“The answer is yes,” says Gershwin (pronounced GE-shwink). “You might hear violins aging and not improving with age — they get ‘worn-out.'”
Gershwin and other violins experts stress that aging doesn’t mean one’s instrument is “broken” — in fact, many older instruments show less wear and tear than newer models.
“With these older instruments, there may not be as much play because there’s less wear to the bridge and strings,” says Gershwin, who holds a doctorate in musicology from Columbia University’s School of Music. “With newer models, the playability could be decreased [because] you have to move around to get there.”
However, some other violins are actually better with age than others.
“The reason they perform better is that older instruments feel more natural and that’s important,” says Gershwin.
While younger models of the same model may sound “messed up” in the ’50s, they might sound “clean and crisp” in the ’90s, she adds.
“The older instrument may be more comfortable to play in the ’90s,” she says. “You can get the best out of your older instrument.”
What can musicians learn from aging violinists?
Gershwin’s son, Eric, is a violist who plays on Gershwin’s new K’naan Violin Quartet in D.C. (see a recording of Eric using his older K’naan Violin Quartet below).
“In the beginning, Eric was in his twenties and he wasn’t able to get good at the instrument,” she says.
He eventually learned to “read the music as it evolved” and “create that magic.” Gershwin says that in the recording below, Eric says, “I’m kind of lost, really…but I’m playing like it’s ’66.”
Eric says he does see violinists with “great technique” who “are playing better” but it’s more about “their overall sound and how they play.”
PATRICK JOHNSON/FAIRFAXNZ Kiwi driver, driverless car chief Tim Goss.
Auckland’s tech companies are working with the Department of Internal Affairs to get driverless car technology in place, with the aim of reducing the number of road accidents.
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