Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How to Choose the Correct Rosin for Your Violin

Do you sometimes find your violin sounding weak and airy? Are you having trouble with a slipping bow?

This happens to me too ~ when I skip a day of violin maintenance, specifically rosining my bow before I practice or play.

Rosin is a solid resin from pine trees and other conifers. It is produced by heating fresh liquid resin (also known as turpentine) to vaporize the liquid (essential oils) leaving fluid rosin which is run off from a tap at the bottom of a still and purified by straining it through wadding. Rosin is semi-transparent and varies from an almost colorless clear yellow to opaque black in color, depending on the tree from which the turpentine is drawn.

Rosin has many uses but the type of rosin I am discussing is used by musicians who play bowed string instruments. Musicians rub cakes of rosin on their bow hairs (made of horse hair) so they can grip the strings and make them vibrate. Sometimes other substances are added to rosin such as beeswax, gold, silver, tin, or iron to change the friction properties of the rosin and the tone it produces.

I rosin my bow every day. This is a must for any string player. Too little rosin and my bow will not grip the strings, making them sound weak and airy. The type of rosin you use is important to the quality of the sound it produces. Dark colored rosin gives the violin a richer and deeper sound while light colored rosin gives the violin a lighter and brighter sound!

I have two favorite rosins. One of them is called Pirastro Goldflex Rosin and it is handmade in Germany. I use this rosin for practice because it is less expensive than my most favorite rosin, Liebenzeller Metall-Kolophonium ~ Gold 1. I use this rosin for concerts and gigs because it is a bit on the pricey side but it gives my violin amazing sound and I absolutely love the quality of it!

I usually purchase the Pirastro Goldflex Rosin from the violin shop nearest to me. Sometimes, if I have to, I will purchase it online. In price, it usually runs anywhere from $8 ~ $12.

As for the Liebenzeller Metall-Kolophonium ~ Gold 1 rosin, I buy mine from sharmusic.com for $30. This is a darker rosin which gives my violin a deeper sound.

In the past, I have had rosins that I did not like at all. Some can be very low quality. The more types of rosin you try, the more you know about their different traits. Rosining my bow every day enhances all of my hard work to help me always sound my best.

~ Haley

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