DR. S

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About DR. S

  • Rank
    Enthusiast
  • Birthday 01/10/1959

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  • Gender
    Male
  • 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. DR. S

    violin models - Strad, Amati, Guarneri

    Hard to just say what is an Amati like - lots of Amatis in that line over a pretty long period. The earlier Amatis are sweet and rich, but not very powerful. Nicolo Amati on the other hand is often credited with the development of the patterns, techniques, and training that allowed Strad and Guarnieri Del Gesu, (and many others) to do what they did. And his instruments were more powerful. Strad and his workshop pretty much 'perfected' the instrument and very consistently produced great instruments. Guarnieri Del Gesu produced a few that are often considered among the greatest concert instruments ever produced (such as the Cannon that Paganini used), but they were not as consistently great as Strads and some are notoriously hard to play (i.e. the Cannon). Earlier Guarnieris were more like Amatis - rich, warm, dark, but not powerful. As far as the best moderns and old Italians compare, I think it is true that if you blindfolded someone and played for them, they may not be able to tell you which is which, however, if you handed them the instruments to play, still blindfolded, most of the time they would be able to tell which is which quite easily. It may simply be the effects of age, many of today's instruments, in a couple of hundred years, may develop just as good of a feel and nuance as the best old Italians (or French) violins have today.
  2. DR. S

    Methods to increase speed and quickness

    The 'fast practice' video: Similar to my 'riff method', a great approach to learning each riff. I like it. However, I think if the passage gets long enough you still have to break it up mentally into a sequence of passages.
  3. DR. S

    Opinions on this label

    Generally the neck reset is due to modernization work, and indicates that the instruments was built before they integrated that feature into new instruments. But since I am not an expert (though I have been told by quite a few experts of this fact), I will refrain in the future of making personal observations about anything but the playing qualities. I'll let the experts sort it out.
  4. DR. S

    Opinions on this label

    None of the 'big dogs' have agreed to sign off on an opinion (that pesky liability thing when they can't be close to 100% sure), but all I can say is that Mirecourt mid-19th century is not holding up to their observations and opinions. Much older and further south seem to be a consensus so far, from what I am hearing. Possibly something experimental - it is a few mms longer than standard. Don't know how much the Dendro is costing. None of my business - not asking. I'm just as curious and fascinated as anyone. I have no opinion on anything except how good it is as a playing instrument.
  5. DR. S

    Opinions on this label

    Interesting developments, stay tuned.
  6. DR. S

    Opinions on this label

    I love surprises ;-)
  7. Years ago there was this amazing Music Store, Patelson and Sons in Manhattan across the street behind Carnegie Hall. They sold individual parts to mush of the published Orchestral music. When I was a student, I bought dozens of parts for standard orchestral repertoire compositions. It was great to be able to prepare for auditions and/or learn music for upcoming concerts using the same publication that would be placed in front of you. Patelson's closed some years back and I was wondering if anyone knew of any other music houses that also sell published copies of orchestral music. I am aware of IMSLP and sometimes that works, but often what they have is a non-standard publication or something someone created themselves on Finale or something like that, plus it is shrunk down to fit an A sized sheet, so I'd prefer an actual publishing house copy. I am also aware of the New York Philharmonic site were bowed copies of a great deal of music is made available as a public resource, but again, not quite the same as a nice fresh full sized part.
  8. DR. S

    Opinions on this label

    Dendro is in work. Having the instrument apart and closely looking it over centimeter by centimeter. No, it was not antiqued. The neck has been reset and re-angled, making it at least 200 years old. Much of the wear could only have occurred over many many years and are not things one would have done to make it look old. I won't argue about it being French or Italian, but if it is newer than early 18th century, I WILL be surprised. And I will reiterate, to me, this is all nothing more than and intellectual Exercise. I can accept whatever the ultimate answer is. I am playing on a world class playing instrument whether it was made by Nicolo Amati in 1669 or a factory Roth instrument made in 1950. Not only in how it sounds, but how it plays and responds. My Markneukirkin Theo Glaesel viola will never be worth more than 5-7K, but side by side its sound and sonority outshines every viola I have ever come In contact with, even using impartial judges not knowing which instrument was being played. But unlike this violin, my viola does not quite have that feel of an old Italian.
  9. DR. S

    Methods to increase speed and quickness

    I would like to add, because I failed to mention it before, that I agree very much with Spelman about staying relaxed. Watch the best violinists and they just never seem to work hard at all. It's quite infuriating actually ;-). I saw a quote from Milstein once (I think it was him), where someone asked him what the hardest passage was he had ever played, and his response was "If I can play it, it is not hard." And Milstein could play FAST!
  10. DR. S

    Opinions on this label

    New Info, the owner just discovered tucked away in his paperwork, that the violin was identified as French, 1730. Having a Dendro done. Stay tuned . . .
  11. DR. S

    Morey Amsterdam’s cello

    He apparently never talked about his cello specifically in any interview or biographical piece. I wanted to know this too, but can find nothing. Even looked for info on a possible auction of his cello. If you can find contact info of a family member perhaps they would be kind enough to respond.
  12. DR. S

    Test drive with one of my violas.

    Never seen that much of a twist from tuning.
  13. DR. S

    Methods to increase speed and quickness

    Scoiattola - much of what you have said is dependent on hand size. On viola I do much like you say, the 2nd finger is the nominal position and I actually reach back a bit for 1st finger, this allow me to more easily reach the 4th finger stops. I also hold my hand more square to the instrument on viola, somewhere between cello and violin. I have a large (wide) hand but a relatively short 4th finger. On violin, 1st finger is the base as I have no issues with reach. I think the 1st finger as the base is best if your physical attributes allow it. I will relax the unused fingers on the string, but never lift. To build speed, I think of grabbing 'handfuls of notes', not just putting each finger in place for each note as they come. Also think about hand position and intervals of the fingers to get the fingers in place earlier. Think of a guitarist who has to put the entire chord down at once, then all you have to do is manage the bow to strike the notes at the correct time. Of course it is never that straight forward, but it can help with many passages. Yes slow practice definitely helps to ingrain the notes into your head and fingers, but you must play it slowly in the same manner that you would play it fast, such as putting multiple fingers in place ahead of time, as described above and with the same bow articulation - the bow is part of the 'choreography' of the passage. To build up to speed, break it down into manageable pieces - or 'sound bites' or 'riffs' if you will and work each one up to speed (actually above speed - when you perform, you want to feel it is comfortable), then practice connecting each part, so that when you play it is not a progression of single notes, but a progression of 'riffs' so that the mind does not have work so hard to keep up.
  14. DR. S

    Test drive with one of my violas.

    Is there a twist to the bridge? What does that do? Have you experimented with David Rivinus' bridge design?
  15. DR. S

    Opinions on this label

    Thank you everyone for your input.