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I'm back to playing with the chinrest on again, at least for the time being. As some folks I've chatted with may remember, I'm not real attached to the idea of the chinrest. It was a later addition to the violin, not part of the original design, and it tends to just feel artificial to me, aesthetically speaking.
After a few months of playing the violin with the chinrest on, when I changed strings and tailpiece, I left it off. I've played with it off for a few weeks now. I like the better sense of contact with the instrument and the greater bone conduction one gets without it. And to be honest, I rather prefer how a violin looks without it.
I ended up putting it back on yesterday, though, since resting the jaw/chin directly on the top plate of the violin does damp the sound somewhat. Not enough to make it actually muffled or stifled sounding in my opinion, but the sound is less "open" and has less of the nice ring-through when playing without a chinrest. I've been using real time spectrum analysis during part of my practice as part of my hunt for that elusive quality referred to as "tone" with violins. The amount of damping it causes to press the jaw/directly against the wood of the top makes a very visible difference to the trace, as well as being audible.
Now if a violin was maybe a bit too bright sounding for one's taste, that bit of damping could actually be a good thing. Mellow it out a bit and make it sound less harsh. But I like the sound I'm currently getting with my acoustic violin, so that isn't the issue.
Having it back on, the biggest drawback I immediately note to chinrests is that clamp. That hard bit of metal (even with the little leather tab I made to cover it) is just not comfy. It always manages to find a way to tell my collarbone that it is there. LOL
I'll probably and up switching back and forth some more over the next year or so before I end up deciding whether to leave the chinrest on or leave it off permanently. It is just a matter of deciding which set of compromises actually works best for me as a player.
"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman
Ya, lol, sometimes, when I'm not playing, I remove the chinrest and looks at the beauty of the violin, it's just rather too natural, like orthodox, not having a chinrest, yet I can't play it without my chinrest, lol, I can probably do it ala baroque, chin out instead of chin in, but it's hard to play the bass side, lol....you might want to try a baroque someday, it might be rather easier for you since you have been practisin' the violin without a chinrest.
cheers! - ⁰ℨ
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