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About DR. S

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  • Birthday 01/10/1959

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  • Location
    North Central Texas, USA
  • Interests
    Supporting the arts. When I have time I love to golf, walk/hike/camp, and travel.

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  1. I have been way for many years

    I remember you well - and HKV before he got booted off. He was piece of work, but have to admit, it was a lot more entertaining when he was on here. I only check in here about 3-4 times a year. Same old stuff, so I rarely post anymore.
  2. Forgotten Viola repertoire

    I'd say most of the viola repertoire - aside from the Bartok Concerto is forgotten and rarely played in public. It's too bad. I think in my lifetime I have had live opportunities to hear the Bartok maybe 4-5 times, the Walton once. And that is it. I think they played the Piston concerto on the local classical station once and Hindemith's der Schwanenderer once (which is such a beautiful work - Hindemith could only compose beautiful works for the viola it seems).
  3. There are only 4 variable. 1. Bow Speed, 2. Bow Pressure 3. Sounding point (where on the string the bow makes contact) 4. How much hair is in contact with the string - bow angle as held in the hand. Of course this assumes you have mastered pulling a relatively straight bow, and are not doing anything dumb with rosin (don't over rosin, just as much as you need - I only rosin up every few times I play, a little more as my hair wears out), and have serviceable hair on the stick - a cake of rosin will last years and years. I've never come close to using one us - it goes old well before that happens - and I play a lot. Play with these variables until you get the best sound possible. The one bit of advice or visualization tool that did it for me was a concept, when pulling or pushing the bow, best described as the feeling of 'pulling taffy' - to feel a smooth but constant resistance. Practice pulling the bow closer and closer to the bridge, listening to how it affects the sound - it gets more focused, but there is a point where it becomes harsh, you want to to that limit to get the best projections, but back off for warmth and a fluffier tone. You cannot play 'lazy' and have a great tone, you must always be 'working the sound - constantly adjusting these variable, but you can have such a pallet of colors to use once you get the hang of it, only the human voice is more expressive.
  4. Milstein's bow technique

    I believe the galamian hold is more versatile and less stressfull in general as it brings in more wrist and takes stress of the arm, so it is better for an Orchestra musician to avoid repetitive motion injuries. A soloist csn use a Russian grip to goid effect because it is grest for projecting, it sets up for a lsrge tone. But there are plenty of big tone soloists who use the Galamian Grip, Perlman, Zuckerman to name two. A user of the Galamian grio can certainly roll the bow flat, it certainly was one of the tone varianles I leatned go use.
  5. Paganini Biography

    To make things worse, he was somewhat secretive - trade secrets you know. Too bad, it would be a fascinating story I bet. Admired by all, known by few.
  6. Bad days

    We all have up and down days, in any endeavor. Natural biorhythms, nutrition, sleep, etc. However, working through these presents an opportunity to make a breakthrough. Often the most frustrating days are those right before a breakthrough.
  7. Schradiek Exercises. Excellent fluency exercises. And yes scales and arpeggios, but scale study needs to be systematic. Stand in front of a mirror and pull straight bows over and over and over. Get a good teacher. Do NOT get a bad teacher. A good teacher can lay out a plan, tell you what they want to fix with your technique and why (and why the technique they teach works). They should always be pushing towards relaxation and low stress positions. Playing the violin is very easy. Learning how to play easily is very hard. Look for a teacher who plays effortlessly and also has a good background in who they studied with.
  8. Theo Glaesel, Markneukirchen Germany, 1965. This was one of a group of instruments he made specifically for William Moennig and Sons to sell in their shop in Philadelphia. 16 5/8ths inches. Bought it around 1974, as an advanced student instrument. But struck gold on it. I tried several times to find something better, but even Jacque Francais in New York could not show many an instrument that had a superior sound or sonority, though a few very old and expensive violas were a little smoother and easier to play, but paled next to this instrument in projection and richness. Here is a couple of old clips with a pretty good sample of this viola. http://www.fortestrings.com/images/32_-_Track_32.mp3 , http://www.fortestrings.com/images/42_-_Track_42.mp3 These were not enhances in any way.
  9. To get a decent instrument in your price range, you have to get lucky. Used market or Chinese market, and you'll have to be patient. I lucked into a professional/solo quality viola for $1500, but that was in 1975!!! And it is of a relatively unknown maker so it will never have a value indicative of it's playing quality. That is the good and bad about instrument prices - pedigree is the most important aspect of it's value - generally, instruments from makers or makers from places that have good reputations are valued higher - irrespective of how well the individual instrument sounds/plays. I have a $4000 (at least that is what I payed for it) violin from a totally unknown maker, that can play circles around 6 digit priced violins I have played on, and while it is good, I have played on many better violins in the 5 - 30K price range. I have never played on a viola that is better than my $1500 instrument, though I'm sure they exist.
  10. Scratching new rosin? ummmm.......?

