Divinity Of The Violin
When I started my violin making apprenticeship with a local Luthier at twelve years old, I considered it a hobby – like the model cars and airplanes I was also making. After high school I went to a four-year violinmaking trade school and the hobby transformed into a craft. Then I worked for two years in New York, across from Carnegie Hall, restoring rare instruments and the craft turned into a profession. Now my shop, KRUTZ string instruments, has over a dozen craftsmen and tens of thousands of student to professional clients all over the world. My instruments are used in orchestras from the Boston Symphony to the N.Y. Philharmonic to the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra. They are being played now and will be played for centuries to come. Now my profession is turning into a legacy and that leads one to reflection.
In this world there are things that are invented and there are things that are discovered. For instance motorcycles were invented but math was discovered. I use the clear example of math because future advancements will not change the core concept of the math. Therefore, I consider math product to be discovered and I call it divine. For most of my career I thought that violins (and its family of instruments) were invented. But after thirty-five years of making, restoring and experimenting with violins I am beginning to see that they were discovered.
The ideal violin model, arch, graduations and other acoustic aspects are made with proportions and spirals based on Golden Section geometry. The Golden Section has historically been called the “divine proportion” because light, sound, botany and aspects of the human body (just to name a few) manifest through it. All things that are beautiful to the human ear and eye have this proportion involved. Any changes from these ideal proportions and the visual beauty and sound of the violin declines. In fact the violin bridge position, where the string vibrations are born, is located in the same proportion to the violin body as the naval is to the human body. It is also worth noting that the birth of incredible innovation during the renaissance happened right after the first violin family of string instruments appeared in Europe.
In the modern world, technology has been able to synthesize the sounds of other types of instruments but the complex sound of the violin still cannot be duplicated. The violin is the closest a man-made object comes to imitating a singing human voice. This is important to note because the human voice is also divine because it can only exist in the presence of three elements; heat, moisture and air. Because the man-made wooden box and man-made metal strings of a great violin can emulate a human voice is another reason the violin is divine. Here is an article in Live Science documenting this phenomena by scientists. They compared, using highly sensitive equipment, the sounds of the Stradivarius instruments with talented professional opera singers. The similarities were numerous, including many vowel sounds from English, French and Italian languages being detected in the instrument’s sound.
But what the violin lacks in not being a real voice, it makes up for in amazing sound characterization and coloration versatility. I have seen the look in a professional string players eyes, as they get completely lost in the sound they are making. They are at a level in their ability where they no longer have to think about what their hands are doing because they are working of muscle memory. These players just have to think about the sound they want to make and the hands do it automatically. The violin in turn sings back to them. Unlike other instruments where the music is being pushed out, with the violin it’s a duet.
The sound coming from a great violin played by great musician touches the deepest part of human emotion. Even listening to recordings can evoke strong emotions that influence a person’s mood. On the surface it seems mysterious for a wooden box being vibrated by steel strings to influence emotions in such a dramatic way. But quantum mechanics explains the reason. The absolute smallest element at the quantum core of all matter is a planck length frequency which closely resembles a tiny vibrating string. In essence, the foundation of all creation is string vibration. While mineral bodies cannot sense the sympathetic vibrations of a violin being played, botanical and biological bodies can. Since a violin is formed to maximize all aspects of a vibrating string it is logical to see how we as humans interact more intimately with the sympathetic vibrations that touch the core of everything that comprise and surrounds us. That vibration is translated to us as emotion and impacts our lives.
This effect on emotion is not understood because people equate the image of the violin with classical concerts. But what most people don’t realize is that in the modern world they are constantly being impacted emotionally by strings music without ever going to classical music concerts. In the modern world strings impacts people through almost all movies, cable series, ads and now video gaming. The reason that strings soundtracks are extensively used commercially is because strings are what give emotional impact to the visual images. Corporations spending billions of dollars promoting their products would only use what is most effective. And they know that no other type of music even comes close to strings in emotional impact.
The emotion produced by listening and playing string instruments also stimulates creativity and innovation. And innovation is the foundation for cultural and economic growth. The divinity of the violin maybe an opinion but its relevance to the western world is a fact. The rest of the pages in this Advocacy section document that fact, to give you information that will empower you in becoming an influential advocate for your strings program when approaching parents and administrators.
The big idea for teachers on Advocacy from this page:
The influence of strings music absolutely has a conscious and subconscious impact on parents and administrators. But many parents and administrators don’t connect the strings music they are constantly being exposed to with their school strings program. School orchestras do not always impart to the audience the full emotional intensity of what string instruments truly are and can do. That is why being able to talk broadly about the impact of strings on individuals and society can transform the usual conversation about curriculum options. Discussing the impact of strings can open up the minds of parents and administrators to think different about the value of a string orchestra to students.