A Case of Melodies

Writer: Raghed Hamza
Editor: Ahmed Hussein

Carefully unzipping the two zippers going around the case, I open it up. I inhale deeply as I catch a fresh waft of spruce and sigh with pleasure, as I did the very first time. In fact, the memory is as fresh in my mind as a leaf plucked from its flower. The lid rotates upward to reveal it lying there, in all its polished glory and smooth beauty. I itch to pick it up and begin, but a few things are in order.

Without its bow, a violin is simply a decorative ornament – a rather dependent object. As a kid, I used to compare them to a pair of socks – each is useless if the other is not present. Later, however, as I learned the inner workings of the violin and the bow, I began to realise that their connection is much deeper than that between two mere garments of clothing; I realised that their bond is like that of the body and soul – the bow animates the violin, exactly as the soul brings life to the body, allowing it to express itself and reveal its inner beauty.

I unlatch the bow from its fob on the inside wall of the case and pick it up slowly, carefully avoiding touching the horse hairs – one of the deadly sins of practicing the violin. Next, I swing open a tiny hidden compartment at the forefront of the case that reveals a small piece of amber: the rosin, a type of resin that is rubbed on the hairs of the bow. This increases the friction between the bow hairs and the violin strings, allowing for a tighter grip and a richer sound. I like to think of rosining my bow as my very own ritual before beginning my practice, connecting me even further with my violin.

The bow feels like an extension of my arm, and I smile in anticipation of a fruitful practice session. There is only thing left to do now. I pick up the violin.