Monday, February 23, 2015

The Pipe Organ: Controlling the Sound

Hello, I’m Ginny Moe, this is Adam Sullivan's Music Theory Blog and you're listening to an episode of  The Pipe Organ: its development and design. 



Last month's episode was on the basic two types of pipes: how they work and how they sound. You can access again it online anytime. This month's episode is on how the organist controls which pipes actually sound at any given moment. 

Pipe organs makes sound when air goes to pipes, so we start with the blower, which sends air to a windchest which is attached to every pipe, with most pipes actually sitting right on top. When one pipe is played it doesn't take much air but when many pipes are played at once it takes a lot of air, reducing the air pressure. So the blower sends air to the windchest through a reservoir, which keeps the air at a constant pressure whether one or 100 pipes are sounding. If you look down on the top of the windchest, you can tell it's not just a big balloon with a lot of pipes sticking out haphazardly. The pipes are arranged in rows and columns, with the toe of any pipe fitting into a hole on the windchest through which wind enters the pipe.

Each column on the chest holds a rank, which is a set of pipes of matching design and sound. Each rank has one pipe for each note, and ranks are usually arranged in order on the chest from the lowest and longest pipes at one end to the shortest and highest at the other end. Two ranks of pipes require two columns and two pipes for each note, three ranks require three columns and three pipes, and so on. The rows on the chest correspond to the notes. Each row holds all the pipes which sound a certain note.

On the sides and ends of the windchest are several kinds of machinery controlling tubes of air inside the chest which allow routing of air to various pipes. These controllers are adjusted through linkages to the console, where the organist sits directing air traffic in the windchest.

Modern consoles normally have one pedalboard and several manual keyboards. The pedalboard has 32 keys, arranged like piano keys but bigger, for your feet, the lowest key being two octaves below middle C, the highest the G above middle C. Each manual keyboard has five octaves, starting at the C two octaves below middle C and going up 61 notes to the C three octaves above middle C. In addition, the console has stops, usually on the sides of the manuals, but sometimes above the top manual. And most organs have pistons, which are little buttons below the keyboard and knobs down by the pedals for the feet to play.

Now how does this console give signals to the windchest?

Stops control a channel of air under a rank of pipes. When a stop is engaged, or pulled, by the organist, air flows into the channel and is available for all the pipes in the rank above the channel. If two stops are pulled, air flows into two channels, three stops pulled and air flows into three channels. If many stops are connected to a keyboard, the channels will be dispersed in columns over several windchests for ease maintenance.

Keys control the rows of the windchest, and every pipe designed to sound the note corresponding to a key is in the the entire row controlled by that key. When a key is pressed, pouches under the pipes in the row open, and if air is in a channel under any pipe, the air is released into a pipe sounding a note.
So, for example, a windchest with eight ranks has eight columns corresponding to eight stops on the console, and on manual windchests, it has sixty-one rows corresponding to the sixty-one keys on the manual keyboard, for a total of 488 pipes. When one stop is pulled, and the organist plays one key, the windchest is signaled to send wind to one rank, and one row. Wind is released to the pipe at the intersection of that column and row, and the one pipe sounds. When two keys are played, two pipes get wind, three keys winds three pipes. If another stop is pulled, another channel of air is available, and one key sounds two pipes, one in each rank, the same note, but different in tone quality. Playing two keys sounds two pipes in each rank, playing three keys sounds three pipes in each rank, for a total of six pipes. 

The third main control type on the console, ubiquitous in modern pipe organs, is combination action. Most often it is entirely at the console, for it signals several stops to engage (or disengage) simultaneously. Combinations are activated by pressing the pistons underneath the manuals or near the pedals.

To summarize, in a pipe organ, the blower sends air through a reservoir to the windchest. Pipes sit on the chest arranged in columns of ranks and rows of notes. Organists control which pipes sound by sending signals from a console to the windchest. The majority of these signals are of three types: Keys, controlling rows of notes; Stops, controlling columns of ranks, and Pistons, controlling combinations of stops.

