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Trent Hill

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Everything posted by Trent Hill

  1. I agree w/ Andy wholeheartedly. Constantin Dounis, a noted violin teacher of the early part of this century, said that in general, you should not know the left thumb exists--meaning, I think, that you should position it so that it feels natural, relaxed, an (as far as possible) so that it allows you to keep your wrist straight and relaxed as well--otherwise, you're at risk for developing nerve-tunnel problems in your left hand. My thumb goes all over the neck when I play, depending on what I'm doing, but it usually goes under the neck only when I'm playing in very high positions (>6). If your teacher insists on your adapting an unnatural and dangerous hand position, dump 'er! I'm also an adult beginner--started when I was 33. Hope this helps, Trent
  2. I've been looking for an edition of Dounis' "Daily Dozen" exercises, to no avail. These are *not* the same exercises in his "Artist's Technique." does anybody know if they're available anywhere? Many thanks. Trent Hill
  3. Lisa, I'm pretty sure there's just one model of Glasser composite, and they have a fully lined ebony frog with, yes, a Parisian eye (i.e. target-style) and nickel-silver winding. As far as the folks at Remenyi's go: Not to start Bow Wars again, but if you can find a German-made pernambuco bow that is straight, reasonably stiff, and draws a good tone for $85, I suggest you buy it immediately, and every other bow of that description they sell. None of the wooden bows I've seen in that price range are fit for much beyond threatening your dog or staking up tomatoes in a pinch. I have a Glasser Composite and love it, as does my teacher, and I haven't played a wooden bow under $400 that comes close to it. But they do vary, just as do wooden bows, so I'd suggest you try some out before you buy. Hope this helps, Trent Hill : Hello all again! : I finally got a violin and for FREE too! A girlfriend of mine gave me a violin she had lying around in her closet since her brother use to play. Problem is, the bow is wrecked so I was planning to go look at bows tomorrow and was thinking of getting a Glasser Composite Bow since I read all the posts here raving about that bow. Problem is, there doesn't seem to be any consistancy of that bow. Shar has a Glasser Composite Bow for $89 with description: nickel mounted, fully lined ebony frog, wire winding and horsehair. Sw strings has it at $85.50, description: fully lined ebony frog, parisian eye, silver winding and horsehair. Now, are there different models in the Glasser Composite Bow? I need my bow by this weekend at the latest since I'll start my first lesson on Tuesday Nov 23. Also, I spoke with the people at Remenyi's here in Toronto, and the person there told me that the composite bow is not worth the money and I can get many better German made wood bows. This whole thing is so confusing. Please help! And sorry for rambling. Thanks! : Lisa
  4. Can't help you on the Xmas stuff, but there are a rich variety of books out there on Klezmer and Roma ("Gypsy" is, according to my sources, an insulting ethnic slur) music and violin playing. There's M.A. Harber's _Gypsy Violin_ and Stacy Phillip's _Klezmer Collection for C Instruments_, both published by Mel Bay. Then, there are the various collections edited and transcribed by Harry Sapoznik, which I think are published by Tara (see www.jewishmusic.com). Miamon Miller published. many years ago, two collections called _Romanian Folk Violin_. Somebody's reprinted two of the Kammen _International Dance Music_ folios; they might be available at www.jewishmusic.com. If you're really feeling committed and ambitious, you could order the massive _Thesaurus of Oriental Hebrew Melody_, recently reprinted by Tara; if you do that, let me know how it is.... Szilveszter's recommendations on Bartok are well-taken. In general, keep in mind that there was significant physical and cultural movement between Roma and Jewish musicians throughout the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans, so anything that will help you learn how to play Greek traditional violin will also help you with klezmer. One caveat: there's very little music from that area that is truly "elementary"; it requires some position playing and the ability to hear and finger some intervals (like an augmented second) that you don't see much of in elementary Western violin literature. Hope this helps Trent Hill : I would like to find some elementary gypsy or klezmer tunes for violin. Does anyone know of a good source? Also looking for intermediate Christmas and/or Holiday violin duets. Many thanks. Laurie
