44 votes
Accepted

What's this w-shaped ebony item from my grandma's violin case?

It's a mute. It clips onto the bridge. Damps the sound. This is the traditional type. There are others: https://nolaschoolofmusic.com/blog/a-guide-to-violin-mutes
Laurence's user avatar
  • 92k
39 votes

Why don't "classical" stringed instruments mark their note positions?

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 ...
Нет войне's user avatar
34 votes
Accepted

Why is a violin so loud compared to a guitar?

Without researching the matter (and thus preserving Internet Tradition), I'd say that it's because the input energy to a guitar is a single pluck whereas a violin is bowed giving a continuous energy ...
ttw's user avatar
  • 25.2k
24 votes
Accepted

How does Sitar produce sound while it doesn't have any sound holes?

The sound holes on stringed instruments are not there so that the sound can be heard. They are there to tune the resonances of the wooden bodies that amplify the sounds. It is true that there are ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
  • 56.6k
22 votes
Accepted

I broke my G string and my other 3 strings are out of tune too

You have eleven days until the concert. Even if you don't have a local music store, that's plenty of time to order a string online. In case you can't get hold of a replacement: The strings are all ...
PiedPiper's user avatar
  • 20.9k
22 votes
Accepted

What is at the tip of large string concert instruments, and does it damage the floor?

The device is an 'endpin' or just 'spike'. Floor damage is prevented by addition of a protector, variously called endpin stoppers, pinstops, donuts, black holes, endpin anchors, endpin holders, spike ...
Tetsujin's user avatar
  • 27.8k
21 votes

What is at the tip of large string concert instruments, and does it damage the floor?

This is really an "extra" answer augmenting, since Tetsujin has the important part. Yes, endpin spikes definitely can damage floors. The cellist's main concern is that their instrument stay ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
  • 16.6k
18 votes
Accepted

Bridge intonation patterns on stringed instruments

I'm actually planning to make a YouTube video about intonation to delve into this phenomenon. The short answer is that is depends upon the cross-sectional area of the tension-bearing part of the ...
Jemenake's user avatar
  • 346
17 votes
Accepted

Perfect pitch on only one instrument?

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 ...
awe lotta's user avatar
  • 1,750
16 votes

Why don't "classical" stringed instruments mark their note positions?

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 ...
Carl Witthoft's user avatar
16 votes
Accepted

How do you specify no vibrato in notation?

You would write senza vibrato (without vibrato) or non vibrato in the score. If you want vibrato to resume, use con vibrato.
Aaron's user avatar
  • 86.5k
14 votes

Why do lower pitched string instruments have a larger body?

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 ...
Alphonso Balvenie's user avatar
14 votes

What's the "normal" opposite of flautando?

Normale (norm.) or ordinario (ord.) are the standard methods for marking a return to regular articulation after using an alternative technique.
Peter's user avatar
  • 6,486
13 votes

On instruments that use frets, where's the best spot to press a string on, in order to minimize hand fatigue and potential for injuries?

Producing a sharp angle for the string over the fretwire makes for a clear, clean sound. So just behind the fretwire will be a good place. It also means not having to press down on the fingerboard so ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 192k
12 votes

Why is a violin so loud compared to a guitar?

You are asking for loudness, not volume, correct? Volume is refering to physical properties (i.e. the amplitude of the sound waves), whereas loudness is the perceived volume which can differ a lot ...
Matt's user avatar
  • 630
11 votes

Why do lower pitched string instruments have a larger body?

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 ...
coconochao's user avatar
  • 1,921
10 votes
Accepted

String ordering - Top vs bottom?

Yes, by convention when schematically drawing the strings of an instrument, the strings are drawn ordered top-down from the higher pitched to the lower pitched. So, in a drawing, the 1st string of an ...
José David's user avatar
  • 4,244
10 votes

What's the "normal" opposite of flautando?

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. ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Mysterious plastic tube arriving with double bass strings

This was posted by Bob Gollihur of Gollihur music, a reputable bass dealer in the US on a bass forum: Got an official response from Thomastik on the other board: Re: Plastic on Thomastik I love ...
John Belzaguy's user avatar
9 votes

Switching from piano to harpsichord

I played piano for 10 years before starting harpsichord. I largely play harpsichord now, although I do a lot of pinch-hitting on piano for church services, etc. Learning to play harpsichord well ...
TangledUpInBlue's user avatar
9 votes

Is there a name for a violin with five strings?

They are simply called "five-string violins" in the English language, and usually combine the viola and the violin's ranges. Other stringed instruments that have 5 strings are generally of the viol ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Distinction between same notes played on different strings

There can be a difference in tone quality due to the difference in thickness and tension of strings. This is true on guitars, lutes, violins, etc. There can be a subtle difference in tuning also; the ...
ttw's user avatar
  • 25.2k
8 votes
Accepted

As there's a "double" bass, is there such a thing as a "single" bass?

Double Bass does not imply a Single Bass instrument: but I was under the impression that the cello was a "tenor" instrument, rather than a "bass" one. Perhaps the cello is a tenor instrument in ...
Stinkfoot's user avatar
  • 6,833
8 votes

Four-note arpeggio on string instrument

Arpeggios are an incredibly common figure in violin music. Most of the limitations you seem worried about simply don't exist. Arpeggios are just notes to us; there are no special rules about which ...
the-baby-is-you's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Is a white Double Bass okay for practice?

Seemingly odd question! I guess they'll both sound and play about the same, and if it's mainly for home practice, colour shouldn't be an issue. One of the reasons solid colours are cheaper is that the ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 192k
7 votes
Accepted

Violin String snapped, and so did spare. Will I damage my violin if I leave it with 3 strings?

Whatever you do, leave as many strings on the instrument as possible. Taking too many off can cause your post to collapse, and then you have to pay to have someone reach in there and give a post ...
General Nuisance's user avatar

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