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Cremonese verus the rest


Argon55
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Hi Michael,

There is no way disagree that, what we hear as the outcome from a violin is neither violin or the player or the physical conditions in which playing takes place alone but an overall interaction between all three.

That is definitely right tonal quality of a violin is not a concept which is based on sound solely but playability, response and some others are main ingradiants which make a violin is unique and good or poor comparing to other. Honestly, playability is some thing I started thinking about recently.

I agree that, the violin must be at a workable level.

I have no doubt strad would be recognized in between thousands even by amateur players.

However, I can not understand why It is silly to look for a good sound in a violin for any one, amateur, low level player or a beginner. I think every one should look for good sound, especially beginners and that is the right thing to do for an instrument like violin.

A good sound will feed and inspire any one with some music in heart and It is great help during long boring practices.

Thanks for the definitions, all very clear, instructional and academic.

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"However, I can not understand why It is silly to look for a good sound in a violin for any one, amateur, low level player or a beginner."

I don't think anybody is saying that. What is being said is that it is not all that easy to know *what* to look for, and *how* to look for it.

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Hi Jacob,

It is so easy to get lost in a discussion about sound, the subject is almost totally abstract except just a very little volume of air hitting our ear drum.

Your points are right, while I was trying to write my post with my pathetic English, some new ones were posted including yours, mentioning that other factors effecting what we hear from violin.

I agree, but what I am saying is that there are violins that sound super good which is a tiny fraction of all violins made, and there are other groups, such as good, fair, or poor(which is a bigger percentage).

"--

"However, I can not understand why It is silly to look for a good sound in a violin for any one, amateur, low level player or a beginner."

I don't think anybody is saying that. What is being said is that it is not all that easy to know *what* to look for, and *how* to look for it.

"--

Apalogize for any misunderstanding.

I dont think It is a necessity to be a good player or top player to develope a good taste of sound.

On the other hand, right, eventually sound is personal choice.

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sorry to trod in here with my very rudimentary level of

understanding, but i like to learn about this stuff...

i hate to be stupid and maybe stubborn about this, but it's because

i still just don't understand it (and maybe i'm just not

listening?)...

anyway, something that really confuses me is when people talk about

'a good player making any violin sound good' in certain ways that

seem to me to say that this person can get the same sound from a

wide range of instruments because that's the sound that person

wants...i think there is even something on Shar's website saying

that a good player can get whatever tonal 'colors' they want from

any good instrument...

i know my skills are poor, but even when my teacher plays the

different violins i drag in, although she sounds awesome on all of

them, the instruments have very different sound character, and the

sound is along the lines of how they sound when i play (a

hollow-sounding one will still sound somewhat hollow, a muted on

still sounds more muted than the louder ones, and such)...

it just seems to me that each instrument has an intrinsic character

of being bright, or dark, or loud, or whatever, and the player can

modulate that to a greater or lesser degree depending on their

skill, but a lot of it seems to depend on the violin, too? or am i

missing something here?

thanks for indulging my simplicity!  

cassi  

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Hi Cassi,

"--it just seems to me that each instrument has an intrinsic character of being bright, or dark, or loud, or whatever, and the player can modulate that to a greater or lesser degree depending on their skill, but a lot of it seems to depend on the violin, too?--"

I am not a professional player or maker not even trained professionally for playing any kind of music. What I am tniking or saying has no academic proof other than intensive experiments I have been doing the last five years. Depends on the violin, too? I think yes, what a player can do is limited to the capcity of the instrument.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Cassi

wow Michael, i would think that Strad-swap thing would damage

people for life! how can they ever find an instrument to

satisfy them after that?

..............

one other question, you mentioned pieces that challenge a violin's

playability...i think i have seen some suggestions by other people

on pieces to play in evaluating a violin (i think on

violinist.com?), but what are the pieces you are talking about?


No, to the contrary, they start looking for what they found in the Strad, and have a much clearer idea of what "good" is.It makes the search easier: you just have to settle for as much good as you can afford, but the usual effect is that a bunch of violins that were in consideration then get thrown out, and the ones that are left are the better ones, by more normal standards.

