The Chicago winter, my teacher’s habit of keeping one, and my desire to do right by my 87 year old instrument resulted in my ordering a little humidifier – dry air is the main risk to older instruments (well, carelessness, I suppose, is the biggest risk!). The hygrometer in my spiffy new case reports virtually no humidity in our little condo. My skin feels it too. The humidifier I ordered is a sponge covered by a tube that you soak in water, wipe off, then insert into one of the f-holes of the instrument. You can leave it in while playing if you want – I’ve noticed Teacher does sometimes and doesn’t sometimes – I really think she just forgets it’s in there.
While I was at it I ordered a new type of rosin. I’ve wanted some new rosin just to try it mainly, since I realized there were different grades of the stuff. I’ve used two kinds since picking back up the violin – one came with my rental, a cube-shaped chunk housed in a wooden trough. That type of beginner student rosin seems to be much maligned in the discussions of rosin to be found online. I left it in the case when I returned my rental.
When my father-in-law shipped me my violin, it came with a cake of rosin that had weathered the decades in a compartment in his old case. I’ve been using that one primarily, and exclusively since returning the rental. The piece of fabric in which it came wrapped – most rosin comes mounted on a piece of fabric to hold it with while applying it to the bow hair and to use as a wrap for storage – seems to indicate that originally it was of the utmost quality, but the fabric is quite stiff with age; I wonder if the rosin is stiff with age as well.
Unfortunately, last week I dropped the ancient rosin and about half of it splintered off into little unusable bits. I was surprised by the rich green color of the bits when they became small enough to be translucent. But I’m left with a half a hunk of rosin that, on its primary remaining edge, is sharp as a knife! I’m using it with excruciating care so as not to give my bow hairs an unwelcome trim.
The rosin and the humidifier should both arrive Thursday; the stuff just keeps piling up.
Thanks for reading.