    I was familiar with the Salchow name from my time in New York - he did some work on my bows. I tried some of his bows but nothing struck me as special about them - at least not for me - but he had a good reputation. There is bow maker here in Texas, Mike Sheriff, who now has his own rosin formulation he sells, supposedly he spent many years refining his recipe. I've tried it (a friend has a cake), seems fine, but again, nothing that made me say 'wow', and it is somewhat expensive.
  11. Viola test drive.

    I detest Eva Pirazzi's - at least for my viola, but I paid so much for them that I kept them on my instrument for full year (thus the depth of my hatred). I knew that what I did not like about them probably did not project past my own ears. I found them annoyingly tinny under my ear. But people always told me my instrument sounded as good as always with them on it. However, that being said, I certainly would not refuse to try out an instrument because of the strings it has. Maybe he has an endorsement contract with another brand of string? Did he have a string logo on the back of his tux? :-P
  12. Scratching new rosin? ummmm.......?

    Been playing for over 50 years. I have never scratched my Rosin, nor have I had any problem with a 'coating' on a new cake of rosin. I have never replaced a rosin due to aging. In fact, up to about 15 years ago I had only gone through about 3 cakes of rosin - good ol' cheap Hidersine - and only replaced a cake because they got broken. I use very little rosin, even when I played many hours each day, every day, I only rosined every few days, unless my bow hair was getting old - though I tend to need rehairs due to loss of hair/breakage rather than wearing it out - I'm a pretty aggressive player. I wear my cakes down evenly, constantly rotating the cake so my hair will always lie flat on the cake and get and even coat. After I rosin my bow, I always run it over a rag first to get the excess off. Starting about 15 years ago, I decided, just for kicks, to try some other brands (found some I didn't like - Dominant - waxy - but nothing that made me sound like Zucherman either.) Most did what they are supposed to do quite well. I now keep three active cakes of Rosin, one in each case (a violin, viola, and violin/viola) Hidersine, Salchow, and another brand I can't recall at this time. No preference for one over the other even with regards to violin or viola.
  13. Okay, I know that every instrument responds to strings differently, so no one can tell me what strings to use. My question is pretty specific. I need to find an e-string that plays harmonics more easily than what I have now. Really having trouble - it is not a technique issue, I play harmonics just fine on my viola and the lower strings on my violins, but fingered harmonics on my e-string are giving me fits. I am going to try a bunch of e-strings to see if it fixes the problem, but there are so many out there. So help me put together a list of 5-6 e-strings that I can try that would give me the best chance of finding the right one. Especially those of you that have already done some experimenting. My violin is a modern - 1969. Big sound, very even tone across the range, but a bit on the heavy side.
  14. "Balance, Purity, and Simplicity"

    I think what he calls sentimentalism, I would call musicianship.
  15. Viola test drive.

    Amazing sounding instrument Manfio. Good work. And I don't praise violas easily.