" up means? How can we tell from our violins?
2) When moving from higher tension to lower tension string, being underload, I read that it is natural that it will sound hard and nasal, but the sound will improve as the violin reacquire the shape. How long will this "reacquiring" takes (in general, assuming the violin wasn't severely/irreversibly overloaded)?
It depends on the violin.
@Andrew, thank you for your experiences and test-tips! I have read many of your posts on strings, and how you have shown great enthusiasm when talking about string, had influenced much of my strings choices (e.g. Tzigane and PI).
High tension is brighter, takes more effort, and has better projection. Low tension is more resonant, easier to play, and darker. It depends what you want or need.
The Luthiers will have the best understanding on this topic. The top plate is the most important sound radiating surface of the violin. I like to think of this analogy; the top plate is like the head on a snare drum. If it is "tuned" too loose it sounds flabby and the sticks rebound too slow. If it is too tight the sound is crushed, the sticks feel like drumming on concrete.
On your violin high tensions might be fine. Just would not recommend it as a sure way to improve all violins "power"-even in the cases where they are more "powerful", you will have to "fight" for that "power".
So basically high tension strings are more powerful and bright, and lower tension strings are more dark and warm sound?
I didn't try all the string brands in the world, but speaking about a brand that i know very very well, Pirastro Tonica:
@Joel, thank you for your analogy. If I understand correctly, it is almost like the strings vs everything-else-on-the-violin. The sum-total stiffness of the violin (top plate, bridge, FB angle, etc) presents a certain resistance. When choosing string against such resistance, too much tension and sound will be stiffen/compressed/deaden; too light a tension, the violin will not vibrate enough and will not response optimally. As with @Andrew's suggestion, seems like playing the higher octaves with detune strings will give clues on what will work best.
Don't want to start a new thread since on the same topic. A new question if I may.
I don’t think there is a universal value at all, no.
Might want to reference the string tension data at Violin String Review:
You can easily find the simple (one-dimensional equation relating string tension and pitch (i.e., vibration frequency) on Wikipedia.