Lessons from Violin: how to choose one

10 Jul

This is from the Book by W.C Honeyman. A very old book (1893)  borrowed through the inter-library loan had to be handled carefully. It is a small but dense book. Things to learn are written by the expert W.C Honeyman. In addition, the way in which the book is written is also very interesting , including the usages and references (mostly UK based).

First thing the book does is to bust the myth on the affinity for Stradivarius violin and why it happened, the history and the economics of it. It is interesting to find rating of violin makers in the sequence of priority as

Gasparo da Salo > Maggini > Guarnerius > Stradivarius > Amati.

For me , except for Stradivarius all others are new names in the field. This the author says is because of the known scarcity of violins from these and other makers. The comparative abundance of Stradivarius invited multiple copies of the same to be made, not from the legend , but due to the economy of popular demand became the known name for violins.

Lessons for choosing a violin include , among many tips, these >

  • Check for the tone of the violin.
  • Some notes may sound odd, these are called as “wolf-notes” based on the wood and position of the sound post, and full contact of the sound post. This may be a few notes, especially the higher notes which will be never produced right due to the manufacturing of the violin. There are many violin which goes in the market with the wolf- notes undiscovered, the discovery of which leads to decreased value of the violin, though it is named under many of the great manufacturers.

And then, there are some tips for practicing the violin given in the book:-

  • First thing for a violinist to do is to practice scales daily.
  • Secure first and third fingers before second and fourth.
  • A long note, requiring separate bows may be played to sound continuous by taking the pressure away from the bow slightly, before the moment of reversing.
  • Keep violin away from dust. Even dusting can remove varnish, if dusting is done frequently.
  • It is good to keep in mind that it is not the string but the wood that makes the sound.
  • Try to read Corelli’s solos Op.5 Book I
  • Put weight on left foot , if standing.
  • Grab the opportunity to play with others.
  • Best violin is not always expensive
  • Check for tone from pianissimo to forte
  • Equal height for all strings
  • Violin should be held upwards falling towards the player.
  • And some tips to take care of the violin includes using a damp cotton and wire to clean the inside of the violin.
  • This book is worth many re-reads and guides as a good reference.
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Posted by on July 10, 2016 in Book Review, Lesson, Review


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