I used to like it, but I don't care if I ever hear the beginning of the Bruch violin concerto again. Saint-Saens #3 is the another common one. There are a couple of others as well, but I don't know the names. It isn't that the pieces are challenging to the violin as much as that every piece has notes which are difficult--maybe a big string crossover combined with a position change--which have a strong chance of sounding bad,

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Cassi: "i would think that Strad-swap thing would damage people for life! how can they ever find an instrument to satisfy them after that?"

I'm not a good player, but I can say that after playing the Strad at the workshop there is another lasting effect, which is that having learned what a violin can be, you will begin to look for as much of that as you can find in the instrument you have, and you will be more likely to notice when the bridge wanders or something's not quite right. I play differently now and am much fussier now about how the instrument and bow are working because I'm always looking for the ways that it can feel like that Strad. Playing the violin I have (which is fabulous in any case) is that much more rewarding as a result.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Cassi

it just seems to me that each instrument has an intrinsic character

of being bright, or dark, or loud, or whatever, and the player can

modulate that to a greater or lesser degree depending on their

skill, but a lot of it seems to depend on the violin, too? or am i

missing something here?


If the violin is a versatile one, the player will be able to make it do a lot of things that you wouldn't normally expect. Just in a general sort of way, this is what you'd demand of a violin that's, just to pick a number, over $10,000-20,000 or so--that is, real professional quality violins--AND a small proportion of cheaper ones. The trick, if there is one, is to find that one $3,000 violin that can act like it costs 10X more. And, as Jacob noted, sometimes you can find a $60 one that acts that way, too, but it's going to be a looooong search.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Michael Darnton

The silly thing is to think that you can find a pencil that will make you write like Hemingway without you having to learn how to write.

If ego is walking ahead the talent, this may not be only silly but can be harmful also.

Thanks for the explanation.

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Selim,

thanks for the reply! i actually go to your website a lot and

listen to your two sound clips!

(by-the-by, does 'violin 1' and 'violin 2' mean the first two

violins you made, or really 'example 1' and 'example 2'? either

way, they're pretty impressive, but if they are really your first

two violins made, even more so!

Andres and Michael,

thanks for your replies about the Strad comparison! that really

makes a lot of sense! (i always learn so much from the people

here!)

it's pretty funny that independently of each other you had the same

answer! (or Andres, did Michael brainwash you at that workshop?

Michael,

thanks for your explanation about my 'intrinsic sound' question, it

makes a lot of sense, too!

smiles,

cassi  

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Andres' response is the normal one, which is why we were encouraged at Bein & Fushi to do this. You wouldn't normally want to do it to someone with $500,000 to spend--that's close enough to be too discouraging and interfere with the process--but for someone for whom a Strad isn't even a consideration, there's a lot to be learned from the exercise.

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Ah wine.....isn't it one of the great pleasures of life to drink a

good bottle with great food and conversation. But who indeed would

pay more than eight quid a bottle?

I think the analogy with violins is very pertinent and I'd like to

share with you an experience I had several years ago when I lived

in London. At the time, I had a great interest in wine, read about

it, went regularly to wine tastings and considered myself to have

an educated palate. When I was given a great wine to drink, I could

clearly tell the difference between those and more modestly priced

 wines and there was a significant difference in taste

compared with cheap wines. I think this is true of violins too....I

have no doubt Strads etc sound significantly better than say a mass

produced German violin. But back to the wine. A friend who worked

in the wine trade set up a blind tasting for the Trade and wangled

me an invite. Included in the range of wines were a number of

Premier Cru Bordeaux and Grand Cru Burgundies from good vintages.

