singing violin - fine soloist violins in Kul Violins studio

Violin essence

Is it not strange that sheep' s guts should hale souls out of men's bodies?
William Shakespeare, Much ado about nothing, III, 3

Shakespeare has, as only he could, captured the very essence of the violin's inimitable magic in those few words: not just its beautiful simplicity - four strings of spun gut stretched over a resonating 'body' of wood and made to vibrate by the hairs from a horse's tail; not just its design, as distinctive and pleasing to the eye as it is to the ear, as satisfying to the aesthete as to the physicist, with its combination of graceful curves and 'bee-sting' corners, its f-shaped sound holes and coy scroll; not just its chameleon-like ability to be equally at home in the church and chamber, opera house and tavern, state banquet and barn dance. These things alone would be enough to set the violin apart from all other instruments. Its importance and universal popularity however are owed to its ability to move listeners with wordless utterances from the most public of profundities to the sweetest nothings using strings as sonorous as vocal chords and a bow as deft as a tongue.

If you take a violin, you can make it sound 50 different ways. Not just pizzicato and played by the bow, but ponticello, and harmonics, and tremolos. If you take an oboe and play it, there's about one way you can make it sound: like an oboe - John Corigliano

Every violin's sound is unique because violins are enormously complex shapes. Every object has resonant frequencies at which it vibrates freely. But violins are so complex they have an enormous number of resonances--and as the pitch of the note being played varies, these resonances are activated at random. The result is that the sound quality of even a single note is changing all the time, keeping the ear constantly interested.

Among the prized characteristics of the violin are its singing tone and its potential to play rapid, brilliant figurations as well as lyrical melodies. Violinists can also create special effects by means of the following techniques: pizzicato, plucking the strings; tremolo, moving the bow rapidly back and forth on a string; sul ponticello, playing with the bow extremely close to the bridge to produce a thin, glassy sound; col legno, playing with the wooden part of the bow instead of with the hair; harmonics, placing the fingers of the left hand lightly on certain points of the string to obtain a light, flute like sound; and glissando, steadily gliding the left-hand fingers up and down along the string to produce an upward- or downward-sliding pitch.

... Mr. Stern interprets these songs as a vocalist would sing, rather than strictly an instrumental rendition. The phrasing, nuance, and performance are Bel Canto at their best, yet he performs this music on his violin as no vocalist would be capable. His "voice" reaches higher and lower, with a range of octaves going all the way from the rich base strings, to the highest soprano register of his instrument.

Is it possible to describe violin essence at all?

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At last I have my ideal violin. I turned down 14 instruments which came from all around the country, including an original cremonese violin, which I just couldn't convince myself to like. However I had no second thoughts about my new violin, made by Czes and Birute Kul, and instantly knew this was the one. The violin has very clean articulation and a sweet tone, also
projecting well. I have had many compliments about it. A lot of careful workmanship has obviously gone into the violin, which is very elegant and distinctive in looks. Before you look anywhere else, I strongly recomend Czes and Birute. It could save a lot of trouble, time and money.

Sarah K., Wellington

Something for violin lovers