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Strings Going Sharp Instead of Flat


Malorie
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Every time I practice, the strings continuously go out

of tune - but instead of going Flat (like I'm used to)

they go Sharp. To me it doesn't make any sense as I

would think that, while playing, if anything the

strings will stretch - thereby making them go flat. Up

until a month ago, I used Thomastik Dominants, but my

violin is very loud so I switched to Pirastro Wondertone

Gold Label strings, hoping for a softer sound (that

didn't happen, though) and now this is occuring. Is

this normal?

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The Wondertones A-G are gut strings and that is the way they behave (which is why the synthetics were invented). The lower their moisture content, the more the guts tighten and go sharp, just as other protein based materials (like leather, and horse hair).

Two factors can decrease the moisture content of strings, decreasing relative humidity and increasing temperature of the strings themselves.

It is a constant battle, especially in orchestral rehearsals (when noone else needs to tune). I use Pirastro Obligato on two violins, only because they optimize the tone and sensitivity. On another, I use Dominants or Tonicas, which don't fade with time to a metallic sound. If your violin is too loud for you, try playing softer, with reduced bow pressure and shorter strokes, and also you might try a loosely fitted wax earplug in your left ear (available for < $2 at any drug store)-just enought so that the sound level sensed by both ears is the same. Heavy bowing tends to make an instrument sound loud to the player (but not the audience) because it increases the fundamental tone, but decreases the overtones - which are particularly audible to an audience.

Andy

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Andy: Thanks for all the information you provided me - it helps a lot just to understand what's happening and why, and what alternatives/solutions are available. By most standards, I am realatively new to violin playing and as time goes by, I'm finding there's many aspects I have to learn about. Thanks!

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