5767 Mayfield Road, Cleveland, OH 44124   |   440-461-1411   |   zaret@roadrunner.com   |   View Cart »

Blogs

Home   ›   Blogs
  • by Peter Zaret
    What is it in the tone of a Stradivarius that many people think makes it distinctive? Put into tangible language is it the power of the tone? Is it soft but has excellent carrying power? Is it the color of the tone? Is it edgy or dull? Is it clear and resonant with an easy response? In my opinion, the only probable aspect of a violin’s tone is power. Power can be measured in...
  • by Peter Zaret
    Renting a violin can be an excellent way to enter the world of violin playing. (Also viola, cello and bass). In particular, young students outgrow their instruments quickly, so renting makes sense.
    Finding a middle ground between an expensive professional model and an affordable high quality student violin takes some thought.
    One of the most important things involved with determining...
  • by Peter Zaret
    Presented at the Suzuki Association of the Americas 2004 National Conference, May 28-31
    I have always been interested in what makes a violin sound good not only from the playing standpoint but also from how a violin works. As a child I used to take violins apart, study them, and in a few instances, attempt to build them. The results were so so. After being a professional musician...
  • by Peter Zaret Bows are strong yet fragile implements and should always be handled gently. In wooden bows, the tip is particularly vulnerable to cracking. A bow belongs in a case when not being used, and most importantly, always loosen the hair of the bow when it is not in use, so that the stick is touching the hair.
    The bow should not be used on anything or for anything other than the strings of...
  • by Peter Zaret
    Presented at the Suzuki Association of the Americas 2004 National Conference, May 28-31
    Galamian: “Music is a combination of tone, pitch and rhythm. Pitch and rhythm are absolutes that can be factually controlled and substantiated.”
    Each pitch has its frequency. A natural is 440 vibrations per second. This is a provable fact. The higher frequencies are faster and the...
  • by Peter Zaret
    In a violin a “good tone” is a complex mixture of qualities that blend together to create a pleasing sound. Some of these can be evaluated objectively (power, clarity, balance, evenness) and some are very much a matter of judgement and personal taste.
    Power
    “There are hundreds of adjectives that describe the tone of a violin: warm, lyrical, rich, clear, deep,...
  • by Peter Zaret
    For the last two hundred years or so, there has been a controversy about the qualities of old and new bowed stringed instruments. It is one of the hottest issues today especially as the prices of the older Italian and French instruments have gotten unaffordable to most string instrument players.

    It is hard to assume that the old violin, viola, cello and bass makers possessed...
  • by Peter Zaret
    Selecting or buying a violin for a child/student can be confusing and sometimes intimidating. Here are the typical concerns parents have when they embark on this quest, and my responses.
    How “good” of an instrument do I need?
    The easy answer is the best one you can afford. The practical answer is more complicated. The two most important considerations are:
    does the...
  • by Peter Zaret
    Maybe you’ve broken a string or your strings are frayed or old and dull. The first step is to remove your old string/s. Some people will tell you to NEVER release the tension on all of the strings at once because doing that could unset your sound post or worse, snap the instrument in half. Actually, this last thing never happens. This simplest and easiest is to change only one...
  • By Deborah Clark Colón
    “Hasn’t anybody written this tune down so I can learn it?”
    How many times have you searched for a transcription of music you heard on CD and just had to play? Even if you find the written music, it might not lead you to the sound you loved. So many violinists, eager to play fiddle music, load up on books and learn tune after tune, only to conclude...
  • by Peter Zaret
    It is generally accepted that a string player settles on an instrument before getting a bow. Many people feel the instrument is more important. Others feel these items are of equal importance and a few feel that the bow is more important. I say this: do you go to a violin recital or do you go to a bow recital? Is the musician a violinist or a bowist? I believe that answers the question....
  • by Peter Zaret
    Introduction
    Many musicians and students are amazed and sometimes bewildered by the large number of strings available for the violin, viola, cello and bass. Each different type of string has its own special characteristics, which can change the sound of an instrument. These characteristics can make major changes in the quality, playability, volume and responsiveness of an instrument....
  • by Peter Zaret
    What is the difference between a violin and a fiddle? Not much. 80-90% of violinists refer to their instrument as a fiddle. Fiddle can be a noun or a verb. Violin is just a noun. (He plays a fiddle; he fiddles. He plays a violin; he violins?)
    Fiddle has 2 syllables violin has three. It is easier to say fiddle. Something about the pronunciation of fiddle rolls off the tongue. Violin...
  • by Christopher Vance
    The double bass has the unique ability to be used in a huge variety of musical styles without having to drastically alter its nature. It is feasible to take the very same instrument to a symphony gig, a jazz gig and a bluegrass gig all in the same night without having to change a thing as far as the instrument set-up. But if your focus is pizzicato type playing, referred to here...
  • For decades the only way to help students improve intonation on stringed instruments was to put a small strip of plastic tape on the fingerboard where the problem occurs. The plastic tape usually is serviceable for a limited time before it slides and therefore must be repositioned or replaced. The tape also leaves a sticky mess on the instrument which makes it harder for students to learn.
    The Intonation...
  • This is a chart compiled by concert violinist Robert Gerle in June of 1998 showing the various schools of violin playing from 1217 to the year 2000. Right click the image and select open link in a new tab for the easiest viewing option.