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Ciaccona

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Everything posted by Ciaccona

  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
  15. I think that the "traditional" method is far more likely to put off small children when they start. Doing Suzuki as a kid is very much like a game - it's fun, and nothing gets in the way of being allowed to play, which is very important for small kids. However, there are a lot of things in the Suzuki method which can be incredibly damaging to an older pupil. For example... a six-year-old is hardly really going to have big musical ideas on how to play a piece, so it's ok to learn from a tape and "copy" it, but once you start getting older and you need to have your own ideas, find your feet - even if someone is keeping a close eye on you - you've got to be able to learn music from print. Only that way can a person learn the notes and decide how they're going to play the music, as opposed to just playing the notes like someone else. Suzuki is fantastic for learning to memorize, though. The people I know trained traditionally have difficulty tearing themselves away from the printed page while the Suzuki-started ones seem to have a better affinity for music in memory.
  16. I got the spam, too. First of all, I hope that not everyone who was part of this bulk e-mail will take issue and put up a message here, for obvious reasons! Secondly: What is this message board for, if not for string-playing related questions? Couldn't the spammer have simply put up a post, and reached a much greater audience? Why personally annoy all these people? Thirdly: I cannot advocate strongly enough the use of a web-based e-mail account for anything left on the web for anyone to see. This is why I use hotmail. That way, whatever spam I get - and I get a considerable amount - doesn't really bother me, and doesn't fill up my hard drive. Ciaccona is also not quite my real name - it's kind of safer that way. ANYONE can look at this. That's the nature of the web... charming!! And lastly... this board is so helpful and so much fun. It's really a shame when someone comes along and does something like this and the board gets filled up with stuff about it. Let's - after discussing this - ignore the spammer and get on with our lives, and continue to use this marvellous board.
  17. This was probably Bloch's Nigun (from the Baal Shem suite), taken from the album "Virtuoso Vengerov", available on Warner Teldec. It's a fantastic recording, isn't it? The rest of the album is great, too. I think Vengerov's tone is simply amazing - of course, the recording technique helps, but... a beautiful tone is a beautiful tone is a .... I think he recorded this on the 1727 "Reynier" Strad.
  18. No-one can STINK as a conductor. Not someone like Barenboim, anyway. He may not be everyone's cup of tea in everything he does, but who is?
  19. I absolutely agree with everything you've said. The key to EVERYTHING, in violin playing, is... relaxation. When one thing is tense, other things begin to collapse, and I've found that using no shoulder rest at all (after years of using one, and also after being told many times that if you use no rest you have to support the violin entirely with the left hand - not true) gives the most opportunities for flexibility and relaxation. And the tone of the violin is unrestricted.
  20. : Is your backbone and neck so strong as to prefer to put stress on them. : OK, violin plying requires strong arms. This is tiring, but NOT DANGEROUS. But playing with a shoulder pad only displaces the problem. The stress is now on the neck, which is DANGEROUS. Yes, because the principle of the shoulder pad-violin combination is to act as a lever arm. The longer the distance from the axis, the lighter the weight (or the smaller the strength to apply)to conterbalance the weight applied at the other extremity; the shorter the distance, the heaviest the weight(or the biggest the strength to apply) to couterbalance. The axis of the lever arm not being properly positionned (the distance neck shoulder pad being too short, the violonist has to use too much strength with his chin. A good solution would be to have the shoulder pad exactly under the point of equilibrium, or farther away towards the scroll, totally freeing the hand AND the neck. This would means that won't speak any more about shoulder pads, but about elbow pads! In that case, the elbow pad would hold everything, and the neck barely nothing. : Yves
  21. : The only reasons I would want to use a shoulder rest are to be able to bow the E string while adjusting the fine tuner, and to be able to turn pages with my left hand. Um... if not using a shoulder rest is right for you, you should be able to do all of these things. I am, and I don't have weird shoulders or anything... I used to have real problems with the violin slipping on my clothes so I used a chamois leather, like for cleaning cars, which took care of the problem until the posture was natural to me.
  22. : Some players have a condescending view of players that use shoulder rests. Some teachers have criticized users pointing out that the greatest players didn't use rests. It is not relevant to compare students of today to great players of the past. What is missed, though is the importance of playing comfortable. I know of one player who stopped using a rest at the insistence of a teacher. This player developed severe problems with the left thumb, probably as a result of changing long term habits in holding the instrument. If using a rest makes you comfortable, by all means do it.
  23. : : I am in the process of patenting a new style shoulder rest. I have had the patent attorney reveiw the patent and there are about four patentable things on my rest that sets it apart from all the others on the market. So it is not just a design patent..it is pretty much a new approach...I made this shoulder rest after I had tried or seen everything on the market...which I am not impressed with any of the others...I would like feedback on what others want in a shoulder rest..any info would be appreciated.. : : george
  24. No offence, I'm sure this is going to be a great shoulder rest, and it's really time there was a new one on the market because there's not enough choice around, but... it's better for sound, flexibility, bowing, instrument contact... not to use one at all. I think. I used to use a shoulder rest, and practically swore by it, but then something just changed and I experimented without and it worked much better. But then, what do I know, I'm just a violinist...!
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