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This Department.


The violin department was introduced to readers of The Etude in the issue for January, 1900. The work was entered upon with some hesitation on the part of its editor, because teachers of the violin and their pupils seemed content to pursue their work without the special aids and stimulating information constantly being offered to students of the pianoforte and the voice. There seemed to be no earnest wish, in the violin world, to obtain more information regarding the instrument and its distinguished players than could be easily gathered either in the class-room or on convenient, but infrequent, occasions.

Nevertheless the experiment was made, and the editor of the new department began his work with a feeling akin to hope, and the determination to make the violin department both entertaining and instructive.

Nearly three years have passed away, since then, and the unexpected has happened. All doubts and misgivings as to the success of the violin department have been laid at rest. After the very first issue the editor was pleased to receive many letters of interest and encouragement. The number of readers increased so rapidly, during the first six months of the new department’s existence, that it was deemed expedient, if not absolutely necessary, to broaden the original plans, and to devote such space to the violin as the astonishing increase of interest in it seemed to justify.

But the space devoted to it during the past twelve months is now happily inadequate to satisfy the majority of our readers. From all States of the Union, and from many foreign countries, the editor has been the recipient of gratifying letters from earnest readers, and he has constantly been urged to broaden the original scope of this department, and also to increase its space in more just proportion to the increased number and interest of its readers. In order to satisfy this general wish, and, at the same time, to meet actual needs which have arisen as a result of rapid growth, the number of columns in this department has been increased, with the present issue, from four to six. In other words, two entire pages will hereafter be utilized for the discussion of questions related to the violin.

It seems advisable, at this time, however, to say a few words regarding the aims and general purpose of the violin department. Its chief aims are to stimulate thought, to put earnest students in possession of facts which, too often, are encountered only along the hard road of experience, and to relieve amateurs of many fallacies and misconceptions. Its general purpose is to be entertaining and instructive, to combine interesting information with serious pedagogical effort.

That it is altogether impossible, in every issue, to please and satisfy all readers, goes without saying; but it is a source of satisfaction to the editor that he is in a position to say that only one protest, one criticism of his work, has reached him in all the months of the violin department’s existence. Such a notable exception to the rule of general satisfaction is deserving of brief comment; not only because we wish to be on the most amicable terms with all our readers, but also because it is desirable that our aims and our attitude be thoroughly understood.

This solitary critic assures us that he had expected unusual things “from the name and fame of the editor of this department,” but that he now considers it his duty to complain. And complain he does, unmistakably and voluminously. He complains because the violin department does not consist exclusively of solemn and didactic matter; he complains because the editor sees fit, occasionally, to relax in the ministration of pedagogics; he complains because the editor has certain convictions as to the best method of dealing with imposition: in short, he complains because it seems necessary, from time to time, to call a spade a spade.

Now, we wish to make it perfectly clear to this gentleman, as well as to any other readers of The Etude who may possibly misapprehend the general plan and scope of the violin department, that we have the advantage of knowing, with reasonable certainty, the needs and wishes of our readers. It is our earnest wish to please and to satisfy every reader of this department; but to do this at all times, and to satisfy the unknown longings of each individual reader, is manifestly impossible. We feel that we are, indeed, achieving something if the great majority derive pleasure and profit from our efforts.



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