弦楽器のオモシロ知識 20選 - TC楽器 - TCGAKKI

Even if you are interested in learning how to play the violin or cello, stringed instruments tend to be seen as somewhat difficult to get to know. What is this?" and "I didn't know such a thing. and "I didn't know that! and "I didn't know that!" about these stringed instruments.♪


We hope that you will find this article useful for beginners, and that it will help you to love stringed instruments more and more.



Part 1☆Let's be particular about the parts... Jaw pad (^^)v

It is one of the funs of stringed instruments to replace or customize the chinstrap or tailpiece to your liking.
Just by replacing the chinstrap and tailpiece, the tone and feel of the instrument will change dramatically.
The chinrest is the most important part of the violin. There are various types of shapes and materials.

Ebony is the hardest and heaviest fitting wood. It seems to have the effect of converging sound and making it sound transparent.
As a peg material, it is characterized by its resistance to decrease.

Rose (rosewood)
This is a popular part because of its beautiful grain. It is recommended as a material that is neither too hard nor too soft.

Box (boxwood)
Boxwood is a lightweight material with a beautiful appearance. It is somewhat expensive, but it has the effect of spreading the instrument's resonance without suppressing it, and it seems to make the tone resonate more easily.



Part 2☆☆Let's be particular about the parts... Pieces (^^)v

A piece or bridge is a part of a stringed instrument that holds the strings in a position where they do not come into contact with the body of the instrument and efficiently transmits the vibration of the strings to the resonator body or soundboard. It also serves to keep the vibration length and position of the strings constant.
In instruments of the violin family, maple is used. Since it is not glued to the body but held in place by the pressure of the strings, it falls over when all the strings are loosened, and can also be moved by hand.

It is an important part that supports the violin strings in place and effectively transmits the vibration and sound energy of the strings to the front board. Beautifully designed, high-end pieces are dense for effective sound transmission, and the wood fibers are regularly packed.

[The position of the pieces ]
The left and right positions should be in the center.
Vertical position is at the inside of the "f" hole.
Tailpiece side face is perpendicular to the faceplate when viewed from the side.

When tuning, changing strings, carrying, or transporting the instrument, the tension of the strings may cause the condition of the piece to become distorted.
If you feel that your instrument is out of tune or needs repair or adjustment, please feel free to contact TC Musical Instruments!♪♪

It might be a good idea to pay attention to the smallest parts so that you can take even better care of your favorite violin!☆



Part 3☆About Carbon Fiber

[Carbon Fiber]
Carbon fiber is a fiber made by carbonizing acrylic fiber or pitch (a byproduct of petroleum, coal, coal tar, etc.) at high temperatures. The JIS standard specifies that it is "a fiber composed of 90% or more carbon by mass, obtained by heating and carbonizing organic fiber precursor. The JIS standard specifies that the fiber is made by carbonizing organic fiber precursors by heating.

PAN-based carbon fibers are made from synthetic acrylic filaments and pitch-based carbon fibers are made from coal tar or petroleum pitch. After this process, the fibers have a structure that is resistant to fire and heat, and are therefore also called flame-resistant fibers. Fibers that have undergone flame treatment are subsequently burned at a temperature of 1,000°C or higher in the absence of oxygen to become carbon fibers. Pitch-based carbon fiber is made by refining the raw material, heating and melting it, and then discharging it through a mouth with numerous pores to produce pitch fiber. The fibers are then heat-treated in air at temperatures ranging from 150 to 400℃. Fibers that have undergone this treatment do not melt even at high temperatures and are referred to as non-fused fibers. The fibers are then baked in the absence of oxygen at temperatures between 800 and 1500°C to become carbon fiber.

In a nutshell, the advantages of carbon fiber are that it is stronger than steel and lighter than aluminum. Compared to iron, it has 1/4 the specific gravity, 10 times the specific strength, and 7 times the specific modulus of elasticity. In addition, it has excellent abrasion resistance, heat resistance, thermal expansion and contraction, acid resistance, and electrical conductivity. The reason for its strength despite being a fiber is that carbon is connected by a strong molecular structure known as the graphite structure. In other words, it is a series of hexagons made up of six carbon atoms, like a mesh, and has the same composition as diamond, just a slightly different structure.
Diamond was first used in military aircraft, and is now used in aircraft, space, industrial, and sports applications, as well as in familiar tools such as golf club shafts, tennis rackets, and fishing rods.



