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Ciaccona

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  1. Wow, this is turning into an interesting thread! Here's my two cents... Of course the artist "makes" the instrument to a certain extent, any great artist will have their own sound (like David Oistrakh, who, though he played on several different Strads & a del Gesu at different stages of his career, demonstrates the very muscular, deep Oistrakh sound in every recording). A lot of artists tend to choke the sound of their fine instrument, a Strad needs to be allowed to blossom. Mutter does this rather well most of the time on her "Emiliani" Strad, and you can really hear what a beautiful violin it is with a warm, clear tone, but if she has anything technical to bow she ends up making a harsh sound and you could be forgiven for thinking that some of what you hear is characteristic of that particular violin. I think Sarah Chang plays a Peter Guarneri. I've never heard anyone crush their tone so much. The violin seems to be a little nasal by nature, as most Peter G fiddles are, but it is also very loud. Sometimes Sarah presses too hard with her bow when she's trying to be loud, and the fiddle's sound gets choked and goes quiet and dull. No disrespect to Sarah, this is a common problem among all kinds of violinists, pros and students alike! Midori plays the "David" del Gesu (not the same as the David/Heifetz). She doesn't make it sound very big, very clear or very sweet. This could be her or the instrument, I haven't heard her enough to know, but I have the feeling that the quietness stems from her bowing technique (simply a characteristic of Midori's tone, then). Perlman either sounds syrupy sweet or really nasal and harsh to me, depending on which recording. In Castelnuovo-Tedesco #2 the tone is dreadful. However, on his Spanish album he sounds beautiful. Recording techniques? different violins? Who knows? Generally he makes a nice sound, though, which is probably because he has a good bow-arm :-) I think the nicest Strads I've heard in concert must be those of Gil Shaham, made in 1699, and Vengerov, the "Kreutzer" of 1727. Shaham really lets his fiddle sing in concert (the sound was UNBELIEVABLY sweet and projected fantastically) but on recordings he sounds strangely nasal. Vengerov's fiddle is perfect: bassy, warm, loud, projects when quiet, etc... but maybe most Strads are like that and Vengerov just happens to be one of the few who allows his instrument to sound the way it was meant to - that's my theory...
  2. This can be a very tough problem - at the start. If you work calmly and slowly on the specific problems that higher string tension presents - like string crossings, scratchy noises, spiccato bowing and so on, you should be able to adjust. Failing that, or to help, actually, investigate other bows. Not necessarily better or more expensive ones, just with a different tension. A more "floppy" bow can suit a highly-strung fiddle! I don't know anything about setup, so I can't offer any advice there. Good luck! Ciaccona
  3. Hi Lisa, I don't really know about books to recommend, but I can give you one piece of good advice: don't listen to anyone who tells you to work on one aspect of technique at a time, i.e. says "if you're working on playing in tune, it doesn't matter how your posture/bowing/rhythm is" and that sort of thing. Always try to keep an eye on everything, to an acceptable and reasonable extent. You can use any kind of material to work on any kind of technical problem. One-octave scales for bowing, staccato exercises for intonation... you just have to use them cleverly. You'll make it! Hope you have fun! Ciaccona
  4. : I have had a good player play one of my new violins for twenty or thirty minutes. The violin improved as we listened. So, just playing may do the same thing? Maybe... sure... but remember, a good player will adjust their playing to the new violin and get a better sound out of it. I've noticed this happening to me with all kinds of fiddles - old Italians, new violins, anything....
  5. With violinists at this level, saying "so-and-so is better than so-and-so" is like saying that Solzhenitsyn is better than Steinbeck. They're DIFFERENT. Oistrakh is about as different a violinist from Heifetz as any two people could be from one another - what distinguishes Heifetz from everyone else is his infallible technical perfection, while Oistrakh's playing is characterised by an overal warmth of interpretation. I love them both.
  6. Stand up straight when you hold the violin, relax, put something grippy like a chamois between violin and shoulder if it feels slippy, and don't be afraid of dropping the violin - you'll probably catch it, anyway! After a little while - maybe a week or two - you'll get used to the new feeling, and eventually do without the chamois. Ciaconna
  7. ... because THAT is what the spirit of music is all about. OK... I'm not a Sarah Chang fan at all, but isn't music just another - pretty fantastic, no less - method of communication? I wish there were more open-minded people like you!
