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Everything posted by xdmitrix420

  1. there's a method of playing without a shoulder rest, and NOT having any contact of the back of the instrument with your shoulder. You support the instrument solely with your left thumb being slightly under the neck, and the other half of the instrument rests on your collarbone. I played this way for a few years and was taught this way by a teacher who teaches at Curtis, just to lend this some credibility. The best example of this style of playing is leonid kogan, hands down. I do notice some muting with a KUN on my instrument, but even after years of learning how to play without a shoulder rest from a master player, it just doesn't suit me. Playing with a shoulder rest, when properly fitted (that's the key, if it's not fitted to you right it can be quite painful) is infinitely easier. It's easier to do vibrato and it's easier to keep the instrument stable during spiccato. I notice when I played without a shoulder rest, the instrument bobs slightly when you do a spicatto stroke. The shoulder rest contains this, making the stroke more precise. There's some videos on youtube of menuhin instructing young students how to play without a shoulder rest, they are quite interesting to watch. There are many pros to playing with or without a shoulder rest..... I'll just say that playing without requires great amounts of attention to muscle movement to succeed, and it came to the point for me where it just wasn't worth the extra effort. I play a lot more confidently with one, no matter how much I practiced without, I never felt %100 about it.
  2. The setup is a Vista PC running audacity, connected to a MXL 007 USB mic. To combat the effects of the small room (too much sound reverberating in a small room), I use audacity to run a high pass filter, but's that about it.
  3. Hey guys, I've commited myself to recording all the bach sonatas/partitas on viola. Here's my first offerings from the 2nd sonata, I may redo them since I'm recording in a closet sized room and the acoustics aren't great, but I like the 'raw' quality of it in a way. http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/22268/samples/wav/sonata2-1v2.wav http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/22268/samples/wav/sonata2-3.wav I'm going to be working on the fugue probably for a month, my philosophy with the recording thing is to not edit them at all, so none of these have been spliced, they are all just one shot takes.
  4. sorry i haven't gotten to it yet, and i'm not sure i will. I went to their website and looked at the feet, and they look like thin springy metal instead of the usual screw type feet. I have an unusually wide viola (260mm at the lower bout) and it's one of those things that I'll spend way too much money on, order and it probably won't fit or it will bend those springy metal feet out of proportion. I think i'm going to wait until I see one at a local shop before I try it. I was thinking of starting a blog site that reviews music products as they come out and provide detailed info and pictures on them, as the internet seems to be sorely lacking info of some of these products. Perhaps I could get so popular that companies would just send me demo units to try.
  5. I recommend the whittner chinrests. They are made of a composite plastic, but not to be confused with the cheesy black plastic chinrests that are found on student violins. The mounting brackets are very very nice, and the pad that the chinrest sits on is only 1-2mm wide and sits on the very edge of the wood, making it very hard to ruin the ribs. The brackets have been a huge relief to me after spending hours with traditional chinrests trying to get the hardware to mount evenly onto the system.
  6. lymond: thanks your tip on trying out bows. At the shop, the salesperson laid about 15-20 bows on the table, and I was pretty overwhelmed with how to narrow down the choices.
  7. on the lighter side of things, i think i'm going to order the diamond xxl for viola and see how it turns out. The feet look interesting because they are attached by a springy piece of steel. out of all the wooden shoulder rests, i haven't liked any of them. the mach one was too stiff and didn't have enough padding for me.
  8. i'm starting to wish the dealer hadn't put the prices on little stickers on each bow. then i probably wouldn't have noticed the expensive bows. i've actually been quite impressed with some german workshop bows. I picked up a german violin bow from a yard sale by the name of albert kramling. the viola bow i have is by wilhelm raum, and each seem to play as much more expensive bows.
  9. Thanks for the link, much appreciated. Google wasn't turning up any results. I wish more websites would post exact specs on heights, lengths, widths of various shoulder rests. I used to not play with a shoulder rest, and I even spent 5 years playing and learning without one. On top of that, I had one of the top teachers in the country show me how the exact technique required. It just required too much effort to hold the instrument, and the instrument easily moved too much for my taste. After seeing videos of pinchas zukerman, and isaac stern stuffing padding under their suits, I just said *&@#* it, they're cheating too, so I might as well too.
