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A. Dean

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  1. Wendy, You are experiencing a change, but for the good. Anytime you change your setup or your hardware, there is going to be a period of getting adjusted. The Kun, in my estimation, and I have been playing for over thirty years now, both with and without shoulder rests, is the best, most adjustable and most stable shoulder rest on the market. You want the violin to sit under your chin solidly, so that your left hand can move through the various positions effortlessly without fear of losing your grip. I have adjusted the rest to fit at least 50 students and the only ones that I do not recommend it to are students that are fortunate enough to have bodies built to not require one at all. If you are not happy with the way it sits now, it can be adjusted to different heights, and I believe the Super version can be shifted from side to side by changing the set screw adjustments. You may not have it adjusted properly. When it is properly adjusted you should be able to rest your head on the chinrest and the instrument will pretty much stay without left hand support or pinching in the clavical or neck region with the fingerboard remaining close to parallel with the floor. The left hand will provide the extra couple inches to accomadate any slight slope of the instrument. I would be willing to bet that if I were your teacher I would have no problem helping you adjust the rest to fit you in very little time. Try playing with yourself, it can take time at first to find just the right "angle of the dangle" If you have more specific questions, feel free to e-mail. A Dean : Hi All : Is there any sort of concensus out there about how the violin should be set up appropo fingerboard angle, height etc. : I've been playing for over a year now and have fairly well been forced to change my shoulder rest from a Wolf to a Kun. It's made a huge difference in "where everything is" relative to fingers, eyes, etc. : My scroll height has changed to be much lower, hence making the fingerboard slope down a fair way (I was used to it being fairly well horizontal to the floor). As a result my left arm feels cramped against my body. : After all's said and done, I feel like I'm totally back to square one and short of just tossing the Kun away, I thought I'd throw this one in the ring for some of you experienced guys and girls. : The reason I changed shoulder rests was that the pivoting doodah was not stable, you'd place your violin where you wanted it, then the piece that touches your shoulder would keep moving, hence I tended to be grabbing the violin with the left most of the time for fear of it falling. : With the new year, my teacher wanted me to get totally set to go "hands-free", and whilst she's got the right idea, I'm still very unsure that I'm doing the right thing with the Kun. The Kun feels much more secure, but the comfort level is nowhere near the Wolf, the Wolf is much more cushioned. : I suppose what I'm asking is: do I persevere with the new rest? It's put me off playing it, as that angle is "flatter" I'm making all sorts of double stops that shouldn't be there. Any information/ideas appreciated and if I've explained this badly maybe I can get back and give more info. : Thanks All.
  2. One more word from 'Mr insulting'. It was not my intention to insult you, I merely don't understand why one would have such an excess of rosin on the strings if they wiped them down after every session. As for using the dime, I know many, many players who do that. (You don't specifically have to use a dime, but buying some kind of special cloth from a music store is just a waste of money. As far as the latest remark about using purfume on a cloth, well, the active ingrediant in that is alchohol. Rubbing alchohol will to the same as perfume without the smell but I would not recommend it simply because it is just too dangerous. Just a tiny amount on the finish leaves an unmaskable blemish in the finish of the instrument and an accidental spill could be awful. As far as your fourth finger, make sure that you play on the pad of the finger and come as close you can to bisecting the pad where you make contact with the string. The fourth finger is always the weak point in left hand technique and if yours is not strong enough, you may not be getting enough pressure into the string to produce a clear tone. Also make sure that you check your intonation on these notes on the upper string, for good intonation will always improve tone immessurably. If you find that your fourth finger is to weak, try sevick exercises in first position #6 and the chromatics in the back of the book. Also apply rythmes based on four notes within these exercises. Pierre Nerini also wrote some great exercises but I suspect they are a little advanced