Sign in to follow this  
Fellow

Amazing Sound Of An Ordinary Violin.

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

I have just finished playing my old violin that was recently purchased. The violin is absolutely of no name to write home about, but

its sound is quite amazing. It is making its statement such as " I just can make good sound like anybody else " ( as if it is a person )

I started to think it is the work of a luthier who nobody would know. Somehow you cannot ignore his or her existence. The voice

is loud and clear. Every violin acts like that. amazing. I am not surprise Strad owner think their Strad unique. In fact, every violin is unique in some way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does the label say Gepetto by any chance?? :)

Hi all,

It is making its statement such as " I just can make good sound like anybody else " ( as if it is a person )

I started to think it is the work of a luthier who nobody would know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In fact, every violin is unique in some way.

...and every violin - player match is unique too. Try if you can to change two strad owners their violins between them! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As someone without experience of many violins I have often wondered idly how many very ordinary violins sound amazing.

Maybe somebody here knows. If you set up and sell very ordinary beginner violins, how much does the sound vary and how often do you get one that impresses you with its sound?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As someone without experience of many violins I have often wondered idly how many very ordinary violins sound amazing.

Maybe somebody here knows. If you set up and sell very ordinary beginner violins, how much does the sound vary and how often do you get one that impresses you with its sound?

I used to have a lot of experience with "ordinary beginner violins" - into the thousands. Rest assured they are all bad.

Of course, without a standard to compare with they soon start to sound better and better and this seems to be a rather universal phenomena.

At the time my standard was an excellent copy of Erika Morini's Strad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a great deal more common for a fantastically valuable old violin to sound dreadful than for a very badly made "student" violin to sound amazing!

I've set up and sold about 500 violins, out of which about 250 were quite basic Mirecourt violins - maybe 50 low grade German and Bohemian instruments. I would describe a violin as "amazing" if I'd be happy to use it myself professionally .....

Two of the German violins, 5 or 6 of the French violins.

In amongst better trade instruments (that would retail for over £1000) I've found about 10 that considered amazing, and probably about the same number of single-maker instruments.

So my answer would be very few ....

But that's also true of violins in any price range!

Have a look at these : My Violin Tone Evaluations

Very few "3 star" violins in there ...

edit : I should add that there's a significant number of modest Mirecourt trade violins that are very good, not amazing but better than most 5 and 6 figure violins .... the same cannot be said of German or Bohemian trade violins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As someone without experience of many violins I have often wondered idly how many very ordinary violins sound amazing.

Maybe somebody here knows. If you set up and sell very ordinary beginner violins, how much does the sound vary and how often do you get one that impresses you with its sound?

I don't know that very many, if any, inexpensive/factory violins could sound amazing in terms of the highest standards, but there used to be a theory that if you went to a factory that made say 80,000 violins, if you played them all you might find one that "sounded like a Strad". I think that's just another of the large number of old wive's tales that persist about the violin.

On the other hand, if you go to a shop that has 5 or 10 violins of the same manufacture and price, almost always one or two will be better than the others. And I don't know why improved adjustment and strings wouldn't help even the worst of violins; but it still wouldn't make such a violin sound great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was thinking about tone yesterday a bit. I saw an advert for this website off of maestronet, and I went to the vintage violin section:

http://www.cupertinostrings.com/Vintage_Violins.html

Trying to train my ear to hear better tone in a violin, I played sound bites for all violins that were available (some weren't available), and I decided which one, to me, had the best tone. I was curious to see if my selection of the violin with the best tone matches other's selections.

Which violin do you think has the best tone on this website?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

fiddlewallop said " I was curious to see if my selection of the violin with the best tone matches other's selections."

It won't surprise anyone here if I say Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Well, so is sound in the ear of the beholder. What is tin to one may be gold to another...and so on. Some scientists think that we all see colors differently. If that is true (and I don't know) then it seems obvious that we all hear sound somewhat differently. I personally believe that we all see and hear very closely to each other, so perhaps Fellow's violin sounds great to him, while others might not be interested.

Training of the ear to determine good tone should be mandatory to a luthier. No?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's possible that the greater part of "amazing" is the personal improvement of the player. Practice and improved skills and becoming aware of how to extract the best tone from one's ordinary violin must lead to an overall improved violin experience.

Congratulations on your new personal best.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Training of the ear to determine good tone should be mandatory to a luthier. No?

Yes, this is fundamental, I suppose. But I think there are many different elements of tone to consider when we are deciding what is favorable or unfavorable. It's sometimes a difficult thing to put into words, but it's important to think about because ultimately this determines the end goal of the sound the luthier is aiming for when producing a violin. One of the elements that I listen for is the lack of "noise" in the sound of a violin. I think it's better to have a clear, crisp and striking sound, rather than an instrument that has, I guess for lack of a better term, "distortion" within the tone. When I listen to Strads or Del Gesus, the lack of distortion is the first thing that I notice. Then I think about various aspects of the tone. Once you have an instrument that has a lack of "noise" and a clear, striking tone, then the actual tone that one prefers is more a matter of personal preference, but still important to consider. These are just my initial thoughts on the matter. I still have a lot more to think about before my tastes for tones are refined.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMHO amazing is in the ear of the audience. Something that sounds a bit nasty under the ear can sound great, and plenty of instruments sound good under the ear that won't carry 10 feet (3 meters).

Responsive and fun to play, that's a whole other thing...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tone is over-rated ....!

Expressive potential has many elements, and tone is one of them.

My own observation is that some extraordinary violins also have unusual amounts of surface noise - I will happily live with the surface noise if the violin sings. Maybe I wouldn't use it for close recording, which puts particular demands on a violin (and a violinist).