  8. Pardon me for writing an answer in here... this was after all intended for Sowden, wasn't it?... but anyway, I've always found that bow rehairers a) put far too much powdered rosin on, that the lower-grade stuff sounds really harsh and doesn't mix well with my own fine-grade, plus it takes ages and ages to play the caked stuff off if you're trying to use it up so you can apply your own. I always have to ask my rehairer to leave the stuff off, applying it seems to be standard practise here.
  9. : Hello All : I've returned recently to playing violin after about 22 years away from it , and I'm loving every minute of it I just can't get enough .hehe . What I'm wondering is , could anyone kindly suggest any must have CD's of great violinist I should get . Also are there any videos worth getting ? I bought Grand Duo the other day , and loved it . Any thoughts would be very much appreciated .. : Thank you ..
  10. OK, terrible joke, sorry!... frets are basically so that you don't have to (and can't) correct your intonation. I imagine the l/h finger position is totally different, too, it would have to be. I don't know why you'd *need* them. It's just yet another way of playing...
  11. This is totally standard stuff. You'll have to put up with some (not much!) pain until you get a callous on your thumb - I know it sounds gross but it's the same for everyone. In the meantime, make sure you're not pressing the bow too hard with your thumb. If you can't practise for long enough to develop a good callous, try getting something softer put around the stick of the bow where your thumb grips it. Have you recently changed your bowhold? This could be why you've had the problem recently.
  12. : Lighten up? This is what happens when people feel that they can follow their dreams. You get down, right??? Then you "lighten up" and continue working on becoming the best you can. Then you get the shock when you audition for job after job. So you start a chamber music ensemble that no one wants to hear and you make $25 - $100 for playing to a bunch of drunks who don't care what you play, just fill the air. You hang out your shingle and start teaching and carry on the line to your students about how they can become big stars some day. HA. With all that time spent - you could have easily become very good at a profession which would allow you to have a house instead of living in some roach infested apartment. Maybe you were lucky enough to net a good income off of your students - or whatever, but most live hand to mouth and I know quite a few. Suzuki - yeah a lousy "method" for producing proficient musicians but good enough for squeaking out a few tunes for personal enjoyment. : Oh yeah, by the way - if you want to make it in this business you gotta get connected - and young. Now one who plays exceptionally well makes it now. You know why??? Because it's called job protection - if everyone is mediocre, everyone stays employed. Hear the NY Philharmonic lately???? The dissonance is incredible, and the struggle to keep it together. No wonder audiences are leaving, even the ones who used to like the symphony.
  13. Come on, it's not THAT bad!!! There are lots of rewarding careers out there. I'd in fact guess that the career opportunities within music just about equal the TALENTED people with music. You don't have to be talented (i.e. the next Heifetz) to enjoy music. But as in every other professional field - if you both enjoy what you're doing and have a talent for it you can be professionally successful. There is so much out there from teaching to playing - remember chamber music and orchestras, we don't all have to be playing the Brahms concerto with the Philadelphia orchestra to have a good career... - to music therapy to... the possibilities are endless because nearly everyone who can hear can enjoy music. I agree with what Laurel said about the Suzuki method being meant to produce great human beings as opposed to musicians, and with overloading little kids. Doesn't every little kid get told stories before learning how to read them?
  14. : Is back in print! When Jason Huff posted a message (see below)last July on this bulletin board, I got motivated, and now Shar (my employer) has acquired the rights and has printed this title. We are taking delivery soon. The hard cover is going to be $60 (was $75) plus shipping. The item number is H20 and it can be put on backorder and shipped whenever it comes in - call (800) 248-7427. : If you wish to buy in quantity, e-mail me back for prices and terms. : Thanks, Jason, for the tip. Here is a copy of his message: : Posted by Jason Huff on July 31, 1998 at 02:23:57: : Does anyone own a copy they aren't using? I've had some trouble trying to locate a used out-of-print copy. I've literally had 20 different bookfinders looking for it. I figure all the copies on earth must be happily owned or must have simultaneously evaporated. Any other thoughts on where to look? : Thank you, : Jason Huff : Student Violinist
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