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Everything posted by simon

  1. Quote: I think it was Simon's fault with his ABC bow comparison! sheesh! No what Mark told me is the company that has hosted the site decided to charge 10x the original fee! Well I guess we'd really maxed it out lately with all the recordings... Hah! You're just miffed because you picked the Incredibow. Seriously though, I doubt the amount of recordings has anything to do with it, since they aren't actually hosted on the forum servers. The explanation currently posted - that it's CPU/memory usage that's been exceeded, not bandwidth or disk space - seems odd to me. My first thought was that the host just wants an excuse to squeeze more money out of the forum.
  2. I'm still here, more of a lurker than a poster for now. Glad you're still enjoying the tunes.
  3. REAL musicians don't use violins. A violin is a crutch for someone who can't sing properly.
  4. Quote: Some of us do a lot more lurking than posting which is a good way to stay out of trouble.
  5. Thanks. I'm a few thousand miles away from being caught out myself, but I'll post a link over on the Fiddle Forum.
  6. Ann, How dare you besmirch the great name of Florence Foster Jenkins! As a regular publisher of vanity mp3 files on the internet, she's one of my idols. Seriously, I'd forgotten all about her. Thanks for reminding me. Downloading "The Queen of the Night" is a real tonic for a slow Monday at the office.
  7. I had one of those wooden mutes in my youth orchestra days. Unfortunately I lost it during a concert on our Spanish tour. My A string snapped as the orchestra peaked on those big crashing chords in the 2nd movement of Tchaik 5, and my mute went flying off into the audience. After that, I went for one of the wire and plastic jobs, which I also still have 15 years later. That's also when I learnt to lubricate the nut and bridge with a pencil whenever I change a string.
  8. And I'll add, though it certainly doesn't apply to me: * Because you know the piece really well and want everyone to think you're clever.
  9. Reverb can be very nice, and I'm still enjoying the novelty myself but I'd avoid it in this case. For an audition recording I'd suggest that you need to use the technology to give as honest a representation of your playing as possible, not to enhance it. It will be very obvious to experienced listeners if you've done anything fancier than just plug the mic in and hit record.
  10. Unfortunately for those of us on XP, the free version of Pro Tools is only for Windows 2000/Me, unless there's another link I missed.
  11. When does the recording need to be complete? I don't think it's as hard to get a decent DIY recording as some folks make it out to be, but there is a learning curve. It might be wisest to pay for a bit of studio time, and the expertise of an experienced sound engineer, as oldgeezer suggests. On the other hand, there may be a trade-off between getting the best quality recording, and playing your best. I've only played twice in pro studios, and both experiences were quite scary, partly because they were live broadcasts, but mostly because the acoustic is horrible. It's designed for microphones, not for the human ear - your playing sounds very small and exposed, and I certainly found it quite intimidating. Musicians who spend a lot of time in the studio must get used to it I'm sure, but I ended up on both occasions with great quality recordings of some relatively timid and lacklustre playing. If your son wants to do it himself, you can get good enough gear fairly cheaply as other posters have said. For the last lot of clips I posted (here) I recorded on my PC using an AKG-C1000S mic (£UK95) and a Behringer Eurorack mixer (about £60). The boom stand for the mic, plus good quality cables came to about £50. The PC soundcard is important - I have a Creative Labs Audigy 2 that came with the PC. You also need recording software. I use nTrack Studio which is shareware, and quite cheap. If you're using Windows 98 or Me, you can get Pro Tools for free here. I haven't used it, but it gets great reviews.
  12. After all that talk of Liszt on claire_uk's thread, I've been listening to György Cziffra's Hungarian Rhapsodies.
  13. Yes, I'm with you now Sheila. The cadenza is presumably Milstein's own. I don't know how many notes are in my piano edition, but there aren't 45 anyway since they're all in groups of four. I must try and hunt down that recording. The violin's versatility in imitating other instruments is an obssession of mine, at least in the context of fiddle music. I haven't given a lot of thought to violin arrangements in classical music. Too much music, too little time.
  14. Yes, that's number three. The 16th note runs aren't marked ad lib in my edition of the piano dots, but they do have that feel to them. It's a lovely piece but I think you're right about the Chopin. I must admit, part of the Consolations' appeal to me is the fact that some Liszt exists that I can actually play on the piano.
  15. Quote: Plateaus, by the way, are usually followed by spurts. So, things are looking up. That's the key I think. If like me you're not playing for a living, it shouldn't be a big problem to set the fiddle aside for a while. When I'm in a slump on the fiddle I concentrate on the piano, when I'm in a slump on the piano I concentrate on the fiddle, and when I'm feeling jaded with music generally, I read books, climb mountains, just enjoy what life has to offer. I've fallen out of love with music more times than I can remember, but it's never been for more than a couple of months at the very most. Now I welcome these slumps, because they invariably mean I get to fall in love all over again.
  16. Which Consolation is it? There are six. I've been playing them on the piano recently, and they're lovely pieces. The third one, in D flat, is the best known and would work well on the fiddle. You'd certainly like it if you like the Chopin Nocturnes.