That’s all for this episode, I'm Ginny Moe, and this is Adam Sullivan's Music Theory Blog. Thanks to Adam for hosting this series, The Pipe Organ: its development and design. I hope you’ll check in again next month, when we’ll begin looking at how the sound and design of the pipe organ developed throughout history.

That’s all for this episode. I hope you’ll check in again next month, when we’ll begin looking at how the sound and design of the pipe organ developed throughout history. I'm Ginny Moe, and this is Adam Sullivan's Music Theory Blog (sulliadm.blogspot.com). Thanks to Adam for hosting this series, The Pipe Organ: its development and design.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hear! Hear! Suggested Listening of the Month!

Hi, and welcome to this months segment. This month, I would like to talk about the wonderful and powerful music created from the Organ. This will not be limited to the pipe organ, I will try to include as much variety as possible, and show how music with the Organ has evolved over time. If you haven't checked out Ginny Moe's blog about the Pipe Organ, I suggest you check it out now. It's both informative and interesting, but it is not necessary for todays purpose. Let's get started!

1. Now, as we all know, I cannot mention the Organ, with out mentioning both Johann Sebastian Bach and his Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Bach's unparalleled use of contrapuntal ideas and brilliant ideas shine in this piece, in the darkest of ways. Many associate this piece with Halloween or things similar. But few who know the classic motif, have listened to the piece in its entirety. I would suggest a full and critical listen of this piece to truly hear its brilliance. This was written in sometime between 1703 and 1707.

Here's a version played a little faster than usual.



2. Next up, is a piece composed by Felix Mendelssohn. It is his first Organ Sonata in F minor. It features a more dynamic use of the organ in Mendelssohn's way of writing for the instrument. This piece is also played on a traditional pipe organ. I particularly enjoy the use of the left hand accompaniment in this piece. It seems more individualized than previous organ compositions.



3. Jumping ahead in time, lets go to 1935, when the worlds first Hammond organ was created by Laurens Hammond and John Hanert. This revolutionary organ, found its place among many different styles in the 1900's. More commonly, it is associated with jazz and progressive rock. Here is a piece by Steve Winwood in 1966, which features the Hammond organ in it's prime.



4. Here is a piece written by Kansas, a progressive rock group of the 70's. It was one of Kansas's biggest hits, and it features the organ used in a more subdued manner. Playing an interesting accompaniment and syncopations, it really shows how diverse the organ is. There is also an organ solo in this song, which I believe took the organ to a new level in how it is used sparingly.



5. Today's last piece is written by Nobuo Eumatsu. The organ has even found its way into contemporary video game music. Nobuo uses the dark and scary associations with the organ, to create this dark and sinister track to accompany the video game's villain "Kefka" of Final Fantasy VI. It features a whole section of just the organ in itself, as well as contrapuntal ideas of earlier composers. This piece is actually written by Nobuo, but performed by the Distant Worlds Symphony and conducted by Arnie Roth. Hope you enjoy!



This marks the end of this months segment of "Hear! Hear! Suggested Listening of the Month!". I hope you enjoyed our time together, I know I enjoyed writing this for you. Let me know what I'm missing, or what you think in the comments below. Take care!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Pipe Organ: Development and Design

Written by: Ginny Moe



The design and music of the pipe organ are a result of its history  as builders responded to changing societal needs but more importantly  as organists, composers, and organ builders  learned to take advantage of developments in science  and industrial techniques. This session is on the two main types of pipes and how they speak,  or make sound.

At its most basic the pipe organ is a set of pipes  similar to flutes or clarinets through which wind blows to make sound usually musical sound and which, in the modern organ, is controlled by an organist who plays a keyboard shaped like a piano keyboard.

Almost all pipes on the modern organ are of two types. Flue pipes comprise the majority of the pipes, and they are almost always made of either metal or wood with a foot through which air flows into the pipe. Most organs also use reeds (sometimes called reed pipes) in which the speaking mechanism is covered by a boot into which air flows, vibrating a tongue. As an example, I currently play a pipe organ which has 17 sets (ranks) of flue pipes and 4 ranks of reeds, plus some extras which combine several ranks of flue stops.