Part 4☆Surface Plate Material

The surface board used in stringed instruments serves as the central vibrating soundboard for the tone. Pine (spruce), a light and strong coniferous tree, is used, and its properties such as hardness, width of annual rings, and weight vary depending on the region of origin. Pine (spruce), also called German cypress or fichte (German), has long been used in various European musical instruments because of its strength despite its light weight. Pine (spruce) is also moderately soft, so it absorbs high frequencies and produces a pleasant sound as a musical instrument. The thin, parallel grain tends to produce a firm tone, while the thicker and more widely spaced grain tends to produce a softer tone.



No.5☆About the fingerboard

Ebony is generally used for the fingerboard of stringed instruments. In German, it is called "Ebenholz". Ebony is a hard, heavy material that is highly durable and suitable for fingerboards where it is constantly rubbed against the strings. Ebony, a soft wood that is simply painted black, is often found in low-priced mass-produced products. The middle grade ebony is known as striped ebony, which is native to Asia. The best ebony is said to come from Africa, where the best ebony is dug up after it has long since withered and fallen to the ground.



The 6.☆About Pine Sap

Pine resin is a hardened sap extracted from pine trees. It contains softeners such as castor oil and is clear and brownish in color. Since no sound is produced when a new bow is played as-is, it is necessary to apply sufficient pine resin to the bow hairs. Basically, you apply it evenly from end to end by moving the bow over the pine needles. There are soft and hard types of pine needles, and their viscosity will affect the comfort and pronunciation of the application. Black (dark) is recommended for beginners because it adds viscosity to the pine resin and is soft, making it easy to powder and scratch. Orange (light) is between black and orange and is popular because it is moderately comfortable.




No. 7☆About glue

What is glue?
It is an adhesive that humans have been using since ancient times. In Europe, it has been used for woodworking for at least 4,000 years. It has been proven to be stronger than today's wood glue in bonding wood.

What is it made of?
It is made from the skin, bones, tendons, and intestines of animals and fish that are boiled well, and the liquid is strained, dried, and hardened. It is like boiled rice. Animal Glue, Bone Glue, Hide Glue, Hare Glue, and Fish Bladder Glue are listed in the European catalog of materials for stringed instruments. While current glues and bonds are completely unthinkable to peel off for repair, glue has the advantage that it can be easily removed by applying heat or moistening with water. It is an excellent natural adhesive that is water soluble and easy to handle with little aging or deterioration^.



Part 8.☆Antique Finish

Antique Finish is a reproduction of the natural color change and matured style of a violin caused by years of use, using modern painting techniques and other techniques. Many models are available from various brands that carefully express every detail, including varnish changes and uneven coloring caused by contact with fingers and jaws, and even the small scratches created when the bow makes contact with the instrument. Not only the beauty with a sense of presence, but also the uneven varnish curtain thickness seems to produce a unique and lustrous sound.(^^)/ Attention to appearance is another way to enjoy stringed instruments!★



Part 9☆What is an "f" hole?

The "f-hole" is a symmetrical hole in the center of the front board where the strings of violins and viols are stretched, and it resembles the letter "f" in italics. The maker's label and other information attached to the instrument can be seen through these holes, and the tone of the instrument varies depending on the shape of the "f" hole.
The origin of this instrument can be traced back to the "fithele," an ancestor of the violin used around the 10th century, which later became the origin of the word "fiddle," meaning violin, and had circular sound holes on both sides of the front board. Later, the shape of the sound hole was changed to round. Later, the shape of the soundhole changed from round to semicircular to a letter "C," with the top and bottom edges rounded off. It is thought that the shape of the "C" became thinner, and then changed to the current "f" shape.
Before the "f" shaped hole became common, the "C" shaped hole was common. This is the shape of the resonance hole that is still inherited today in instruments of the Gamba tribe and others. The "C" hole, which is also frequently seen on stringed instruments in old paintings, had the disadvantage of being extremely weak in the surrounding area because the grain of the wood would be broken off. After the appearance of the violin genus in the 16th century, various designs were produced, including the half-moon, flame, and S-shape.
There are various theories as to why the letter "f" was chosen for the violin, such as its superior strength, the initial letter of "female," the English translation of the word for woman, or that it was created in the process of pursuing more flamboyant decoration.



