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Everything posted by MarvyMei

  1. The first time I touched a violin must have been at age seven or so, in the music-basics classes they give at the SF Conservatory. I thought to myself, "hey, this is pretty cool" but chose to go on to piano lessons because I wasn't so sure that I loved violin, and piano seemed like a safer and more practical choice. Not even three years later, I quit piano because I realized that I wasn't in love with it, and that it wasn't worth the browbeating I got every week from my teacher for not practicing enough. In middle school, I told my folks I wanted to play violin in the school orchestra. My folks freaked out a little, because I had already failed at piano and violin would surely only be harder. They tried to dissuade me, but I signed up anyhow. I liked the sound of the violin section in Baroque string pieces, and I wanted to be able to play that (at the time, I wasn't very fond of Romantic violin concertos). Besides, my parents didn't think I could do it. The first seed of rebelliousness and stubborn pride had been planted, as I set out determined to show them that I could be a darned good violinist. And so I did.
  2. I've found that practice is like that-- you plateau for a while, and then you make odd growth spurts of progress just when you think you're not going ot get anywhere. If you stop practicing, on the other hand, it's a smooth, gradual slide downhill. Trust me, I know.
  3. Perfection is different for eveyone, and in the context of practice, perfection is a self-imposed ideal that the perfectionist strives for. I would argue that artists in the visual arts can have a similar problem with meeting their self-imposed ideal as a violinist does when practicing. There is still that need to get it "right". Or at least I feel like that. In violin, and art, and poetry, I can stay put for hours working on something, get PO'd at myself for not meeting my impossible standards, get tired, go to sleep, wake up in the morning and feel less angry with my work knowing I gave it my best shot. I think that's at least reasonably healthy... I don't know if that qualifies as a perfectionist.
  4. Welcome to the addictive world of folk fiddling. The most important thing is to listen to other Celtic musicians play, a lot, as much as you can, either live or on tape. Listen until you start to pick up the "style vocabulary" of fiddling. Get in contact with other Celtic musicians, go to jam sessions, etc, etc. While sheet music is helpful in learning actual tunes, the Celtic style has to be picked up by ear. It's a bit of a change in how to approach the music when you switch to folk. You have to think more in terms of singing, in making your violin sound like an actual human voice. I think my sense of intonation has also changed since I made the switch to folk just over a year ago. I think I have a more plastic sense of pitch now, realizing there are more than just twelve notes in a scale... I also think I play with a lot more heart now, even when I occasionally switch back to classical (oh yeah, btw, once you start fiddling you may find yourself reluctant to turn back to the classical side!)... For sheet music, I have O'Neil's immensely huge book of Irish fiddle tunes... some of the stuff in there I'd never actually play, but I've found a lot of gems just by randomly browsing. It's a horizon-broadening experience, becoming a folk fiddler. Best of luck! [This message has been edited by MarvyMei (edited 05-11-2001).]
  5. I say what makes a good fiddler is someone who has found their own sound, and who can move people with it. I think in terms of incorporating classical training into fiddle tunes, it's not so much the technique that detracts from the playing as taking a classically-trained mental approach to the music. Irish fiddlers in the past tried to emulate classical violin anyhow. It's more a matter of playing with your heart, in your own voice.
  6. I agree with Guy. Having a vision or great passion doesn't make you an artist. I've been workshopping some very interesting poems as of late, many of which were written out of a need to express a great vision or passion, but without enough attention to technical aspects of poetry craft a lot of the emotional impact is lost. At least that's what I think... although the rest of my workshop, in turn, argues that I have very good technique but my poems are devoid of emotion. Oh well.
  7. You're welcome. Glad to help (and glad to know I was coherent in my post)
  8. Oh boy, this is hard to put in words. You have to think of the modes not as associated with a certain key, but rather as a template pattern of half steps and whole steps that don't correspond with a "scale" per se. If you have E Dorain, for instance, the "Dorian" part tells you that you have a certain pattern of half and whole steps to use that give it that modal quality: whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half, whole. The "E" part tells you what note you have to start on, just like different keys of a scale. I hope that helped some, it's quarter to 5 AM and I'm not at my most lucid... [This message has been edited by MarvyMei (edited 05-05-2001).]
  9. I just started learning Morrison's Jig a little while ago, for some reason my brain had a bit of trouble digesting the B part. In slow airs, I was flipping through the O'Neil book and found "True Love Can Ne'er Forget" and I love that now.