for you. : Hi Everyone : Can I get some opinion on Pirastro Eudoxa rosin from you kind people. : I'm suffering severe "string gum-up", a syndrome I haven't suffered : as badly as I am at the moment. Even not having rosined my bow, I get : a terrible feel after only a couple of minutes playing. I don't : consider that I over-rosin (I use a reasonably good student bow and : would only apply new rosin every week or so) but most times it feels : like I'm ice-skating over the strings. The weather here is mostly warm : and dry, but not really different from past weeks and certainly no worse : than last Summer. Being one of the more expensive of the rosins available : here I would have hoped for better. Help! Where am I going wrong? : Also, while I'm at it I'll pose a question on tone. Why is it that I get : a very good crystal clear tone on all notes except for the (first position) : D on the G string, the A on the D string etc. I can make a very passable : tone on all the other notes, but these ... Grrr! Am I pressing the string down : too hard, too light (of course I've tried all possibilities), what's the story? : I'm heading off into Third, Fourth and Beyond positions soon but how can I : confidently do this when all I can get in First is a crummy fourth finger. : I use Dominant strings and have had the same set on since I got the violin just : over a year ago. I figured at the end of last year that seeing as I'd been : doing a bare minimum hours practice for every day of the last year that I'd be : due for new strings, but when I questioned my teacher she said that they looked : fine, and why change strings if you don't have to? I'm not particularly in : changing them all holus bolus, but if there was one string which might be a guide : as to how different brands sounded, which one would it be? The answer is probably : that I can't do that, that each string has it's own character etc, but I'll be : interested to hear from anyone who can give me some ideas. : Thanks.
  3. If you are expecting people owning and looking to sell Bernardels to magically post followups or e-mail you, guess again. You might find one at a reputable dealer, but when looking for a decent instrument that matches your playing and needs financially, looking at one specific maker because you once saw one you like seems rather foolish. : I am interested in obtaining a Sebastian Bernadel violin made in Paris in the early 1800's. The violin of said maker I saw one time had a one piece back with gold tips on the pegs. If a Sebastian Bernadel is not available, perhaps a Gand/Bernadel might be. Thank you.
  4. Interesting that you inquire about D. Nicolus. I can tell you that Mark is right. I know first hand of Dedier Nicolas because my father who was an excellent amatuer owned one for years. The varnish was a nondistinguishing brown with a slight amount orange in it and the workmanship was nonexemplary. Had a decent sound for a cheap instrument, however. I don't recall it being unusually large, however. : Please, need help for more info about the maker of the violin and it's value. : Inside writing: D. NICOLAS A.MERICOURT V??? 18 : A LA VILLE DE CREMONA : The back is one piece, varnish is dark cherry color.All information will be greatly appriciated.
  5. I spend at least six hours a day on the violin, so Iguess I put my strings to the test. I noticed D'Addario meantioned here and must add that they make a different string called Helicore. The core is actually several hundred steel strands braded together, resin coated and then wrapped in standard aluminum or silver. I used to use dominants all the time. These are more consistent and are not harsh when you put them on. Amazing strings if you ask me. Did you ever think that a serious classical player would ever endorse a steel core string? I used to use olives accross the board, but the A stunk and I can't stand tuning my violin every ten measures. I also think that Thomastik has gotten a little big for thier britches and the competition has finally caught up to them. ANyway, if you want a good alternative to perlon cores try helicore! Alex : : I'm curious about experiences that other serious players : : have with the life of Dominant strings. I've tried several brands : : of strings for sound and playability over the years but I : : always keep coming back to Thomastic Dominants, at least : : for my violin. I average about 30 hours a week playing time : : and my A strings wear out in about 4-6 weeks. By wearing out : : I mean that the metal on the outermost layer wears : : through and the string begins unraveling. I've tried other brands : : of strings that last much longer, but I prefer Dominants for how they : : sound and play on my violin. (I did recently try a set of D'Addario Pro Art'e strings, though, : : and found them comparable to the Dominants) So, what are your experiences? : I assume you're not using a wound E-string, then : I use Pirastro Olivs from the A down, and I'm not sure if this is just an illusion, but I think my Dominants used to unravel more. Exactly why I'm not sure, but perhaps it is in the strength of the wrapping. I don't suppose you might have slightly long nails, or be taking your violin through extreme changes of humidity, temperature? I average 25 hours of practice, plus chamber music and orchestra rehearsals per week, and I don't find any problems with fraying, at least not after such a short period of time. : I'm afraid that I can't offer any more advice than that. Perhaps others can? : - Quynh
