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Carl

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  1. : Hello Cindy: : Yes, there is an E called Perlon...but it is steel with alu. wrapping. Personally, I don't like any of the Dominant E's, except possibly the gold plated one. : As mike suggests, the tinned E is good, but tin, like gold, wears off fast. The Eudoxa E is good on some violins, as is the Oliv E (gold goes away fast) and the plain Gold Label E . All work on most fiddles. : Regards, : Al
  2. Thank you for your thorough response. You did guess right- I do use a wrist vibrato with my hand a little more "over the top" than normal. I have never been able to develop a good arm vibrato - the whole violin shakes too much. Must be doing it wrong. If I continue to use the wrist vibrato supporting the neck only with the thumb, should I switch back to supporting with the base of the finger also whenever I am playing non-vibrato passages? And then have to keep switching back and forth? Or should I learn to always play using only the thumb so no shifting of the hand is necessary? I guess it would be preferrable to do as you suggested and either develop an arm vibrato or change to a "deeper" hold for my wrist vibrato. : I am judging from your letter that you use a wrist vibrato. I have heard some exquisite sound from wrist vibratos in which the player seemed to lay the violin neck on the thumb and bring the rest of the left hand over the top, so to speak, almost like a cello left hand. These were women (or girls) with small hands, and this position helped open their hands up to cover the fingerboard. They were very good players. : It is difficult to use a wrist vigrato with the grip you are using, and you may have to derive the basic impulse from your arm instead of your wrist or fingers. : Another possibility is to try raising your left hand a little by dropping the violin neck into the web and gaining the extra length of fingers for vibrato. If you watch, you will see that Perlman seems to do this, it may look a little sloppy up close, with his very large hands, but it gives him a lovely sound and a credible wrist/finger vibrato in the first and second positions. : For higher positions, wrist and finger vibrratos should not be such a problem, since your tight neck grip is no longer used. : I have been holding my instrument at the jaw/shoulder for over 50 years and never depend on the left hand to hold it up (it was "beat" into me as a child). But I understand that with the return to baroque and classical playing style and outfitting - even without chinrests, it is common and acceptable to not hold so tightly. So maybe you are in acceptable (if not good) company. But when I see orchestras in which the players have been forced to remove their chinrests and thus depend on their left hands to hold the fiddle, I see no happy faces, and very few decent vibratos. : Andy
  3. I am between teachers, and need some advice about the proper left hand position. Before learning vibrato, I laid the neck of the violin so that it contacted my thumb on one side and the base of my forefinger at the other side. It was not down in the web, but at about the point where my forefinger met the hand. In trying to learn vibrato, it seems impossible unless I swing my hand a little away from the neck so that the neck rests only on the thumb (at the joint closest to the tip) which leaves a gap between the neck and my forefinger. Is this correct? I find that the violin seems less stable since it contacts my left hand at only one point. Do I switch back and forth depending on whether I am using vibrato or not? This is not too bad for slow passages, but seems awkward for fast ones. Or should I learn to play at all times resting it only on the thumb? Or should I try to do vibrato with the neck still resting on both thumb and finger joint? By the way, I do support the violin with a shoulder rest, but I guess I am resting some of the weight on my left thumb and finger. Any help will be appreciated. (I know, get a new teacher!)
  4. Hearing Kreisler's recordings makes me want to smash all my other CDs. Kreisler's G-string sound was incredible; I feel that it is even richer, broader, and warmer than the best cello's sound. His G-string tone makes my whole room throbb, and inundates the air like the mighty Amazon river. The only players who come close to Kreisler in G is the young Elman and Shaham. All the rest IMHO have a comparatively wispy G. Kreisler's exquisite double-stops have never been equalled (and probably never will be.) And his glittering E-string does not have the metallic quality of many modern players. Kreisler was far more than a mere tonalist. He had the divine genius to reach into his listeners' hearts by dint of THE SIMPLEST TUNES. Take, for example, the Bach Menuet (Anna Magdalena Notebook). Every beginning violin student learns to play it. Anyone can pick up the violin at any time and play this simple piece, but who can play it with the supreme charm, grace, and tonal beauty of Kreisler? No one can ever approach Kreisler's inimitable sound and style. You have to buy the RCA Kreisler collection (11 CDs). It contains many of the most glorious violin playing in history. I listen to it every day, like a drug addict. After listening to Kreisler, I don't want to (or rather, can't stand) listen to anyone else. Kreisler is equally impressive in the big concertos of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Bruch. His Brahms offers a welcome change to the customary propulsive, muscular playing one hears. Technique? Sure, Kreisler had superb technique. Too many people nowadays misunderstand the meaning of technique, which embraces far more complex issues than the mere physical navigation around an instrument. Vibrato, subtle expressive devices, articulation, tone production, . . . of course these are all part of a violinists's techinique. Who else had the stunning technique to sing so gloriously on the violin? Kreisler, to me, is the perfect violinist. Jascha who?