Now the sounding mechanism of these two types pipes is very different. In the flue pipe air enters the foot of the pipe through a toe and is directed toward the mouth of the pipe by a languid. Air goes outside the pipe at the mouth, and the the speedy air outside the pipe reduces air pressure inside the pipe, drawing the airstream into the pipe. This is the Bernoulli effect in practice; the same reason jets can fly. IT IS THE AIR ITSELF WHICH VIBRATES, setting up sound waves.

By contrast, in the reed pipe a shallot extends into the boot. An aperture in the shallot is covered by a tongue. The boot surrounds this mechanism, and air enters the boot through a toe in the bottom. The wind presses the tongue against the shallot, and the tongues bends to cover the the aperture. The tongue springs back, allowing the wind to enter the shallot, and again the Bernoulli effect is observed, and sound is produced by the vibrating tongue. Here, IT IS THE TONGUE, OR REED ITSELF, WHICH VIBRATES.

Since the wind itself makes the sound in flue pipes, the pipe, which shapes the trajectory of the wind, directly affects the sound, and the most noticeable difference is made by the width of the pipe. Very narrow pipes generally produce more overtones, like bowed string instruments, and are called string pipes. Very fat pipes generally produce fewer overtones, like flutes, and are called flute pipes. And the most important pipes in any organ are the medium width flue pipes, called diapasons or principals. Various modifications around the mouth of the pipe also change the sound. The number of strings, diapasons, and flutes varies, but as an example, my current instrument has three independent string ranks, six independent flute ranks, and seven independent diapason ranks.

The reeds make a very distinctive sound, but most of them sound more like each other than they sound like any flue pipe. Usually they are louder, and the variation in sound is mostly caused by different shaped and length tongues and apertures in the shallot. What are often called reed pipes are properly referred to as resonators, and they amplify and change the sound. They are designed in many inventive and sometimes bizarre shapes, some of which make a difference in the sound quality, or timbre.

To summarize, organ pipes are normally either flue or reed pipes. In flue pipes, the air vibrates, and in reeds, the tongue vibrates. Most organ pipes are flues, and the length and shape of the pipe make changes in timbre, or sound quality. The most important pipes are the principals, or diapasons, and if you think of the sound of a pipe organ, you are probably thinking of the sound of the diapasons. They are of medium width, and the narrow pipes are called string pipes, while the fatter pipes are called flute pipes. A few reeds are usually part of a pipe organ, providing distinctive solo stops and fiery color. In them the sounding mechanism is covered by a boot, inside of which a tongue vibrates against a shallot to produce sound, which is then shaped modified by a resonator.

Check in again next month, when the subject will be organ keys, and various ways the keys control the pipework. I am Ginny Moe, and this is a series on The Pipe Organ, and how its design developed throughout history.
Twitter: @GinnyMoeRHSCwebsite: GinnyMoe.net

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hear Hear! Suggested Listening of the Month!

Hello! This is Matthew Harnage, and welcome to my first installment of "Hear Hear! Suggested Listening of the Month!". Today we will be looking at 5 songs to bring in the new year. I will be covering a wide stylistic base today. I hope you enjoy these pieces of music for what they are. 

 1. We'll start with some good ole fashion hard rock. This piece was chosen by loudwire.com to be the best rock song of 2014. It features Pete Loeffler and Dean Bernardini's aggressive guitar and bass work which fuels drummer Sam Leoffler impressive percussive playing. This song builds like and emotional riot. Hope you enjoy Pete Loeffler's vocals on this one!
 