  6. : I have started violin one and a half years ago. I started playing double stop with Sevcik's preparatory studies in double stoppinf, op.9. : I am having trouble playing Third at high position. At certain position, I have to play on the the very tip of my finger, very close to finger nail. And I have hard time stretching my fourth finger at some places. Besides, I can't : shift with ease. I feel tired after playing double stop for 20 minutes. I don't know how to solve the problem. How long is it going to take me before I can play double stops well? : I really need advice on this!!!!! : Samantha Dear Samantha, you must realize that any advice given on this board for such an expansive topic, if taken literally is subject to being destructive. How old you are, how serious you are, and how far along you are as a violinist must all be taken into account. If you are trying this on your own, you are probably looking for trouble. Most people aren't nearly ready to be worring about double stops after a year and a half of study. If you are exceptional, you should be with an exceptional teacher that will guide you well on this regard. If you wish to privately e-mail me and explain yourself in detail I might talk to you, but I will probably just tell you to find a good teacher. If you live in the DC area or Maryland, I have openings in my studio. I would be glad to interview you in person to see if I can help you professionally. If you are an adult doing this for a hobby, your result without professional guidance will almost assurably end in total frustration and quite possibly cause you neurological or muscle problems that can haunt you long after you stop playing and frankly, just aren't worth it. That, of course, depends on how much and what type of practicing you do. In any event, good luck.
  7. : : Sarah, although I may not necessarily agree with Mr. or Ms. "Heifetz"'s approach, to be totally honest your question did sound "novice-like" to me also. Is there some reason you are reluctant to discuss the problem with your teacher? Or have you been dissatisfied with your teacher's response? Although I don't intend to offend, 10 years of "serious study" means different things to different people and produces different results depending on many factors. I consider myself to be an intermediate level violinist at best. To some, I probably seem advanced and to others I would also be considered a novice. I started violin at age 8, received a bachelor's degree in music, took a 14 year break to be trained in a profession I could make a decent living in, and recently (5 years ago) returned to studying, performing, and doing a little teaching. I have given 4 full program recitals and am preparing to do another next month. I practice 20-30 hours each week, not counting rehearsals and lessons. On my upcoming program I will be playing a Milhaud trio, either a Prokofiev or Moszkowski duet with my teacher, the Debussy Sonata, Dvorak Sonatina, and at least the first movement of the Brahms concerto (the latter I have been working on for a full year and only am beginning to understand). Still, I don't consider this to be truely advanced playing. Also, re: the Maestronet bulletin board, I think it is very good that there is a forum for discussion on topics related to violin playing on Maestronet, but there is a major disadvantage in that there is no readily available mechanism for the contributors to hear each other play. Personally, I am beginning to get the impression that most of the players who post on the bulletin board (at least this is my impression from the type of message posted) are probably relative beginners who do not have a genuine appreciation for the years of consistent, dedicated work that are necessary to become even an average violinist. From some of my community orchestra experiences, I have also noticed that many "novices" appear clueless that they are actually novices. Perhaps this is the type of attitude to which "Heifetz" was responding. Obviously, without hearing you play, neither "Heifetz" or anyone else would know the level of skill you possess. I keep reading the postings on Maestronet because I am interested in learning any info from whatever