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Posts posted by DR. S

  1. What's wrong with childish? Sometimes children have the better view of the world. I am no expert, but I find Paganini's music often beautiful and operatic, although I would never elevate it the level of Beethoven or Brahms (sorry, I worship at the alter of Beethoven), I would also never label it bubblegum music either.

    I think HKV has made the main point, that no matter what the actual facts are about who developed what, it is because of Paganini that the approach to violin playing changed. I would challenge HKV that Paganini was actually the first modern violinst. I also bet that any Paganini contemporary "HKVs" hated Paganini and his 'modern' style of playing.

    [This message has been edited by DR. S (edited 02-15-2001).]

  2. The man who made my violin did not do it for a living so had the luxury of taking many years to complete an instrument. After he constructed the instrument, he sealed it with some kind of oil and then left it unvarnished for several years. The Oil and the wood oxidized,turning a rich golden yellow, then he varnished it. It is the deepest most beautiful golden color. This color change you are noticing may be a similar process, an oxidation of a base coat or even the varnish itself. Interested to see what some of our more experienced makers say.

    [This message has been edited by DR. S (edited 02-15-2001).]

  3. Very Understandable Shennie. Someone mentioned The Shepard School at Rice. I almost went there. Rice is a very good school and a good thing for your son is that this school is organized into kind of fraternal houses, each student is assigned one upon entering. No Fraternities or Sororities are allowed and this House becomes the students family and support group. It really works out quite well as the different Houses compete in different endeavors throughout the year. This might be a good experience for your son.

    Of course, HKV is right. This information is really for him as well as you.

  4. Why are you not considering Juilliard or Curtis? Juiliard's academics are administered by Columbia and I had some of the best teachers I ever encountered there. True that education is totally involved in the arts and literature, but it is mind expanding, and none of it gets in the way with any further education your son may want to gain. However, being from an area that has very little reputation for spawning great artists, haveing Juilliard on ,my resume' allowed me to never be turned down for an audition for any orchestra anywhere. I know other very accomplished musicians who have had terrible problems getting good auditions. I found it very stimulating and am very glad I did it even though I eventually got out of music as a profession. This was the most valuable educational experience of my life. It will also open the door to places like Yale and Harvard for graduate work.

  5. My first and middle Initials are D and R. All my life people have picked up on this and jokingly call me "Doctor". I sometimes want to change it because I don't want to give anyone the wrong impression. S is my last name initial.

    I was originally Violator, which is a funny name given to violists by a teacher I once had, but I thought that made me sound like some kind of Rap "Artist". Besides, I now consider myself more a violinist although all my formal training was as a Violist.

    [This message has been edited by DR. S (edited 02-12-2001).]

  6. Although I probably will not be able to make it, I was thinking about who I would be most interested in meeting, Many interestin personalities have developed in these postings. Although my posting is fairly rare these days due to limted time, I do occasionaly browse through some of the more interesing posts. I think that I'd look forward most to meeting of course HKV, but after that, Donuel, Theresa, Anne, but there are so many others.

  7. I remember precisely, I was 8 years old and at my best friends house. The Dad was an ardent amateur violinist and so there were instruments laying all over the house and classical music always on the stereo. I thought they were neat, but the one event I really remember was when he put on a recording of Jasha Heifetz playing the Mendelsohn Concerto. I was so impressed I had to learn to play, but having to be different, I took up VIOLA. Well, after 30 years, I finally realized that the Violin is my true intrument of passion, so thats what I play most now.

  8. I generally agree with the tone of this thread. I'm surprised the hard core period instrumentalists haven't come the defense of your teacher.

    A modern instrument and bow set up is more versatile than a period instrument - True the side by side tones are a bit different, but almost any effect you can do on a period instrument, you can recreate on a modern intrument - and then so much more. Mimicking the sound of a period instrument is a great skill to have.

    Also, much if not most baroque and rennaisance music was not really necessarily written for any specific instrumentation except what they happened to have available. Many tunes can be found with many different istrumentations. Also, one can find many examples of obvious frustration with instrumental limitations posed by period instruments (especially keyboard and wind instrument range limitations) as can be seen in chopped runs or displaced octaves in the middle of a passage.

