The Sound is gone!!!

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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!)

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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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