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Scott Bailey

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Everything posted by Scott Bailey

  1. I like the early Szerying recording. I don't like the Grimaux at all. It's faster but seems more...restrained or something. Szeryng's playing seems more passionate to me. YMMV. I love the later Menuhin recording, but I agree that technically it's not really up there with the best. But there's a purity, a beauty to his playing (I think his tone is gorgeous) that I sometimes want to drown in.
  2. I don't use a shoulder rest. The 1st vln in our qtet is a short guy with a short neck. He uses a shoulder rest. Our violist is a woman with a long neck. She doesn't use a shoulder rest. All of us made our decisions with comfort and ease of playing in mind. If you need one, use one. Our cellist could use a rest, too. Another shoulder rest thread? Has it been six months already?
  3. I began playing at age 6, though the lessons were at irregular intervals, mostly just in the summers. I can offer no helpful advice about the appropriateness of beginning lessons for a 3 year-old, sorry. My younger brother began cornet lessons at age 11 or so, and became good enough to be a pro for a while until he decided to get his MBA and make a lot of money instead.
  4. Any sheet music can be used to improve sight-reading. I'd suggest you just read through a lot of music, often. It's a skill that improves with practice, practice, practice, like everything else. But read through music that's easy for you, so you don't have to worry about technical elements so much. Are you trying to improve sight-reading in general, or notes in higher positions, double- or triple-stops, or what? Wherever your weakness is, focus on that and just practice a whole lot. And give it time; there are no miracles, only discipline.
  5. That's very similar to my story, though I only had about a 20-year break! I picked up a violin again about...six years ago, mostly because I had suddenly become interested in Irish fiddling. In December, I'll be playing the first violin part of the Bach Double Concerto--my first live gig in well over a year. I'm awfully glad I started playing again. I join everyone else in applauding your decision to jump back into the fray.
  6. You have "V/V" twice. Do you mean the full progession is: I V7 V I I ii ii V7 or I V7 V I I vi ii V7? Either way, it's just a chain of secondary dominants leading to the dominant chord. When it goes to the tonic again to begin the next phrase, *that* is the cadence. It's a full cadence. Lots of phrases in common-practice period music do this, building to the dominant, then start over again on the tonic at the start of the next phrase. Resolution of tension is usually *across the barline* into the following phrase. In other words, the reason this phrase ends on the dominant is to emphasize the return of the tonic on the next downbeat.
  7. I don't own any of her recordings, but every time I hear her on the radio, I really like her playing. I should go buy "Fire and Ice", as her "Carmen" fantasy is pretty hot. I'd certainly pay money to see her in concert.
  8. I love playing scales. I'm sure everyone's mileage will vary on this question, but I play scales every day. It's the first thing I play when I pick up the violin, and it feels like being welcomed home, sort of. My mindset isn't that scales are *work*, but the beginning of play. I think the argument that playing scales "too much" will result in your only being able to play scales and not music is unfounded. How many professional violinists only practice scales and arpeggios 20 minutes a day?
  9. For very long stretches of rests, use your ears. Find a cue in another section, and listen for that.
  10. I have an electronic tuner with a clip-on mic for the bridge, and I use it to tune the A string. Call me old-fashioned, but I agree with fiddlefaddle that one of the best aids in learning to play in tune is to have to tune your instrument by ear. Of course I understand that beginners aren't likely to be able to do this. As a side note, I heard that somebody has come out with an electronic tuner especially designed for string instruments that tunes to pure intervals, not tempered. Anybody know anything about this?
  11. Regarding bent thumb: Hold your right hand in a bowgrip (but without the bow), with thumb bent. Wiggle your fingers around at the base knuckles. Then try it with the thumb not bent, and you'll see how much motion you lose that way. It basically immobilizes the middle and ring fingers, and stiffens the wrist as well. Also, keeping your little finger on the stick tends to make your have a more fluid bow arm, as you have to have a flexible wrist/hand to bow straight with all four fingers on the stick. YMMV, though, but it works for me.