    Here's an observation that I put out there for what it's worth. Among the many of the most ardent period instrumentalists I know, I find that the more they get into it, the more they lose their ability to play in modern ensembles. Many stop using any audible vibrato, even for romantic pieces, don't like to play loud, and often act as if any style of playing other than their's is the height of distaste. Frankly,I find a Bach Chacone or Partita played in a romantic style, such as Milstein or Kreizler is far more interesting and musical than as played in a 'period' style on a period instrument. Also, If I want to hear a Mozart or Beethoven sonata played on a period instrument, I'll go listen to the kid next door practice it on the cheap used spinnet his parents bought him, the sound is about the same. I believe that if Beethoven or Mozart had heard a modern Grand, they'd have tossed their fortepiano or whatever in about 3 seconds. I bet the same would be true of a modern violin and Vivaldi or Bach. Ever wonder why the Organ was the king of istruments, it was by far the most powerful, brilliant and versatile instrument in existence.

  9. Okay, here's my brain storm (more like a gentle. reeze and a sprinkler, but...) Is there a restaurant that has a large banquet room that could be reserved, that has an area that could be used to play in (such as the space a live band would et up on Friday nights. All attending could eat drink, play and generally make merry no matter the weather.

    Who knows New York well enough to do something like this? Should not be expensive, many restaurants would be happy to get a crowd in on Sunday Afternoon.

    By the way, anyone have access to an almanac, what is the statistical probability of rain the end of June?

  10. I am actually thinking that I'd love to make this get together. Haven't been to New York since I left School in 1981. The W 72nd Central Park Idea is best by me, I lived just 1/2 block from there, that's where the Dakota is, we can all pay our respects to John Lennon who was shot just outside the Dakota on 72nd. There are some wonderful open fields near there that would be ideal on a beautiful New York Summer Day.

  11. StringHappy,

    Here is the advice from one who when through what you are going through and finally (after 4 years of Music School) switched to Engineering.

    1. Playing in a major Orchestra is a really good job, You actually work about 20 hours a week (not including practicing). Many that I know have side hobbies or even businesses and do very well financially - Dallas and Houston are paying in the 70s now. So studiy your orchestra repertoire very seriously.

    2. Being associated with a University doesn't pay quite as well but can be very satisfying and has more varied opportunities career-wise and in where you live. I know people who freelance, but to make a good living you must be in a pretty big market. Of course, if your imaginative, resourcefull and can sell yourself well, who knows what you can come up with. Suzuki schools, private studios, etc. are all possibilites. Then there are the studio musicians - good pay, but not so interesting music most of the studio musicians mainly New York, L.A. and Nashville.

    The bright side is that if you decide to do something else topay the rent, you can always continue to play and enjoy your instrument.

  12. I agree that canals and hydraulic pumps would make moving large stones etc. easier, but this program gave very strong evidence that a straightforward approach to building the Pyramids (or erecting the monoliths is far from a ridiculous prospect.

    I certainly have much less knowledge about this stuff than you, and am not even arguing against any particular theory but it is my understanding that there are evidences of ramps in many building sights throughout Egypt. There is a theorem - I can't pull the name of it out of my cobwebs - but it staes something like this - If there are several possibilities, usually the simplest one is the correct one, The more they learn about Physics, it seems the more this holds true - perhaps Einstein was right about his Unity Theory - everything inthe universe will eventally boil down to one ore a very few guiding principles. (again cobwebs, sorry if I didn't get that quite right).

  13. Ah vibrato! This is a subject of opinion, so here's mine, plus some exercises for learning. Finger and bow vibrato are advanced techniques and are a great addition to the bag of tricks, but if you are just learning, your choices are really between arm and wrist (or hand) vibrato. All vibrato, to be fluid and smooth, requires a relaxed hand, the fingers must be able to flex back and forth to roll the fingertip on the string with loose finger joints. I use wrist vibrato because it actually promotes relaxation whereas I find arm vibrato promotes tension as it used the larger arm and back muscles, however, as you near maximum extension in double stops, it is the only way to vibrate (unless your HKV).

    Wrist vibrato can be best described in its most basic "feel" as a back and forth 'waving' motion of the hand. To learn this, start it as a rhythmic pattern, with a metronome, raising and lowering the pitch around the in-tune pitch in a slow steady rhythm. Absolutely refuse to allow yourself to get tense. This is the key. Slowly speed up the pace as you learn to stay relaxed. For me vibrato keeps me relaxed and my left hand never ever gets tired. Learn to do it fast and compact and slow and wide and every combination inbetween. But approach it methodically and patiently. Some people learn it in a month, others take much longer. But this method works well.

