Monday, July 21, 2008
It's not you, it's me
As always, I currently have a perfume wish list a mile long: Neil Morris Intimate Lily and Quest, Miller Harris Jasmin Vert, full bottles of Hové Flame and maybe Fascinator--I could go on all day. And that's just the reasonable stuff. I'm not even getting into pie-in-the-sky desires like vintage Ma Griffe parfum.
Unfortunately, I won't be getting any of it anytime soon, unless I win the lottery.
Last Friday I broke down and bought a new carbon fiber violin bow for $375. I already had a perfectly good pernambuco bow, for which I paid considerably more 4 years ago. It's an Arcos Brasil, which I saw described in an online forum as "the Toyota Camry of the bow world"-- i.e., reliable, not too pricey, etc. Good pernambuco bows are the traditional choice for people who are serious about playing, and even though I was a rank beginner at the time, I figured I'd go ahead and get a decent bow while I was shelling out money for a violin.
Sadly, the pernambuco bow and I never got along. I had no idea what I was doing when I chose it, and I could never get it to perform quite the way I wanted it to. It wobbled, it dragged, it bounced. I had it re-haired several times, trying to solve the problem. My teacher, who is an apprentice luthier and more savvy than a lot of players about such issues, kept examining it, always saying, "Well, it seems okay to me."
And it is okay, of course. It just hates me. Actually, I don't think it hates me, I think it holds me in contempt. I'm not good enough for it, even if it is the aesthetic equivalent of a stolid sedan. I can't give it what it needs. I'm not strong enough, I lack finesse. I leave it feeling unfulfilled. We just can't work it out.
When my teacher encouraged me to try the carbon fiber bow, I didn't expect much. She'd suggested different bows before, and it never seemed to help. They couldn't love me, either. But the CodaBow was a different story--so sweet and forgiving. Never a trace of attitude. It did everything I asked. There's still much I don't know how to ask, but I think it will be kind to me as I learn. So I decided to take the plunge and settle down with it.
The pernambuco is still with me. I'm hoping that someday I can return to it, when I'm more worthy of its gifts. When that day comes, I'm sure the CodaBow will understand.
Photo of a Brazilwood (Pernambuco) tree in Sao Paulo from Wikimedia Commons