Dec 5, 2007


I played the Beethoven on Sunday.

I took Monday off on account of achy tendons and mountains of schoolwork.

Last night - Tuesday night - I had a rehearsal with my quintet. I took out my violin, and it was completely out of tune. Not a half step out of tune, although of course that alone would make it unplayable, but more than an octave out of tune. My E string was so loose it couldn't produce a sound.

This isn't particularly unusual, because cold and lack of moisture, two recent problems here in Cambridge, very frequently cause violins to be out of tune (the pegs shrink in the cold and dry and twist in their holes). And of course NO violin ever stays perfectly in tune for longer than, say, an hour - the stress of playing changes so many things - but mine isn't particularly prone to slipping that far out, so it caught my attention, even though it's no big deal.

I tuned up, adjusted the bridge, which tends to tilt when the strings loose tension, and the quintet began to play. But I stopped about 2 minutes in to the first movement because something just didn't sound *right*.

I played a few scales, a little snippet of the Beethoven, some chords, some harmonics... the violin was just different. Something had changed. No matter how I checked it over, I couldn't figure it out. It's usually impossible to see changes to a violin, even significant ones, because moving this or that a millimeter can have a huge impact, so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. The tone was just inexplicably changed.

Strange thing was, the tone is actually... better. My violin improved over the course of Monday. It's got a slightly fuller, darker tone on the A string now, and the E string seems ever so slightly louder. It seems just a little bit mellower - like a teenager who finally got over his angst.

It's well known among musicians - and it has finally been shown - that violins improve with time. I wouldn't be surprised if I found out that my violin sounds better now than it did in 2002.

But these changes aren't supposed to happen overnight! I think Beethoven must be possessing my violin ;)

No comments: