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Does Anyone Else Have a 5-String Fiddle?
A fiddle made to have 5-strings.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (2 votes) 
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ELCBK
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January 25, 2022 - 3:26 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
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Two and ½ years and I STILL 💖 my 5-string VIOLIN! 

https://violinoutlet.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/glasser-aex-carbon-composite-acoustic-electric-5-string-violin-outfit-8-116x300.jpg

Don't know why I just recently had a revelation about the way I look at it. 

Instead of thinking it's a VIOLIN with a few extra low notes - I should've been thinking more that it's VIOLIN AND VIOLA! 

It's very weird that just by 'calling' it one or the other - gives it an identity that makes such a huge difference!

I'm sure if I'd been thinking that it's equally VIOLA, I would have been searching for play-along solo VIOLA video scores and tutorials, much earlier - and, I'd be MUCH HAPPIER! 

...I don't really care to spend a lot of time on the E string, anyway - but sometimes it's just easier to learn a tune using it, then I can move it lower or to a different key.  

I think in a perfect World, a fractional 5-string VIOLA would be my recommendation for ALL beginner bowed string players... but nobody makes them! 

I'm very excited - I should be getting my new 16", 5-string VIOLA next month. 🤗  It will be interesting to see if I think of it in the opposite sense - VIOLA with a few extra high notes? 

...or will I just see it as a BIG VIOLIN, with a few extra low notes? 😳 

- Emily 

 

Food for thought: 

Bach Cello Suite #6 - can NOT be played in the original key on a four-string viola!

An article in “The Strad” Magazine. The Magazine quotes Simon Rowland-Jones’ comments in 1999. (The article was printed in July, 2021)

“The suite can only comfortably be played on a five-string instrument, although most cellists do play it on a normal four-string cello using thumb position to facilitate the higher registers. As thumb position is not possible on the viola, violists normally play this suite in the key of G.”

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 25, 2022 - 8:36 am
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True. It's both a violin and a viola.

So when you say a fractional 5 string you mean smaller than 14 inches? My thinking is that it's hard enough for them to learn on 4 strings but children have brains that are like sponges right? You could have a point there.
Most teachers and violinists don't play a 5 string and probably haven't even tried it. I first played on a 5-string through my business and probably never would have tested one otherwise. As fun as a 5 string instrument is, I have way more control on my 4 string instruments and they seem to project more as well.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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ELCBK
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January 25, 2022 - 10:50 am
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@Fiddlerman - 

Kids ARE sponges, you are so right! 

So, hypothetically speaking: 

If everyone started with 5 strings, NO one would know anything could be different. 

And, it's not like, WHAM - we start playing everything on ALL 5 strings.  Everyone basically starts learning on the higher strings, anyway - then, moves toward playing more on the lower strings... right? 

 

🤔... If I learned on a 4 string instrument, then was handed a 5-string, I might think "Oh no, I have to learn to deal with another string, this will mess me up - what do I do with it?"  

Instead: since I started with 5 strings, when handed a 4-string, I'd think "Oh no, how boring, I won't be able to switch parts with a 2nd voice, or use my favorite double stops and options to shift motifs for improvisation - I miss that string... and it's extra resonance!" 

Hmm... now, what if we were talking about learning to use 'telephone' vs. 'smartphone'?  My Grandkids only know how to make a call from a cell phone.  Not so sure I'd want to use a regular telephone if I grew up relying on a smartphone.  ...does anyone still have a telephone in their house? 

 

I'm pretty sure there's room for a little more innovation in 5-string acoustic instrument design.  Maybe more electronic innovation, too.

Could have sworn I saw a violin or viola design, somewhere, that had graduated the depth of the rib - so, increased depth on the C string side, etc... tweaking the body shape or fingerboard angle/height - might help with projection and better balance of sound (?)

Can't different types of strings help (a little) with projection?  I'm not talking 'miracle workers' here. (lol) 

Thought about 2 Clefs, but learning Treble AND Alto Clef shouldn't be difficult if starting with both - I mean, kids learn 2 Clefs for piano! 

 

 

Okay, this is fun, but I HAVE TO STOP... before I meander any farther down this rabbit hole! 

...or my brain explodes! 😳🤣

- Emily

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