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con_ritmo's Achievements

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  1. the key is with your technique. efficient technique...and being utterly relaxed...you can go for those hours. in my university days one conductor once commented that i always looked "dead" when i was playing. i took that as a compliment, even if it wasn't meant to be one. in any case, your body will let you know where you are going wrong with your technique. listen to it...
  2. orchestral playing offers different techniques from solo playing. there are some things you can get away with which you wouldn't be able to as a soloist (and vice versa). and even with that said, take a look at the violin section in the Berlin Philharmonic. This is the first clip I pulled up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF9ZQpifOLQ Heads are mainly oriented as they would be in solo playing. There is a difference too between active and passive focus. In orchestral and studio work your eyes are on the music/conductor...but your tools (left hand/right hand) are in your peripheral vision. When playing as a soloist (which is what practice is primarily for...solo technique) ...active and passive focus again comes into play. In the Milstein clip over 90% of his head positioning is such that he can stare down to the scroll at will. Is it active all the time? No. But the passive check is there. It's the way it is normally done. If your head is facing away the passive check is gone. You lose your visual check. Your left ear becomes saturated and you lose your aural check too. Not good in my opinion. In regards to professional work, my comments derive precisely from that. You are paid to be consistent. You are not paid to enjoy your own playing. The checks and balances are there to ensure this consistency. "closing eyes" and "relying on instinct" works great when you have a good day. It's not so good when you have a bad day. This is why as a professional your job is to enjoy the absolute control and execution of your playing. Leave it to the audience to enjoy the MUSIC that is being played. On an aside, one technique that can be used when sitting in a chair is to drop the right knee down along the right side of the chair. This opens everything up as needed.
  3. yes, as the fingers move to the g-string, the elbow swings to the right. and as the fingers move to the e-string, the elbow drops back naturally underneath the violin. watch the base joint knuckles of the left hand. as the elbow swings to the right, the knuckles should then pivot...moving higher and OVER the fingerboard to the left. this allows all your fingers to reach the g-string as they do on the e-string. the higher the base-joint knuckles are...the more reach your fingers have. Oftentimes one can see some students with their base-joint knuckles underneath or barely reaching above the fingerboard (depending on the string). This drastically limits the finger's reach. Also, another thing often seen is that the fingers are moving from the middle knuckle of the finger...this cuts your finger's reach by almost half. instead, move the finger from only the base-joint knuckle. hopefully this helps somewhat...things such as this are better demonstrated in person. :I as far as holding the violin, that is up to personal preference, my initial point was to explain the importance of having the violin/head posiitioned so that one can: 1. look down the fingerboard and 2. hear primarily with the right ear.
  4. The short answer is: what Oldgeezer and Shirl said. How far to the right or left one holds the violin is often down to the player, and the player's anatomy. However, in my opinion, the closer you can comfortably hold it to the right the better* ...for two reasons: 1. Vision. 2. Hearing. I'd like to add 3. Angle of bow approach to the strings, but this is also dependent on the player's anatomy. However, its best to keep everything "right there". The violin, the left arm/hand, the head, the right arm/hand/bow. The farther left you go, the more the violin is "away" (especially the g string!) rather than "right there" and things must be done to compensate. Not ideal. *in the end, the violin will often generally still be pointing slightly to the left...my concern is that it doesn't point TOO FAR to the left. _______ 1. Vision. Being able to see down the entire violin is important. You can check the contact point of the bow to the strings (most important determinant of your sound). You can see your left hand form. You can use the technique of visual intonation (Bronstein) to help things out. You have your eyes, use them! Keep them open. 2. Hearing. The left ear is for enjoyment. The right ear is for objective analysis/criticism. The more you use the right ear the better...this means moving your head to balance the sound out of both ears. Now, the farther left you hold the violin, the farther left you must turn your head to achieve 1.Vision and 2. Hearing. Not so good. Heifetz stared straight down the violin. The example of Milstein was used...and it TOO shows a violinist that stared straight down the violin! Hahn stares straight down the violin. Most of the "greats" ALL generally stared straight down the violin. One exception to this "rule" though is Stern. Still though, I recommend doing it the way most of the greats did it...and that is having your head in such a position so that you CAN comfortably stare down the fingerboard at will. The bottom line when performing AND practicing is to be as objective and critical as possible. Ears and Eyes open, playing with your head, with just a bit of the heart leaking through to make things interesting...all the checks and balances are in place to ensure nothing goes wrong...and to make the instantaneous correction when something does go wrong. When you're not practicing nor performing...every now and then...by all means close your eyes, swing the violin around, and enjoy your playing for enjoyment's sake. ...not too long or you might develop some bad habits though
  5. there is a problem using the vast majority of chromatic tuners: 1. they are using the equal-temperament system for tuning...where we normally tune in perfect fifths. for us, this means that the d and the e strings will be 2 cents off, the g will be roughly 4 cents off...and the c (if present) will be 6 cents off!!! 2. they have a margin of error in their tuning which i find to be unacceptable...namely +/- 1 cent. this means that in the worst case scenario, 2 strings can be off by as much as 2 cents and the tuner will read that it is perfectly in tune!!! here are some solutions: a. buy a peterson tuner like the one henrypeacham suggested. using the pythagorean (all models) or the violin (in the later models) temperaments, the petersons can tune perfect fifths and have an accuracy of +/- 0.1 cents! in the very least try to buy a tuner that offers the support of different temperaments. b. if you have a PDA or Smartphone running windowsmobile, go to here http://www.zeta.org.au/~dvolkmer/tuneit.html and purchase the software. it too offers different temperaments, and the author claims accuracy to +/- 0.1 cents PLUS it has the added bonus of showing you the tuning of of all the overtones present...so you can make sure everything is locked in tune. I believe that the author also offers a desktop pc version, but i've only used the PDA version. at only $25 this is very cost-effective... c. if you have a tuner that shows the cents offset, but does not offer different tuning temperaments...you simply tune your A spot-on...then make sure your: d registers 2 cents flat g registers 4 cents flat c (if present) registers 6 cents flat you're still working within the limitation that the tuner probably has a bad margin of error, but it's a start. now, whenever this discussion has come up in the past, someone invariably argues that you cannot hear the difference of a cent here or there. to a trained ear this is simply untrue. the difference of 2 cents is very audible...try it on a peterson tuner sometime by playing an open-e and using the fine-tuner. when all the strings are perfectly locked into each other the violin really opens up a lot more. another argument is that by using bowspeed alone you can adjust the pitch of a string by a few cents. this is true... it is important to use a consistent bowspeed when tuning...and you should always tune to softer levels. anyways, like troutabout says, it is a jungle out there. with a well-calibrated ear, everything simply becomes out of tune. pianos, guitars, etc.etc. (their tuning is flawed to begin with because of the equal-temperament). and that's the key, a well-calibrated ear. some people think they have a good ear, but really it hasn't been calibrated to WHAT a perfect fifth really is. and so they consistently tune out-of-tune.
  6. The bow should play itself. Down-bows fall naturally through gravity...by using gravity. If you truly let a bow fall naturally...it will fall in a straight line, and it won't hop or skip. Hopping and skipping is often caused by too much finger/hand/wrist/lower-arm into the bow. You will find that by physically doing less, and letting the bow do more...you will gain the control that you seek. The answer is to always direct the bow with the upper arm. The upper arm is what is active...everything below it...the lower-arm/wrist/hand/fingers are passive and follow the upper-arm. watch these videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFwgPTAE7j8 and compare the angle of the upper-arm and fore-arm across the entire bow length...to the angle of your upper-arm and fore-arm as you draw the bow. generally the angle remains fixed until the upper portions of the bow. when the forearm is active you will find that the angle opens and closes much more (not good)...then when the upper-arm is active the forearm is passive (good).
  7. the phrasing is different if you play it as 3 64ths vs. a triplet. fwiw szigeti phrases it as the triplet.
  8. the 64ths are a triplet. good enough for auer, good enough for me.
  9. depending on how much you play every day...4 months is a LONNNNGGG time. if strings were free, i'd change mine once a month....even more than that depending on the situation. yes, strings are pricey....switching back and forth between different brands...that's even pricier. if visions work for you, stick with them.