  5. On a new violin I have recently purchased, I am having a problem with the pegs slipping between the time I put the violin in the case and the when I get it out to play the next day. Last night all four pegs came completely loose. There is absolutely no problem with slipping when I retighten them, or as I play. The pegs seem to fit perfectly (as they should on a new violin). I have read all the previous posts on peg slipping with all the pros and cons of lava soap, peg compound, chalk, etc. but I hesitate to put anything on the pegs since they work so well most of the time. I should add that I live in a cold climate, so it is rather dry right now. Any suggestions?
  6. : I have the tape from 1971 of Mr. Heifetz's live performance of the Scottish Fantasy, along with the Bach Chaconne and a program of short pieces. It is very much in accordance with my statement, and I don't think one year would have made much difference. I also have personal knowledge of the fits he would throw over other people playing out of tune. The standard was no lower for himself - it was higher. One of his statements was always that if you weren't ready, you shouldn't play. If LHY's friend's statement had been true, there would definitely not have been a recording, and probably not a performance either. My first comments still stand. I've seen that video. It is grossly edited. For most of the time, the fingering, bowing and the music didn't match. There was even one place in the first movement where the splices were woefully unsuccessful. I greatly respect Heifetz's interpretation of the Scottish Fantasy, which is why I originally intended to buy the video. After seeing it at a library, however, I was somewhat disappointed for various reasons, and decided not to buy it. I think the editing is forgivable considering the violinist's ripe old age; but to insist that even in that concert his intonation is perfect is, to me, ridiculous. Heifetz's recording of the work some ten years ago is superb artistically and tonally; his intonation, though excellent, is still not without minor blemishes. The splice-editing technique started as early as the '30s. I want to emphasize that I do admire the man Heifetz, and enjoy many of his recordings. I don't care an iota about the minor technical problems in his Scottish Fantasy; it is still my favorite. When I listen to violin music, I care first and foremost about the tone, and then the musicality and artistic gratification. I don't bother at all about the mechanical dimensions. That's why my favourite violinist is Kreisler. I'm no enemy of Heifetz, and I hate being a fault-finder. But I insist upon telling the truth. The truth is: Heifetz was not immune to intonation problems. Having said that, I can add that I enjoy much of Heifetz's playing all the same.
  7. : It's obvious to me that your friend suffers from a "sour grapes" complex, and for one reason or another went to Mr. Heifetz' concert as an enemy. You must remember the man, Heifetz. It was against his priciples to EVER give a less than perfect performance. He would NEVER play out of tune, it was offensive to him. I heard his recorded performances and I can tell you that something is definitely wrong with your friend and he better examine his/her motives. : How easy it is to criticize one who is no longer here. Look at the reviews of the experts: there seems to be a major discrepancy with your suggestion. I have not heard the recording of Heifetz's last recital, so I cannot pass any judgement on LHY's friend's comments. But I can definitely say that Gwagi's remark that Heifetz NEVER plays out-of-tune is silly and unrealistic. Yes, he might have tried to give all his performances as close to perfection as he could, but you have to remember: Heifetz was also a human being, not a god or robot. And it is very likely that a 72-year-old man would be susceptible to technical problems.
  8. When I looked at a couple of shops, the indicated that new was probably the best bet in this price range. They had either used student models, or much more expensive used models, but not much in between. Any tips on where to locate a used model in my price range would be appreciated. Also, I don't feel that I am knowledgeable enough to know what a used violin might be worth, or what potential problems may exist. I feel that I would stand a better chance of getting what I pay for in a new instrument. : both of the choices you mention sound like you are on the right path, but i am curious...are you considering any used instruments? it seems like a shame with so many hand made violins out there on the used market that most people buy good (but certainly not equal) new ones. : if you want a new one in particular for whatever reason, i doubt you will go wrong with either of these, and shar and sw strings, johnson and many others sell similar instruments. : mike
  9. I am looking for any feedback I can get for buying an intermediate violin by home trial. I am considering Scott Cao and Jay Haide instruments, and was hoping someone could give me any tips, pro or con. I have tried the violins in the $800.00 range at the local violin shop and was not overly impressed. I am hoping that one of these Chinese "hand made" violins will be superior.