  5. Yes, they do. Heavier strings of a particular brand usually give you a thicker, fatter sound, though they might also "squash" the sound of your instrument. It all depends on the instrument and how you play it. Hope this helps, Trent
  6. My current violin feels very heavy and unwieldy to me, especially in comparison to some other instruments I've tried out. Is there any way reduce the overall weight of an instrument by changing the fittings, especially the tailpiece and chinrest? My current instrument has a high chinrest and all ebony fittings. Any recommendations would be much appreciated. Trent HIll
  7. The Flesch book isn't really "basic." It's organized by keys, and you start out playing one-octave scales and arpeggios on each string, then three-octave scales and arpeggios, scales in octaves, sixths, thirds, chromatics, artificial harmonics, etc. It's really less a "method" than a system or compendium for studying scales. It's good, but if you're just getting your feet wet in scale practice, the Hrimaly book (available from Shar--www.sharmusic.com) is a better place to start. It's shorter and organized by positions and finger patterns; you start out with the basic first position major an minor scales, and then work on patterns beginning with the first finger going up the neck, second finger, and third finger. Then you get into some three-octave scales and arpeggios at the end. Either book is good, and I'd recommend getting both eventually, but your best bet is to start with Hrimaly. And maybe work with a teacher. It's important to think of scales as simple melodies which you can play musically, and not just as groups of notes. No mystery, just a lot of fun once you get your head and hands around them. Hope this helps, Trent : Does the Carl Flesch system start with the basics and gradually build up to more advanced positions? Is there one book in particular that is best? Or is there a series of books that I should purchase. Thanks :-) : John Johnson
  8. Al, thanks for your response, but I don't think I was altogether clear in my question. What I'm curious about is using a Thomastic-type tailpiece, *not* to adjust the pitch, but *solely* to adjust the afterlength of each string. I.e. once you got the afterlength right for each string, you'd just leave the G, D, and A fine tuner in place and tune the string's pitch with the regular tuning peg. Would that kind of fine adjustment make any difference, or does that amount to using a shotgun to kill a gnat? Thanks, Trent : Hello: : The best tailpiece with tuners is one that does not change the string length as the tuners are used. There are none that fit that need! : However, the Pusch (sp?) brand comes close. The lever action of the tuner is designed for minimun movement of the string after length. Both Whittner and the ugly Tomastik change the length as the tuner is used. : Regards, : Al
  9. One thing you might want to check is to make sure that you're not relying on your right-hand index finger alone to put weight into the bow--it helped my sound immensely when I started concentrating on using both the index and the second (middle) to transfer weight from my arm to the bow. There are some useful exercises regarding that in Simon Fischer's _Basics_ you might want to check out. Hope this helps. Trent Hill
  10. I've been wondering lately if you couldn't use a Thomastik or Wittner fine-tuner tailpiece to precisely adjust the afterlength of the strings. Has anybody here ever tried that, or heard of it being done?
  11. I've been wondering lately if you couldn't use a Thomastik or Wittner fine-tuner tailpiece to precisely adjust the afterlength of the strings. Has anybody here ever tried that, or heard of it being done?
  12. Particularly when playing in the first three positions, should the thumb be curved so that its tip points somewhat towards the fingertips, or should it be straight or curved backwards? I never gave that question much thought until I looked at Kato Havas' "New Approach" pamphlet the other day. She argues that the thumb and fingers of the left hand, rather like the right hand, should form a circle. While I know that some folks here don't think highly of Havas, the photographs in Fischer's _Basics_ would seem to suggest the same thing. Is there any sort of consensus on this question? I ask b/c I've come to the conclusion that I play with waaaaay too much tension in my left hand and arm. Many thanks for any help or suggestions.
