To Shoulder Rest, Or Not to Shoulder Rest?
Does everyone need one? When is a chin rest enough? Do shoulder rests affect sound?
As discussions in online string forums and recent workshops held by the American String Teachers Association illustrate, everyone has an opinion about the use of shoulder rests. Indeed, some contend that violinists and violists need not use one at all.
Certainly, opinions differ about what’s best for a player’s health, technique, and tone. Unfortunately, because every body is different, a one-size-fits-all solution is unrealistic. It may be easy to emulate your favorite player’s setup, but doing that won’t make you sound like him and may not suit your particular needs.
In a video about shoulder rests and chin rests on her YouTube channel, virtuoso violinist Hilary Hahn refrains from disclosing her exact setup. Instead, she advises players to experiment and discover the solution that works best for them. Thankfully, we all have similar concerns and desire similar results from our support system.
This article, "To Shoulder Rest, Or Not to Shoulder Rest?," is part of the Strings Archive, which you can access with a paid site subscription.
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