  10. Earlier today I had the opportunity to try various viola bows ranging in price from $2000 all the way to $16,000. I was playing in a busy violin shop and I didn't have much time with each bow. There was a bow by Ouchard for 16,000 and another by Vigneron for 14,000. Then there was other bows in the 4000 to 6000 range. Funny thing was I didn't notice much of a huge difference between the 4000-6000 bows and the two super expensive bows. The sound I got out of the 14,000 bow was so interesting though. I got a huge amount of volume, and a richness on the C string I've never gotten out of my instrument before. I'm not sure it was a difference worth paying 10,000 extra for though. To make things more confusing, my teacher gave me a bow to try a month ago. It's a german workshop bow worth about $600, but it plays better than my french $3500 that I've played on most of my life. I'm rambling, I guess at this point I'm pretty confused about the price vs. quality scheme for bows. It seems a little more linear with instruments (ie the more you pay the better instrument you get). When you do find a bow with that extra special quality to it, how much extra are you willing to pay for it?
  11. Hi guys - I noticed on quinnviolins.com and johnsonstrings.com a new shoulder rest by viva la musica called the diamond series. Does anyone have one? they look pretty comfy, but they are quite expensive. Also, I was wondering if anyone has the viola version. Quinnviolins lists it, but there are no specs on the maximum viola size it can handle.
  12. Do you have any idea what the name of the company is that makes tuxes for the MET? I'm sure they'd know how to make a tux for a musician, those operas can often be 3-4 hours of constant playing, so you'd have to be pretty comfortable. Now I'm wondering how many companies are out there that make tuxes specifically for musicians. I obtained my current tux from men's wearhouse, but most of their tuxes seemed similar (pretty thick - designed for wedding use).
  13. Hello all - does anyone have recommendations on how to play more comfortably with a tux? Normally when I practice I play in a thin t-shirt, which is what i'm most comfortable in. The tux jacket I use though has thick shoulder pads built in and it pushes my instrument much higher than it should be. Also the collar for the shirt and bow tie tend to push the instrument out by half an inch, which also changes the way my left hand hits the fingerboard. This has always been something that bothered me, but I would always just deal with it and adjust during a concert. I've seen artists like Gidon Kremer or Nigel Kennedy who wear non-tux outfits for performing, but since I'm not as famous as them, I can't really do that. I don't stress out about it when I play in an orchestra, but when I do solo or chamber concerts, it starts to get on my nerves because the last thing you want before playing publicly is to feel out of alignment with your instrument. I'm guessing the best route would be to order a very thin tux jacket with no shoulder pads, but I'm not sure if anyone does it or if it looks too odd.
  14. i think if dr. s had a lesson with one of the great masters like heifetz or primrose, he'd be putting his foot where his mouth is.
  15. is that kool aid? i'd rather use sunny delight.
  16. as emmanuel vardi once said to a student at a masterclass that i attended "i think you need to go sit yourself down somewhere and rethink your technique." the problem i have with shoulder rests is that they really destroy muscle movements necessary for truly coordinated playing. shoulder rests ARE NOT a 'technological advancement', and they are not a 'gift'. they are for people who can't figure out balance. balance is what menuhin is teaching in his video, and while he is explaining it in a complex way, it's even more complex explaining to someone how to be comfortable with a piece of rubber crap attached to their instrument.
  17. the green worm (i guess that's the cool lingo for dampit these days) is ok if you squeeze it out of excess water thoroughly before putting it in, leaving just enough water to humidify but not so much that it will drip out. i usually take a towel or cloth and squeeze it once or twice to get out the excess. after using them for awhile you get an idea of how much you can leave in before it drips out. i've seen a few people use 2 at once.