  13. Thanks for the response--this means that not only have I been wrong all these years (well, days) in assuming that the "Devil's Trill" was the same as the "Didone" ("but they're both in g minor!"), but that I now have to track down more recordings of Tartini's music. Poor me! I was referring to the devil's trill sonata. The version that I've heard is the Kreisler arrangment, which I quite like, but I was curious about the differences between that and the urtext version. Thanks for your informative and helpful response. Trent : I think the ultimate "urtext authority" on the "devil's sonata" is the edition by "Hortus Musicus" (sorry I don't have the ISBN eight now but if you are interested I will look it up at home and post again). It's got all the double stop in the first movement the loss of which had been lamented by Szigeti among others. I really love it. It's extremely accurate and revelatory. It has no cadenza. Kreisler's is the most famous. I prctice bits and pieces of it every day, for technical reasons, but I don't play it in the sonata because I feel that it disrupts the architecture of the piece. : I have a Kolneder (Schott) edition of the Didone. It is not as good. Kolneder writes (difficult) embellishments on the violin part. In order to look at the original you have to look at the piano part. Other than that, it is cheap and decent. : It's a lovely sonata. It requires that speaking style that the vast majority of performers has lost today. : Good luck and have fun
  14. Good morning, friends. I've developed a desire to break my teeth on Tartini's "Devil's Trill" sonata in g minor, or at least parts of it, and was wondering if any of you had any thoughts on what would be the best edition of it. Are there significant differences between them? Mucho thanko, Trent
  15. Jonathan (and everybody else), thanks for the observations and tips. I'll second what you've just said, and add that, at least w/ my instrument, bow, and current level of technique, it also helps to finger the note and the harmonic with the fleshy pad of the finger instead of with the tip. The Roumanian Songs and Dances are coming along quite nicely, though once I get the third section down, I have the last two sections, in all their glory, to look forward to! Again, thanks Trent
  16. I'm working on Bartok's "Roumanian Songs and Dances" and am having some difficulty with the third section, the part that's all in artificial harmonics. Do any of you know of any studies designed to facilitate playing them? I've been practicing scales in octaves, which helps some, but I know there's gotta be a dedicated study out there. Thanks, Trent Hill
  17. Greetings, folks! I'm starting to work on the Kreutzer studies ad would greatly appreciate any advice, from those of you who have "been there," on how to get the most out of them. Thanks for any help. Trent Hill
  18. Brian, I don't know if you've tried this already, but the angle of the pad on the Wolf Secundo (at least the Forte Secundo) can be *dramatically* adjusted. Just attach the rest to the violin and angle it until it feels comfortable; the bracket that attaches to the left foot will pivot, even though it's rather stiff. Don't forget, too, to experiment with the angle and placement of the rest on the violin; that can make a huge difference too. : I like the extra height that wolf secondo gives. : But there seems to be problem with the angle that : shoulder pad makes. Because the shoulder : pad is angled such that it does not comportably : fit on the shoulder, I feel sort of discomfort : while playing. And suggestion or advise would be appreciated
  19. Perhaps my experience and the shop I deal with is unusual, but the rental violin I've been using is anything but low-quality; it's a well-made German factory instrument with pretty good wood and quality construction. When I rented it, the shop luthier chucked the bridge that came with it and fitted a new one to it, all as part of the rental. The instrument came with an oblong fitted case, too. The only part of the rental that I don't like is the bow, which is a piece of crap, but I immediately bought a Glasser composite bow and currently use the cheapola brazilwood bow that came with the rental as a carpet beater. I pay $35 a month for the rental, and 60% of it goes into credit for an eventual purchase. There are good places to rent from out there; it depends, I suspect, on whether the string shop in question thinks it's doing business or doing you a favor by renting you an instrument. Hope this helps Trent Hill : I am an ex-violin student and I am planning on taking up the viola this summer. Because it's been a looooong time since I've played anything, I really want to make sure my heart is in this before I lay down a big chunk 'o cash to buy a viola. Has anyone had any experiences with renting stringed instruments? It seems that many places will not even rent to adult students (they want us to buy). I've come across several rent-to-buy programs but they do seem a bit pricey, especially if you opt not to purchase the instrument. What are your experiences in this area?
  20. What part of playing the minor scale does he have a hard time with? I.e., does he have trouble getting the minor third in tune? Does he forget to flat the 6th and 7th degrees on the way down? Or does he just have a hard time "hearing" the minor scale? If his teacher is getting frustrated with him, all that's going to do is make the minor scales seem that much harder than they are. I actually find them somewhat easier than major scales because of the melodic movement and tension generated by the shifting variety of intervals. Oh, and Andy Victor's recommendation of the Hrimaly scale study is spot-on, as his recommendations always are. Trent Hill : My 12 year old son is due to take his ABRSM grade 3 violin exam very : soon He has absolutely no problems with the pieces, : playing them sensitively, good rhythym and in tune, : BUT he cannot seem to learn his minor scales. Majors aren't : a problem. Unfortunately the more exasperated his normally : patient teacher gets, the more uptight he becomes and then : freezes up, and cannot play a squeak let alone a note!! : Any tips on how other people learn scales would be very welcome...
