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Schoolhouse Bach

Caryn Lin shows Shaker students how to electrify the violin

Caryn Lin, an electric violinist, demonstrates how different sound effects pedals work to a Shaker High School music technology class.

Caryn Lin, an electric violinist, demonstrates how different sound effects pedals work to a Shaker High School music technology class. Photo by Billy DeLap.

Most people would not be able to find a way to get teens interested in classical music, but combining Bach with the technology used to produce modern music may help.

Caryn Lin, a classical violinist who became an electric violinist, was at Shaker High School Thursday, Jan. 24, to demonstrate her innovative ways to create a unique style of music.

Lin gave a demonstration to the music technology class and another demonstration later in the day to the school’s orchestra. After performing for about 5 minutes, she explained what she was doing.

“I’m using effects that are made traditionally for electric guitar because they don’t make them for violins yet. So what? It doesn’t matter. You can use them on flute, trumpet, clarinet, saxophone, trombone, tuba, kazoo, banjo,” said Lin as she pointed to the board of stomp boxes.

If you can plug an instrument in or play it into a microphone, you can connect them to stomp boxes or pedals as some guitar players call them. The pedals alter the sound waves to produce different sounds. The different pedals create reverb, echo and distortion, to name a few sounds. To work the pedals, you step on them.

“They’re color coded, they’re labeled and they have a light. So they’re dumb proof and they’re either on or they’re off, which is important because with the music I like to play, it’s very important to have individual sounds I can turn on and off quickly because I change the sound a lot,” said Lin.

Lin is a classically trained violinist that started playing when she was 9-years old and ended up going to Northwestern University for violin performance. After that, Lin moved to Germany for four years while she studied under virtuoso Suzanne Lautenbacher. While in Germany, Lin played and performed with other musicians, and that’s where she first plugged in.

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