 2. Now we'll bring it down, with some modern classical music from John Luther Adams. This piece was recorded by the Seattle Symphony for Cantaloupe, it also won the Pulitzer Prize for music this year. Here is John Luther Adams, with "Become Ocean".
 3. Now I know a lot of people seem to dislike popular music, but this is one song that no one has ignored. While it may have been overplayed by some, it's catchy chorus and rhythmic nature are both entertaining and uplifting to listen to. This song was Billboard Magazine's #1 song of 2014. Here's "Happy" by Pharrell Williams! Try not to clap!
 4. Now here is a piece of music from a Leipzig-based producer Gunnar Wendel, under the alias Kassem Mosse. His music is known for the warmth originating from using his analog equipment against today's more common digital approach. The album this song originates from was sold out almost instantly after releasing early February 2014. Here is Kassem Mosse's "Untitled A2". 
 5. Now this song isn't from 2014 but from a Japanese composer RentarĊ Taki in 1901. A beautiful melody along with a great swelling emotional side, this piece represent the nostalgia of going from 2014-2015. Here is Kojo No Tsuki (Moon Over a Ruined Castle) arranged for Flute and Harp. Let me know your favorite songs to bring in the new year in the comments below. Have a wonderful new year! And I can't wait to see you next month!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Antonio Vivaldi: The Red Priest


I've decided to quit apologizing for the long breaks between posts, as the frequency with which I post an article is about as often as I get a good night's sleep and have a day to sit back and figure out where the heck I am and what the heck I'm doing! That said, finals are bested, the Fall 2014 final grades are in (at least the ones that matter), and I'm flying high for Christmas break. What better time to write about one of the most fascinating Italian Baroque composers, whose music seems to be heard more often at the holiday times anyway. After all, he did write a whole concerto about Winter.

Antonio Vivaldi was a later Baroque composer, born in 1678 to a humble family in Venice. Whether due to the fact that he was a sickly baby, or the fact that there was an unsettling earthquake the day of his birth, the newborn Antonio was baptized immediately and dedicated to the priesthood in the off chance that he survived to adulthood. As a child, he studied violin and composition from his father as well as from the music director at St. Mark's in Venice.

Despite his obvious musical talent, his infant vows were kept, and after 10 years of study, Vivaldi was ordained as a priest in 1703, at the age of 25. He was much more interested in his music than his priestly duties however, and used his continuing poor health (likely severe asthma, based on the symptoms he described in his correspondence) as a bonafide reason to be granted an exemption from performing mass, and other expected activities for a newly ordained priest. However, Vivaldi did not expect to give up public service completely. Shortly after his entry into the priesthood, he became the violin instructor at the Ospedale della Pieta, an "orphanage" for, in most cases, the illegitimate daughters of noblemen, who were unwilling to acknowledge their daughters' parentage but were happy to provide the best support and education for them.

Vivaldi, whose red hair inspired the nickname "The Red Priest," worked with the Ospedale for over 30 years, teaching general music and strings, as well as composing much of the repertoire that the girls played. Later on, he was appointed music director for the entire program. Under his tutelage, the orphanage's orchestra and choir earned international acclaim. This employment justifies the complaint that I have occasionally heard about Vivaldi's work--it's at times very note-y, and seems to play like a technical etude. Well, that's what many of his concertos were. They were written as part of his curriculum for training his young violin students, and often intended as nothing but passage work etudes. The fact that he was able to write etudes which stand alone as respectable solo works is in and of itself a tribute to Vivaldi's genius.

Some of the characteristics of Vivaldi's concertos--the most famous of which by far are the four violin concertos which make up the Four Seasons--are indeed the technical passage work, the abundance of harmonic sequences (most likely included as part of the girls' music theory education), and a descriptive style reminiscent of word painting techniques of early Italian madrigals. These concertos became widely popular throughout Europe and inspired many transcriptions and arrangements.

Although he maintained his position with the orphanage, later in life Vivaldi began to travel more and also gained success in the opera scene, a portion of his work which many musicians today are unfamiliar with. By the end of his career he had published somewhere between 50 and 100 operas, many of which are lost today. Despite his religious training, Vivaldi actually had issues getting some of his works past the censor boards, because of librettos which included cross-dressing and homosexual relationships.

Because of his work with the orphanage, Vivaldi managed to avoid being locked into the patronage system so common in the Baroque period. However, a great part of his income was generated through commission work for private individuals as well as performing for audiences as prestigious as the Pope. As a priest, he never married, although he maintained a close friendship and suspected romantic relationship with a young singer, Anna Giro. Vivaldi protested whenever insinuations were made, and there is really no evidence for or against a liaison between the two.

