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Violin effect : pulling a tied bow hair

Posted on 19 January 2007

The violinist in Taraf de Haidouks sometimes uses a special effect which took some detective work to understand how it was created. Here's how it sounds when the Taraf do it:










It turns out what is happening here is you take bow hair and tie it to the G string of the violin about a centimeter awawy from the bridge towards the fingerboard (I used a reef knot "left over right and under, right over left and under" and in the recording below I didn't tie it tight to the string, but I don't think it matters either way).

You then get loads of rosin all over your fingers and wipe it on the string a few times as well - really saturate everything. Then just pull:












Incidentally if you tie too near to the bridge I found you couldn't change the pitch and just get a more rasping effect:










Update

I used this effect in my piece Piosenki. Unfortunately I only exploited its cruder qualities, using it in the opening of the song 'Smelly' (it evokes flatulent imagery). You can hear it on the Carnegie Hall website where it is the forth song, about 5 mins in.



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