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Kallie

Modern Violinists, Old violins

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Hi,

 

This is a topic that might have been discussed before, if so, sorry for that.

 

My question is: Why do most modern violinists prefer to use old violins, such as Stradivari, Guarneri, Guadagnini, Vuillaume, etc for solo performances? It seems every time I do a google search on soloists, almost all of them uses old instruments. To make a short list of some of the players:

 

Anne Akiko Meyers - Owns 2 Stradivarius violins and has a Guarneri on lifetime loan.

Joshua Bell - Played a Stradivarius, sold it to buy another strad.

Vanessa Mae - Guadagnini (When she's not playing her electric violin)

David Garett - Stradivarius, and Guadagnini I believe

Andre Rieu - Stradivarius

Corina Belcea - Stradivarius

Itzhak Perlman - Stradivarius

Maxim Vengarov - Stradivarius

Julia Fischer - Used to play a Stradivarius, now plays a Guadagnini

Sarah Chang - Guarneri

Hilary Hahn - Vuillaume

 

This is just to name a few. The list can go on, and if you'd like to add more, just comment below and I will add them to the list.

 

But anyway, I know many people say that these violins have a unique sound and are much better than modern instruments, but I read a while back about that blind test that was done, and that players couldnt tell the difference between old and new violins. Some even preferred the new violins. Here is the link: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2012/01/02/violinists-cant-tell-the-difference-between-stradivarius-violins-and-new-ones/#.UcmBq3m_yM8

 

So why do modern soloists still choose the old violins, when they can get a modern violin (Which is apparently the same in sound if well made) for cheaper, and easier? Is it just a "Label" thing? Where the brand of the violin they play give more reputation?

 

Personally, Ive been able to tell the sound apart from a Stradivarius violin compared to a modern violin on some of those online "tests", but that doesnt really mean anything. Also heard Joshua Bell live, and the sound of his violin compared to the orchestra's was a HUGE difference. You could tell the Strad away from a mile. But then again, it was a university orchestra, with violinists who dont have some of the best modern violins.

 

Also, which soloists that you know of, actually use Modern violins? And by who were those made?

 

 

So to summarize the questions: Why do soloists prefer old instruments, if it was proven in a blind test that there are no difference to well made modern violins, and which soloists uses modern violins? And by who were those made?

 

Thanx for reading.

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Kallie, here's a little "secret inside information":  :lol:

 

One doesn't always know whether someone is playing their old instrument, or their modern "bench copy".

 

Among those who will readily admit to primarily using modern instruments are Christian Tetzlaff and Elmar Oliveira.

Henryk Szeryng wasn't shy about it either. "I mostly play one of my two modern violins."

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It's also marketing.  An audience wants to go see someone play a 'special' instrument.

 

...or at least what they think is a 'special' instrument.  It adds to the mystique/romance of it all...

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Kallie, here's a little "secret inside information":  :lol:

 

One doesn't always know whether someone is playing their old instrument, or their modern "bench copy".

 

Among those who will readily admit to primarily using modern instruments are Christian Tetzlaff and Elmar Oliveira.

Henryk Szeryng wasn't shy about it either. "I mostly play one of my two modern violins."

 

Well I guess you can never be 100% sure... :P

 

Its interesting to see Christian Tetzlaff used to play a Strad, but prefer the modern violin to it.

 

 

It's also marketing.  An audience wants to go see someone play a 'special' instrument.

 

...or at least what they think is a 'special' instrument.  It adds to the mystique/romance of it all...

 

Yes, marketing is everything I suppose. Even people who dont know violins well, usually know the name Stradivarius, and know its worth so much.

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Besides it being showbiz and all, the Strads, etc., are regarded as being thoroughbreds capable of supporting the more challenging parts of the repertoire that soloists specialize in, and further, that certain violins suit particular pieces.  How much of that is just more showbiz could use some investigation on its own IMHO, but comments to the effect that this is why the these instruments are preferred appear frequently in interviews.

