Inspiration – the violin – the sound-post

Music can help awaken the longing for a higher reality

Inspiration – the violin – the sound-post

The violin is pre-eminently an instrument that can move, inspire. The members of the modern violin family are, from small to large: violin, viola, cello, violone. The violone, the largest instrument in the series with the lowest sound, is extremely rare. Instead, the double bass is almost always used, which does not belong to the violin family but is a larger version of the viola da gamba and thus represents an older stage in its development. Older violin types are viola d’amore, viola.

All parts of the violin are very important for the sound. We particularly want to talk about the sound-post here. The sound-post of the violin is also lyrically called ‘the soul of the violin’. It is a simple stick that connects the top surface with the bottom surface, seemingly a small and insignificant particle, but with an unexpectedly large influence on the sound formation and thus the character of the violin. Hence the affectionate name ‘the soul of the violin’. The sound-post, that simple wooden stick, transfers the vibrations from the top, i.e. the side of the violin where the strings are bowed, to the back part. Both the top and the bottom are of great importance for the sound, both the precise dimensions, proportions and the specific lacquer used by a violin maker. Many famous violin makers kept their recipe for their own lacquer a secret, in order to guarantee their own colour and sound characteristics. Yet, without the soul of the violin, without that little wooden stick, a violin could not sound as heavenly as a violin can sound when it is exquisite.


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Image of sound-post


But the inspiration of music, the real inspiration of the violin, the experience, the ability to touch, comes of course from the player, from the living human being who, through technique and skill, can transform the notes into an inspiring sound performance. That is the tone that makes music. So it is the tone, the inspiration that matters.

You could say: the sound-post is the core, the centre, the heart of the violin, just as in man the heart is the centre of the microcosm, just like the sound-post also somewhat on the left side.

Everything our soul desires to express can be revealed through music. Music expresses what cannot be said. What a person undergoes on his way to the sublime, is difficult to tell, but it can be conveyed by music in its purest form. Thus we see how great the function of music is in the development of mankind and that music is the world language of the soul. One of the functions of music is to awaken the longing for a higher reality. It can build a bridge between our ordinary life and a higher dimension. The purer and more direct the music is, the more it can touch a human being in the deepest inner being. Music can find its way to the innermost corners of the soul. On the Harmony of the Spheres, the primordial theme of being human, Pythagoras says that light, sound, movement and power are absolutely one, that each is at the same time infinitely great and infinitely small and that all in their unity are life. Everything is interconnected in vibration.

Music can help awaken the longing for a higher reality, it is an important tool and an often indispensable part, an intermediary, but not the end goal. It can help to assimilate and experience the spoken word intensely, as a kind of catalyst. It can elevate, it activates the longing.

The existence of longing and what the longing is directed at, indicates the fact that there is another reality of life, another state of being, a higher dimension.

It is sometimes said that a person imitates himself. The violin is a striking example of that. We can analyse all the parts, but the most important thing we see is in the sound-post, the heart, the soul of the violin. When it is vibrated, animated, the sound can spread and something happens that can touch, move, inspire people.

If we then think in analogies, where in a symbolic sense the way, the purpose of man can be discovered, then the heart, the soul of man can be touched by the light of the Gnosis. If then a process takes place, it does not remain restricted to that one human being. It is a process with a great spreading capacity, a magical miracle…

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Date: November 3, 2020
Author: Jacomijn Prince (Netherlands)
Photo: Skeeze via Pixabay

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