  21. One word of advice regarding chinrest size / thickness: If you find yourself clamping down excessively on your instrument, don't assume that your chinrest isn't high enough. I went from using a medium-heigth "Guarnerius" type chinrest (mounted over the tailpiece and extending to the left) to a thicker, side-mounted model. While the new rest felt more comfortable in some ways, I was clamping down more with my chin because the rest was so high that my head was tilted back too much to take advantage of its natural weight. A lower model ("Teka") improved matters dramatically, and I'm thinking about trying out an even lower side-mounted model to see if that helps. One thing to consider is that the thicker the chinrest, the heavier it's going to be, and the increased weight might make the entire system less stable. Hope this helps. Trent
  22. In my (admittedly limited) experience, I've found that rosin type and quality makes a *huge* impact on sound, all other things being equal. Some instrument / bow / string combinations respond better to different varieties. When I bought my first violin, the guy at the music store basically made me buy a cake of Hill Dark to go along with the block of wood-encased student rosin that came with the instrument. Even with that fiddle (cost $100 and worth every penny...), the Hill sounded clearer, smoother, and less scratchy than the cheap stuff. Later on, I tried Pirastro Gold and liked it much less than the Hill. I used the Hill Dark until the middle of last year, when Pirastro sent me a block of their new Obligato rosin, which I liked a great deal. I've been using that until recently, when the experimental urge hit again and I tried out some Hill Light, which I like even better. You might also have too much rosin on your bow. It takes very little rosin to draw a clear sound from the instrument, and too much is arguably worse than too little. You might try taking a handkerchief and rubbing some rosin off the back of the bow hair. : About a month ago, my beautiful sounding violin went sour. The warm tone got harsh ansd scratchy. Needless to say, I started fooling around with the sound post. No Change! I carved two new bridges. Still harsh and scratchy. I tryed a new Coda bow and the sound was normal again. I tried a Musicary bow and it was also warm. These two bows were new out of the box. They were also rosined at the factory. I used my Glassser composite and it was very harsh. The only difference was that I had to rosin the Glasser when it was new. At that time I switched rosins. I have used the new rosin on several of my good bows and they all make my violin sound like a screaching cat. : Am I imagining this or is rosin that critical to the sound? What is the softest and warmest playing rosin? My violin is very strong, so I don't need a lot of bite to produce a big sound. I thought that my $8000.00 violin was losing dying. : Please let me know what is the best rosin. : george
  23. In my (admittedly limited) experience, I've found that rosin type and quality makes a *huge* impact on sound, all other things being equal. Some instrument / bow / string combinations respond better to different varieties. When I bought my first violin, the guy at the music store basically made me buy a cake of Hill Dark to go along with the block of wood-encased student rosin that came with the instrument. Even with that fiddle (cost $100 and worth every penny...), the Hill sounded clearer, smoother, and less scratchy than the cheap stuff. Later on, I tried Pirastro Gold and liked it much less than the Hill. I used the Hill Dark until the middle of last year, when Pirastro sent me a block of their new Obligato rosin, which I liked a great deal. I've been using that until recently, when the experimental urge hit again and I tried out some Hill Light, which I like even better. You might also have too much rosin on your bow. It takes very little rosin to draw a clear sound from the instrument, and too much is arguably worse than too little. You might try taking a handkerchief and rubbing some rosin off the back of the bow hair. : About a month ago, my beautiful sounding violin went sour. The warm tone got harsh ansd scratchy. Needless to say, I started fooling around with the sound post. No Change! I carved two new bridges. Still harsh and scratchy. I tryed a new Coda bow and the sound was normal again. I tried a Musicary bow and it was also warm. These two bows were new out of the box. They were also rosined at the factory. I used my Glassser composite and it was very harsh. The only difference was that I had to rosin the Glasser when it was new. At that time I switched rosins. I have used the new rosin on several of my good bows and they all make my violin sound like a screaching cat. : Am I imagining this or is rosin that critical to the sound? What is the softest and warmest playing rosin? My violin is very strong, so I don't need a lot of bite to produce a big sound. I thought that my $8000.00 violin was losing dying. : Please let me know what is the best rosin. : george
  24. I have a question about a violin I saw in a shop while traveling this past weekend. It was a German factory violin, I think from the interwar period; the lable read "Hermann 'Tone-Klar,' model ___," with "168" handwritten in the blank. It was in very good condition (except for a chip in one of the corners), was made with very well-figured maple in the backs and sides, and had a clear, responsive tone, inspite of desperately needing a new bridge and better strings. My question: about how much is such a violin worth? I'm thinking about buying it and having it shipped. Thanks for any help. Trent
  25. I had a real breakthrough w/ my vibrato the other day: during my lesson, I was playing through a Dm scale and having some intonation problems. My teacher tried chording on the piano behind me to clear up my intonation, which helped that immensely; on my way down the scale, I had the urge to vibrate on some notes, and did, to my teacher's and my own surprise and delight. I have two questions: Do most players find it easier to do vibrato while playing w/ other instrumentalists? My other question: I've found that I vibrate best when I keep all my fingers on the string, rather than lifting the first and second (say) when I'm vibrating on the third. Is that common? It really seemed to make an immediate, huge, favorable difference in terms of both facility and tone. Thanks, Trent
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