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Everything posted by lwl

  1. quote: Originally posted by HuangKaiVun: I didn't see "new stuff" until my 2nd year of college. This will be extremely college-dependent. I went to an Ivy League university; it was common for students to have taken as many APs as their schools had available, and IB (International Baccalaureate) was also pretty common. They told you to take the freshman section of those basic classes anyway, even if you got a 5 on the AP exam -- and any credit you got for APs would normally be given in the form of a "lesser" class (i.e., one that was totally useless for your major or distribution requirements). The material was covered with a great deal more depth and thoroughness, with a very strong theoretical emphasis -- vastly beyond what the AP courses had. i.e., don't count on your APs to get you out of having to take things, if you pick a top-notch school.
  2. quote: Originally posted by HuangKaiVun: When I was in Juilliard, we analyzed Bach's music using 3-part harmony. We knocked ourselves up trying to deal with all the "strange" things Bach did, and it made no sense. This seems very odd. Why were you taught that way? Music theory is generally taught from the standpoint of four-part harmony, beginning with the analysis of Bach chorales. Part-writing is usually initially taught by having students write increasingly complex four-part chorales in a Bach-like style. You learn your voice-leading rules this way, normally.
  3. Well, it looks like he turned to conducting rather than solo work...
  4. I would rate them, from easiest to hardest, as 4, 2, 1, 3, 5. Your mileage will vary based on your strengths and weaknesses. I don't think this work is especially difficult in general. The 5th movement goes rather quickly, which demands practice to maintain steadiness of tempo; it's also got a nasty passage of broken fingered octaves. There's also a fair amount of jumping around the fingerboard in many of the movements; there are a lot of large leaps up the fingerboard that need to be tackled with confidence. There's some chromatic glissando and left-hand pizzicato, for slightly unusual technique.
  5. If you need to take NSAIDs on a long-term basis, you should go to the doctor and get a prescrpition for something that won't eat your stomach lining, like Vioxx. (On the other hand, I find I get vastly less relief from Vioxx than from Aleve, but I believe I'm an exception, there...)
  6. Of course, you could also not abuse your wrists. Or at least try to limit the damage you do. Take the advice they give you for exercises, etc. Consider investing in an ergonomic keyboard -- they really do help. And when you're practicing, make sure to keep your body relaxed, and take breaks.
  7. I think it depends on what sort of learner you are. I find it frustrating to learn technique from repertoire. Repertoire might motivate me to go out and improve a required aspect of technique -- but I find it easier to drill the technical problems as a general-case and in isolation from the literature. Sevcik works really well for me, for instance.
  8. I agree with the recommendation of Trott. I also like Sevcik op. 9 and Sevcik op. 1 book IV, for tedious but useful drill.
  9. I was taught that you should never fully extend, much less hyperextend, your right arm in order to get to the tip of the bow. Since my arms are quite short, I was taught to let my elbow fall back a little on the end of the down-bow stroke. This means that the bow arcs very slightly at the tip. I use a little more weight at the tip to compensate for the bow angle, and there's no change in the tone when this happens. (Straightening the arm makes it much harder to avoid jerking at the tip.)
  10. I want to gripe again about Marriner's conducting in that Brahms. (That ability to create a clear sense of line is what makes her Bernstein Serenade and Stravinsky concerto listenable for me -- I don't like other recordings of these works, and they never made sense to me prior to hearing Hahn's recording.)
  11. I'm still here, but I've been incredibly busy since November or so. I barely have time to practice at the moment (days often pass between the times I pick up the violin), and so I generally only read the Fingerboard threads whose subject titles interest me, these days, and post much less often.
  12. I continue to maintain that I don't hear or see forcing when I hear her play. Her tone production is completely different from the Galamian/DeLay school that we hear in most of the other major soloists. I've heard her in two venues -- one a fairly intimate recital hall, and the other a large modern concert hall (where she played the Elgar, which is set against massive orchestral forces). Both times she carried clearly and beautifully, her sound the appropriate size for the space. She doesn't get sound by pressure -- indeed, she really doesn't leave the bow right up by the bridge, as most soloists do. Instead, she uses a lot of bow -- a LOT of bow. She's got such a seamless legato that she can take multiple bows where another player would be forced to use a single bow. On a sustained note you'll see her change freely and totally inaudibly. Contrast, say, Maxim Vengerov, who *does* get power by forcing. (I wonder how much of that is due to having grown up trying to play really cheap violins.) Frankly, if I had the choice of being able to produce sound like any one violinist living or dead, it'd probably be Hahn.
  13. lwl