Antonio Vivaldi, circa 1725
In 1740, the 62 year old composer left Venice permanently with the intent of taking up residence in Vienna, Austria, most likely to work in the court of Emperor Charles VI. who had expressed great interest in his work. Unfortunately, the emperor passed away and Vivaldi had no source of income in the new city. Ill health prevented him from becoming active in the music scene of Vienna, and in the summer of 1741, Antonio Vivaldi passed away and was was given a pauper's funeral without any music.

Much of his fame was forgotten in the following years, and it wasn't until the efforts of performer/composer Fritz Kreisler in the early 1900s that interest in Vivaldi's music was revived. Over 600 of his works have been cataloged, and as of ten years ago, more were still being discovered. Conversely, only 3 portraits of the composer have survived.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Review: World of Bow

Hello and welcome back to my review series. I know that it is unusual for me to post multiple times in a month but to make up from the dry spell, I'm posting this review on top of the previous. I have one more but I need a little more time for get it ready to be posted so stay tuned. For now, please enjoy this review and don't forget to subscribe or follow us on social media if you have not done so already!

For those whom may not be aware, World of Bow is a bow warehouse site. From first glance of the site, this site looks like it was stuck in 2003 when it started. However first glances are simply that because the quality of their products outweighs the exterior. It is a clean, slick look but it doesn't seem very enticing or helps make me want to buy from them. If it wasn't for the recommendation I had from multiple trusted friends and teachers, I would have overlooked this gem. I recently needed to order a bow to complete some local gigs, not to mention my student bow looks like I’m using dental floss on a stick. After being pushed to try them, I went and ordered two bows: A carbon fiber bow and a Brazil wood bow.

Their selection of bows has some variety. They range from professional to amateur bows, various types such as a Snakewood, Pernambuco, Brazilwood and carbon fiber. They also offer a variety of sizes, though the smaller bows do not have as much to choose from. Something also great about them is they offer baroque bows alongside modern bows, which caught me off guard! While I feel there should be more selection for the smaller bows, the selection is one of the best I’ve ever seen. There is a lot to look and choose from the site.

The prices of the bows are also reasonable too. I will come back to the quality of the two I ordered, but they are definitely worth the money I paid for them. They all ship 2 day express for $10! The packaging was wrapped in 3 layers of cardboard and the bows themselves were compressed together. They were made to handle the extremes of rush shipping! They came in one piece, and no damage to the bow.

Now the most important question of all: Are they worth the money? In short, the ones I ordered are well worth the money. Here are the links to the two I ordered: The Brazil wood bow and the carbon fiber bow. I opened the large triangle package like a little boy opening his large Christmas present, full of hopes and anticipations. As I previously stated, the care in the shipment was beyond what I expected but the bows were something different. I will review them independently but a quick summery from my first impressions was wow. Granted, I had been using a low quality student bow for the past 3-4 years (the last year being pretty bald) but they did do a good job of showing me what to look forward to later down the road. My only complaint so far is with the carbon fiber feeling very off putting. In comparison to the other bow, it is balanced roughly the same but it feels like it is too frog heavy. *Edit* After playing it for a full 3 days, the carbon fiber is a lot better but it keeps losing hairs. Not sure why, but I update once I have found a solution.


Before I end this review, I just wanted to say that the reason I’m not reviewing the bows themselves is not only are they too new and I haven’t quite gotten use to them, but I actually ordered the wrong bow. It is nothing to do with World of Bow, but rather I clicked the wrong carbon fiber bow. I’m happy with it but in order to review it from the proper competitors instead of comparing it to expectations from other bows, I will need some more time. I will go into a detailed review of them once I’ve had time to adjust. It is still a great bow, but my expectations have to shift in order to review it more accurately. However, this issue does lead me to my final thoughts.

