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  • Jessica McAllister

Frozen Fingers


Exciting news, everyone!


I finally got my new Christmas YouTube video up last night. It was cutting it close, since it was Christmas Eve. . . but, hey, considering we only started filming on December 8th, I think we did pretty dang good!


John of #BigIrisProductions did an amazing job on the videography and editing, as always. He really is a magician! I'm hoping to be able to snag some of the raw footage so that you can hear what my violin REALLY sounded like up in the canyon.


It wasn't pretty, I can promise you that.





Did you guys know that a #violin (any wooden instrument, really) will refuse to stay in tune in extreme weather, no matter how nicely you ask? The second I got my violin out of its case, it went out of tune. You see, there are wooden pegs that control the tension of each string. When they're at the right tension, the violin is in tune.


However, wood contracts when it's cold, and the pegs won't stay in place.


So, yeah.


My violin sounded like a dying animal and I had to pretend it was just fine. I was playing along with the studio track via a portable speaker and trying to keep a "game face". It wasn't easy, friends. The only string that stayed mildly in tune was my D string, so I sounded okay on that one. . . but then I would switch strings and it wasn't anywhere NEAR close. I really can't describe how horrible it was, you guys!


People were sledding, snow shoeing and taking family pictures and there I was in the middle of it all. . . playing a VERY out of tune violin like there was nothing amiss. At one point, I was standing off of the road in a copse of trees (on a snow-covered log, to be exact). People were walking down the road taking pictures of me while I was playing and all I could think is, "Thank goodness you can't hear pictures".


This wasn't my first experience playing in the cold, mind you. A couple years back, I was hired for a winter #wedding up the Provo Canyon in #Utah. It was a fairly small ceremony, but it was outdoors in December. The guests and I were huddled in the cabin for warmth until just before the ceremony started. We all rushed outside and I began playing the bridal party processional. All went well until the bride was about to make her grand entrance. I shuffled around my sheet music and put my violin up to begin playing. All of a sudden, I heard an audible "pop".


That was the sound of my peg losing its place and my string becoming out of tune. Luckily, it was just one string. But, still, it was one I needed.


I sent a horrified look at the bride who was opening the door to the cabin to begin walking down the aisle. I started shaking my head and mouthing, "Hold on! Not yet!"


By some miracle, I was able to tune the string and have it stay in place during her processional.


I still remember cupping my frozen hands over the scroll/pegs and breathing warm air onto them during the ceremony. I'm sure I looked like a crazy person, but, hey, it worked. My pegs stayed in tune for the recessional and I was able to quickly pack up afterwards.

While that wedding experience taught me a lot, there was something new that I learned while filming my #music #video. After hours of exposure to the cold, the bow will actually start to lose its tension, as well.


The violin bow is made up of horse hair, and there's a little nut at the bottom that tightens/loosens the hair in relation to the wooden stick. If the bow is too lose, it doesn't do its job very well. Floppy bow hair means it can't properly grip the strings and create sound.


So, let the record show, bows don't like the cold, either. :)


The thing one learns while freezing in the elements with their #instrument!


And let the record show, when a drone is filming overhead, it creates a frigid draft. However, once you pass a certain point, your fingers can't GET any colder, so it doesn't really matter. hahaha!


I hope you enjoy the video! Make sure you like, comment, share, and subscribe! It really helps me out and spurs me to keep making more.




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JESSICA MCALLISTER

 FIRST STRING VIOLINIST 

801.828.6860

 FIRSTSTRINGVIOLINIST@GMAIL.COM  

         . . . SALT LAKE COUNTY, UTAH . . .