    Pip Clarke

    She played locally recently -- I didn't hear her, but my teacher did, and said she was really quite good -- excellent command of the instrument, if rather aggressive.
  14. Jade. I used to rosin with MD's Colophane 2000 by itself, and then add a swipe of Jade. But I've since become fond of Jade by itself, though I'm very careful not to over-rosin.
  15. I thought that while the last (and best of the) Scott Cao violin I tried was on par with some of the instruments that I liked less amongst the exhibit, it didn't match up to the best of what I played. I don't remember Scott Cao's violins as having this much ring or clarity to them.
  16. Actually, *for the price*, these instruments were excellent -- superior to other instruments I've played in that price range, often significantly superior. My current violin costs several times the price of the ones in the exhibit, so the price comparison is not entirely fair -- though I suspect that there are contemporary instruments that do indeed surpass it, I didn't think any of the ones in the show did.
  17. I use a Jarger E, and like it a lot; it has a darker sound but still very good ring. (I've noticed that the choice of E string affects the ring of notes on *other* strings, as well.) I actually prefer the gold Olive E on my violin for pure ring -- but it's also overly piercing. My instrument is quite brilliant; the upper end is already strong, and consequently I've made some efforts to tame it with strings. The Jarger works well, and it doesn't whistle. The Larsen E seems similar, and almost as good, on my violin. I'd also try the Kaplan Golden Spiral E. Heavy-gauge E strings might also help.
  18. I spent about two and a half hours with the various violins at the exhibit this past weekend. In general, for the price range, the instruments were quite good -- plenty of acceptable-sounding violins in the $5-10K range. New, bright-sounding instruments, with a clear, open, ringing tone. Response was generally quick and easy, and even up the fingerboard. However, in general, the E was by far the best string, the A usually good, the D decent, and the G from okay to unacceptable. The major problem I encountered was that it was extremely difficult to play softly and well, on all of the instruments. The sound would break up, on many of them. And at low dynamic levels, it was extremely difficult to get any range of colors or subtlety -- small accents, a little intensifying of the sound via speed of vibrato, small changes in speed or pressure of the bow, etc. had little effect at low dynamic levels. Fun, but it made me appreciate the violin I have more.
  19. I was using my own bow, which sounded good on all of the violins (or at the very least, better than the shop bows that were available for use). I'm fairly certain it wasn't a bow problem at all, and I don't think it was technical deficiency on my part -- I think these instruments simply didn't do nuance at low dynamic levels (and some didn't do them at all). It's easy to get seduced by broad open powerful ringing sound; it's when you start trying to make small differences in that sound that you run into trouble.
  20. I'd be wary of saying that the Berg Deluxe is as good as the "finest vintage French pernambuco bows", unless, as Michael says, you've found the magic bow. I don't think that the handling of the Berg matches that of the very best bows that I've played. I will agree that is comparable to the handling of fine modern-made bows in a similar price range, so when you add in its indestructibility, it's certainly more than competitive against the average contemporary bow. (Though as with all bows, the feel of each stick will vary.) I also don't think that the sound of the Berg Deluxe in any way compares to the sound that can be drawn from even a moderately fine older bow. Andy notes this explicitly in his review, in fact.
  21. I don't know if she has any stable "stable" of students, the way other major teachers of today do. I get the impression that people come to her to fix physical problems hampering their playing, and then go away. i.e., if you're a pro and tension is wrecking your career, you visit her to fix it.
  22. If I recall correctly, Milstein started at age 6.
  23. My feeling, having heard that same concert of Bin Huang's, was that I was listening to someone who had listened to too many recordings, and had started to play like one. I attend live concerts partially because I enjoy the spontaneity of great performers on stage. Kreisler has this quality, even in his studio recordings -- you always get the sense the man is improvising on the spot, and the music has a wonderful freshness to it, in his hands. The great violinists I have seen live have a quality that permits them to be directly communicative, to project a sense of ease with the instrument, a sense of "ownership" of the music, and a give-and-take spontaneous rapport with the conductor and orchestra. My impression, hearing Bin Huang, was that of "overpracticing" -- technical perfection achieved, but in a substantively mechanical way that seemed to suck all spontaneity out of the music. I felt like she was imitating/reproducing a great artist's performance, as opposed to *giving* one. Also, I thought the interpretation followed a recording (not hers) that I have, near-exactly. I have to confess that I'm not especially impressed by raw technique. There are hundreds if not thousands of young artists that have perfect technique -- many of them still children. Far fewer have something unique to *say* with that technique, though. I suppose it's the difference between being somebody with the technical skill to perfectly reproduce a Monet painting -- as opposed to *being* Monet and producing that painting in the first place. Contrast, for instance, a recital of Maxim Vengerov's that I heard some months ago. There was a sense of spontaneity, of awareness of his audience, of something unique to give. (And in his encores, seeing him turn to grin at the audience during dramatic pauses in things like the Round of the Goblins was great fun, too.)
  24. I think that one has to come to the Paganini Caprices (and the Wieniawski etudes of comparable level, and Ernst, etc.) with what is already a solid and polished technique. Then these types of etudes both mercilessly expose weaknesses (because they really have to be played as close to perfectly as possible to "work", in my opinion), as well as run one through the gamut of specialty virtuosic tricks. There are some players who manage to play well, at least while they're young, without the most solid of technical foundations -- the teenage Menuhin, for instance, was unable to play a three-octave arpeggio in tune for Ysaye (despite having just done them within a piece, the Lalo Symphonie Espagnol, moments before), and Stern bemoaned his lack of strong technical foundation his entire life. Menuhin also "paid for it" later, and I don't think his technique was ever as good afterwards. Scales and arpeggios aren't just important for building up core technique -- they're also vitally important for sight-reading. I tend to play them with music open, even though I don't need the notes in front of me, just to get used to seeing the pattern of notes on the page. That way, when you encounter a scale or arpeggio in unfamiliar music, your fingers automatically fall the right way. Another important lesson I learned later than I wish I had: Learn to vary your scale and arpeggio fingerings and don't always start at the beginning of the scale. It'll help you do on-the-fly adjustments when sight-reading.
  25. Scales. Including arpeggios and double-stops, scales on one string, one-finger scales, etc. I personally also really like the pattern-based exercises that are either keyless or are written to be transposed into any key. The intonation section in Simon Fischer's "Basics" is particularly good, in my opinion. The shifting exercises in Sevcik op. 8 are also really useful, if played in the key of the repertoire being worked on.
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