The biggest thing I can say from this is consider expectations and then throw them out the window. There are a lot of great businesses that simply do not have the means to be over the top in terms of visual pleasure or customer convenience but that should not stop you from trying something new. World of Bow would fit into this sort of site. The site looks a little outdated and can be clunky at times but the service and customer service is beyond anything that one could imagine. The bows, while suspiciously cheap are well worth the money. I believe that the prices of similarly priced bows would be 3-5 times as expensive. Keep an eye out for my World of Bow because if I can save up enough money, I will be back for that Baroque bow! I give World of Bow a 4 great bows out of 5!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Review: Magic Rosin® X

Recently, between being swamped by end of the year school stuff (juries, exams, etc.), I needed to take a small break from the site in order to make sure that I was not overwhelmed with work. However, over the next couple of days I am going to upload a series of reviews that I have taken way too long to perform. Some are because of testing reasons, and others are from simply having too much work and not being able to write them. I am planning on bringing this website into its own thing in the semi-near future but first comes school and my jobs/internships. Now that I have a small staff of writers, editors and a web manager I hope to start making content more consistent but I will need everyone's help. If you have not subscribed to my newsletter then we are starting our own next month. Feedburner has completely dropped the ball on us, so we have decided to start anew. Email "Newsletter" to Sulliadm2@gmail.com and we will add you to our new custom made newsletter. It will be once the month and will be easier to read than spamming every post to you after being posted. I will be updating the site soon so anyone who wants to pass by and join can. Anyways, on to the review!

Today is the first day of my review mayhem. As stated above, I've had a lot on my plate the past few months and over the next couple of days, I will be releasing reviews of products that should have been reviewed before now. On this review, we have Magic Rosin® X! Those whom have been following me for a few years now know that Sarah West (creator of Magic Rosin®) and I have gotten to become great friends as I have continuously reviewed her rosins. Just before she released her newest rosin, she asked if I would review it for her. How could I refuse? Free sample of the next step in her company and being one of the first to test it… I was ecstatic and I still am. However, there is a reason to why this review took as long as it did. I felt obligated to test, and retest and retest this rosin over the past 3 months so I could make sure I was saying something that could be considered an accurate review. I think I finally found a way to express my opinion effectively and clearly.

Just as a heads up, I know this review will sound very negative but it should not be taken that way. A large part of this review went into testing the major difference between this rosin and Magic Rosin®'s 3G and 3G Ultra formulas. If you have never used any other Magic Rosin® rosin, then click to check out my 3G review or the 3G Ultra review but the basic premise is the brand is made for all instruments. This rosin has kept the same quality and distinctive feel that many have learned to grow attached to but with some changes. They all are very smooth and crisp rosins and work fairly well on all instruments. 3G formula has more than enough bite for the higher strings while not making it sound crunchy but tends to be a weaker rosin for cello let alone bass. 3G Ultra has a better amount of bite for cello while not overdoing it for violins and violas. The problem that some have seen is it is not strong enough, and that is what the majority of this review will be centered around.

The first thing that was noticeable about this rosin was the claims on the site and from Miss West herself. As stated on the website, “At long last,after much research and development, we are very pleased to introduce MagicRosin® X, the grippiest Magic Rosin® formula.” When they say it is the grippiest, they really mean it! This is probably the strongest rosin I have ever used on my bow. This leads me to the first, and only serious complaint I have against the rosin: It might be too strong for anything outside bass. Personally, I use either Magic Rosin® 3G Ultra or Jade, depending on what I have near me. Jade is something that I see as being a too weak, while Magic Rosin® 3G Ultra is exactly what I like. The new X formula is roughly twice as sticky as the Ultra. There’s nothing wrong with that if you want more bite but personally I want a rosin that is a mix between sticking to the strings and fluidity. A strong opinion to hold but this is the reason I had to tested it so much.