Mixed in were a number of good wines from Oz and California which

compared with the French wines were modestly priced. I could

perceive a  difference in taste between them all but I was

shocked to find that my ranking in terms of quality bore no

relation to their rank in price and prestige. Even more surprising,

the experts at the tasting did little better than me. Ever since,

I've bought relatively cheap wine and been perfectly happy with it

and so has my Bank Manager! You can see where this is

going.......when I knew what I was tasting I could perceive a

significant difference in quality. When I didn't know, then

although I could taste a difference, I couldn't rank that

difference in terms of overall quality. This is a common human

reaction and psychologists have known about the phenomenon for

years. That is if you know what you're looking at, tasting, hearing

then you unconsciously associate previously acquired value

judgments which skews your sensory experience. This doesn't

 mean that people lack integrity, it's just how the human mind

works. To use this analogy with violins, then I come back to my

thesis which is that there is no significant objective difference

in sound quality between a Strad and a violin from the best

makers in subsequent centuries.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Argon55
...I come back to my

thesis which is that there is no significant objective difference

in sound quality between a Strad and a violin from the
best

makers in subsequent centuries.

You seem to be trying to convince everyone of something: if you

can't perceive a difference, then there isn't one. First you've

told us that you are not an accomplished violinist, and then you

inform us that your palette is rather inexperienced when it comes

to tasting wine. Why don't you just take the word of those who can

perceive these differences, that there indeed are differences?

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"----have presence. This is the hardest thing to hear. It expresses itself in the violin "appearing" to the ear to take up a lot of stage territory, and it can be slightly difficult to pinpoint the exact location of the violin. A side component of this is a particularly enveloping beauty of tone that's very subtle and difficult to characterize. I have heard a lot of nice violins, but I have *never* heard a violin that wasn't Cremonese that did this last thing, and this is also the most difficult aspect to hear. --"

I may be wrong but I think I know what you mean..

Since every one agrees on a definite, concrete difference between a strad and a galiga, I am just coriuous, is this difference really that thin to be erased by just some extra effort from a talented player?

For give me repeating the same thing again but I have to resolve this issue, is it really possible to get a sound from galiga like the one from a strad? I have not met a top player, I have no idea what they do how they do, I know It is possible to gain some power or skip wolfs by good bowing or get some sweetness by adjusting delicately the bow pressure, but can a top player make a galiga sound the item quoted above?

What am I missing?

May be I need a brake.

Any way, Thanks for your time.

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Selim, Great players can do great things. My experience with a friend who is a great player is that he really will make any ok but not even good instrument sound fantastic with his great technique. He might play a low quality instrument and then ask me what I think. This always freaks me out because the sound is great and my expectations are confounded by it. I always have to be honest and say that sounded really good. Then he tells me it was a bad instrument. ...The reason?..he had to work really hard to make the sound....to play a concert like that would be too big an effort to stand.

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No one said any player could make a cheap fiddle sound as good as a strad or a del gesu. All that was said was that a talented player, to an average audience, could make an ordinary violin sound good, perhaps even great.

That this talented player would have to compromise technique and work harder to compensate for short falls in the lesser violin.

Smoke and mirrors.

Doesn't mean the Gliga will sound LIKE a Strad. Only that it will still sound pretty d**n good under the hands of a willing and sufficiently adept player.

The fact that any given player can wring a good sound from an substandard instrument HAS NOTHING WHATEVER TO DO WITH THE QUESTION OF WHETHER OR NOT A CREMONESE INSTRUMENT IS, OBJECTIVELY, BETTER.

This debate is completely inane. We have people who don't make and don't play presuming that there must be sonic equivalence because the boxes cannot be that different. We have people who contend that sound is all a matter of personal opinion anyway. So, sure, if you prefer the sound of a scratchy and strangled fiddle, then the Cremonese sound will sound inferior. You might as well say that a blind person is correct in stating that Lil'Abner is the same as The Sistine Chapel. Or someone who reads at a third grade level is correct that Dick and Jane is better than Hamlet.

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In my opinion, a very competent player will make an average sounding violin sound like a much more expensive one, but this will only be apparent if he/she/it is playing by him/her/itself... And that's because the ability to cut through noise (meaning an ensemble) will now be almost solely dependant on the instrument.

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