Recently, my wife, Holly Mulcahy, wrote an article for violinist.com that chronicles her recent work preparing for the concertmaster solo in Mahler’s 4th Symphony. What makes the solo unusual is it requires the concertmaster to prepare an additional violin tuned higher than the instrument’s regular tuning and use that in addition to his/her regular instrument.
The article contains plenty of artistic insight goodies but one item that flies under the radar is the added costs involved with preparing the second instrument. Setting aside the costs of purchasing or renting an additional instrument and case, the higher tuning requirement ends up placing additional stress on the strings, making them more likely to break. Increased breakage means higher equipment costs.
Budget for strings. The whole step raise in pitch for the additional violin puts an enormous amount of pressure on that violin…Also, allow for several E strings to break as tuning an E to an F# is flirting with disaster if there is no backup string. Total cost of two sets plus 3 extra E’s for me comes to about $210.
All of this brought to mind an article I wrote From The Stad magazine back in 2011 about the cost of owning a string instrument (violins, violas, cellos, and basses); meaning everything from purchasing strings and having the hair in their bow replaced along with regular maintenance adjustments and repair work to the instrument and bow. Although single issues are available for purchase, they are currently sold out of that one which makes me think there’s value in writing an updated version to publish here at Adaptistration.
The cost of ownership topic really is one of the more fascinating subjects to examine so I plan on taking the rest of the week to write the updated version. Depending on how much time is available, I may even create a dedicated microsite!