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lwl

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Posts posted by lwl

  1. For a player, I think you do not want to buy an instrument of a higher quality than you are able to grow into -- i.e. it doesn't need to be ideal for your current playing level, but if it's beyond you now, you should be able to get from where you are now to the point where the instrument sounds excellent in your hands within a reasonable amount of time (probably weeks to a few months for someone whose playing level is fairly stable, but years for a student who is making significant progress).

    The strengths and weaknesses and quirks of your personal technique, especially with regard to sound production, is going to be a major influence on how a particular violin sounds in your hands. What it would sound like in someone else's hands is largely irrelevant.

     

  2. What is your total budget? You probably need to spend $500 to $750 on the bow alone, if you intend to buy a decent bow. That will probably be a carbon-fiber bow or a Brazilian workshop bow at that price; you probably won't be able to go below $250 for the bow. 

    So I assume that leaves you at less than $1,000 for the violin. At that price point you will find better quality rentals than what you could buy. I would suggest that you rent for at least a year, save more money, have your daughter try plenty of violins, and then try to buy.

    At that price point, the best deals are likely to be contemporary Chinese workshop violins. Ignore what your teacher said about old French/German. Such instruments are still workshop violins, and at that price point you will be buying a heavily-repaired instrument or one that's not particularly high quality.

  3. I too believe that the resulting sound is a mix of violin, bow, and player, but we are neglecting the degree to which the equipment actually influences the player. Some players are fundamentally a better match for some equipment. Different players will respond differently to the feedback coming out of the instrument, as  well.

    Equipment that offers more expressive possibilities will draw more expressive playing out of the player. Plus we all react to the sound we hear under our ears with unconscious adjustments. I recently tried a lovely D. Peccatte bow and found that I had automatically, instinctively changed my sounding point to be much closer to the bridge (with resulting change in projection) because the bow drew a beautiful and clean sound there (without any of the close-to-the-bridge harshness that can sometimes occur). The violinist who was showing off the bow had to draw my attention to what I was doing before I realized it.

    Having  used different (well-made, contemporary as well as antique) violins in concertos with orchestra, I am absolutely a believer that there are meaningful differences in how well they project.

  4. LA has tons of dealers. I imagine that with 25+ years of adult (professional?) playing under your belt in your local area, you probably have a relationship with one or more shops. There are multiple large high-end shops. Metzler, Benning, Weisshaar, etc. See https://stringsmagazine.com/a-roundup-of-5-violin-shops-in-los-angeles/ for starters.

    In this price range, focus on playing qualities, not country of origin. 

    (It's kind of strange you're US-based but you quoted a budget in euros.)

  5. @GeorgeH, I don't think "appealing tone" is necessarily presumed. Rather, dealers can look at the physical construction of an instrument not currently in a playable state, and have a guess as to its playing qualities once properly fixed up and set up. 

    I agree that every instrument has a presumed value based on the maker, date, condition, provenance, etc. However, whether a dealer chooses to acquire it, and what they are willing to pay to acquire it is going to be very much based on how long they think it will take to sell it, and what they are likely to get as an actual purchase price for it. That's sometimes quite dependent upon the part of the world they are in, too. For that matter, you  can even see quite different prices for the same maker between the east and west coasts of the US, I'm  told.

  6. @GeorgeH, you realize Jeffrey Holmes is one of the trade's most respected and experienced dealers and restorers, right? (He spent two decades at Shar, notably.) 

    The reason that "appeal" is important is that it ultimately reflects saleability. Something might "warrant" a price of $X due to the maker/condition/provenance/etc. but actually moving that piece of stock, i.e. successfully finding a buyer to buy it at $X, is a different matter entirely. At some point in time, the seller might very well have to take $X minus Y% in order to actually sell it to someone, at which point it calls into question whether $X is the true value. A seller might have to wait years and years before someone comes along and is actually willing to pay $X. Whereas something that has a lot of broad appeal might very well sell fairly quickly for $X and perhaps even $X plus Z%.

    Good dealers know what traits appeal to their particular clients and will have a good guess as to the saleability of the stock they're buying.

  7. It should also be pointed out that Lara St John  (who is a very fine violinist with a pretty solid lengthy solo career at this point) did report it when it occurred, and Curtis declined to do anything about it at the time. The reason it's important for institutions to confront this historical behavior is to ensure that policies and processes have changed in the meantime to ensure that it doesn't happen again now.

    We are seeing this happen in many private schools (primary and secondary schools) across the country, for instance -- in many such cases it involves men in their 50s, 60s, or 70s raise accusations against male teachers that have long since dead, but the law-firm investigation finds the original complaints or other supporting evidence of abuse long-suppressed, and in some cases discovers that the school does not have adequate protective measures now, either.

  8. The Khachaturian is a lot of fun, the third movement more so than the first, in my opinion. Lalo is fun, too.

    Will the concerto competition allow you to play the Zig? It's about the same length as a concerto movement and it's got a good orchestra part.

