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Everything posted by Oldbear

  1. There are many exotic woods with very beautiful coloration and grain patterns that could produce a very beautiful looking instrument if tasefully selected. Making such an instrument might be a worthwhile endeavor as a sort of artistic expression and perhaps might be valued by some collectors for it's sheer beauty even though it might not rank with the best tone-wise.
  2. I caught the re-play this afternoon. It's the first time I've "seen" him play. I was very impressed and enjoyed the whole performance immensly. I understand Bell is in his 30's so when I tuned in the show I didn't recognize him because the "kid" that was playing looked 17-18 to me. Big surprise for me when I finally realized it was he.
  3. I think all those who helped make it should have the right to play it before it is sold or given away. Maybe you could just retrace the circuit it made being built in reverse. It would real nice if someone with professional level ability could record a few pieces on some studio grade recording equipment. Maybe a number of people could record and we could put together a CD. Otherwise, once it is gone, we'd have nothing left but memories.
  4. Very handsome! But now, the moment of truth! What does it sound like?
  5. Ha ha ha ha! You're kidding, right? Man, I can't even come close. Therefore I conclude it's a stupid thing to try to do. Ha ha ha ha ....
  6. Did you read this thread? It has pictures of a cast of Paganini's hand: http://fingerboard.maestronet.com/ubb/Foru...TML/006554.html
  7. Just a few observations here, in case they are helpful: Too much caffene can induce shakiness. Do you drink much coffee or soft drinks? A short period of exercise before playing might help. I refer to mild stretching and limbering-up type of excercise, not anything strenuous which might actually increase shakiness. I think tremors are caused by an inability to keep a perfect balance between the tension of opposing muscles. To me it seems to be most noticible at very low muscle tension which, unfortunately, is where most violin playing is done. Perhaps by slightly increasing tension in your fingers and/or arms you might bring it under control. Another thought is to focus your attention to some other part of your playing. For example if you're left hand is giving you trouble, a mental focus on your bowing might help.
  8. I think the biggest thing, and probably the easiest, is (as lwl pointed out) to look like you're enjoying what you're doing but you don't need to dance all over the stage to do that. Your facial expression is probably most important. Smile! I give this case in point: A few months ago I was channel surfing on the TV and came across some Irish group performing. There were the usual complement of instruments, a fiddle, a guitar, etc. Seated to the side was a young lady (looked in her 20's) playing one of those little Irish button-type accordians. The music was good & I was enjoying it, but when it came her turn to solo, there was an immediate transformation in the mood. Suddenly it was not just good, it was riveting. Although her playing was astoundingly good, (she played everything on her accordian that the fiddler could and with lightning speed and flawless technique) it was her facial expression that stole the whole show. It was an expression of sheer joy that radiated out of her smile like a 1.8 giga-watt lighthouse beacon! She seemed to be saying "Wow! Listen to this! I can't believe I'm playing this!" You just couldn't help but feel her enthusiasm and joy. It was downright contagious. And she accomplished this without ever getting up out of her chair for the whole show. Anyway the show ended without announcing who she was. I did a little snooping around the internet and found out it was Sharon Shannon. http://www.irishmusicweb.ie/texts/shan.html and http://www.dreamwater.org/music/markm37/photos.htm
  9. Does anyone know when the last previously-unknown genuine Strad was discovered?
  10. I am really amazed at the number of different things that contribute to the sound of a violin. Of course there are the many physical things about the violin itself (which have been enumerated many times on this board), and the bow, but there are so many factors external to the instrument. What are the atmospheric conditions, temperature, humidiy, barometric pressure? Sound waves behave significantly differently under different conditions. Are you playing indoors or outdoors? What are the characteristics of the room? Acoustically reflective or "dead?" Large or small? How much ambient noise is there? Are you playing late at night when "all is quiet" or during the day? Is there "street noise" filtering in? is your air conditioner or furnace on, your computer whirring nearby, children playing in the next room? What kind of mood are you in? Tense or relaxed, fresh or weary, joyful, sad, irritated? It really amazes me that some times I pick up my violin and it sounds great right off the bat while other times it seems to take 10 minutes to "warm up." (Is it the violin that is warming up or is it my playing, or is it my "ear" that is making psychological adjustments to the sound?) Other times it seems to sound bad no matter how long I play. I find those times quite irritating and my vexation seems to grow the longer I play. Perhaps it was my frame of mind when I started. I think all of the above things affect every musical instrument or even recording, but I must say the violin seems extremely sensitive to them.