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The number of soloist playing new violins is increasing, Tetzlaff (after being playing a Strad) Raphael Oleg (after a Guadagnini), Isabelle Van Keulen (after being playing a Del Gésù), Tedi Papavrami (after a Guadagnini), Alina Pogotskina (after a Strad) and so on....

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Hi,

 

This is a topic that might have been discussed before, if so, sorry for that.

 

My question is: Why do most modern violinists prefer to use old violins, such as Stradivari, Guarneri, Guadagnini, Vuillaume, etc

Makes more money.

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The number of soloist playing new violins is increasing, Tetzlaff (after being playing a Strad) Raphael Oleg (after a Guadagnini), Isabelle Van Keulen (after being playing a Del Gésù), Tedi Papavrami (after a Guadagnini), Alina Pogotskina (after a Strad) and so on....

You've forgotten me. :)

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My question is: Why do most modern violinists prefer to use old violins, such as Stradivari, Guarneri, Guadagnini, Vuillaume, etc for solo performances?

Because many of this instruments are really good an suit what musicians are looking for!

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What amazes me is the way he holds the violin. It's basically vertical. My teacher would faint if I was to hold it like this... :)

 

Yes, odd style! Do you like the sound of the violin..

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Any opinions on Tetzlaff violin here?

 

I don't like it

Dear Mr. tuner specialist;

Did you notice that the violin is not tuned to normal pitch? ;)

 

The lowest note is a minor third lower than a conventionally tuned violin.

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Dear Mr. tuner specialist;

Did you notice that the violin is not tuned to normal pitch? ;)

 

The lowest note is a minor third lower than a conventionally tuned violin.

 

No I didn't notice that, I just listened a minute or so and moved on searching youtube, thought it sounded different. I'm searching for a really suberb performance with a modern violin. Tips :)

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why do modern soloists still choose the old violins, when they can get a modern violin (Which is apparently the same in sound if well made) for cheaper, and easier?

I wonder, is there actually any modern violin expensiver than an old one? I mean Stradivari, Guadagnini, etc. 

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I can understand how the "History of a violin" contributes to the sound people hear. Weird as that may sound, but knowing you are playing a Stradivarius etc, against a modern violin, can give the illusion of a better sound. That is why I think the blind test proved effective. The people playing the violins, didnt know which is which. If they were to play the violins with open eyes in a lit room, they would know when they are playing the Strad (unless ofcourse, its a perfectly made copy modern violin so they dont know if its the strad or the modern violin), and in their mind they would think it sounds better, and then it probably would. Powerful thing, the brain.

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Well I think sound isn't the only point there…

Try to propose a new stuffed animal to a child in exchange for his old stinky crusty one. Same model, just new. It's the same for musicians.

Soloists travel alone all the time, play one evening in a hall they don't really know, very exposed… they need safety, and for them a strad means that. Strads have been the best for the last 300 years, that gives a bit of confidence…

About Greiner, I wouldn't judge the sound on a video. In Germany you can go to almost every music high school, every pro orchestra, you will find out that he was there already, there are really quite a few of his instruments around. Violinist are not so stupid that they all buy the same stuff if its so bad.

One thing his instruments have is the big sound. Like it or not, but when you have to play in front of a lot of people, you want to be sure that its gonna come out. A bit harsh isn't as bad as too quiet.

One last thing, if someone offered me to play on a strad I would certainly not refuse…

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One last thing, if someone offered me to play on a strad I would certainly not refuse…

 

Neither would I.. And I dont think any violinist/violin maker would refuse that chance.

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One last thing, if someone offered me to play on a strad I would certainly not refuse…

And if someone offered me a decently preserved Strad for the price of the most expensive contemporary violin, I'd be all over it. I wouldn't give a chit about whether it sounded great or horrible..

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What? the “Most expensive contemporary” one :huh:

 

I'm not gettin' your drift, Jacob. Perhaps you could condescend to explain it in plebian New World language?  :) 

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And if someone offered me a decently preserved Strad for the price of the most expensive contemporary violin, I'd be all over it. I wouldn't give a chit about whether it sounded great or horrible..

 

Completely agree...

"Decently preserved" or not, I would even take it if it were lying in pieces in a box. :P

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