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Carnatic Violin - Special Strings Needed For Low Tuning
Indian Carnatic music uses a wide range of tunings!
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (3 votes) 
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ELCBK
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November 30, 2021 - 1:21 am
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This post may be of interest to ANYONE who wants to tune their violin LOWER!

 

@Gordon Shumway -

Your thread caught my attention - and there are inherent problems with tuning our strings lower, because they aren't made for that.

Gordon Shumway said
This is quite an important question, in particular aimed at @Fiddlerman and/or his luthiers.

What range of pitch is possible on each string without damage (to instrument or strings) on a violin and a viola?

For example, a Hindustani violin can be tuned from CGcg to EBeb, I think, depending on the, fixed, pitch of the shruti box.

And I am wondering how they achieve this - perhaps with viola strings on a violin?

I assume a down-tuned violin would sound flabby, but what is the difference between synthetic and steel? I wonder if steel would be easier and safer and less flabby than synthetic?

Start with a basic violin tuned GDAE - what is the largest safe range for each string?

I haven't experimented with down-tuning yet, as I want to save that for my Stentor which is currently at my gf's house.

I trashed my $50 Chinese VSO, but now I wish I had kept it as a guinea pig for abuse! devil-violin 

So, I found the same questions on Quora, which led me to:  

https://www.sunadam.com/2016/0.....tic-music/

From the Sunadam site, common tunings -

https://www.sunadam.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Capture.jpgImage Enlarger

In my opinion, the violin sounds the best in the Indian style when tonic string is tuned to E4. This tuning is much lower than the western tuning, so we shall explore string selection in future videos. 

Now, the problem is - they never made a future video exploring string selection, that I can find! 

 

Guess until now it hadn't really sunken in, the scope of how Carnatic violinists use such a vast range of tunings, but also the challenge of how to get good sound out of lower ones. (lol)

 

Daniel, here, is trying to address this need for better, wider-range violin strings. 

 

 

In this video, Daniel talks about violin and string problems faced by violinists all over India.  At 10:55, it is mentioned "we made 5 strings set for Carnatic violins".   I'm not sure if that means a 5-string set, or 5 different sets of strings!

Carnatic Violin Sound Improvement

 

https://carnaticmusicexams.in/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/ps7-3.jpg

 

So, I can't find if anyone else makes good strings for the unique demand of the Carnatic violinist, other than the set of Daniel's "Silver" strings that's available, but I believe these have a core that's a combination of metal and synthetic... if I understand this right.  

- Emily

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Gordon Shumway
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November 30, 2021 - 9:37 am
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Well, that was a while ago, and I can't remember what my main concern was - overtightening viola strings, possibly. I'll probably just suck it and see on my Stentor. Steel viola strings may be best. But a violin may need special nut slots or something.

I have vague memories of asking my teacher for her dead viola strings. Otoh, I think the style of music has to be taken seriously, so I'm not likely to take it up - too much else on my plate. I can keep my dead violin strings and just use GDA and maybe buy a steel C viola string. (I noticed that's basically how they supply the 5-string Yamaha electric violin)

Andrew

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Gordon Shumway
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December 15, 2021 - 7:07 am
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I'm still puzzled. These threads are rarely about the instrument itself, just the notes it plays - I find it very difficult to tell if I am looking at a violin or a viola in the pictures and videos.

I am beginning to wonder if these are really violas that are just conventionally called violins???

I'm also finding it hard to find out anything about Hindustani violin, so that I suspect that it's basically just a Carnatic thing.

This video serves two purposes. The original Hindustani bowed instrument is called the sarangi, and it has three bowed strings, plus drones.

And if you want to play Indian music on the violin, it might be best just to imitate Indian singing. Western instruments such as the harmonium have been ousted, and the violin only survives in the South (which is even more conservative than the north) because of how well it imitates the human voice.

Sky Arts are currently broadcasting this year's darbar festival , although I think I've only caught the tail-end of it. Oh well, I'll have to look out for next year's!

Andrew

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BillyG
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December 15, 2021 - 7:30 am
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Just a thought - partly related to this ( I guess ) - as you all know, there are strings available for a normal violin, but they play, by design, a full octave down - unsurprisingly called "Octave Strings"

I have a set (not installed atm) from D'Addario.  They are, well, interesting things to mess about with (and rattle your teeth till the fillings fall out j/k)

Such strings probably don't really address the topic entirely - but could somewhat address the substantially de-tuned (dropped and therefore 'floppy/sloppy') low note strings.   I made a demo video of them being played on YT somewhere, but I'll refrain from reposting that in this thread, being a little bit off-topic LOL

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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ELCBK
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December 15, 2021 - 9:14 am
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https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-j92YHvxuGIA/UoxuMhyifNI/AAAAAAAACXw/sWYCeVjE2Pg/s1600/Christmas+Cat-color.png

@Gordon Shumway -

Amazing to have a 3 month long music festival! 

Everything I've read so far says physically, the Carnatic Violin is the same as a Western Violin - only the tuning is different, it's specific for playing in only one key.

@BillyG -

The 1st thing that came to my mind was also the Octave strings - and Fiddlershop carries THREE different brands of them, now.

Thought about Viola strings as a possibility, too - but these and all the Octave strings are cost prohibitive for many in India. 

I was thinking Viola strings might handle the broad spectrum of tunings better than Octave strings, only because they aren't specifically made for only low tones.  Decent Viola strings are certainly not low in cost, either.

So, I was just really surprised - no one was trying to address the need for low cost strings that could handle a wide variety of tunings, until Daniel?  Hard to believe. 

 

- Emily

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Gordon Shumway
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December 15, 2021 - 9:23 am
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Many years ago I found the website of an Indian music shop in India.

I will hunt for another. I doubt if money is a problem for the high-caste Indians who are in the music business.

Rikhiram in Delhi is one (and because it's commercial, I can't post it here, lol), and, curiously, they sell harmoniums and sarangis, but not violins. maharajamusicals don't sell violins either. hmmm. I think they are in Kerala, but I'm not completely sure yet.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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December 15, 2021 - 9:54 am
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@Gordon Shumway -

I dismissed the higher-cast, thinking they could afford good strings - but now you have me wondering, what are the strings they prefer?

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Gordon Shumway
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December 15, 2021 - 10:06 am
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I guess nowadays they buy online without too much trouble.

e.g.

www dot musicstores dot in/46-bow-instruments

But the plywood spruce and solid maple tops are a little worrying, lol!

Pirastro Chromcor are out of stock, which may indicate they are popular, or they have d'Addario Preludes in stock.

Andrew

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