OLD VIOLINS PRELUDE - WHAT is the secret of the violin Why is it that when a great violinist appears all the other soloists have to take a back seat The answer is the fascination of the violill is the fascination of the soul unveiled. No instrument-the human voice hardly excepteci- provides such a rare vehicle for the emotions-is in such close touch with the molecular vibrations of thought and with the psychic waves of feeling. But whilst the violin equals the voice in sensibility and expression, it far transcends it in compass, variety, and durability. Consider the singular completeness and perfection of this instrument as a sort of physical and vibratory counterpart of the soul. The four strings no doubt limit and define its compass, and only in the quartet and collectively, is it capable of extended effects of complex harmony but as a tone-producing instrument and within its limits it is perfect-every gradation of sound between tone and semitone is attainable, and for no other instrument can this be claimed. Next I observe that the violin possesses a trinity in unity of power which invests it with a quite singuIar and felicitous completeness of its own - l Accent-and in staccato passages almost the accent of percussion. Sustained sound-to a degree far beyond the capabilities of the human voice. 3 Mod, fed tone-and in such refinement of gradation, that the melting lines of the spectrum can alone supply us with a parallel or analogy. Your piano possesses accent, but once strike a note, soft or loud, and it passes beyond your control. The piano has little sustained and no modijed tone. Your organ has accent and sustained tone, but in a very imperfect sense modijed tone and a brief survey of all musical instruments now in use will convince the student of acoustics that nowhere but in the violin do we find to anything like the same degree, that trinity in unity of power summed up in accent, su, stained sound, modijed tone. But the half has not yet been revealed. ...
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