Daily Illuminator

December 16, 2003: The String Quartet Goes Digital

I'm a child of the digital age with a taste and talent for orchestral music, so I take a great deal of enjoyment in the rare areas in which they overlap. I recently came across Yamaha's Silent Strings collection (yes, that's the Japan site; the U.S. one is annoying). Electric instruments are nothing new, of course, but the field is dominated by guitars and keyboards. Orchestral strings are much less common, especially in the variability, quality, and availability offered by Yamaha: four violins, a viola, three cellos, and a bass, plus specially designed bows, cases, and an amp.

The best of the lot are the SVC-200, the high-end cello model which folds down to fit in a 51.5"x8.75"x9.5" soft-side case, and the EV-205, which is the only 5-string violin I've ever seen.

The range of music that could be created by a Silent Strings instrument, much less a full quartet, is breathtaking. Everything from traditional chamber music to modern electronica, in the same song even. Add the ability to play in silent mode (with headphones on), run an audio-out to a computer, add an effects pedal, and that the cello will actually fit in the back seat of my car . . . anybody know a cello teacher in Austin with the Unfazable advantage?
-- Michelle Barrett

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