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being touched by the player's chin. This contact might injure
the tonal quality and volume of the violin.
The bridge should always be straight upright and should be
positioned directly between the little nicks in the F holes. If
the bridge is in the wrong position it can ruin the violin's tone.
Inside the violin there is a small round piece of wood just
behind the right foot of the bridge. This is the all-important
soundpost. It braces the top against the pressure of the strings
and both transmits and regulates their vibrations. The entire
violin is made resonant by this little piece of wood, which is
sometimes called the "soul of the violin." Never try to adjust
the soundpost. That is a job for the expert violin repairer.
Glued to the inner surface of the top parallel with the G
string is a narrow strip of wood called the bass-bar. This is
needed to strengthen the top against the vibrations of the big
G string and to equalize the vibrations.
The stick of the bow is usually made of Pernambuco wood,
and the frog of ebony. The hairs are horsehairs.
Before playing, the hairs are tightened by turning the screw
and are rubbed with rosin. The tightening is done to give
the necessary tension to the stick. This tension should not be
so great as to make the stick straight; it should always be
slightly bent in toward the hairs. The rosining is needed to give
the hairs a good grip on the strings.
After playing, the hairs are always loosened to remove the
tension on the stick, and the rosin dust should be wiped off the
violin with a soft cloth. You should not touch the bow hairs
with your fingers and—very important—you should not touch
the violin's strings with your fingers where the bow touches
It is important that you have a violin and bow of the right
size. Small people use smaller violins than those intended for
large people with large hands. The music store where you get
your violin should be able to help you choose one of the right