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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!
Ive asked the same sort of question to different dealers and players. nobody seems concerned about what Id feel are the common alternate tunings used in the type of tunes Ive played. I have no help to add other than a fiddle I have doesnt seem to mind Aeae or Ddad, Gdgd with helicores. with ddad I have to try harder not to dig in on the lowest string..it can get a little wonky. basically just barely brush it as a drone. I havent tried synthetic strings in an alternate tuning.
I try not to leave it tuned up/down when finished though. But ive read on different sites where people have a fiddle set aside and leave it tuned differently all the time with no issues.
I know its not what you were looking for but figured Id share what Ive experienced which is no issues in the tunings I listed with my fiddle.