The Sound is gone!!!


My cello has been adjusting to the change in seasons and has been kinda grumpy about it. Today she decided to express her feelings by moving her wolf to the F natural on the D string from the one on the G string. She seemed to be thinking I haven’t been playing the one on the G string enough and since I’m working on a song right now that’s in F major and uses the F natural on the D string and not the G. She decided she may as well move it there so that I am more aware of her suffering due to the weather. It literally was so bad that it was worse than the one on the cello in this video:

So, I obviously had to move her eliminator around. It was not working and I was getting desperate to try anything if it would make the damn wolf go away. Or just be less awful. I decided to stick it on a spot that I “knew” dampened the string like crazy — on the D string literally right next to the bridge. It turned out that it completely eliminated it. Unfortunately, it moved it to the E on the G string (3 in 4th position) and it sounded about like how it does on the cell in the video above. So, I slowly started moving it back mm by mm until I found a spot that put the wolf between the E and F on the G string and still eliminated it on the D string.

It turned out that this made my cello very very very very very happy. Did I say very enough times? Because what resulted was amazing. The first thing I noticed was the the sympathetic vibrations were so strong it was as if the open strings were being bowed even when they weren’t. For example, I could play D in first position with 1 on the C string. This would result in the D AND A strings going completely wild. it sounded like all three strings were being bowed (this was the most dramatic.) It was wild. Really. I’ve also discovered I can now play out of tune with myself. For example, if I play A in 4th position w/ 1, same pitch as open A, if I’m not completely perfect you will more than hear it — the A string is vibrating as loudly as if it were being bowed, so you’re literally hearing a unison. Seriously, it’s like, if I play mf the open A is about a p, if I play f it sounds mf etc. It’s pretty awesome. Then I played through C major and the next thing I noticed was the volume of the thing. It filled up the whole room. It was really quite lovely.

As I was playing around I suddenly noticed something: The Sound was gone. I hadn’t noticed it right away because it was something NOT there instead of there. Things that were difficult before, such as 1 note per bow 16th notes on the C string, were suddenly beautiful. It turns out that I haven’t been doing things wrong, which I’d basically assumed the whole time. It really was The Sound, whatever the hell the stupid thing is. It gone. I don’t really even care why moving the eliminator fixed this multi-string problem. The cello is so much easier to play, she doesn’t fight me so much, she’s staying in tune better, and she’s just plain happy. Now I just hope she doesn’t grump again when summer comes…

Also, I played for my mom today for the first time in over 6th months. Looking back on what I last played, how it sounded, I feel really good about how much progress I’ve made. Hooray for a good cello day (again!)


8 responses »

  1. The wolf eliminator is back on the G string? Would you humor me for a moment and check – what note sounds when you pluck the string between the bridge and the wolf eliminator (whichever string it’s on)?

  2. I’ve been pretty lucky with my cello re:wolfs (wolves?) but you seemed to have developed a good ear because of it….

  3. @GGP- Sorry, did I say it’s on the G string? It’s now on the D string… I can check that when I get the cello out, but why do you want to know?

    @Yee- I think it hurt my ear training because wolf tones tend to make that note sound muddled even when it’s “eliminated.” It took me forever to learn to hear an F natural.

    • Oh, I think I get it…. the muddled note is almost a wolf and the Sound is the overtones from your cello – either too much or the quality of them. Since your husband didn’t hear the Sound, maybe your ear doesn’t like the brighter overtones?

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