    One caveat - once you have learned the motions, do not use a rhythmic vibrato, this sounds weird, it needs to ebb and flow with the musical line.

    You may find an arm vibrato is faster to learn, but for me persevering for the good wrist vibrato paid off in spades.

    [This message has been edited by DR. S (edited 01-24-2001).]

  14. Cool. I am ceaselessly amazed at many peoples reluctance to give the human mind the credit it deserves. By the way, I have been fascinated by the Pyramid-Pump concept, another example of the creativity and inventiveness of the human brain, Now this is public works!

    BTW, did you see the PBS This Old House/Nova program where they actually tried to build a pyramid - the answer, heck yes man could have built them, no problem, even with the crude instrument they were believed to have used. And even after allowing some academics ridiculus theories to side track them from the straightforward process they obviously used (Ramps and Ropes basically).

  15. If price was not a factor, I'd have one custom made with a Kevlar outer shell, with a 'floating' steel,titanium or possibly composite instrument protective crushproof frame, with a custom molded, well padded instrument inset, silk lined of course. The interior frame would be 'floated in a redwood frame that is one of the best shock absorbing materials known to man. The ultimate case. It would have a single piano hinge with as strong a locking latch I could find. I could design it if there was a market.

    It would not necessarily be heavy as all these materials (except steel are quite light). But it would not be the lightest case either. It would be a little thicker than the average case to provide crush room between the outer shell and inner frame.

    [This message has been edited by DR. S (edited 01-24-2001).]

  16. Sure if someone offered me some ridiculous sum for them.. However my situation is I have a very good viola and violin that will never be worth a lot. The violin was made by a friend of mine (now deceased) and the viola I've had since I was 15 and I love it. I have decided that when the time comes - a long time from now, I will give them to someone who will use, care for, and appreciate them with the understanding that they in turn will do the same.

  17. Be sure and consider where the school is located. The big city schools ofFer you more opportunities outside the school to perform and be exposed to great musical experiences, but the smaller schools MAY offer you a much better chance to take part in a Master Class, play concertos,and get more personal attention. In Texas (TCU) I got to be in 4 or 5 master classes with 1st tier artists, however, at Juilliard I had no such opportunity, however, the environment of Juilliard was far more rich and I am sure it was better for me.

    SMU in Dallas (Meadows School of Music) has a music Department that is receiving a lot of attention and is being actively grown. Don't discount North Texas University in Denton, they churn out a lot of really good musicians and their orchestra is always great.

    The biggies (Juilliard, Eastman etc) will have the largest foreign population, so you are more likely to find some fellow countrymen there, and to my surprise, Juilliard was not that expensive, (just living in New York).

    [This message has been edited by DR. S (edited 01-13-2001).]

  18. Sorry Donuel, a bad effort at humor and reading it again I see it came off mean.

    Just checked out your web page and the Pyramid thread. I am now an admirer and again am truly sorry for my stupid comment.

    I actually pride myself at not being close minded, though sometimes a bit sarcastic (but I usually get over it) I certainly understand how my comment makes it look as if I am precisely how you described. I was duely humbled. I am actaully somewhat familiar with the Orion and Leo connections of the Pyramids, but had never come across the Hydraulic Pump theories. Absolutely fascinating food for thought. I also have found some very intriging theories that ancient Egypt was not the first great civilization, but was kindled by the last dim coals of an earlier much greater civilization. There actually is some hard evidence of this in existence, especially if you look at things in a different light, shedding old held theories - starting with the Sphinx.


    [This message has been edited by DR. S (edited 01-13-2001).]

  19. Lymond,

    Good points all around. I have often wondered why composers keep writing this music, and it's been closer to 100 years since it first started being experimented with. There actually is a lot of what I think is good modern music (in the classic sense of modern music), but it may never have wide spread audience appeal. I believe your reason is the very reason why the most successful composers of today are composing movie scores in a mostly romantic/classical vein. However, if you study some of teh better score composers they have the ability to utilize modern methods and do so for good effect quire frequently. Check out teh score to Westside Story. Bernstien was a terrific 'modern' composer who knew how to appeal to a larger audience.