  12. Gyorgi Ligeti, and he's still alive. Pierre Boulez, too.
  13. Jourdain in "Music, the Brain, and Ecstacy" certainly doesn't hypothesize that "atonal" music is beyond the human mind's capacity to understand and appreciate, or that "tonal" music is in some way related to the natural structures of hearing. ALL music is arbitrary and culturally derived and appreciation of ANY music whatsoever is culturally determined. When my father says "rock music is just noise", he is making a subjective statement, not a scientific one. Read Slonimsky's "Lexicon of Musical Invective" to see how almost every composer's new works, from the time of Beethoven until the present, have been called non-music. Then read Simon Reynold's "Blissed Out", which although written about rock music by a literary scholar, has some excellent points about music which reaffirms a culture's aesthetic conceits versus music which challenges a culture's aesthetic conceits. I forget exactly which tests were given to musicians in Jourdain's book, but I do remember that the results on the "atonal" music tests showed cultural bias and exposure rather than any "unnatural" quality of the music in question.
  14. And don't forget that for $200 you also get: "Well hand-made Stradivary model violin." This is a hoot. Don't get me started on the tone, or his vibrato technique.
  15. I have two shelves of a bookcase filled with music, organized by the random distribution method. I have a small wooden trunk by my piano with more music (stuff in relatively current rotation) also organized randomly. I have a bunch of stuff on the music stand, and another stack of stuff at the foot of the music stand that the cat periodically knocks over. Clearly, I don't advocate my methods.
  16. You might try sitting at different angles to the rest of the group. A change of a few inches to the left or right can have a large effect on how much you can hear them or they can hear you. Also, listening to a group in which you're playing is something of a learned skill.
  17. Too darned true. I'm still rebuilding my technique because I had teachers when I was younger who didn't care much about the physical aspect of playing. As long as I played the right notes with the right dynamics, I could've been bowing with my foot. I think it was just laziness on their part, as they were both fine players, but lousy teachers.
  18. Oh, agreed about vibrato masking poor intonation. I always practice scales with no vibrato for that very reason. A few years back I got into the bad habit of using vibrato as "cover" because I'd been increasingly lazy about practicing basic technique. Getting fired from the quartet I was in was a strong wakeup call in that regard.
  19. You mean those times when you aren't into practicing and you really wish you were and feel guilty about it? I just practice scales and arpeggios. If I don't start spontaneously playing bits of real pieces and getting inspired to practice in earnest, then I just put it away and don't worry about it. Enthusiasm comes and goes. It's normal. Right now I'm in the mood where I want to practice, but every time I pick up the violin, somebody wants my attention. That's more frustrating, in my opinion. I'd practice now, but I'm tired and irritable and my neighbors would come a-knocking, because I'm in a double forte mood.
  20. (sigh) The only "free" versions of the music you're looking for would be pirated (that is, stolen) versions, which are illegal and immoral.
  21. Absolutely, absolutely. It should almost, I think, feel as though you're not really using any muscle at all, or that your muscles are going slack. The focus should be on relaxing into the vibrato, not pushing into by force. There are times when you'll want a forceful, even stressful, vibrato--for a certain effect, but not most of the time. Relax, relax, relax.
  22. Sure, fairy tales (and indeed all mythology) are lessons in What The World Is and how to live in it. It's just that Disney scrubs the lessons clean, whereas the ur-stories show that life is hard and sometimes bad things happen to good people for no darned reason. Of course, those original sorts of stories also served the purpose of promoting xenophobia and conformity. Maybe the basic message hasn't changed so much...
  23. Bambi had Thumper, who taught him how to live. Thumper is a stand in for the Biblical Serpent. Disney: drug-addicted he-man Satanists?
  24. If you read Antonia Byatt's work on fairy tales, it begins to look highly likely that the dwarves are metaphors for something other than undertall working folks. The evil Queen, the apple, the casting out are all straight out of Jacobean morality plays, and the dwarves and the whole magical realm in which Snow White finds herself are clearly representative of altered states, whether pagan ecstatic, Christian mytho-religious, or just drug-induced is hard to say.
  25. The animated "Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer" also treats females as accessories and trophies. The 12 who pull Santa's sleigh are all males, and the group who go off on an adventure and discover themselves worthy are all males. Bambi, I think, is more like thinly-veiled gay porn, which is why the mother is disposed of early on.
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