I don’t understand this sentence: “you’ve only one string to your conversational violin, namely yourself”

Nor do I! It’s based on the set phrase “having more than one string to your bow”, meaning having more than one option. I always thought it came from archery, where if your bowstring snaps you are weaponless unless you have another string to hand.

I think that’s where it will have come from initially. Here I think it means you can only talk about one thing, yourself. The analogy is that conversational skills are like a violin. Every subject you are able to talk about is another string on that violin. The more strings you have the greater the range of notes you’ll be able to play on that violin and therefore the more strings you have the more beautiful the music you’ll be able to play. But when you only have one string, the range of notes is limited, so you keep playing the same thing over and over again. So in the analogy, the string the person has is the string “Me” string. So when you play the violin it goes, me me me me me me meeeeee.

‘Me’ is the only string on my conversational violin, which is why I’ve had to start talking to myself


Whatever you were reading it was just the author using an idiomatic expression that as far as I can tell they made up themselves with their artistic like thinking…

Thank you very much for these very useful explanations! I understand :slight_smile:

The reason why a violin has four strings is not related too much with the range of notes that it can produce, but with giving the ability to the musician to play faster the notes by eliminating their distance. In fact you could have the same range of notes by using 2 or even 1 string. For someone to play violin in less than 4 strings must be very talented. Paganini was an Italian violinist and composer who was very famous for his ability to play violin and composing for less than 4 strings violin. He had an exceptional techinique also due to the fact that he had unaturally long fingers and flexible joins that allowed him to do things that no one else could. (It is said that he propably had the Marfan syndrome.)
Legents say that he was very often snapped the 3 strings and playing whole pieces in 1 string to astonish his audience.
So for me if I would hear an expression like “you have only one string to your violin” it would mean that you need to be very gifted to play it or something like that.
But I have no idea if that has anything to do with your expression!

And of course as they say, Paganini supposedly made a pact with the devil. Hahah :smiley:

Yes, that is a fairly Christian approach… Aristoteles, Socrates, Platon and many others repeatedly refered by exact words in the Christian books as morons, idiots (etc etc) that they speak the words of devil and they are going to burn in hell and whoever listens to them means that they take the side of the devil and will only burn with them…

The Devil has all the best tunes…God listens to Radio Two.