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About gowan

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  1. I think many sources that sell instruments via mail include a clause in the trial agreement that the item must be returned in original condition and may charge for excessive use.
  2. When people have been marginalized or even excluded from a society, it isn't surprised to see them reject the culture of the oppressors. As for "classical" music there is much appreciation by members of minority groups, for example many African-American jazz musicians appreciate the materials of classical music. There are music conservatories that offer studies from outside the classical mainstream, such as Berklee College of Music in Boston, and there are others.
  3. If you visit almost any violin shop, even high level ones, you will find many violins hanging by the scroll or in open cubbies, exposed to the air of the room. Obviously, leaving an instrument out of its case is more risky than its being snuggly in its case, but if you are careful not to leave the instrument on the seat of a chair or couch or randomly on the floor it should be fairly safe. To keep it clean wipe it regularly with a dry soft cloth.
  4. Regarding managers requiring musicians to use, for example, wooden or brown instruments, has been known at every level of orchestra. At the top level I have heard of players auditioning for the top orchestras being told by the music director to get a better instrument. As for appearance, violists who play a Pelegrina, made by David Rivinus , have been told not to use that instrument because it looks so unusual. I can understand that because management wouldn't want a single strange looking instrument to stand out from the orchestra. As for blending and allowing a player to use any "fiddle"
  5. The chin rest is on the wrong side of the violin, too. I've never seen a chin rest that fits on that side of the instrument. Maybe this is a "left handed" violin. I wondered if the image had been "mirrored" but the arrangement of the pegs is normal. Some people like to play baroque music on a modern violin using a Baroque style bow, especially in the case of Bach. I guess it makes the Bach triple stops easier to play and same for some string crossing patterns.
  6. When you go to a maker (bow or violin) you will be asked how you play and what you want out of the bow. If you have never played a Baroque style bow you won't be able to say how you play with a Baroque bow. A Baroque style bow from a respected modern maker will cost the same as a modern style bow from the same maker, i.e. thousands of dollars. Personally I would be reluctant to spend so much on something I know so little about. I would recommend getting an inexpensive bow, something like what Shar sells (under $200). If you use such a bow enough to appreciate the difference between Baroqu
  7. At some point someone buying a fine instrument has to trust someone involved, either the seller, dealer, or maker. There are so many stories of faked instruments that fool even so-called experts, the "Balfour" strad for example. One would think that buying from a living maker would be reliable as regards authenticity but it seems that an unscrupulous maker could import a white instrument and "finish" it and sell it as completely his own work and for his much higher price. There are so many pitfalls. If I were buying an instrument I would put most importance on how it plays and sounds. It
  8. Two extremely hard woods are lignum vitae and ipe. I saw somewhere that Lynn Hannings used ipe as a bow wood. Of course it is a rain forest wood. It is widely used to make decks with.
  9. Rachel Barton Pine usually plays a del Gesu, the 1742 "Soldat". In the small NPR studio we are very close to the violin and, to me, it has a wirey edgy sound which might serve well in a large hall. The warmth and softness of Sato's instrument, a Giovanni Grancino (1695), would at least partly be due to the gut strings and Baroque technique. It appears he was playing in a rather large room, maybe in a church(?), but from the reverb it would seem to be heard some distance away. For comparison I listened to Rachel Podger's recording of the piece and her interpretation seemed close to what Sat
  10. I want to play in an early music group but I can't afford to buy or commission a violin to play historically informed performance style. I thought I could just put some gut strings on a modern violin, have a baroque style bridge installed and use a baroque style bow but I have heard that using the baroque bridge and bow won't work because the neck angle will be wrong, the bridge won't work properly with the stronger bass bar. Do any of the makers here know whether this makes sense ? Thanks for your comments.
  11. I know of several women of petite stature who play 7/8th or 3/4th violins. One woman played a full size violin professionally but tried a 3/4th testing the sound and setup for a student and found that she liked it so much she kept it for herself! I'd also say that you have to be very careful with exercises to make your hand do what it doesn't want to do. So many musicians have injured themselves doing hand stretching exercises, even ones from famous methods books . If it is painful don't do it is my recommendation.
  12. FWIW Gidon Kremer has been playing a Nicolo Amati violin and prefers it to the Guarneri del Gesu he had been playing.
  13. What happens when instruments are bought from the UK or from the EU by USA citizens?
  14. I think slab cut backs are common in violas. Anyone want to comment on this except to make a viola joke out of it? E.g. there are so many viola jokes because violas are often made from joke wood.