  10. I did not mean to start such a big controversy when I posted my last note. Sorry about that. I thought I would just say that I returned the OF900 and kept the Of600. (the OF900 sounded as if it was muted) The OF600 has a beautiful rich, bright, projecting tone quality, and I think I got really lucky with this particular violin. I've heard much more expensive violins that were twice as expensive as mine, that do not compare to my OF600. I've been reading some of the notes about new violins vs the old, and for the money I've spent, I for one am more than satisfied with the "new" at this point. Thanks for the feedback. Carl
  11. I just purchased an Otto Ernst Fischer 0F600 and a 0f900 from Shar. As it turns out the 0f600 has a much fuller and warmer tone, and projects the sound much more than the 0f900. The 0f900 is more expensive and you would expect the opposite. The 0f900 sounds like it is muted compared to the 0f600. The 0f900 was shipped UPS and left on my doorstep in the freezing cold. (I can't believe they did that...It's 0 and below in Chicagoland) Could it be the cold has shifted the specs of the violin?
  12. Iceman, there is no such thing as a bad chair. 95% of the people in the world don't even know what a first or second chair is. We are so lucky to be able to play in an orchestra. It's a gift you should be proud of now matter where you sit. : Our first chair started playing the same time I did. I also use the two hours wisely. I went from Suzuki Book 1 to Book 3 within half a year. I think the reason I have a bad chair is because I don't do good on tests. Any suggestions for doing *good* on chair tests and auditions? : : Don't forget the quality of the practice, rather than the quantity, is what counts. If you make progress, achieve something, each time you practice, then you are using your time well. If you're just ripping through your pieces and counting up the time it takes, you need to revise how you practice. Perhaps the first chair player uses his/her time well. Also, you haven't been playing for long. You shouldn't expect to start at the top. : : : : I'm 12 years old and I love playing the violin. I started out playing the viola last year and switched to violin this year. I need advice on how to get better. I practice one to two hours a day and I'm still not first chair in the school's orchestra. I'm not anywhere close either. Our school's first chair only practices 30 minutes a day! Any advice is welcome.. Thanks in advance.
  13. : A. Brown is right. I let one of my daughters quit violin lessons at 13 after months of arguing about practice. A year later, she suddenly developed an obsession for classical music, picked up violin again without any prompting from anyone and is now composing (she's 17). My other daughter, now 16, persisted with violin, has recently chosen the viola as her main instrument and is proving an excellent violist. You have to let them do their own thing. The conductor Andre Previn wrote in one of his books that you can teach a student what to get out of a piece of music, but you can't teach them what to want. That's up to the individual. : : : Any advice on when to let a child (14) choose to quit lessons? I am a strings teacher and both of my children began lessons early. My son (17) aggressively quit violin and took up percussion and trumpet. My daughter is just slowly fading into the "no practice" zone. She spends all her time on the phone or online... She refused to participate in the regional orchestra event this year even though she was 2nd chair cello last year. Is it time for me to let her stop the lessons.. or would I be letting her down? She doesn't seem to be able to come right out and say how she feels about her music. Welcoming any advice. I wish my parents had persisted and forced me to continue violion lessons. I quit as a sophmore in H.S. and took up Tenor Sax, and taught myself enough to play in the band. I was never very good. Twenty five years later after my kids were all grown, I decided to take up the violin again because I wanted to play in our community orchestra. I took lessons from a great teacher, and he got me through the audition in about a year. It's amazing how you never lose the muscle memory you learned as a child. I'll never gain back all the years that I didn't study, however, I'm able to enjoy playing in a symphony orchestra. I guess the moral of my story is it's never too late to go back and take lessons again. Waste of talent? Probably, and I wish my Father had pushed me. But I can say that at a ripe old age of 51. If I had continued on with my music and made it my carreer, I know I would not be as financially comfortable as I am now. My children would not have all the material things and education I was able to provide. My advise is it just depends! It depends on a lot of things only you know about your daughter. If you have the next Pearlman on your hands, you will probably make a different decession than my father did. I know I'm no help, but it was fun to post this note and reflect a little on my past.
  14. : I'm looking for someone to teach country western violin in the Chicagoland area. Any help would be appreciated....learn the basics(reading music)...and eventually you will be able to buy violin music and read it...i taKE CLASSICAL lessons in nj...i learned 'the devil went down to georgia' by myself by reading the music I play classical with a community symphony orchestra. I've taken my fair share of lessons, and can read music. What I'm looking for an experienced country "fiddle" player to help me with some of the "licks" as they call it. Carl
  15. So does the "u" in "Bruch" sound like brook as in stream, broook as in food, or bruck as in muck? Or is it kind of a combination of the "food" and "brook" versions? I've heard it said all these different ways. Is one right? Thanks in advance to anyone to can help.
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