  18. con ritmo has some good points. i think no shoulder rest really forces you to get in tune with your body movements. many people never look back because after you get 'in tune' you don't need to go back. paganini is said to have played without a chinrest actually, and yet he played all those challenging pieces so well.how did he do it? he was very in tune with his body in relation to the violin. that said i think playing with a chinrest is different than playing with a shoulder rest. a chinrest is merely a contoured extension of the violin top. by using a chinrest or not using one, you still keep the fundamental principles of everything i've said before this.
  19. i have a $500 scott cao viola which sounds pretty bad that i use for outdoor gigs. have a scherl and roth prefetzchner (sp?) violin that cost me $800 that sounds so good i actually use it for concerts. i just played a violin/viola mozart duet in recital with it. the violist was using a 15,000 instrument, and i was using my puny $800 violin, and no one could tell that it sounded 'cheaper'.
  20. that pullback of the head thing sounds very uncomfortable. i doubt kogan would use such a method. the technique things i've been talking about are universal, i use them for violin and viola. Even if the pullback of the head thing worked on violin, it certainly wouldn't hold the viola, which is why i wouldn't recommend it. Just thinking about holding the instrument that way makes me cringe.
  21. davet, i would think adding weight to the scroll end would be more significant in terms of the feel when playing. perhaps you were talking more about sound impact. anyhow, i'm going to be getting mine uninstalled, mostly because i think i just don't need them. if anyone is interested in getting them from me, i will give them out for free since i got them for free. they are titanium based viola pegheds (not perfection pegs) and they have genuine ebony ends. they are totally functional, but have been sharpened down for my instrument, so they might not work on yours, but you can probably make them work somehow. first one who PMs me gets them!
  22. i have them on one of my instruments, they don't slip backwards at all. you can push them in and out like normal pegs to adjust the grip. if you pull out too much, just like with real pegs, it will slip a little. i might switch back to normal pegs because lately i've been using lower tension strings and they aren't really necessary unless you are using high tension composites and/or steel. i have a sneaking suspicion that they are marginally heavier than normal pegs as well. call me picky, but when you play 5 hours a day, some weight lost at the scroll end makes a big difference.
  23. i was wondering if anyone has done an exact weight comparison? can anyone give exact weight measurements of a peghed vs. a standard ebony peg?
  24. i apologize for the long posts lately, but here goes another one....... people have not grown that much in the past 50 years for your reasoning to be valid. body features take hundreds of years to evolve not decades. small hands or large hands it doesn't matter..... i have large hands as i can play 10ths on a 16.5 inch viola comfortably, yet menuhin's hold works well for me even when i play my students' 1/2 size violin. also your point about menuhin isn't valid. menuhin 'crapped out' (as you put it) because he is simply menuhin. he was a nutty guy. look at milstein - he held the violin the same as menuhin but his playing thrived even in his later years. stability comes from the correct hold on the instrument. specifically, you lose control of the instrument the more you tense up. when you try to 'grip' the instrument with the chin or shoulder, you are actually losing control more than you gain control. playing without a shoulder rest succesfully comes from light touch in the chin and left hand areas. ever wonder how baroque players play without chinrest OR shoulder rest even when their music climbs out of first position? many people miss this, and think they need a shoulder rest for stability. shoulder rests are very detrimental to proper posture in my opinion. they cause you to squeeze in the wrong places and they cut off proper muscle movement in the critical neck/shoulder area. i get back pain whenever i try them out and i'm a 6 ft tall person with a rather long neck. if you have a long neck just get a higher chinrest. it's a misconception to think a shoulder rest solves this. try this experiment. put your violin into playing position without the shoulder rest, holding with left hand so there is space between your shoulder and the back of the violin. look at yourself in a mirror so you can see the underside of your violin and your shoulder. place your fingers in first position on the E string. notice how your shoulder looks. now place your fingers on 7th position on the G string, and note how your shoulder looks. as you went to 7th position, your shoulder naturally went closer to the back of the instrument. now if you had a shoulder rest there, this would lock your shoulder and prevent your body from naturally moving the way it wants to.
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