So you’ve got your violin/viola. Got your case, music stand, got a teacher, books etc. What about your tree sap?
The what now? Yeah, your lump of tree sap to rub over the bow? Otherwise known as rosin. Yes, it seems an odd accoutrement to a musical instrument but it is essential if you want to make your violin sing and sound beautiful. In fact, without rosin it won’t make much of a sound at all, and it is vital to have good rosin and know how and when to apply it.
First, let’s understand what rosin is and what it does and then you will grasp why it is so important.
Rosin starts as resin, a sticky and viscous substance from trees that is not unlike sap but harder. Rosin is resin in its solid state, produced by heating and mixing a carefully selected blend of ingredients and allowing them to set.
Think of rosin as a bit like an adhesive that helps your bow stay in contact with the strings. When a rosined bow is drawn across strings, the stickiness creates enough friction to create a grip on the string, pulling it further away from its resting position until it snaps back into place (vibration) only to be pulled once again thanks to the continuous bowing motion.
You don’t, however, need to apply it every time you play. A single application should be enough for several hours playing time.
Applying rosin for the first time
Applying rosin to your brand spanking new bow for the first time, you might see a lot of rosin dust go over your violin when you first start to play. Not a problem. You can simply wipe it off with a soft cloth after you’re finished applying.
Next you need to just play the violin for a little while to work the rosin into the bow hair. Once you’ve done this, apply a little bit more (perhaps three to six passes up and down the bow) and play a bit more. If you do it right, you’ll have a new bow that plays without creating excessive rosin dust.
So how do you know when to apply more rosin?
When you get to the point where you have to put more force on the bow than you normally do to get the same sound, then it is time to apply more rosin.
After the initial application you’ll probably only need to go up and down the bow three or four times to get the correct amount.
Which rosin to use
You will not be surprised to learn that Hidersine offers a complete range of rosins for violins (including our Deluxe rosin, specially formulated for steel strings) and even the bigger-stringed instruments like cellos and double-basses. It’s dead easy to pick the right one because we have labelled them, so you’re not going to end up applying cello rosin to your violin by mistake.
What’s the difference between light and dark rosin?
Dark rosin (also referred to as winter rosin) is softer and is usually too sticky for hot and humid weather being better suited to cool, dry climates. Since light rosin (summer) is harder and not as sticky, it is better for warmer weather.
Our world famous Hidersine rosin is made in the UK from a carefully selected blend of wax and pine resin. We still use the same hand-pouring manufacturing processes and recipe that was first developed by Francis Hider, almost 100 years ago. In doing so, we maintain a handmade, authentic and artisan connection to our product and to the musicians who use it.
All Hidersine rosins come in a labelled, protective, easy-open box, with a traditional cloth.