  10. one added point...to me it sounds as if your new student is approaching intonation by a note-to-note/finger-to-finger basis...which simply does not work. here's something i wrote awhile back on another site: "scales are for building and securing your left hand frame. 1. the frame is built upon the distance between the 1st and 4th finger. you build your entire left hand shape and finger placement based on this distance. for galamian it was the 1st and 4th finger in octave position (like a->a) but it applies equally to the 1st and 4th finger on the same string...like a->d on the g-string. the middle fingers will fall into place naturally within this 1st-4th finger frame. galamian talks about the middle fingers being square or extended in shape...but for me, once you have the frame set it's either fingers together (half step) or fingers apart (whole step). 2. in every position you should have the first->fourth finger frame measured and set so that all the fingers are already covering their notes. The fingers can then be dropped immediately onto their assigned notes without any movement/search by the fingers. If the note is out of tune, then you haven't set your frame correctly. 3. then when you shift to another position, you set the correct frame and all the fingers should drop accordingly. conclusion: so in scales you're really focusing and practicing on position-to-position. frame-to-frame. for every position and every frame, all the fingers should already have their respective notes covered. you aren't thinking as much note-to-note... if you were analyzing microscopically it would be note-to-note within the context of your frame. application hypothetically, here's a scale thought-process. set frame for 1st position. play/drop all the fingers that are in the 1st position. shift and set frame for 3rd position. play/drop all the fingers that are in the 3rd position. shift and set frame for 5th postion. play/drop all the fingers that are in the 5th position. etc.etc.etc.etc. _________________ so scales help in building your frame...because you're practicing in all positions, all keys, all strings, all "standard" possibilities... disclaimer: of course scales can build up other things...like subdivisions of the beat...or right-hand bowing technique...but there are good etudes for practicing bowing technique. the frame is really the thing you're setting. of course depending on which string you're on, a finger might have to pull out of the frame position temporarily...but you'll always have a mental picture of where the frame is set. some people like to focus on the frame w/different fingers besides 1-4...especially if you're doing backward stretches with the 1st finger like in 10ths or for different applications like arpeggios. so be it. the key is that for every position, you have your fingers already covering their respective notes so that they can be dropped immediately onto them. _____________________ all the fingers should be kept down...on the string or just hovering a hair above the string....whether they are being used or not. as you're working your way up a scale, keep the previous fingers down and on the string when possible. so in a 1-2-3-4 fingering...all the fingers will be touching the string by the time you play the 4th finger. you're aiming for the bare minimum of finger motion. the movement should be almost imperceptible. generally move them with only the big base knuckles of the hand...as always keep everything loose and relaxed. in the end, your fingers will be covering their respective notes like you were playing the keys of a piano, or typing on a keyboard. it'll establish great security. other then that it'll take...dedicated practice and time...as always!"
  11. the best thumb position is no thumb position. the thumb should go where it wants NATURALLY. it should never be "fixed" to a specific location. the best way to facilitate this is to adopt a left-hand form where the thumb goes up and along the left side of the neck (vs. being fixed underneath the neck). from there the thumb will move all over the place (on its own) as vlngeek correctly described. in my experience, this translates to the thumb pointing back (in the direction of the scroll) when there is a stretch (such as playing 10ths)... the thumb moving more underneath the neck depending on the string/position...as vlngeek described...and the thumb sometimes moving more underneath the neck during certain chord passages where more "reach" is needed. in terms of specific positions and reference points...as it relates to tuning....it is the distance of the 1st to the 4th finger that is the constant "reference point"...and the practice of scales is to get that distance firmly implanted into muscle memory. would i keep the thumb fixed opposite the second finger such as your student is doing? no. would i use the *thumb* as a reference point? no.
  12. chords are more than just 2+2. 1+3, 2+2, 3+1, 1+1+1+1, 1+1+2, 4... some are played bottom->top, others top->bottom in bach you need to find the note in the chord that represents the predominant melody and bring it out. now correctly judging which note that would be...that's the real trick. this often is not the top note. so you'll play the entire chord and then go back to a different note in the chord...before finishing the chord. bach is best played vertically to bring out the voicings. after you achieve this vertical separation of the voicings...you can add the horizontal melodic movement in your playing. as far as technical challenges of playing chords go...there is nothing strenuous about playing them. the harder you work, the more counteractive the effort becomes... learn the proper frame positions, keep your fingers down always...and chords will end up being straightforward.
  13. classical improvisation actually isn't a contradiction. there was a time when improvisation was actually part of the recital program. chopin. beethoven. etc. etc. etc.
  14. Mommag and Rutherford...you both have a new private message!
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