  9. On 9/27/2019 at 9:05 AM, GeorgeH said:

    How do you define "a modern?"

    I think of modern as "contemporary", i.e. something by a still-living or recently-deceased maker.

    My violin is from the 1850s so is definitely not a modern. I usually say, "Oh, this is a French violin from the 1850s", unless I'm talking to another violinist in which case I'll be more specific and say, "This is a JB Vuillaume." People often tell me that they've never heard another violin like it; I imagine since I'm usually playing in venues that only have a few hundred seats at most, it's more in-your-face than anything they've heard in a concert hall. (A pro pianist who used to spend a lot of time with the Guarneri Quartet told me, "It sounds like a Strad.")

  10. People almost always come up to me post-performance to remark that my violin's sound is extraordinary, and they're wondering what it is. My bio clearly identifies me as an amateur, and so the question I usually get asked is, "Is it a modern?" rather than the assumption that people would tend to make with a pro who'd be more likely to have an antique.

    So even the general public has gotten the message that moderns can be excellent, thanks to all those news articles about blind tests.

    (But no. I'm not playing a modern, actually. This seems to almost disappoint the people asking that question.)

  11. I also agree with the advice to look for a nice workshop violin, which would set you back around $2k-5k, and which you could probably eventually sell for a break-even or slight loss when you're ready to upgrade again. 

    If you're considering a $12k violin, I would set yourself a budget and do some serious shopping in that price range (and below) -- say $10k to $15k. There is tons of inventory at that price, and you owe it to yourself to try lots of violins before settling on one. This miracle Allison violin you're playing may feel wondrous simply  because you haven't had enough experience with better violins.

    Find a violin that you think is worthwhile even if it turns out that is worthless for resale later. Resale value is nice, but if you want to invest your money, go put it in the stock market or something; focus on the utility value of your purchase and not its investment value. Think of it more like buying a car.

  12. I would say that you can also run into a situation where you have already changed your technique, and in the process you find that your old bow doesn't suit you as well any longer, and you are now looking for something different.

    I went through a change in right-hand technique that meant that I went from liking very flexible bows to liking strong sticks, probably best expressed as going from not liking Sartory to preferring Sartory. Unfortunately, when I first went shopping, Sartory's work was in my price range; when I was shopping for my changed technique, it was not. (I regret not having bought a Maline or even a D Peccatte when they were "affordable", since I think I'd still have loved the same bow even through the technical transition.)

  13. Speaking as a woman who is not conventionally attractive, I will tell you from personal experience that it is not at all a deterrent to predatory men, and in fact, said predatory men will pretend to be doing you a favor by harassing you.

    Speaking as a woman who has managed teams at tech companies, I can also tell you that sexual harassment in the workplace is rampant, and it's hard for even the best-intentioned managers (male or female) to protect the women on their teams.

    And finally, I can tell you, from personal observation in the workplace, that even butch lesbians with zero interest in men and no flirtatious manner whatsoever still get the unwelcome attention of men.

    Some men are just predators. A recent news article noted that we're starting to understand something really important about rape. We used to assume that "date rapists" were a totally different category from the men that committed violent stranger rapes -- that a guy who might take advantage of an ambiguous situation or a drunk woman was a "normal" guy caught in a bad situation. Rape-kit testing is now destroying that assumption. It turns out that many men who commit violent rapes have, in the past, been given a pass on a he-said she-said date-rape accusation.

  14. Not only did she report it, but numerous other women also reported it. I think it's important institutions deal with this, because Curtis needs to take a  hard look at itself and figure out how to deal with any abuse that might be happening now and in the future, since there will be other abusers in the future.

    This isn't just happening in music, but in other educational institutions as well. There are lots of schools that are dealing with buried reports of sexual assault where men in their 60s are coming forward. (The MeToo climate has been freeing for men to report abuse as well.) Reading interviews with survivors, it seems pretty clear that people often need decades to get the therapy and help they need to recover, and the courage to confront often beloved institutions and fondly-remembered teachers who are often long dead.

    Note that abusers may construct their lives specifically to obtain access to children. Many beloved teachers build a foundation in which they are loved by the administration, colleagues, parents, and children, so that when they are accused of abuse, the child will not be believed, and/or the problem will be swept under the table. This is part of the grooming behavior.

    Other abusers are opportunistic. Music provides ample opportunity for one-on-one access in an intimate setting. I know a college prof (musician but not violinist) who has repeatedly engaged in sexual relationships with his students, which he views as consensual but might have an uncomfortable power dynamic nevertheless.

  15. Direct your ear and attention to the melody. Tune the other line to the melody. 

    The  place where you sometimes have to compromise unpleasantly is if you're playing solo Bach and need to use a not-quite-in-tune open string to  play a chord. You are better off slightly compromising the intonation of the notes before and after that chord to narrow how obvious the difference is.

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