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Rosin: A How-To Guide

Rosin. A mystery, yet well known. When it comes to violin maintenance, most people are aware that rosin is a must. However, not many people understand why, or how it works. The way that it was explained to me many years ago is this: There are thousands of microscopic particles or fibers attached to the horse hair that comprises our bows. These particles, in their natural state, lie flush with the surface of the horse hair, making it impossible to create sound on the strings of a violin. Have you ever gotten a brand new bow and attempted to use it on your violin, only to find that you couldn't create sound? This is why. Rosin helps by creating a layer of dust, so to speak, that gives our bow hair a bit more friction with which to pull sound from the strings. It does this by forcing a sticky coating of dust underneath those microscopic particles, causing them to stand upright on the surface of each stand of hair. Pretty neat, huh? I'm sure there are many more scholarly and scientific explanations for what the compounds of rosin are and why it does what it does. If you are interested in those types of explanations, best of luck to you! What I intend to do is simply give you a basic, fundamental-level understanding of that shiny tree sap in the inside compartment of your violin case. And I hope I've done just that.

For a more detailed explanation and demonstration of how to apply rosin to your bow, check out my video!

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