When I'm playing duets with Andy's nsp, I always tune down. For me, I've
spent a long time trying to find the right fiddle and strings so it
sound like a kipper-box (or I hope it doesn't) when tuned lower.
made me think, what about baroque violinists? Specialist baroque orchestras
and soloists play at A=415 or a semitone lower than modern standard pitch
and very occasionally even lower. This is getting on for low enough to play
with standard-pitch Northumbrian pipes. Proper baroque violins have the neck
set at a flatter angle than ordinary modern violins/fiddles (neck angle was
increased in the 19th cent. among other things to enable higher string
tension - louder tone). 18th century classical technique had a lot more in
common with the playing styles of traditional music than modern classical
technique does e.g. bow-hold, sometimes playing with fiddle held lower,
using first position and open strings more etc. - and generally it was less
high-tension than modern violin playing. This doesn't mean it lacks life,
and good baroque violinists certainly don't sound as if they're playing on a
kipper-box strung with knicker elastic.
Would using specialist baroque-violin gut strings on a standard fiddle make
for better results at the lower pitch?
Just some thoughts from a non-string player, so excuse any ignorance shown!
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