  11. I tried cleaning my bow with alcohol once because I wanted to try a new type of rosin and wanted to remove as much of the old as possible. I too came up with a very sticky mess with all the hairs sticking together after the alcohol evaporated. In the end, I had to remove the frog and submerge all of the hair in a small dish of alcohol, rinse under the tap, submerge in a new dish of alcohol, rinse, etc using a whole pint of alcohol, until I was satisfied that all of the rosin had been removed. I was a little worried that I might be ruining the hair, but it seems to have survived ok.
  12. I enjoyed the story thoroughly. Thanks for posting it. It certainly captures the spirit of gothic horror and is an entertaining look back at the popular genre of the day, dripping as it does with Victorian literary excess and those interminable references to Greek mythology so favored by 19th century writers. I would include it as a vintage "classic." It is interesting to surmise that Madame Blatavsky may not have been merely writing fiction for our entertainment. She may have believed that such a story could have actually happened. Madame Blatavsky founded a sort of cult called "Theosophy" which seems to want to blend ancient occult writings and religions with "scientific" thought. She evidently was a highly charismatic woman who enjoyed much popularity as a "spiritualist" in her day. Her "Theosophist Society" seems to be going strong even today, and she still has a cadre of loyal followers, although she has been denounced by many as a con-woman extraodrinaire.
  13. Pirastro's Web site says they're free to music schools, but it doesn't say "only". I presume you didn't pretend to be one? Well, I sent in a request too. Can't beat the price and it doesn't cost anything to ask.
  14. Muon - Quite to the contrary! You use the word "alter" as though you thought I was suggesting mixing in some electric guitars or something. If you insist on "original form" then I suppose one should only listen to them on wind-up Victrolas with cactus needles? The object with digital resoration is to extract as much of the music as possible and filter out the dross. The object is not to duplicate the sound of an early 78 record player, but to reproduce the performance as much as possible. 78 records and even other older formats often had a much higher quality of sound embedded in them that was never heard in their day because of the inadequacies of the playback systems. Modern techniques can often recover much of this sound, even though the folks who made the records never dreamed it was there. I suppose it is fun, for the nostalgia of it, to listen to the scratchy sound but there is nothing sacrosanct about it. Joachim or Auer certainly didn't have a back-up musician making scratches and pops when they performed! I wish they had expended some effort at restoration on this CD collection. ".....original form, enabling you to listen to the maker's intended output." Why do we give a hoot what the record maker intended? We want to listen to what the performer played as closely as it might have sounded had we been there at the time. [This message has been edited by Oldbear (edited 07-24-2001).]
  15. I listened to many of the samples at the link listed above. I am disappointed that they didn't make an attempt to electronicly clean up the sound on these old recordings. I am sure much of the scratchiness could be digitally removed and the fidelity much improved through proper equalization. Many of them are of such poor quality I found it hard to really enjoy them even though I knew the greatness of the playing hidden underneath the static. I suppose there are some "purists" who would argue that digitally "restoring" the recordings would somehow defile them but I think that's nonsense. If you found an old 78 record that was covered with dust, wouldn't you clean off the dust before trying to play it? Then why not clean up the acoustic "dust" on these recordings?