level of playing ability which might improve my own performance and teaching skills. To be honest, though, it is most likely that the time would probably have been better spent practicing. Any one else out there have anything to say related to these topics? I'd like to hear! Thanks. : :Cindy/Sarah, : I must agree Cindy. We never really master the instrument, we only come to understanding with constant effort. I started reading the Maestronet recently and have found constructive as well as egocentric remarks. I was a "student" of the piano in excess of 10 years under the tutelage of a Baltimore Symphony/Peabody Conservatory faculty member. It was through her that I was introduced to cello as my string instrument. I never considered myself a very good cello player (by the way neither did Piatigorsky, who claimed to be "not the greatest cellist, just the tallest!" (of course, I can't even dream about being close to that stature)), additionally considering myself a mediocre pianist. Remember, it's not as much what you play as how well you play it that counts. Like Cindy, I earned a degree in an academic field to help support myself financially while allowing myself the freedom to continue with my musical endeavors. From everything I've read and from all I've come to learn from my studies, those who are most humbled by their inadequacy of knowledge are those whom I would consider worth listening to as they truly understand the difficulties encountered when desiring to master(although I don't think we ever really do this) their art. I like to refer to "The Way They Play", all volumes. There is mention of this topic of instrument mastery from practically every performer of great stature. I, too, don't believe the intention of the bulletin board was to allow a forum for people to dote on their greatness ("blow ones horn" so to say) but rather to offer genuine help to each other - no matter where we are at our points of study. For Sarah, I don't have much other advise except perhaps that maybe some Sevcik exercises may help improve the finger dexterity. Also, working Slowly. This can't be emphasized enough. Meticulous practice at slow tempos which are coordinated (bow to finger) is essential. Speed comes with time - a year is not unreasonable in many circumstances. Miriam Fried said that Mr. Galamian kept her on the Lalo 'Symphonie espagnole' for a year. I can't comment on anything else, your teacher is your best advisor as the teacher can watch, listen, and demonstrate where we can't. So keep working at it and best luck. Looks like you have gotten more than you bargained for. One thing all of these people have failed to meantion is that when you audition for just about any orchestra, frome the per service community ones up to Philidelphia, they usually ask for a movement of a Mozart Concerto. I have played 34 major orchestra auditions since leaving school in 83'. As a veteran of those wars and a top level professional, I still humble myself before those who can get up there and play an honest, beautiful and clean Mozart. It can take a lifetime to master the violin, and on of the best ways to judge any violinists true "salt" is by thier ability to pull off Mozart. Why, well that requires a whole new forum. I don't concider you question amaturish, only in that you are just now starting to study a Mozart Concerto. That only suggests where you seem to be in your current level of training. Good luck.
  8. : : I have just started studying Mozart's fourth violin Concerto (in D major) : : and now I would like to know if anyone knows a good cadenza : : not too difficult, but still impressive. : To: L.Koraen : Regarding Mozart Cadenzas: Aside from obtaining the music published from performers who have written their own, you might take a look at a newish publication on Mozart's cadenzes, composed by Robert Levin. : The book is entitled CADENZAS TO MOZART'S VIOLIN CONCERTOS. Universal Edition, No. 17588. It is prefaced by Gidon Kremer. : The cadenzas and lead-ins are an assembly of step wise passages, all idiomatic to the concerto in question which allows the violinist to create many different cadanzas from the alternatives. It enables you to suite your musical as well as technical range. : It is worth taking a look as this book. : Louise Naples There is a great cadenza written by Aurther Grumiaux and he plays it on his Phillips recording of the Mozart Concerti. I have transcribed it, but would have to look for it. if you can accept faxes, I will send it to you, though, I don't know if there are copyrights on it, so if you perform it, it is at your own risk of infringement. It is absolutely beautiful and not quite as difficult as the most played Joachum ( I believe) cadenza. If you want a copy, send me an e-mail with your fax number, and I will get it to you. I only have the first movement cadenza written out.
