50

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 ...


35

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 transfer. Pizzicato violins are not as loud a bowed.


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 ...


27

There is something like what you described and it's called harpejji. It's not placed on your lap, but on a stand in front of you, but it is pretty much what you described: The instrument aims to bridge the gap in sound and technique between the guitar, bass guitar, and piano. The playing surface has an isomorphic keyboard ...


21

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, ...


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

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.


14

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 ...


14

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


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

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.


12

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 hard - keep the same pressure on and move a finger around on a fret - lower, wider frets will show better, and you'll find more pressure is needed for a clear ...


12

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 from the actual SPL (sound pressure level), althoug the SPL is still a major factor. The loudness is also dependent on frequencies and bandwidth of the audio ...


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'.


11

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 ...


11

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 ...


11

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.


10

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, ...


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

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 ...


10

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 instrument is actually at the top and the last string (the 6th in the case of a guitar) is represented at the bottom. As a mnemonic, if you know a little ...


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

Aside from kids' toys, there are the zither and the autoharp; the latter being a zither with chording capabilities. Moving over a bit, there's the hammered dulcimer. Moving over a lot, there are many Chinese traditional stringed instruments which are played horizontally. You can find variants with 4 to a couple dozen strings.


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