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Craig Cowing

thin endpin and vibrato

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I've got an old cello that is prob. ca. 1800ish, possibly earlier, but that's not the question. It has a thin end pin, 3/16 in diameter that I believe was added when the annotated repair of 1904 was done. I have found that this accentuates my vibrato. What I notice is that when I use vibrato the lower end of the instrument visibly vibrates. It adds a lot to the sound. Was this something that was commonly done around the turn of the century?

 

 

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2 hours ago, Craig Cowing said:

I've got an old cello that is prob. ca. 1800ish, possibly earlier, but that's not the question. It has a thin end pin, 3/16 in diameter that I believe was added when the annotated repair of 1904 was done. I have found that this accentuates my vibrato. What I notice is that when I use vibrato the lower end of the instrument visibly vibrates. It adds a lot to the sound. Was this something that was commonly done around the turn of the century?

 

 

I, too, have a cello at the moment that has a thin endpin shaft (6.5mm). Wobbly indeed. I had not thought about the enhancement of vibrato until you mentioned your cello.  

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Most cellists I meet these days seem to want stiffer end pins. The early 20th century pins tended to be shorter than are usual today. Perhaps due to a more upright playing position? How long is yours? I just replaced a beautiful Hill end pin from that era which was only about 14" long and 1/4" diameter.

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4 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

Most cellists I meet these days seem to want stiffer end pins. The early 20th century pins tended to be shorter than are usual today. Perhaps due to a more upright playing position? How long is yours? I just replaced a beautiful Hill end pin from that era which was only about 14" long and 1/4" diameter.

The original pin was about 14". It was just a length of iron rod so I went to the hardware store and got a longer rod and cut it to length to add a few inches. When not using vibrato it doesn't wobble much. There wasn't anything on the end to keep it from falling inside the cello so I put a wine cork on the tip and that works well. I wonder if the reason that most cellists today prefer a stiffer end pin is because that's what they're accustomed to. Either way is fine, of course, and is a matter of the player's preference. I like the effect this has, so at least for now I'm going to keep it.

I'm wondering if this was intentional rather than just accidental. It appears that many end pins from that period were thicker, around 1/4".  I have three end pins from that period that a friend gave me, two of them that are wood with a retractable metal pin, and one that is all metal, and they are all 1/4".

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You may have lucked into a very rare and special situation where the resonant frequency of the cello's mass

upon the end pin acting as a  spring matches the frequency of your vibrato.

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17 hours ago, Craig Cowing said:

I've got an old cello that is prob. ca. 1800ish, possibly earlier, but that's not the question. It has a thin end pin, 3/16 in diameter that I believe was added when the annotated repair of 1904 was done. I have found that this accentuates my vibrato. What I notice is that when I use vibrato the lower end of the instrument visibly vibrates. It adds a lot to the sound. Was this something that was commonly done around the turn of the century?

 

 

 

1 hour ago, donbarzino said:

You may have lucked into a very rare and special situation where the resonant frequency of the cello's mass

upon the end pin acting as a  spring matches the frequency of your vibrato.

Sounds like a "keeper" to me.  Don't let anyone mess with the end pin.  :)

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4 hours ago, Violadamore said:

 

Sounds like a "keeper" to me.  Don't let anyone mess with the end pin.  :)

It's definitely a keeper. I had considered the possibility mentioned above that it's partly a matter of the body of the cello. It basically bounces up and down slightly as it is vibrating.

 

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Well, People played with very short end Pins at first. The only started growing in length in the 20th century, and that went very slowly. Tortelier and Rostropowitsch were important influences on the rest of the Cello playing world for fromoting a more horizontal plying Level of the Cello. 

Recently I saw something I had never seen before: two end Pins of the same model from the '20-'40ies that were made of ebony, and are about the diametre of a grown mans middle finger. The length is probably up to about 50 Cm. It had a modern style screw clamping mechanism, and ofcourse a small metal pin at the Bottom end. The whole Thing was very well made and looked like high end Quality. It could be used for modern style playing, as it is Long enough. Unfortunately however, it was not installed on a Cello, so I could not try it out. I was wondering what that would do to the Sound of a Cello, I can imagine that for some Celli it may be very good. I do think one would Need to take Special care for the pin not to break, particularly at that length.

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On 1/28/2020 at 11:33 PM, Craig Cowing said:

I've got an old cello that is prob. ca. 1800ish, possibly earlier, but that's not the question. It has a thin end pin, 3/16 in diameter that I believe was added when the annotated repair of 1904 was done. I have found that this accentuates my vibrato. What I notice is that when I use vibrato the lower end of the instrument visibly vibrates. It adds a lot to the sound. Was this something that was commonly done around the turn of the century?