The 10☆Labels for stringed instruments

If you look inside the body of a stringed instrument, such as a violin, through the left f-hole, you will see a label (Etiquette in French) of the instrument's maker. The custom of attaching labels to stringed instruments dates back to the 16th century. Aside from the authenticity and reliability of the labels affixed, the oldest labels in existence are said to be those with the name of a person of the Amati family of Cremona, the year and place of manufacture. In those days, the labels were important advertisements, as musicians and aristocrats would come all the way to Cremona to order instruments from the label. During the golden age of Cremona in the 17th and 18th centuries, stringed instruments made by famous artists were sold at high prices. With the arrival of artists such as Amati, Stradivari, and Garnelli, it is said that many fake works began to appear on the market. After their father's death, Stradivari's sons, Francesco and Omobono, also put their father's labels on many instruments so that they could sell them for a higher price.
Personally, I feel that it is somewhat sad to judge the entire value of a stringed instrument solely on the basis of its famous author or rare label. If the stringed instrument has a satisfactory sound and looks with a budget that you can afford, it would be one that is more valuable than the authenticity of the label.



Part 11.☆Jointed neck?

What repairs are made to the neck of a stringed instrument when it becomes damaged or worn? It is said that a violin is an instrument that will last for hundreds of years, but over the years of playing, there will be parts that will need to be replaced. The maple used for the neck is less prone to wear than the spruce used for the front board, but it will wear down and become thinner over the years. In the modern sense, it seems sufficient to replace the entire neck including the head (scroll) part, but it is customary to keep the original head part of stringed instruments. Repairing a stringed instrument by cutting out and replacing only the neck and gluing it back together is called "jointing the neck. The craftsman's skill, wisdom, and desire to cherish the instrument for a long time can be seen in the "jointed neck".★Why don't you take a look at the details of stringed instruments?



Part 12☆Bows of stringed instruments

The modern bow is said to have been created by Tourte of Paris, who changed the various woods used until then to Fernambuco, reversed the warping of the stick, and used his experience as a watchmaker to devise a frog (hair box) with a slide liner, making it precise and beautiful. The new Fernambuco was designed to be precise and beautiful, allowing for high volume and a wide variety of playing techniques.

The stick is made of ironwood, snakewood, etc., but for high-end bows, Fernambuco, a high leguminous tree native to Brazil, is used because of its dense structure, elasticity, and strength.
Fellanbuco is a high leguminous tree native to Brazil with a dense structure and elasticity and strength.
The hair of the bow is made from the tail of the horse, but mainly white horse hair from Mongolia and Canada is used.
The part that adjusts the tension of the bow hair is called the screw. The male screw is usually made of steel and has a knob called a button. The female screw is made of brass.
The half-moon shaped ring that holds the bowstring is called a ferrule.
Wrapping is a material that prevents the point where the index finger and thumb meet from wearing down due to friction when the bow is held, and can be silver thread, silver-plated copper wire, silver wire, gold wire, or whalebone.
Pearl oysters and abalones are used for the slide of the frog and for the eyes on both sides.
The triangular part at the end of the bow is called the tip. Ivory was used in the past, but nowadays, bovine bone is used.



The 13☆About the Backboard and Neck Material

Maple is the main material used for the backboard and neck of stringed instruments. Violins with this wood grain are not only a practical product, but also create an artistic atmosphere. Although the presence or absence of wood grain does not definitively affect the tone of the instrument, the properties of maple wood vary depending on the grain, and it is certain that the hardness of the maple wood itself has an effect on the tone of the instrument. Maple wood from the Bosnian region is characterized by its relatively softness despite its deep grain, which absorbs the high frequency components of the violin and produces a very beautiful tone. Recently, maple wood from Canada and Alaska is also used more and more. The characteristic of this maple wood is that it has deep grain, but the material is a little hard. The Bosnian maple is whitish and the grain is delicate, while the Canadian and Alaskan maple is slightly reddish and the grain is coarser and more clearly visible.
It is very interesting that the origin of the wood influences the tone quality.




The puff ring is the double black line that borders the outside of the front and back plates. It is made of black/white/black plywood embedded to a depth of about 2 mm, and is said to minimize damage when the violin is bumped. Maple, poplar, and pear were used for the white part, while ebony, whalebone, and dyed paper were used for the black part in some schools. It is said that Stradivari and other Cremona makers in the past used black dyed oak, which can be a clue to determine the authenticity of an instrument. The puffing joints show the skill and individuality of the maker (Stradivari's corners are not in the center, but face down in the upper corners and up in the lower corners), and they seem to have a strong decorative meaning.



