Why are different materials used in the string production?

Different materials are needed to provide the string with certain characteristics. They influence sound (colors, bow noise, etc.) and handling (response, bow hand feeling, left-hand feeling. The list of characteristics that can be shaped by the string design, use of different materials, core and surface materials, string tension (mass per length) and string diameter is long.

It includes:

  • Tonal character (brilliance and warmth)
  • Tonal diversity (rich and complex or pure & clean) 
  • Sound beam when playing (broad or focused)
  • Honesty of the string (the string drowns out the instrument or emphasizes the individual character of the instrument)
  • Dynamic range: pressure applied by bow (maximum load capacity in fortissimo, confident response in pianissimo)
  • Dynamic range: volume & audibility for the player (to the ear), power & projection for the audience (3 P to 3 F)
  • Modulation (forgiving versus modulatable)
  • Volume modulation (quiet and loud)
  • Tonal break-in time (metallic sound, sounds following string change)
  • Pitch stability
  • Life span of winding (corrosion resistance, abrasion resistance, etc.)
  • Tonal lifespan
  • Response when shifting the left hand
  • Bow response
  • Left-hand feeling (Soft versus Firm)
  • Right-hand feeling when bowing (Soft versus Hard)
  • Inclination to produce wolf tone, buzzing, whistling
  • String tension

 

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