Yes, they are old. Old instruments of all kinds have a tendency to retain their sound; old violins are still being played today. This will certainly continue to be true throughout our lifetimes. There’s a difference, though, between the sound of a well-crafted violin and that of an aging or badly made one. On the other hand, an old violin is not all that special. It is very nice, with some fine details, but in many ways it is only a small part of the overall instrument.
How would one go about finding a beautiful violin for a person?
I don’t think you have a very hard time finding one. Many, many people have collections of instruments that they can use as well as sell. I have even seen people give away valuable violins that they had been gifted as gifts, to other people who are not particularly in tune with modern standards of value.
So, how do you think violins fit the mold of the very fine violin for most people?
It depends what you mean by fine violin. I would not suggest, for instance, a viola as a fine violin. A viola is not designed to sound fine; it’s designed to look great. However, the great advantage of a violin is that it’s a good tool for teaching children. Children can practice with and with very young children as well as their older counterparts.
One of the things that you teach in the new D.S.I. violin workshop in the Fall of 1998 was how to play an oboe. What do you mean by playing an oboe?
An oboe is the first string instrument in the violin family. It is essentially a glockenspiel. The glockenspiel is an instrument that has a wide-bodied body with a longer, lighter body than the violin; it also has a long, narrow string. If I were to say that you have a very high-quality violin with glockenspiel in it, that would obviously be one with a great sound.
It’s not too often that you find a violin with the very unusual, large-scale head that you would otherwise find on a glockenspiel; it was made in 1868 or 1870, but that’s where the story ends. However, if you go back to before 1866; and you make the glockenspiel, you will find that the instruments that have oboe horns are far and away far
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