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Effective toneproduction


Thevi_Olin
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Hi all! When playing I try to focus on the fundamental pitch of the tones. Its got a great female like 'wooo' sound, and it helps me to play in tune. I was wandering if there are any methods to enhance the volume of that fundamental? (like strings, bowspeed, angle, pressure, vibrato, etc.)

I'm also curious to hear what qualities of the sound other players focus on. I might not be easy to descibe, but please give it a try!

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"Its got a great female like 'wooo' sound"

I can't really imagine, what you mean with that description. Hey, this is a forum where attachments are allowed. Why not record and post a few notes here, so we can hear what you mean?

"I'm also curious to hear what qualities of the sound other players focus on. I might not be easy to descibe, but please give it a try!"

Let me answer with a term Hill was using for the sound of good old italian instruments:

"brilliant woodiness" - the sound of a really good instrument which is not forced,

and with what I don't like and try to avoid, except in some very special cases:

This kind of "now listen how brilliant I sound and how good I project and how I get into the string" thingy. The sound is brilliant and loud, but slightly metallic and boring uniform, it strikes my teeth and after a few minutes hurts in my ears (but that all is a question of personal taste I think..). This one korean girl playing the rondo capriccioso is an example for that (you know, in the thread about the korean kids).

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The 'woo' soound is essentially the same a the sound of your tuning fork. But if you apply (the right) vibrato it's soundquality can bring tears to your eyes. I love this sound so mucht, that I want to learn whatever I can to bring it more upfront!

You can hear it well on slow, solo performances. You have to, so to speak, dail-into the sound in order to hear it though. It took me some practice, and now I can hear the pitch coming through in the big concerto's as well. Notes on the A-string are a good place to start!

Recording is a bit difficult. I have a digital 8-track setup at home, but my laptop is not able to record sound. So transferring is impossible right now. Sorry for that, I would have loved to share this.

in response to:

"

This kind of "now listen how brilliant I sound and how good I project and how I get into the string" thingy.

"

Of course its all a matter of personal taste, but with some help it is possible to hear other qualities in sound and that will make us reevaluate our opinion. Thats one of the reasons for me to start this thread. I want to learn from others what they appreciate in sound.

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"You can hear it well on slow, solo performances. You have to, so to speak, dail-into the sound in order to hear it though. It took me some practice, and now I can hear the pitch coming through in the big concerto's as well. Notes on the A-string are a good place to start!"

Maybe you have a look at the thread "jam session". In the second post from the end I attached an arpeggio improvisation with some crescendo in the middle. Is anywhere therein the sound you mean?

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Its there allright! If you listen to the sound of the recording, you can essentially separate the fundamentalpitch and its overtones and hear them as two distict timbres!

The sound I'm trying to describe is heard better when two tones resonate! So, the D on the A-string has this effect in abundance (And a bit too much so, that it's not beautiful anymore!)

This is not easy to explain!

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"Its there allright! If you listen to the sound of the recording, you can essentially separate the fundamentalpitch and its overtones and hear them as two distict timbres!"

I think I got you

Just one more question (to be sure): during the crescendo in the arpeggios is it always there or just at a certain volume? (I think I can hear it throughout)

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I see.

The sound you hear there is the result of a totally relaxed bowing. I played the whole piece at the edge of the hair (i use vertical bow only if unevitable necessary, in certain bowings), the loudest notes are a sound forte. I know from experience, (a recording taken at the far end of the hall) that, at least in a small (300 people) concert hall I have no problem to be heard at the far end of the hall if I play with a small (8/6/4/3/2-strings plus full winds) orchestra. The highest force in the forte was -in the middle- just about double the weight of the bow and my grip at the bow is (mostly) just sufficient to keep it from falling.

With that kind of grip, at least in my experience, the bow "finds it's way (the best contact point) by itself" if the position of the right arm is correct. I generally try to "give the bow just some hints" and let it do it's job, at least in lively passages. Something like giving it a kick at the beginning of a stroke and then let the inertia do the rest. If I _want_ to produce forced sound for musical reasons I have to select the contact point very careful, my violin is a touchy lady and screems like a banshee if I do something wrong

Does this answer some of your questions?

Take everything with a grain of salt, it's my personal experience and preference and others may have a totally different view.

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Thanks for your description! I appreciate the effort you've put in to make sure that we understand each other!

Your description makes perfect sense and I will see if your explanation is comparable to my efforts on tone production.

These are some hints I can think of to produce the sound I like:

-standup straigt, relaxed shoulders & body

-as long a bow as possible

-lungs full of air (Thanks to Stephen!)

-Just enough tension between chin & violin

-just enough contact of the bow on the string(s) and vary this for each string

-without a (dare I say it) shoulderrest, but with a pad

-and try to relax as much as possible

-Enough bowtension

-Relaxed lefthand! (No deathgrip with the thumb on the neck! It kills the sound!)

To enhance the sound I'm experimenting with differt types of wristvibrato. (speed, depth, phase and ADSR as variables)

What seems to be very strange is that a temperature of 23 degrees celsius with a humidity of 50%+ seem to be very good condition to create this sound. (ok, so violinplayin is not math or physiscs, but these are some observations I made).

What a great instument this is....

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"These are some hints I can think of to produce the sound I like:

-standup straigt, relaxed shoulders & body >> Yes

-as long a bow as possible >> For your desired sound, and mostly, yes, but sometimes you might want a different sound

-lungs full of air (Thanks to Stephen!) >> Fill the lungs before you start, but then steady breathing, or you will get problems

-Just enough tension between chin & violin >> Yes !!!

-just enough contact of the bow on the string(s) and vary this for each string >> Yes !!!

-without a (dare I say it) shoulderrest, but with a pad >> I'm _not_ going to participate in a religious war

-and try to relax as much as possible >> The most important and difficult of all...

-Enough bowtension >> Depends very much on the bow

-Relaxed lefthand! (No deathgrip with the thumb on the neck! It kills the sound!) >> Yes, kind of a flageolet feeling. Also important, because a tensioned left hand often causes a tensioned right arm as well

To enhance the sound I'm experimenting with differt types of wristvibrato. (speed, depth, phase and ADSR as variables) >> That's ok, but be sure to first produce the best possible sound with the bow and good intonation before you use vibrato, otherwise it may just hide symptoms of bad bowing or intonation

What seems to be very strange is that a temperature of 23 degrees celsius with a humidity of 50%+ seem to be very good condition to create this sound. (ok, so violinplayin is not math or physiscs, but these are some observations I made). >> Can it be, that a temperature of 23 degrees celsius with a humidity of 50%+ is a very good condition for _you_ ?

What a great instument this is.... >> Yes, such a simple hardware and so many possibilities

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Didn't see it mentioned (and you probably know)--

Besides all the technical points you noted above, could the "wooo" sound you hear being the natural resonance of the strings? For example, if you play a G on the D-string, you should(will) hear a sympathetic vibration of the G-string. In fact if you look closely, you can(will) actually see the G-string vibrating. Obviously, this happens with the open string notes but can happen with others somewhat as well.

Enhancing this ,of course, is playing in tune as precisely as possible. ( I usually hear this myself on those days when I am dead on in tone, the planets are perfectly in line, and the world is revolving at exactly the right speed )

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On what sounds like a similar path, I used to (it's been a while ) relish the sound of new strings on one of my acoustic guitars. I'd put new steel strings on, stretch them out a bit, and turn 'em all up perfectly. Then I'd just sit there and give it an open strum, or maybe a G chord, something really simple, and just listen to how the strings just seemed to project together and create this entity of sound that had a slow, steady, noticable pulse to it. I love it.

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"could the "wooo" sound you hear being the natural resonance of the strings? For example, if you play a G on the D-string, you should(will) hear a sympathetic vibration of the G-string"

Yes, but the sound is available at any note, any position. At some points your hear it better, resonance enhances the effect. I have improved on intonation a lot by just trying to focus on this soound. In fact, I feel that this helps me to develop my relative sense of pitch further. (I have no perfect-pitch, but after playing for a few minutes my ears are tuned up!)

More about the temperature:

I'm not sure what the effect of humidity & temperature has on my strings (gut, eudoxa) but I can relate to the fact that this is just something that personal for me.

About the guitar:

Its a marvelous instrument. I use gold-plated strings (I have very agressive sweat! and price/quality/durability rate is the best of any!) , and when they are fresh and tuned to pitch its a great treat for the ears. Depending on your tuning method the G-chord is one of my favorites!

What other aspects of the violintone could be considered for ear-focus techniques? I would like to exchange some ideas on this subject besides the 'woo'-sound!

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"To enhance the sound I'm experimenting with differt types of wristvibrato. (speed, depth, phase and ADSR as variables) >> That's ok, but be sure to first produce the best possible sound with the bow and good intonation before you use vibrato, otherwise it may just hide symptoms of bad bowing or intonation"

I agree! In fact, if you play a note right, the vibrato comes natural but only to enhance what is 'correct' in the first place!

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