Monday, March 31, 2008

The Handmade Violin - The search is over?

And I thought I have a good ear for music; but apparently I don't.

We had searched high and low for a good violin. We had three violins brought to us at the comfort of our home for testing. We thought it was not good enough. We had to travel to music shops in KL for futher testing, and we had to beat the traffic and the long queue for parking at Bukit Bintang area just to do that.

I honestly don't know why KLites like Bukit Bintang area so much.

But we found ourselves in the comfort of City Square soon after leaving BB. Much less people and much less traffic. In other words, less hassle for us.

We found two good German made violins for our consideration; Lothar Semlingger and Franz Sadner. Apparently Sadner is more well known, but we were told that the one that reached Malaysia would have been typically cannibalized i.e. its expensive parts replaced with cheaper parts so as to make its price more reasonable to Malaysian buyers.

Once we zoomed in onto the two makers, my life is made more bearable.

For the first time, I can differentiate between the two violins, if only in loudness.

You see, in an orchestra, you have one piano, a couple of guitars, a couple of flutes and other percussions, but half of the orchestra members are made of violin players. There is a reason why they need to so many.

You need that many to make the violins sound louder than the other instruments. Hence loudness is a trait cherished for violin.

That I can tell, after listening to Arif playing the two violins for nearly two hours. One doesn't need a degree in music to be able to differentiate; however subtle as it may be. Just two good ears. Semmlingger 1 Sadner 0.

But I can't tell the difference in the tone between the two.
That I guess one would need a PhD in violin.

While I would have chosen one over the other - as we can't tell the difference between the tones of the two, Arif is having second thought on which one he is comfortable in handling. Unfortunately he feels more comfortable with the violin with the less loudness.

So that takes us to a score of 1-1 for the two Germans.

And the tie breaker will be by Arif's teacher.
And I can only see my RM flying away from my wallet!


  1. I bought my violin from a shop in Plaza Damas Hartamas. Handmade german violin. Main reason was because I dropped my first violin and despite having it fixed the G string had a distinct twang when I played very loudly. Good enuff excuse to upgrade I suppose.

  2. Edina, any reason is a good reason to upgrade! ;-) Actually we were also told to go to Hartamas but we are not that familiar with the area, so we resorted to shops around KL only. So you do play the violin? Good instrument.

  3. I play the violin. Just took my grade 5 exam. ( botched one WHOLE song up) It's a GREAT instrument