THE VIOLIN CLOSE UP by Peter Schaaf

THE VIOLIN CLOSE UP

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Close up, yes, but never in the long view, never whole. Here, after a title-page close-up of a violinist, chin on instrument, we have close-ups of the parts (the strings, the bridge, the belly, etc.) and some explanatory text (""The bridge carries the music down to the belly, and the belly vibrates, filling the air with sound"")--without, however, a single shot of the whole, upright violin, to say nothing of a photo or drawing with the parts labeled. Without already knowing the parts of the instrument, it's impossible to understand their relationship as illustrated and described; without already knowing how sound is produced, it's impossible to understand how, or why, ""The shape of the box makes the tone loud and beautiful."" On one hand, this is like Johnny's Egg (above) in making a production (handsome, in this case) of teaching something readily grasped from first-hand experience; on the other hand, the breakdown of the violin's complexities into apparently simple units raises more questions than it answers (we are told, for instance, that the strings ""can be tuned by the pegs,"" but we're never told what that means). A violinist's demonstration--say, at a Young Audiences concert--would be far more instructive for any child than this.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1980
Publisher: Four Winds