  9. : : I have just started studying Mozart's fourth violin Concerto (in D major) : : and now I would like to know if anyone knows a good cadenza : : not too difficult, but still impressive. : To: L.Koraen : Regarding Mozart Cadenzas: Aside from obtaining the music published from performers who have written their own, you might take a look at a newish publication on Mozart's cadenzes, composed by Robert Levin. : The book is entitled CADENZAS TO MOZART'S VIOLIN CONCERTOS. Universal Edition, No. 17588. It is prefaced by Gidon Kremer. : The cadenzas and lead-ins are an assembly of step wise passages, all idiomatic to the concerto in question which allows the violinist to create many different cadanzas from the alternatives. It enables you to suite your musical as well as technical range. : It is worth taking a look as this book. : Louise Naples There is a great cadenza written by Aurther Grumiaux and he plays it on his Phillips recording of the Mozart Concerti. I have transcribed it, but would have to look for it. if you can accept faxes, I will send it to you, though, I don't know if there are copyrights on it, so if you perform it, it is at your own risk of infringement. It is absolutely beautiful and not quite as difficult as the most played Joachum ( I believe) cadenza. If you want a copy, send me an e-mail with your fax number, and I will get it to you.
  10. : Hello : I am seeking advice regarding my left hand. While playing the scales are any piece thus far, my left palm seem to come up. I am seeking advice on keeping the hand straight while fingering. ( I hope I am making sense). If anyone can tell me the techniques of left hand playing I would appreciate it. : Thanks. That could be a number of things. First and formost, disipline. You must practice very slowly, like less than half tempo and thus you will be able to catch every movement you make. Do not allow yourself to get into this bad habit at a slow tempo, and gradually work your way up. You may have a lack of finger strength. You are trying to clutch with the palm of the hand to make up for this, but the more you resist this temptation, the stronger your fingers will get. If you experiment with how much pressure is required when placing the finger on any given string to achieve a clear tone you will find that it is probably much less than you are attempting to make. Players with highly calloused pads are really working too hard. If after all my advise you still don't have the mental strength to curtail this physical urge to collapse your wrist, try duck taping a ruler on the back of your hand extending down your forarm for a couple of practice sessions. Perhaps this radical method would work for you, at least as far as awarness is concerned.
  11. : : I am a violinist in desparate need of a good quality : : instrument. The problem is that I am unable to put down : : the full amount to purchase an instrument. I'm looking for : : some way to make payments over several years of up to : : $300 US dollars a month for a $10,000 to $15,000 instrument. : : I could probably put a few thousand down, but no more. : : I also have two violins worth about $2000 apeice. I am : : wondering if anyone has advice on my situation. : My advice to you is to sell the other instruments first if you can. You will be in bad bargaining position to offer these as trade in at a shop with an instrument that you would want to purchase in that price range. The dealer knows that too. They will have to make commission on the instruments you trade in as well as the one you wish to buy. As far as the rest of the money, well, if you have a relative that has enough collateral for a loan, or a patron of the arts that is willing to sponsor a loan, then you are all set. I purchased an instrument in the fourty big range, and a traded in an instrument in the twenty range. It was through the same shop that I purchased it from. I tried trading through other dealers, but they were very uncooperative. It often depends on the instrument you are looking to buy. If it is owned by the shop rather than commissioned to sell by that shop, they are usually more apt to deal a trade. Anyway, good luck. Oh, I forgot to meantion, I read the other follow up, and should caution you, renting to own is a bad business. I don't care who the dealer is, unless you are a beginner looking to buy a 1000 dollar or less instrument, it is not worth it. Any shop that sponsors that kind of arrangement, which is essentially acting as a sort of loan institution has too high an overhead to give you a decent deal.