  10. Not an exclusively strings music store, but still a very good one for violin supplies and sheet music, interestingly enough, is Sunset Music, which is on Noriega and twenty some-odd avenue... it's like two blocks down from Sunset Super, tucked away in between the restaurants and the laundromats. Sorry I don't have the exact address, they should be in the phone book. (I'm up at Davis right now, can't go look them up). [This message has been edited by MarvyMei (edited 04-06-2001).]
  11. String toad, my folks said the same thing to me after I decided to quit piano. But I am glad I defied them on that. I think being depressed during my high school days helped my playing. Violin kept me from giving up on this world entirely, and at the same time, not really feeling up to doing anything normal (i.e. socializing, sports, studying), I ended up having a lot of time to myself, which went into practice. On top of that, violin of course is one of the best instruments in which to vent frustration and sadness, which probably helped keep me on an even keel. A friend of mine who is chronically depressed plays violin and although his technique and his intonation aren't very polished, the music he makes will just stop you in your tracks because the emotional content in his playing is so intense. It's almost disturbing.
  12. If that doesn't work out, I'd also like to shamelessly plug former FB member Alison, who professionally designs websites: www.key2success.com .
  13. There are lots of things that put me in a good mood, but playing violin is one of my favorties. I have too many extracurricular interests! Aside from playing classical and Celtic, I also draw, do computer art, design websites, write short fiction and poetry, make jewelry, and I've started dabbling in MIDI composition... *sigh* all this, and a bio major too...
  14. Any bow's gotta be a better bow than my current one. I'm game! What do you need? I can do HTML and I can do web graphics/design.
  15. HKV, Angelfire.com has virtually foolproof template wizards, you can give them a whirl. Also, if you have a program like CDex (available at nonags.com) you can convert your .wav files to mp3 at different bitrates and decide which is the best balance between file size and sound quality.
  16. Thank you, all of you, for your input.
  17. For Irish music, I've don't hear a whole lot of people using really wide vibrato. I've had to adjust my vibrato sccordingly when I switch between classical and folk.
  18. Hi all, This may seem like a dumb question, but how important *exactly* is the little finger when bowing, especially for bouncing-bow techniques? I have tried for years not to let my deformed pinky bother me but it's starting to get on my nerves. To make a long story short, I banged up my right pinky when I was five, long before I took any music lessons, and now it's much shorter, less mobile, and much weaker than it ought to be. I don't take lessons currently, but when I did, I brought up the issue of my pinky to my teachers, but they didn't have much advice to offer. I can do legato bowing fine, but bouncing the bow is sometimes a problem. That could just be me and my hangups about spiccato, but I've never felt really good about my bowing position in general. I just wanted to know how crucial the pinky is to various bowing techniques and also, if there's anyone out there who has a short or less mobile right pinky, have you got any tips for me? Much thanks, --Mei
  19. Wow, quite a discussion over a lil' sideways "s"! Considering that this is, after all, fiddling, I think you should take the printed music with a grain of salt and go with what's most agreeable to you and/or the people you'll be jamming with.
  20. I'm seconding the Mel Bay publication of O'Neil's Music of Ireland-- it's just a great resource all around, in terms of sheet music for Irish tunes. Of course, there's no substitute for learning how it actually sounds from another musician, but at least sheet music gives you somewhere to start from, I says. I like the English tune "Believe Me If All These Endearing Young Charms" and the Irish tunes "On a Cold Winter's Day", "The Blackbird", "The Parting Glass", and I especially like "Thanksgiving". [This message has been edited by MarvyMei (edited 10-15-2000).]
  21. quote: Incidentally, how very useful it is to be able to bring GIF images directly into one's postings as Oldbear has done! I am sure this was not possible when I joined six months ago. Thank you, administrators! Actually, I used my own GIFs when I posted with my own smilies from my homepage earlier this year, and I think that was over six months ago-- this was before Angelfire put in its bandwidth security measures in. Anyhow, I looked through my Unbelievably Huge Book of Irish Pub Tunes and saw that they notated the Fermoy Lasses music so that instead of a mordant, you play a triplet with an #f grace note at the beginning. So at least in here, it's f#, e, d, e.
  22. Hey cool, is that the Fermoy Lasses reel, Oldbear?
  23. No, you don't have to worry about how far your tuning pegs stick out or don't stick out, so long as you can still tune your violin proper.
  24. quote: Yes i'm going to lowell. I'm not taking orchestra next year though, I might not take it for all 4 years. d'oh!
  25. Wow, that must have been amazing. How were the audiences at your other stops besides Lucerne? You just got out of Hoover, right? Please tell me you are taking orch at Lowell next year-- I know that the advanced and symphonic classes will be hurtin' for some strong violin leadership this coming semester...
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