In my initial test, I used my student Brazilwood bow. On this bow, it was simply too thick. I could not move the bow without crunching everything and anything I attempted. There was a flaw in this test: I was using a balding bow. It was roughly ¼” of hair, and some were black hairs. Following the basic principle of physics, the more surface area an object has to contact another then the pressure and energy from that one area would be dispersed more and thus grabs the string. However the less hair, then the same amount of energy would have to be disperse over a smaller area, causing less stability and more energy to be released over a smaller area. This means that I could not effectively test the rosin on that bow without rehairing or purchase a new bow. This lead me onto my next test: Testing on new bows. I had been planning on upgrading bows for some time so ordering them was not out of my way. Using fresh bows from World of Bow (review of the company will be available by clicking here when online), I rosined them with the Magic Rosin® X and tested them. I cleaned the strings with some bow tonic, rosined the bow and played for a bit. It felt really thick to me, sticking to the strings about the same as before. The only error I can come up with in this test was the rosin being to “fresh” on the bow and not really in the bow hairs, but I believe the coating of rosin on the strings would theoretically counter this but I will note it for later research. The biggest evidence came to me whenever I did my final test.

I decided after the first test that I should see how the target market would react to the rosin. This lead back to the high school I used in my previous tests on. I borrowed 4 bass players and 6 cellist in order to test if my theory was correct to an interesting surprise. The cellist loved the new rosin as much or more than the 3G ultra, which is what the teacher uses in his classroom. They applauded the stronger grip on the string but for them wasn’t sacrificing in terms of quality sound. From my point of view (that being the listener of this test) it came off as a stronger bite but not really any clearer quality sound. To me it sounded like it was a grittier but not enough to be noticed by the students. Plus in their minds, at least from what I’ve gathered from coaching most of them for 2-3 years now, louder equals better as long as it does not cause a distorted effect. This is not always the case but if you are into that sound then this is the rosin for you. There is one more thing I need to touch on however.

Something that I also tested was how this new rosin would compare to other bass rosins. Something that was explained to me from various teachers in South Carolina String Educators Association was they felt like the 3G Ultra was great for Violin, Viola and Cello but was simply too weak for bass. The initial testing I did of the rosin (which you can see by clicking here) shows that the students I used then felt the same way. They feel like the quality is there, but the grip was not enough to cause the strings to vibrate effectively. After noticing there was a lot more grip to this rosin, I compared it to two other bass rosins that are standards in their field: Pops and Carlson. They are on two opposite sides of the world in terms of rosin. Pops is a strong rosin that can become gritty at times but is more stable and can really pull the lower end out of the bass when needed. Carlson, on the other hand, is an equally strong rosin but can achieve a similar strength sound without the gritty sound. The cost is the lack of stability from the rosin’s formula. It can be very temperamental in higher humidity and that causes the rosin to not stick very well or in some rare cases stick too much.

The reason I bring all this out is the results from this test. The Magic Rosin® X came out literally in the middle for all the bass players. They all called it the happy medium between the two rosins. It was sticky enough to cause the clear and concise sound that Magic Rosin® is known for but without the cost of being temperamental or being too strong. Whenever I fiddled around with the rosin samples on one of the basses, I noticed the same thing. It was clear and worked well but fit as a natural middle ground between the two other rosins. As far as I’ve noticed, the rosin seems to be very stable and if it is like the other Magic Rosin® types then it should be very stable.

With everything else said, there is one more thing I need to get out of the way before I give my final verdict. This sample of the rosin is very flaky. I do not know if it is from the sample or the recipe but it chips a lot easier than the others have. Not enough to cause it to shatter from bumping it with the frog but if you have used the other rosins then it will be noticeable.

Other than that complaint and the bulk of this review, it is a great rosin. Magic Rosin® has kept their quality up high when creating this product. It has all the signature qualities: the clear rosin with the beautiful images inside, the lack of dust that makes it very friendly to those with asthma or allergies and the longevity of the rosin for the amount. The only thing that should be considered before trying it yourself is if you like strong rosin. For those who have used the 3G Ultra and would like something stronger then this would be worth trying. If you are a bass player looking for a good middle rosin between the previously mentioned then this would be a great place to start. I give Magic Rosin® X a 3 chunks of rosin out of 5 for cello and a 4 chunks of rosin out of 5 for bass.