The influence of a good instrument and acoustic on the musician’s progress and practice habits
Even if we can create a complex tonal pattern in our minds and compose after becoming deaf, there is still an enormously important aspect of the quality of the tone we could produce and imagine. Here we must be able to bring the colour and depth of the sound.
Even Beethoven had to have an idea of how it sounds, to be able to compose such a rich and perfect piece of music when deaf. The violin was acoustically designed centuries ago, and the best acoustic results are achieved when played indoors. Only indoors can space beautifully strengthen the sound of the “traditional” instruments which has then been developed further over the centuries. Even nowadays no other system, including the most advanced electric amplifiers and sound engineering, can match the sound of a violin played in a properly-designed acoustic space.
The difference in the etymology of the word violin in different languages might be proof that the quality of the sound during the first impression of the listeners could have an impact on the name of the instrument. While the word “violin” in Italian comes from “the root 'viola', which is a derivative of the Medieval Latin word 'vitula' (meaning "stringed instrument") “, in Polish the word “skrzypce” comes from the word “skrzypieć”, meaning 'to creak, squeak or scrape'.
During my professional life, I have undertaken many observations and analyses of good sound production. The most crucial are: - The angle of the fingers on the strings. Good instruments allow a player to keep an easier angle. Playing low quality (improperly measured) instruments can change the position of the hand. - A good bow allows the player to use different techniques and focus on the sound; it is easier and less demanding to play with a proper quality bow. - We need to enjoy and love the sound we produce as violin students. It is recommended that we change the instrument if we are not able to produce an enjoyable sound. - A will to produce different and/or better sound can change the way we hold and play the instrument.
Expertly-made and good quality instruments are getting even more important in this fast-changing world. There is less and less time for experiments and proper education can save plenty of time. While music education is one of, if not the most time and money consuming in the world, a wrong approach can extend the process for many years and sometimes make it impossible to achieve the desired outcome.