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Everything posted by baroquecello

  1. I too have difficulty reading music fast (I too, started at a late age). And although Fellow is partly right, he is not completely. Music usually consists of patterns, parts of scales and broken chords, patterns 'circling' around a note. When practising sight reading it is most important to start recognising these patterns, just like when we are reading words. When we read text, we don't read every letter of every word, we see a number of letters and our brain quickly finds a word with it that it has read a thousand times. That is why we often don't read typos which occur in longer words and consist of two letters in the wrong order, for instance. So the trick is to start recognising these patterns and learning how to place your fingers so that they can play these patterns easily. Since you write you are playing from the suzuki method which I've never seen, I don't know exactly what your level is, so I can't give you a special advice suited to your level, but playing scales and broken chords and sequences of four or six note patterns (like you often find in baroque music, ask your teacher if you don't know what I mean), either from notes or by imagining what the notes would look like will help you. Playing scales for learning to read notes is a different activity from playing scales for improving technique, don't try to do both things at the same time, focus either on reading or on technique/intonation, both is too much for the brain to handle. Also, really keeping in mind which position you are playing in will make reading easier. You are young so don't exaggerate the amount of time you invest in it, however I would suggest you do it on a daily basis for 5 to 10 minutes, but really focused, and really every day. Over the course of months or years I'm sure you'll improve dramatically. good luck! Leonard
  2. Thanx for your reactions, satisfied my curiosity. Interesting site Joe, I like what your varnish does to flamed woods! And Manfio, I really like the way your violalooks, nice varnish, and -maybe it's just because of the angle or my amateur eye- I really like the way the flame of the ribs fits to the flame of the back, especially in the c bout. Leonard
  3. My teacher, Viola de Hoog, is teacher for baroque cello at the conservatories in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Bremen, apart from having a well functioning career as performing artist. She started playing the cello at the age of 16, no previous string playing experience, only piano. So it is possible to achieve a good level, but it is not the standard case. The disadvantage of starting late is that you learn slower, the advantage is that you can really do the things you do with much more awareness. If you really want this, study systematically. Solve technical problems using your cognitive skills, your brain: analyse them, practice every muscle movement and be aware of them. This can be boring for a while, but it will bear fruit on long term. I'm a baroque cello major myself, 26 years old, and have started the systematic approach way too late, but still am noticing ho much it helps me get better, even or especially now. Oh and, you need a REALLY good teacher. Not all good players are good teachers! especially those that have never needed to think about how to play the instrument (They usually are the more natural and often better players) often are bad teachers since they are not really aware of what they are doing, or are aware of it on a different level. Seriously, in my opinion, good teachers are at least 50% of you success.
  4. I'm only a celllist so don't know much about violin making, and I've been surprised by several parts of the process of varnishing an instrument some contributors mention on this forum, I never would have expected tar/bitumen in a varnish, for one! (and it may be a good idea not to mention this to buyers who might have negative associations with tar..) My cello has been varnished partly with products from this varnish maker who makes the Magister brand varnish. Reading the articles on his site I find it seems like a possible approach to "historically informed varnishing" (hihi, did I just invent that? But I can be forgiven coming up with the term: I'm a baroque cellist). I'm curious to your opinions on this varnish and the byzantinian varnishing system proposed on the site. Magister varnishes: http://www.classicalvarnish.com/ Leonard
  5. Just how easily are they removed in case you decide to change back? I'm asking since I'm considering buying some for my baroque cello, because since the pegs are used so frequently and more violently than on modern cellos, they tend to disform faster and I need adjustment every year, apart from the problems that arise with changes in air humidity. The fact that they need to be glued in is my only reservation against them....
  6. I've seen and played a mid nineteenth century german cello with a design like bill just described. The dealer talked about a misinterpretation of a Stainer model arching.... Biggest problem is that it is not possible to change the pressure on the front and back plates by moving the soundpost in and outwards, since there is no angle at all when there is a 'plateau'. The cello didnt sound that bad though, surpringly, but not great either.
  7. I've been wondering wether corner blocks influence the sound, resonance of an instrument. If there are four of them, you are talking about adding quite some weight (especially to a cello, the instrument with which, being a cellist, I'm more familiar with) and also it seems to me that by glueing a larger surface of the back and front panels, they are 'held' more rigidly, making it harder for them to resonate. Im asking since I've some very good experiences with 'cornerblockless' cellos when it comes to their sound. That they often have cracks and other weak spots usually is due to other faults in the design, I've never really seen an instrument in a bad shape because of the absence of corner blocks. Is this really such a bad teachnique that it needs to be condemned as inferior?
  8. Ha, had all of them correct, meaning, I heard which recordings are with the same violin. Didn't dare to guess which one is which though, esp. because I liked the scale better on the nagyvary, but the sibelius on the strad...