  17. In Irish music you'd generally have a set of reels, or a set of jigs. Mixing tune types seems to be relatively unusual for dancers or in sessions, though I've heard it on recordings. Beyond that, yes key changes are important or a set can get boring. There's more to it than that though - if you follow an E minor jig with a G major one, just because the keys are related doesn't guarantee they'll flow together effectively. What the magic ingredients are, I can't exactly put my finger on, but there are so many tunes out there, I usually find if I play one enough then possible companions for it will suggest themselves. [if you've not listened to my mp3s on the other thread, or you have but once was enough , you can skip the rest of this post. The gist of it is that tunes work together when you get the right balance of similarity and contrast between them, and that rhythmic structure can be as important as key signature when you're trying to relate two different melodies.] I was quite pleased with that set of three reels I posted over on the tunes thread. Obviously there are much better examples, but I can't go posting copyrighted stuff so I'll use mine. In retrospect I can see why those tunes go together in a satisfying way (for me at least ). In any music, you want to give the listener the right balance between the comfortably familiar and the unpredictable or surprising. The three tunes are structually quite similar; of course that's true of all reels, but some reels are closer than others. The first two are both in G major. They both begin on the same two notes (DG), but the second tune has a little more movement. In the first measure and a half of the second part, the notes on the strong beats, 1 and 3, follow the same pattern in each tune, but a fourth apart - D,C#,D in the Fermanagh reel, and G,F#,G in Polecat's tune. The third tune returns to a rhythmic pattern that is almost identical to the first the whole way through, but forward momentum is preserved by changing key up a fifth to D major. The first two notes of the third tune are the same as in the others, but a fifth up (Ad). The open D at this point is no longer the first note of the tune as it was in the first two, but the root note of the new key, and a nice launchpad for the final reel. I can see all that in retrospect, but really I just put the three of them together by a combination of chance and experimentation, and thought they worked as a set. As far as I know, that's how most people do it.
  18. Cuts are probably about the most common ornament in Irish music. A cut is really just a grace note. As an example, the dots for The Killavil jig are here. This version is slightly different from the one I recorded, but the notes I'll refer to are the same. The last note of the second measure and the first note of the third are both B. Similarly, a couple of notes later there is a pair of F#s. In my recording I used cuts on these notes most of the time, bowing each pair of notes in a single bow, but seperating them with a quick grace note - the cut. Cuts in Irish music are not to be confused with cuts in Cape Breton fiddling, which as I understand it are what I would refer to as triplets. I've always meant to record some examples of ornamentation but the mic I have with my minidisc wasn't really up to the job. I've no excuses now.
  19. Ken, glad you like the clip. I hope you have a good time in California, and get to play a few tunes too.
  20. Quote: I eventually learned to do them down/up/down as well, although I'm still a little more comfortable starting upbow, and it's my first choice if there's an option. Steve_W, I'm quoting you, but that doesn't mean I'm taking it upon myself to dish out unsolicited advice. It's Tuesday morning after a bank holiday weekend and I'm not quite ready to start working yet, so - any excuse to ramble on about fiddle music. Sometimes you have to make your own options. That's especially true if you're throwing in lots of spontaneous stuff. Good bowing is a lot to do with being able to anticipate where your bow needs to be for whatever's coming next; but it's also a lot to do with knowing how to get yourself out of a tight spot when you get the anticipation part wrong. So if you're only comfortable starting triplets on an up bow, and you find yourself on the note before a triplet going up, you better save enough bow for the ornament. (Probably one reason why most people go for down-up-down, it's much easier to play a triplet at the tip than at the frog, so you've more bow to play with.) Assuming you've enough bow, you now want to separate the triplet from the note preceding it without changing bow direction; you could put in a cut, you could slow or stop the bow momentarily, even lift it off the string, or you could just give a good accent on the first note of the triplet. Personally I quite often lead into a triplet with a cut anyway, because it sounds cool. Alternatively you could forget the triplet and use some other ornament.
  21. Okay, Ken, here it is. It's a bit longer than the clip you posted originally. I copied and pasted the repeat of the first part before I started recording. I just listened through the headphones for the first time, and discovered I didn't get the stereo balance right. I'm still figuring out how to use the software.
  22. Bow bouncing is a good thing if you can learn to control it. Us fiddlers don't need to use sautillee or spiccato in the way that the classical guys do, but there are other reasons for wanting to make use of the bow's natural tendency to bounce. Bear in mind that if you go for a quick fix, whether holding the bow further up or getting a different bow, you might get rid of the unwanted bouncing, but you'll also make it harder to achieve certain bow strokes. For instance I've seen Donegal players using a kind of ricochet effect in strathspeys, and I imagine Scottish fiddlers probably do something similar. A lot of Irish players do a sort of fiddle equivalent of a flute or whistle player taking a breath, by bouncing off the string, skipping a note or two, then letting the bow fall naturally back into the tune. Of course you can do something similar simply by lifting the bow off the string and putting it back down, but I'd rather use a bow and a grip that lets me do both. Variety is the spice of fiddling. I don't think holding the bow further up is a bad thing. You can achieve a certain sound that is harder to get with a conventional bow hold. I hesitate to use the word "sawing" because it sounds so negative, but I don't mean it that way at all. Sawing can sound great if it's done properly.
  23. I know what you mean about microphone nerves Ken, I get them too. Your recording is great anyway. I'll take it home (I'm at work) and see what I can do with it over the weekend. Should be fun.
  24. Ken, a hornpipe or two sounds good to start with. If it works we could always experiment with other tune types. You're right about playing in unison - it doesn't mean each following the tune note for note, and there's plenty of scope for variation. All the tunes you mention are familiar except Walsh's - I looked it up on JC's and it looks like a nice tune, which I'm certainly going to learn. Of the others, Off to California is the one I know best. If you'd like to record either or both of those, I'll see what I can do.
  25. I'm a novice in these matters, but I was looking for a good but cheap mic recently so I've done some reading. My impression of the SM-57 was that it's a general workhorse, and does a reasonable job of recording just about anything. Everything I read said that, for my purposes (ie recording a fiddle), a condenser mic was the way to go, preferably one with phantom power, and I ended up with an AKG C1000S. Despite its having a name like an assault rifle, I'm very pleased with the way it sounds.
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