The 15☆Cello endpin

Endpins are bar-like parts that are inserted into the floor to support the cello. They are extendable and adjustable in length according to the height and seating height of the player. In addition to the cello, endpins are also attached to the contrabass, contrabass bassoon, and bass clarinet. It is now commonplace for cellos to be equipped with endpins, but it is said that François Servais, born in Belgium in the 19th century, was the first to expand the possibilities of cello playing by doing so. The most common endpin materials used today are steel, carbon, titanium, tungsten, etc. In addition to supporting the instrument, endpins transmit vibrations to the floor to amplify the sound. It is a good idea to be particular about the endpin in pursuit of the ideal sound.♪




Part 16☆Adjuster

An adjuster is a screw-shaped part attached to the tailpiece that allows fine adjustment of pitch as an aid to string tuning. Usually, adjusters are installed only on the E string (first string), where fine tuning is difficult with the string spool (peg) alone, but there are also tailpiece-integrated adjusters for all strings, which are often found on fractional-sized or low-end products. Each violin string is under constant tension of several kilograms, and a single point on the adjuster, a small component, can support a great deal of force. The standard L-shaped adjuster for ball ends, the light and hard titanium adjuster that prevents sound mute and provides good sound extension and release, and the loop-end adjuster, a popular adjuster for intermediate to advanced players that is used by hooking the loop at the end of the string, are just a few of the many fine parts that maximize the string's vibratory characteristics. How about paying attention to the small parts so that you can maximize the vibration characteristics of the strings?



Part 17☆Baroque Violin

A baroque violin is a violin with a neck, fingerboard, pieces, and tailpiece in the shape of the Baroque period. The most important difference is the bow. The most important difference is the bow: the bow of a modern violin has a curved shape with a concave middle part in the shape of a "Σ", while the bow of a baroque violin has a straight line or a curve with a slightly bulging middle part, meaning that the bow hair tension is weaker. Most baroque violinists use gut strings. They have a softer, more rustic sound and seem to blend more easily with other instruments in an ensemble.




The 18☆Soul Pillar

The soul post (tama-bashira) is a rod about 6 mm in diameter that directly connects the front and back plates of a violin instrument. It is usually placed slightly lower than the piece, and the wood is considered to be of good quality if the grain spacing is narrow. You can see a small scratch on the surface of the soul post, but please be assured that it is not a defect but a mark where a tool called "Soul Post Stand" was pierced in order to set the soul post inside. The tone of the sound changes greatly depending on whether or not it is made to the proper size and placed in the proper position. It is truly a soul pillar.♪




The 19☆One board? Two boards?

There are two types of stringed instrument backboards: one without a laminate and one with a laminate in the center. The one-piece backboard is made from a single piece of maple wood (poplar is also used in rare cases), with no joints, etc. Generally speaking, the one-piece backboard is considered slightly more expensive. In order to produce a one-piece board, the size of the log must be simply twice the size of the original board, which means that a large tree is required, making it more expensive. On the other hand, the two-ply wood also has a very attractive appearance, with high-quality, fine-grained grains arranged symmetrically and neatly. Both types of wood are not superior to each other in terms of acoustics, and it depends on your preference, but both one-ply and two-ply have their own masterpieces. Which do you prefer? (^^)♪




The 20☆About wooden nails

The blackish pieces of wood sometimes seen above and below the center line of the backboard are called "wooden nails. This manufacturing method is used especially on older instruments, and the same wooden nails are sometimes used not only for the backboard but also for the frontboard. Wooden nails are said to be traces of temporary fixing of the board during production, and similar characteristics can be recognized depending on the production style or school. Black-colored ebony nails are often used for the backboard, while maple or pine nails are used for the frontboard. On some Cremona instruments, such as Amati and Stradivari, the wooden nails may be half hidden by puffing and appear half-moon shaped. One of the modern uses of wooden nails is to dare to incorporate them in order to give the appearance of an old instrument. Although it is a small part, it is interesting to pay attention to the wooden nails and see their characteristics.




How was it?☆ I think there were a lot of things you knew and things you didn't know.
I am sure that there are many difficulties in daily practice to be able to play.
I hope that this will be a good remedy for you to feel "I love stringed instruments after all" and become attached to your own instrument even during the hard times.
TC Gakki supports your enjoyable stringed instrument life!☆
We wish you enjoy your stringed instruments for a long time to come!♪♪



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