  9. Ken, not knowing if you deciphered the pencil writing on the back of the violin, the second word to me looks like a somewhat crudely written "repariert: 18??" which means repaired: 18?? in german, something I've seen written on labels in a few cellos too. I can't make much out of the name in front of it though...
  10. I've been experimenting with afterlengths a little on my baroque cello, which is easier to do than on a modern one because the tailpiece doesn't have one of those notches modern tailpieces have, so you can just put something (I used a piece of gut string) between the string and the tailpiece and move it around till you tuned the string afterlength. It did have quite some effect. I managed to tune my a and d strings to a fifth , so e and a respectively, the g and c strings however, probably due to the fact that they are silver wire wound and ofcourse have this textile bit at the end (I was using Aquila strings then, by the way), I could tune only to a diminished 5th due to the lack of what I'll call tailpiece afterlength here, so I tuned c sharp and f sharp, perfect thirds to the a and d strings. The result was an incredible d on the c string, with response and overtones I never experienced that way before. Ofcourse, other notes had benefited too, like f sharp and a (particularly on the g string), but on the whole the cello seemed to benefit of it. I did not find that it had become unbalanced yet, that certain notes where too good compared to other ones. However, the next day, the tuned afterlengths had gotten out of tune and the effect was lost, I'd need to tune them again. When I was too lazy once and did not do that, and they were only slightly off, the g string didn't seem to want to respond at all below MF dynamics, so I took off the pieces of gut string, the afterlength therefore not being tuned at particular pitches anymore, and the problem went away. I now play without tuned afterlengths, it seems the safer thing to do... Anyway, what I was trying to say is that afterlength pitch seems to not be a stable factor, I guess it has to do with the weather, how the wood of the instrument and tailpiece react on it, the tailgut, and the slightly different position of the bridge after every time you tune (especially on baroque instruments of course). So even though probably one can find rules of the fist which usually work, like Jacobs, attempts to tune afterlengths in a more precise way (like many instrumentalists think is ideal) might not be possible or even desirable. However, I may try experimenting a little more when I have time, as I said, it's easy on baroque cello, and I did like the way my d sounded... Leonard
  11. First of all, hi everyone, I'm new to this forum. It seems an interesting place! I own a late nineteenth century cello, probably Bohemian. (A lutier who made the appraisal thought it was Mittenwald at first, until he saw the neck construction, guitar-like, and according to him that points towards Bohemia). The cello is in quite a bad state of maintenance and has several (mostly badly repaired) cracks. here is a list: A long soundpost crack in the back, almost reaching the edges of the cello. This crack has been repaired a long time ago, with a not so elegant patch and linen along the crack. It seems to me that the crack is unglueing, so it would need to be repaired anew. Then there is a crack next to the bass bar, in the upper half of the cello, which was badly repaired. Due to that, the table has receded on the bass bar side. there are a few cracks in the lower sides of the cello. I would say a fundamental mistake in the design is that where the neck is connected to the body, the cello is 11.5 cm deep, while the rest of the cello is 12 cm deep. A lutier told me this type of constuction was not uncommon in Bohemia and was used in order to put tension on the whole table, so that it would vibrate better. I have the impression the bass bar crack could partly have been caused by that too. The neck, as I said, uses the guitar-construction, and the angle is extreme, there is only 1 cm space between the table and the fingerboard, but the bridge is 9,5 cm high. The button of the cello was once broken off when it fell backwards in its case (I'm responsible for that, I confess) and was not repaired well, and when doing so, the lutier took off the entire back to repair some minor cracks in the sides of the cello aswell (which he did not do well), and reglued it after that, the glue not holding at the bottom, so it was regleud by another lutier who told me one actually should never take off the back. The cello is small (31.5, 21.5, 41.5, length 73,5 cm, but full 69,5 string length, the cello has no corner blocks.... With all these problems and peculiar characteristics, this cello is one of the best sounding and functioning cellos I've ever played. On the bass side the sound is round and full, dark but with contour, and the descant side has a beautiful singing quality, very warm but focused and clear, projecting very well, in short, it has the characteristics of a big, projecting sound monster combined with that of a warm and pleasant sound, something you don't find so often. I feel that different models of cellos encourage you to play in a different way, and this cello, which responds very well to vibrato and is the only cello on which I enjoy making portamenti, really makes me want to play the great romantic works. A conservatory teacher actually asked me if I would sell it after playing on it.... Anyway, you probably understand my problem. A lot needs to be done to this cello and the cost of getting it repaired exceeds the monetairy value of the instrument. But on the other hand, this instrument works so well, I dont think I'll ever have a better instrument to play on. What should I do?... Leonard
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