Some violinists have a lot of surface noise - heavy breathers, like Peter Cropper of the Lindsay String Quartet. It's acceptable in a concert situation but can be very distracting in recordings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just finished #8&9 and was AMAZED at the difference in tone. the one sounded so much different that I swore it was tuned a half step low, but when I checked them,they were both in tune,just the one had a much darker tone,and wow! what a difference....Really It does seem as if the player makes a huge difference in tone development ,but a race car driver, driving a Pinto can only get so much out of it,no mater how good they are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMHO amazing is in the ear of the audience. Something that sounds a bit nasty under the ear can sound great, and plenty of instruments sound good under the ear that won't carry 10 feet (3 meters).

Responsive and fun to play, that's a whole other thing...

Hello Addie and you have written a very fine post.

Observation; There are volumes of books on violin tone, but what I have found over too many years is that most violinists and even professional ones do not know what tone is or how it works in terms of the violin. It has been proven over and over that what you hear under your ear is not the tone or sound that your violin is producing. Yet the majority of violinists use this "ear sound" as their main judgement. Violin tone actually starts in the back far corners of a concert hall, because if a violin cannot project to this area is is worthless as a concert violin, period. All student instruments no matter how well made fail 100% of the time in this area, as they have not been made to serve this purpose.

Second, I may be the only person on this board who will go even further to say that all of the Markneukirchen violins from the 1900s and upward may be hand crafted at a much higher level, but from a tonal standpoint, they are only one step up from an advanced student model. They are grossly overpriced; I do not know one professional symphony player that plays on one. They are sold to the public based on the family names and history, such as the Roths. I have owned or played all the Roths in their catalog. Each catagory violin does sound different, but it is not due to better quality but do to the fact that they are simply a different model. One example is a higher grade Amati that actually sounds worst than all the others, simply because it is an slightly smaller Amati copy. On to the Italian violins, but only briefly. If a violin has an Italian label and made in Italy, many people will believe that it just has to be of the highest quality, because it was made in Italy.

Also, the tone of any violin depends greatly on the bow that is being used, and diffeent bows can have a great difference in the tone quality and its carring power. Many violins will sound great in the first three positions, but as you move up on the fingerboard the sound will weaken and loose any quality it might of had in the lower positions. Lastly, one cannot say enough about the setup and strings,in which only a highly trained person can make these important adjustments. Much more can be said about violin tone but this is what I have found to be the case over 50 years of professional playing. OT

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's possible that the greater part of "amazing" is the personal improvement of the player. Practice and improved skills and becoming aware of how to extract the best tone from one's ordinary violin must lead to an overall improved violin experience.

Congratulations on your new personal best.

That statement reminds me of my violin. I liken it to a mirror. Whatever level of play you put into it, it puts out. Sloppy technique, you sound terrible. Even if you sound okay on other instruments. It's weird. It's not a very forgiving instrument. There is a certain threshold of technique you've got to have(think average music major at an average state music school), and it doesn't like cheap bows. If you don't meet that threshold, it sounds like crap. But if you do, it's a very rewarding instrument to play. Nice response, can sculpt the sound for your own personality/mood readily. In the context of medium size churches/small recital halls, the projection is quite adequate too, no complaints. This violist has never attempted to perform any concertos on it though.wink.gif

It's weird. All my old music major buddies liked it, so did a couple conductors. When I was taking violin lessons, my prof commented that it was a lot of violin, got great feedback on the instrument at juries and when playing it in string seminar(string majors got together once a week for 90 minutes, everybody had to play a couple times a month). In fact the first jury I played with it, the comments were all 'dang, nice instrument, good job picking it out', and didn't really give me any criticism to learn from.sad.gif

But man, when I let my students play it? Or even college level cellists/bassists? The results were not very aurally pleasing.

I don't understand how an instrument can simultaneously be terribly unforgiving and also very easy to play(and flexible) both. But whatever. It's more violin than I need, anyway. I wish my viola was as nice!tongue.gif

But God help all of us, it might be among the ugliest violins ever. It's had a bit of a rough life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That statement reminds me of my violin. I liken it to a mirror. Whatever level of play you put into it, it puts out. Sloppy technique, you sound terrible. Even if you sound okay on other instruments. It's weird.

Just a shot in the dark : it's not a Strad. ( only trying to help...)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a great deal more common for a fantastically valuable old violin to sound dreadful than for a very badly made "student" violin to sound amazing!

I've set up and sold about 500 violins, out of which about 250 were quite basic Mirecourt violins - maybe 50 low grade German and Bohemian instruments. I would describe a violin as "amazing" if I'd be happy to use it myself professionally .....

Two of the German violins, 5 or 6 of the French violins.

In amongst better trade instruments (that would retail for over £1000) I've found about 10 that considered amazing, and probably about the same number of single-maker instruments.

So my answer would be very few ....

But that's also true of violins in any price range!

Have a look at these : My Violin Tone Evaluations

Very few "3 star" violins in there ...

edit : I should add that there's a significant number of modest Mirecourt trade violins that are very good, not amazing but better than most 5 and 6 figure violins .... the same cannot be said of German or Bohemian trade violins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all,

I have just finished playing my old violin that was recently purchased. The violin is absolutely of no name to write home about, but

its sound is quite amazing. It is making its statement such as " I just can make good sound like anybody else " ( as if it is a person )

I started to think it is the work of a luthier who nobody would know. Somehow you cannot ignore his or her existence. The voice

is loud and clear. Every violin acts like that. amazing. I am not surprise Strad owner think their Strad unique. In fact, every violin is unique in some way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.