  16. Hmmmm.... Wallace....isn't that a Scottish name? You're not knocking your heritage are you?
  17. According to the following link, the song was originally composed in 4/4 time but I have frequently heard it played in cut time with a kind of lilt to it. I personally never have heard it played as a waltz, but I can see where it might be done. http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Hills/3789/Matilda.html I remember the sad and chilling end-of-the-world movie "On the Beach" with Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, & Fred Astair, used this tune as it's theme music. They played it slowly and wistfully. It really enhanced the sadness of the movie.
  18. By a coincidence, "A day at the Races" was on television last night. Remembering this thread, I watched the piano scene carefully. It WAS extremly funny! The whole piano literally disintegrates as Harpo is plays it, with keys flying off like bullets and parts falling off. Finally, when the piano is reduced to a heap of rubble, he wades into it and lifts the harp up and begins to play. The piano is definitely a fake piano and the harp is definitly not a real piano harp. There are no double and triple sets of strings like on a real piano harp and the strings are much wider apart and fewer in number. Also he handles it with much more ease than he could possibley do with a piano harp. I don't even think he would be able to lift a piano harp. I had to disassemble an old beat-up upright piano once to cart it off to the junkyard. With all of the wood removed, it took two of us to leverage it up into a pick-up and it nearly broke our backs. The harp that Harpo used for this sequence was probably specially made to look like it came from a piano and whether he actually played it or just "finger synched" it, I couldn't tell. It LOOKED like he was playing it. Very funny though.
  19. Wow! Quick, where is Joshua Bell playing next!
  20. Wow! I would be very worried. First, that mosture can't be doing your violin any good. Secondly, your car must have been considerably colder than your house, so that the dew point inside your violin case was reached. Although I'm not speaking as an expert, I would think that the rapid temperature change your violin experienced would be very detrimental to it. It would seem sensible to try to keep your car about the same temperature as your house. I think most folks tend to crank up their car air conditioners much more than in their homes. You might want to adjust your air conditioner to a less cold setting and be sure your violin is not placed where cold air can blow directly on it. If you have NO air conditioning in your house, then you would probaly want to use little or no air conditioning in your car. Of course if your destination has a temperature that is very different from your home, then you have a problem with no really good solution.
  21. Oldbear

    Tin Fiddle

    I stumbled across this tin fiddle on the web today. Thought you all might find it interesting. http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Museum/Fol.../tinfiddle.html
  22. It,s been my observation that dogs don't howl when they are in pain or are experiencing something unpleasant. In these cases, I've only heard them make wimpering or whining sounds. When they lift their head up high and howl, I think they are simply responding to something primeval. They do it when they hear a fire engine or ambulance go by, or when other dogs in the neighborhood begin to howl. I think it's a reversion to the same behavior we find in wolves and coyotes that howl in the night, especially under a full moon. For them, its some kind of communication, though just what it is, I couldn't say. Shaggy probably doesn't know why he does it, it's just some primitive urge from within. I really don't think he's in pain or distressed. All he knows is that someone else is howling (you, on your violin) so he should howl too. It probably feels good to him. Maybe he thinks you two are performing a fine duet. I agree with the others who say that in time he may stop doing it. Until then, you'll probably have to keep him out of your practice room when playing. Say, have you ever tried "howling" with him? I mean, try finding his pitch and see how closely you can imitate him on your violin. When he howls, andswer back on your violin, each of you taking the "lead" for a spell. What great fun! I'll bet your wife would soon begin howling too!
  23. Looks like they have changed from sharmusic.com to sharmusic.net. The old sharmusic.com immediately transfers you to the 10-digit address and then immediately to http://www.sharmusic.net/home.htm If it was not functioning correctly yesterday, both the sharmusic.com and the sharmusic.net seem to be working now. OOoops! spoke to soon. The link above only gets you their intro page. Trying to get past that gives an apology page - "system is down....etc." Guess we'll have to wait. [This message has been edited by Oldbear (edited 06-28-2001).]
  24. If you have a Gibson F-5 for $1,200, I'll buy it, pay the freight, and send you a thank-you card!
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