49

When you lower the pitch by releasing tension, there might be slack in the gears in the tuning machines, which might make the string go below the intended pitch. By going further down and approaching the target note from below, there will be force applied to the gears and when you've reached the correct pitch the gears have less potential to move. So your ...


39

With many string instruments, it's seen as a bad thing to need to look at the fingerboard - often, it's desirable to be able to play the instrument by feel. This is essential if you're reading music at the same time, which in most classical contexts, you would be! Even in the pop/rock world it's often seen as better to be able to play by feel - many fretless ...


28

An electric violin is very quiet. Some with chambered bodies are loud enough to be heard by other people in the same room; some (the "skeleton" type) are only just loud enough for the player to hear in a quiet room. Unlike many other electric instruments, there is no difference in technique between an electric and a "normal" violin. The electric violin also ...


19

The best way to avoid disturbing the neighbors is to talk to them first! In my experience, most neighbors are fine with a little muffled noise at reasonable hours. An interior room with no walls adjacent to the neighbors also helps a ton. It's not a good idea to always practice very quietly or timidly; you should do the bulk of your practicing at a normal, ...


18

The wood type in any stringed instrument matters a great deal, especially on acoustic instruments. Some parts of the violin contribute more to the overall tone quality than others, but all the parts make a difference. A stringed instrument is a case study in engineering trade-offs. After all, how does a violin produce its sound? To begin with, note that ...


16

FWIW, people who play piano, harp, and the lowly :-) trombone play largely by position-muscle-memory as well. I've never seen a trombone slide with position markings! It may be of interest to know that string players do on occasion put a small pencil mark if they have to "jump" to a position very far up the fingerboard,i.e. a position that's not only ...


16

You might be listening to the timbre of the different notes. I remember watching this video , where the person describes learning perfect pitch from the timbre of the instrument. His process is to become familiar with the timbre of different notes and then mentally playing the instrument in his head in order to find the correct pitch when he hears it from a ...


15

The crucial difference in this regard, between guitars and bowed strings, is in which direction the strings vibrate. A bow causes vibration in the plane you're moving (it moves the string by friction: the string sticks on the rosin and is "dragged along" some way; perpendicular vibrations are strongly damped by the bow-hair). Because you can't vary the ...


15

MattPutnam's answer covered technical aspects very nicely. Here I have some further thoughts that are often overlooked. String quartets require you to be careful about more than notes. Even though the three (there are two violins in the quartet) instruments belong to the same family, they have each their own perks: they respond differently to dynamics; ...


14

Normale (norm.) or ordinario (ord.) are the standard methods for marking a return to regular articulation after using an alternative technique.


13

A loose hair won't vibrate the string in any useful way, and it may catch at unwanted moments. Remove it, just as you would a broken hair.


13

This technique is called Pizzicato. It's usually notated by just writing "pizz." above the notes that you are to play that way. The opposite off Pizzicato is Arco which simply means to use the bow.


13

Just to elaborate and clarify, there are a few different types of pizzicato: There is the standard "pizz." which is done with the flesh of the finger on the bowing hand; A pizz with fingernail, which gives a more crisp attack; A "Bartok" or "snap" pizz where the performer pulls the string away from the fingerboard and releases to produce a harsh snapping ...


12

The simple answer is to leave it to the experts. Strings are sold in packs, with a sensibly chosen set of gauges, for most common instrument configurations, whether you have a 4 or 5 string bass guitar, a 6 or 12 string guitar, a mandolin, or whatever. Even if you don't want to buy a full set, you can look at the gauges supplied in a set, and buy an ...


12

The lower the sound the instrument is producing, the larger the vibrating plate needs to be to produce that sound. The vibrations from the strings are being transferred to to the face of the instrument by the bridge, and the face of the instrument vibrates in response, making the air move, producing the waves that we hear as sound. The larger face plate ...


12

A harp can be pretty quiet. Do not choose bagpipes; they're loud enough to cover up a harp even when the pipes are not playing.


11

The guy who rehairs my bows once advised me that I shouldn't completely pluck out the hair, but to leave a little bit on both ends. This is so that the other hairs don't become loose and fall out. He said it's not generally a problem since most people don't break ridiculous amounts of hair, but it makes it easier to rehair your bow and is best for your bow ...


11

Yes, as the strings are kept under tension better. It works with all stringed instruments (inc. piano!), for the same reason. Also, somehow, it seems easier to hear a note coming up to pitch rather than approaching it from above. 'We're tuning up'.


10

The screw plays several roles: The hair can (and should) be loosened when not playing so that the bow is not constantly subjected to hair tension. It's the same reason some people recommend loosening guitar strings when storing a guitar for a longer period of time, except a guitar neck has the advantage of a stiff metal rod inside it, which the violin bow ...


10

I remember breaking my first string :) Almost hit my eye.. And I was super afraid to tell my parents.. (I thought I broke the whole instrument because I believed that the string was as much a part of the instrument as the neck or fingerboard) I'd like to address your question by answering a few you didn't explicitly ask.. 1. Why do strings break? Obvious ...


10

Any answer to this must be opinionated, can't help that. Whilst there are many good basses out there, $500 for your first is more than enough.There is no need to spend that sort of money.I've said it loads of times, but why buy new ? My first bass cost me £15. O.k., I had to mend its broken neck, but it kept me going for the first 8 or 9 years. I recommend ...


10

Just to complement Alphonso's answer: the lower the pitch, the lower the frequency. The lower the frequency, the larger the wavelength. Surfaces respond better to waves, when their wavelength is close to the size of the surface. Imagine you try to shake a sheet of paper, by holding it vertically. There is a minimum frequency you need to apply to make it ...


10

Some of the answers seem to be saying that you want the body to resonate at the frequency of the sound so as to produce the maximum amplitude of sound. That's not quite right. The graph below shows a measurement of the resonance curve of a 1713 Stradivarius violin (redrawn by me from a figure by Carleen Hutchins). There are a number of different resonance ...


10

In doubt, you can always negate a specific playing instruction by mentioning it with a non prefix. In this case I'd probably write non flaut., if in your context ord. would not be clear enough. Alternatively you could consider what particular sonic quality of “normal bowing” you want to contrast against flautando. Should it be the robust sound and attack? ...


10

Have you considered an electronic string instrument? Those are very quiet, and rely on amplification for the majority of their volume. It may be out of your price range, but it might be possible to find something on the used market that might fit your budget.


9

That's definitely not the sound of a real violin (to me it sounds more like an oboe!), which may cause some confusion. It also has some kind of vibrato which will make tuning even more difficult. It should be able to help you get close, though, since the pitch is the correct E. Now, if your instrument has never been tuned before (or in a long time), it may ...


9

There isn't too specific a rule, most of the time. I see your point, but my response would be that the all fretted notes means that each note is muted when done, while yours leaves a potentially sour A ringing, unless you mute it. For some music, and the example that comes to mind is Segovia and classical guitar, switching strings changes the tone of the ...


9

All pianos benefit from being in very stable environments, not too dry, not humid, and a static temperature. This will help to keep it in tune for longer. Realize though that playing the instrument will knock it out of tune and the more you play the faster it will happen. Also, if the pin block is shot, it will go out of tune fast no matter what you do, ...


9

I hope someone with actual harpsichord experience chimes in, since most of what I'm writing here is hear-say. As you no-doubt already know, the two main things that you lack on a harpsichord, compared to a piano, is a long sustain, and any appreciable dynamics. I've heard that one way to compensate for the lack of dynamics is to vary the duration of the ...


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