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Carnatic on the violin . Size question
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aspiringviolinist.10
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July 26, 2020 - 1:01 am
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Hi, all delighted to have found this forum hope some of my questions can be answered. I am currently learning and have in the past learnt carnatic style of music in the violin. My question is I bought a violin from India a 4/4 which produced a deep beautiful Indian tone very apt for carnatic music. The problem is I am a petite 5 foot woman and I used to have a western violin when I was in high school ( the height was the same don't ask)  but it felt a little smaller than this one. Now I have kids so I like to practice quietly and I invested in an electric violin 3/4. I feel like the fit is just right but the bow is obviously shorter. I don't know if I am making any sense here but I wanted to know is it acceptable to play a 3/4 size violin for a petite adult woman or should I stick to my 4/4 Indian violins as that would be the right choice. I feel more comfortable in the 3/4 but I somehow feel like I should be sucking it up and play the 4/4 Indian violin. Someone please advise sorry if this is a dumb question.

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GregW
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July 26, 2020 - 1:33 am
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There was a woman in a class I participated in that played on a 3/4 size and did just fine.  I dont really have any input other than that and to add if youre happy with it and it makes playing more comfortable it seems like the way to go.  I guess it would take some getting used to IF you ever switched to a full size...but why would you need to if the 3/4 works and is enjoyable and sounds like what you want?  id say your fine with what you have.

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aspiringviolinist.10
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July 26, 2020 - 2:00 am
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Thank you so much for the kind words :). I was just concerned because the position in which we play Carnatic on the violin actually shouldn't put any stress on your left arm/shoulder, since it is always in a resting pose. The only thing that changes is the fingering the spots of the notes etc. Everyone I speak to in the circle just seems to by default say why would you need a 3/4 you are an adult go for 4/4. I am embarrassed to admit among peers that I am so much more comfortable with a 3/4. Is it true that the sound will diminish with a 3/4. The one I am using is an electric violin so its pretty standard no matter what size you use the quality of the sound I mean. If i switch to an acoustic 3/4 I am afraid I would be ridiculed 🙁 for not going with the standard in the Carnatic circle. Also thanks for the prompt response :).

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GregW
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July 26, 2020 - 12:23 pm
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I cant speak facts based on knowledge of violin construction..I KNOW that the woman in my group played great and I never knew or cared what size her violin was until someone else was searching for a new violin and in that conversation it was brought up.  The music she produced with it was the important thing.  Since you dont have an acoustic 3/4 size yet and youre concerned if it was me Id have to try both sizes out in person and make sure if possible though.  

If you havent seen this..

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AndrewH
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July 26, 2020 - 3:50 pm
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4/4 violins are not all the same size and shape. You might also find it easier to play a different 4/4 violin. The violin you had when you were in high school may well have been slightly smaller. Even a fraction of an inch difference in length can make a big difference in how it feels.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
July 27, 2020 - 2:07 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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As a petit woman you are fine playing on a 3/4 size violin without any issues. The only problem with a small violin is that you can rarely produce an equally good sound compared to a full size violin. The sound is usually smaller and brighter. That being said, there are some smaller violins that sound great. You'll just have to search for them.
Don't leave out the option of playing on a 7/8 size violin which is between the full and 3/4 size. It's a great compromise.

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

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Gordon Shumway
London, England
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July 28, 2020 - 1:44 am
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So that I don't misunderstand, is it that the OP plays Carnatic music on a 4/4 Indian violin in a different position from normal, and wishes also to play Western style violin in the normal position, but finds that only 3/4 is comfortable?

It may be that the problem is just lack of familiarity with 4/4 in the usual position or a bad combination of chin and shoulder rests.

I find with my solid electric that the shoulder rest has to be a cushion and so, naturally that makes it very comfortable. If that is your setup with the 3/4, then that may be the only reason that it's comfortable.

As with all these questions, a one-one-one with a teacher is probably best.

Andrew

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