gowan

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About gowan

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  1. gowan

    Asymmetry; Character or poor craftsmanship?

    Besides the asymmetry of the placement of pegs there is also built-in asymmetry in the body of the instrument, namely the bass bar and post locations. In a new instrument these might not result in a perceived asymmetry when looked at from the outside but I think a more large scale asymmetry can develop over many years due to differences in tension on both sides. By the way, some very asymmetrical instrument designs have been quite successful in the past, e.g. David Rivinus's Pellegrina: https://www.violinist.com/blog/laurie/20134/14618/ I think Marty Kasperszyk of this board also makes non-symmetrical instruments. I think Doug Cox has made asymmetrical small violas successfully, body length 15" or so. I can't find them on his website anymore. Edit: Oops I see that bkwood posted the same about the post and bar just before I pushed the post button.
  2. gowan

    How to Identify Between Tiredness and Injury

    It is an unfortunate fact that many instrumental teachers don't really know how to keep their pupils from becoming injured. Teachers might not realize that the way they themselves play doesn't work for a particular student. The teacher might insist that the student stretch rather than shift, say, because that's how the teacher does it. Studying Alexander Technique as explained in the book I recommended in an earlier post can greatly help players from becoming injured. "Good posture" is not well understood. For example, standing with the back "ram rod" straight and immobile, as soldiers do, is bad posture. The spine has a natural curve and it is best to allow the spine to rest in its natural shape. Holding the head and neck properly can benefit the musician's entire body. Conservatories, such as Juilliard, have courses in Alexander Technique. psychology plays a role, too. Noa Kageyama at Juilliard is worth a look, too: https://bulletproofmusician.com/
  3. gowan

    How to Identify Between Tiredness and Injury

    I might be exaggerating but I think basically that if you are "pushing" or "forcing" to make things happen then you are working toward an injury. Violinists and violas have to be very careful because the twisting of the left arm to hold the instrument makes it easy to introduce tension. A book that might help you if you are a violinist or violist is What Every Violinist Needs to Know About the Body by Jennifer Johnson. Another useful book regarding injury is Playing (Less) Hurt by Janet Horvath.
  4. gowan

    machine made violins also CNC "Betts"

    I appreciate craftspersonship, there! I own two bench made instruments made by a single person from start to finish. But I also appreciate the saving of bodily wear and tear to be had by using machine assistance in such activities as rough "hogging", something that does not seem to require delicate sensibility or judgement of wood quality. I know a very successful maker who is known for his celli but he cannot make celli any more because his body won't take the beating. I don't know whether he would use a CNC router but it might make it possible to continue making celli. I believe that makers who use assistance, either human or machine, can make very high quality instruments. I also believe that it is the final product that matters most.
  5. gowan

    machine made violins also CNC "Betts"

    I certainly would not say that Stradivari's sons were machines. My point is that some assistance has long been acceptable, even from the best luthiers. Now there seems to be little objection to using a band saw to cut out plates before gouging them out and planing them. I see no problem with using a CNC router to do the rough cutting and gouging plates after a human (highly skilled) chooses the wood.
  6. gowan

    machine made violins also CNC "Betts"

    I would buy a violin for which construction was CNC-assisted. Supposedly Stradivari's sons assisted in the workshop, and certainly Vuillaume had a lot of assistance in his shop but people still value the work of these assisted luthiers very highly. I appreciate sound, play-ability and beauty in an instrument but I don't mind if those qualities came from either machine or human assistance from a craftsman who supervised and approved of the result.
  7. gowan

    Question about “The Violin Hunter”

    I recommend Violin Dreams by Arnold Steinhardt. It is about his search for his own violin. He went through famous makers such as Sancto Seraphin, Guarneri del Gesu, and ended with a cut down viola by Storioni. Again a good story but perhaps not the best for pre-teens.
  8. gowan

    Question for makers who work alone

    OK, what is the difference between "cherry" and "sakura"? I thought sakura is cherry.
  9. I didn't like her interpretation myself. But I would like to remember not to make a judgement of Hahn herself and her choice of instrument, keeping in mind that this was one performance. I imagine we've all, for whatever reasons, failed to perform up to what we wished to. Some of us didn't like the performance but perhaps she had an interesting concept that she failed to put across. I haven't heard Rachel Podger's performance but, just from what has been said above, I could imagine someone wanting more force in the interpretation.
  10. I think people are forgetting that music is also an abstract language, with no instruments needed. This may especially apply to Bach, witness the Art of Fugue. Bach, apparently, did not give any instructions for how to play it, thinking it, perhaps, as an abstract dissertation on counterpopint. I think many performances of that music can be done effectively with many different instrumentations. The important thing is what you are trying to express with the instrumental performance. Whatever it is it is implicit in the notes of the score.
  11. The reviewer said that Hahn played as though the historically informed performance approach had never occurred, seemingly criticized Hahn this way. There is nothing to apologize for performing on later equipment. Performing in the 21st century there is no way that the performance could not be modern, regardless of whatever equipment was used. Also, probably it would not have been appropriate to play a solo concert in a large hall with a Baroque style violin, strings, and bow. Following mathieu valde's comment above, I would point out that we never see performances of Shakespeare in Shakespeare's language, grammar and pronunciation as it would be done in the Globe in Shakespeare's time. Very few people can even read Shakespeare without a glossary. I want to hear what the musical performer thinks about the music as I hear it in performance. The musician is contemporary so feelings and expression are also contemporary, even when playing Bach or even earlier music.
  12. gowan

    Bach - Richter

    I think I read some 50 years ago thet Tsaac Stren used steel strings on his Guarnerius.
  13. gowan

    Modern bow makers suggestions

    Check out David Hawthorne. I've never played any of his bows but his description of his style of making on his website seems to match what the OP wants: ( http://violinbows.net/modern-bows/)
  14. I'm unhappy with the looming changes in the music listening world. I have a large collection of CD's and a large collection of LPs. I note that there is a rebirth in LP happening now. Your old rock or pop LP's might be worth some money now. I have noticed that Johnny Gandelsman has issued a recording of the Bach solo violin music on LP only! Though I'm 75 years old I can still appreciate the quality of an excellent playback medium over a merely good one. Despite having a multi-thousand dollar stereo player, I have always felt that no reproduction medium delivers the quality of sound available at a live performance in an excellent hall. That sort of venue would be my favorite way to listen to music. Streaming isn't interesting to me because I don't find the quality I want on streaming services. I'm also unhappy with the trend to streaming services because, in effect, I'm paying every time I listen rather than paying once when I buy the disc.