may 16

Back with my student violin

This post originally appeared on the ‘’ blog. It’s here for archival purposes only.


After a good while playing on some nice fiddles, I am back playing on my E. H. Roth violin. I really made sure that I approached this relapse with a good attitude before it actually happened telling myself that it’s a pretty good fiddle and just deal with its problems with intelligence. After playing on the Roth for only a few hours, I realized I was marooned! I wanted to give up playing violin altogether, head into the woods and be a hermit for the rest of my days. It was not fun. Actually, that is an understatement. I became a worse player in that short while: I can’t trust my ear; my hands; my otherwise nice Hill bow is completely null and void. What’s worse is that I know in the coming days I will somehow trick both my brain, re-calibrate my ear and my expectations and somehow make a go of it; like forcing a fish to breath out of water. What I cannot understand is how the delta between something good and something mediocre to be so severe. Moreover, when dealing with better violins initially, the difference seems only marginal: “Ah… now this violin has some nice qualities;” “Hmm… a bit of an improvement in this area, I suppose;” “Well, there is some pretty nice sounds in this register.” However, going back to something inferior is when the other shoe drops. I think I will write an etude book of studies and caprices for “violins that do not sound,” because I can’t keep up with the ones on my music stand.