Using the Doppler effect (motion of the cello) to produce or enhance the frequency modulation of vibrato is not only cheating, but it won't give you  the variable palette available from "finger-roll" vibrato, which is not locked into the rate at which the cello wobbles on a floppy endpin.  ;)

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3 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Using the Doppler effect (motion of the cello) to produce or enhance the frequency modulation of vibrato is not only cheating, but it won't give you  the variable palette available from "finger-roll" vibrato, which is not locked into the rate at which the cello wobbles on a floppy endpin.  ;)

How far and how fast does the cello oscillate at maximum wobble? Maybe about 1cm at a wobble frequency of 5Hz which means an average velocity of about 5 cm/sec in each direction. The speed of sound is about 34000 cm/sec so the frequency variation due to Doppler effect would be about +0.015% or somewhat less than a thousandth of a semitone up and down. Whatever causes the enhanced vibrato effect, it can't be Doppler!

AND any Doppler effect would only be audible to listeners in front of or behind the cello, not the player. Sorry David...

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14 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Using the Doppler effect (motion of the cello) to produce or enhance the frequency modulation of vibrato is not only cheating, but it won't give you  the variable palette available from "finger-roll" vibrato, which is not locked into the rate at which the cello wobbles on a floppy endpin.  ;)

You're entitled to your opinion, for what it may be worth. I play in a community orchestra. I'm an amateur who has played the cello for 52 years. I am not a professional. It sounds good and I like it. That's all that matters to me. I was just asking if this was a turn of the century thing, not expecting to be accused of "cheating." Nobody gets killed here. Lighten up.

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10 hours ago, matesic said:

How far and how fast does the cello oscillate at maximum wobble? Maybe about 1cm at a wobble frequency of 5Hz which means an average velocity of about 5 cm/sec in each direction. The speed of sound is about 34000 cm/sec so the frequency variation due to Doppler effect would be about +0.015% or somewhat less than a thousandth of a semitone up and down. Whatever causes the enhanced vibrato effect, it can't be Doppler!

AND any Doppler effect would only be audible to listeners in front of or behind the cello, not the player. Sorry David...

The "wobble" is less than a cm.

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8 hours ago, Craig Cowing said:

You're entitled to your opinion, for what it may be worth. I play in a community orchestra. I'm an amateur who has played the cello for 52 years. I am not a professional. It sounds good and I like it. That's all that matters to me. I was just asking if this was a turn of the century thing, not expecting to be accused of "cheating." Nobody gets killed here. Lighten up.

Geez Craig, my comment was tongue-in-cheek, and Matestic has already explained how the Doppler effect, in reality,  would only make the most trivial difference in pitch. How many more "winky-thingies" would I need to use to make that clear to you?

Perhaps you are the one who needs to lighten up! :blink:

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Why is anyone thinking the end pin is playing a role?

Vibrato always has the capacity to broaden resonant response.  Perhaps that broadening just yields more dramatic results on this instrument.

 

I'm not saying it isn't the end pin, but I am asking why anyone is drawing that conclusion?

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In my world an expansive vibrating envelope of fluctuating tonal quality (as opposed to a simple change of pitch) is one sign of a good instrument, and the less you have to move the finger to get the effect, the better. I don't think endpin has much to do with it.

Maybe this instrument is just a lot better than your previous?

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On 1/30/2020 at 3:54 PM, David Burgess said:

Using the Doppler effect (motion of the cello) to produce or enhance the frequency modulation of vibrato is not only cheating, but it won't give you  the variable palette available from "finger-roll" vibrato, which is not locked into the rate at which the cello wobbles on a floppy endpin.  ;)

Could it be a cello with a built-in "Leslie" ?

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4 hours ago, Giovanni Corazzol said:

Could it be a cello with a built-in "Leslie" ?

That's funny, because my mother was an organist, and high-end electric organs of that time used rotating arrays of speakers to produce vibrato, rather than by varying the air pressure on a pipe organ. But the distance between the speakers was about three feet, and it would be difficult to move a cello three feet, several times per second, unless the cellist was playing on a high-speed merry-go-round. And then their shoes would probably fly off. :lol:

A wobbly endpin probably ain't gonna cut it. ;)

Except when a wobbly cello reminds the elderly (God bless their hearts) of Tom Jones or Elvis, and then all bets are off. :lol:

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