  12. : I am a violinist in desparate need of a good quality : instrument. The problem is that I am unable to put down : the full amount to purchase an instrument. I'm looking for : some way to make payments over several years of up to : $300 US dollars a month for a $10,000 to $15,000 instrument. : I could probably put a few thousand down, but no more. : I also have two violins worth about $2000 apeice. I am : wondering if anyone has advice on my situation. My advice to you is to sell the other instruments first if you can. You will be in bad bargaining position to offer these as trade in at a shop with an instrument that you would want to purchase in that price range. The dealer knows that too. They will have to make commission on the instruments you trade in as well as the one you wish to buy. As far as the rest of the money, well, if you have a relative that has enough collateral for a loan, or a patron of the arts that is willing to sponsor a loan, then you are all set. I purchased an instrument in the fourty big range, and a traded in an instrument in the twenty range. It was through the same shop that I purchased it from. I tried trading through other dealers, but they were very uncooperative. It often depends on the instrument you are looking to buy. If it is owned by the shop rather than commissioned to sell by that shop, they are usually more apt to deal a trade. Anyway, good luck.
  13. : I am looking for a 3/4 violin for my 8 year old daughter : who is a beginner. Can anyone offer any suggestions : as to what to look for, how much to spend, where to : shop etc. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks. If you buy, don't spend too much. Most beginners quit. That is a statistical fact. If she doesn't it will probably be from a lot of encouragement from her teacher and parents. Assuming that she studies for a long period of time, you can always upgrade. However, you don't want to get something so cheap that it is not capable of producing a sound that will give her a clear pitch and some semblance of decent tone if played with a clean stroke. One option would be to rent for a while to see how things go and if she keeps up the interest, then think about buying. Remember, she will soon grow out of a 3/4 and require a full size. If you buy one now, you will only have to sell it later. If you are insistant on buying one now, go to a reputable dealer of student instruments and take along someone who plays, preferably her teacher, get price quotes and advice from several experts.
  14. : : : I recently purchased a beautiful violin for $1000, : : and have used and practiced on it almost every day. : : Now though there seems to be a great rosin buildup under : : the strings. I was cleaning it every day with a cloth, : : and recently ordered a new one. How should I try to : : get rid of the rosin buildup without the dulling and or : : destruction of the varnish. I bought a commercial cleaner : : and am now scared on using it on the violin. Is my fears : : justifiable? Should I just use it? I'm thankful for any help. : Hello Joel, I am not a very experienced player, but your question about using commercial cleaner set off alarms in my head. I was reading a care and maintenance website I found the other day, and they said, under no circumstances should you ever use a commercial cleaner on your instrument. I know that you will probably read this over and over on Maestronet, but.... take it to a luthier! Ask him (or her) They really are the experts and can save you alot of money in the long run by giving you the best advice on how to take care of our violins. When you say great rosin buildup under the strings, what exactly do you mean? Is the rosin "on" the strings, as in touching them? On the fingerboard under the strings? On the wood under the fingerboard? Where exactly is the rosin and why can't you just wipe it off? Maybe I'm not reading your question right. If its on the wood and you cant get it off by wiping, the take it to a luthier and see what he says, maybe he can just give you pointers on how to do it yo Take a tip from someone who has been playing for 30 years. If You wipe off your instrument every day you play with an ordinary soft cotton cloth and do it properly and thoroughly, you will almost never have to use any cleaner. I found several commercially available cleaners that work just fine on just about any instrument. Saccones' is one that comes to mind. You should almost never hve to use it, but if you follow the directions on the bottle, for a inexpensive instrument such as yours, I wouldn't lose sleep over it. If you still feel nervous go to a shop and have them do it for you. They will take responsibility for any damage that might me done to the instruments finish which is very rare. Also, if you take a dime and occasionally scrape the edge of it accross the strings, that will remove most rosin dust from them as well
  15. : Since a few days I have the violin : my grandfather used to play (for his profession). : I have always been told that it was "an old voilin : from Tirol". I went to the local violinshop where they : told me this: : Build by Matthias .....?? : Bolzano, Tirol, 1654. : Can anyone give me a clue?? I can say that some of these old Tirolian violins can be quite nice. I had one when I was six and first starting out in music. I don't know who the maker was, but it was a lot mmore fiddle than I deserved or needed at the time. I would have it appraised by a dealer of good rep just to be sure.
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