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Violinflu

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Everything posted by Violinflu

  1. OK... In my experience at Peabody, there seems to be quite a range, although it's hard to really get a feel for trends because people don't generally talk about how much their stuff is worth. If I had to guess, though, for stuff that the students actually own, I'd bet that the middle 50% of violin values might be ~$12K-$30K, with 25% being less and 25% being more (some substantially more). For the primary bow, probably $2K-$5K encompasses about 50% of the students. I can think of plenty of examples of violins and bows that don't play according to their value, for better or worse... but if you are patient with a search, I'm sure you could, like Dr. S, eventually find standout equipment for substantially less than average.
  2. I assume you are talking about measure 21...? Just for laughs, I tried this measure without the open D string, and sure enough it is possible, though uncomfortable :-) You can (theoretically) finger the entire measure (from the G string up) 2-1-4, where the 1 is a stretch back, and the 4 is a stretch up. The next question is Why? Starting the measure in 5th position with 2-0-3 is much more physically comfortable and musically it maintains the drone D string which is the most distinctive feature of the caprice. I think that playing this measure without the open D would be a perfect example of technical achievement for its own sake, and at the expense of the musical effectiveness of the passage. Fun to try, though!
  3. Wow, Hank! I never heard of anyone else having a kazoo in their case... Mine has actually come in handy once or twice :-) Other weirdness: a tube of 100% Juniper creme, made in Switzerland, bought from a masseuse in Kyrgyzstan. Wonderful stuff - relaxes muscles (before or after workout) and makes you smell like a Christmas tree...
  4. Interesting idea, but there is a fatal flaw... The mp3s you posted are 48kbps, or not quite as good as FM radio. Certainly nowhere near good enough to recognize specific qualities of sound produced by the violins. Even with uncompressed audio, I would have to wonder if differences I heard were the result of differing violins, or the result of the differing comfort level of the violinist regarding each violin. To me, #5 simply sounds like the violin that the violinist is most comfortable with - I wouldn't trust myself to make even general statements on the differences in sound based on these recordings.
  5. Which tapes do you use, Busker? I am playing a piece that requires holding the violin vertically in my lap, placing fingers high on the G string, and bowing "behind" the fingers, between the fingers and the nut. I need a solution for how to find the starting pitch. I will also try Ken's post-it note idea - sounds like a good one!
  6. I'll second the $30K price for a nice Guillaume Maline violin bow. Maline is right up there with Simon in terms of my dream bows...
  7. Great quote from Honeyman! I use this type of vibrato occaisionally, for instance in the opening passage in the Sibelius Concerto... although I can't recall ever being taught to use it. Adds a nice vulnerable shimmering quality to the sound.
  8. Patience. You might try spending even more time vibrating slowly, noticing exactly how it feels. Perhaps you are speeding up too much too soon? Give yourself time. Vibrato is one of the trickiest things to learn as well as teach, but with patience you will get it. When I first learned vibrato, I pushed myself too fast and actually ended up with some bizarre sideways action in my vibrato for many years, which I had to laboriously "unlearn"... Try to avoid that! So, no suggestions other than to be patient with your body. Recognize that you won't get it overnight, and you will most likely be working on your vibrato for the next 50 or 60 years, so don't sweat it - practicing more is probably not going to help you at this point. Good luck!
  9. I also studied with Charles Avsharian for a summer, and learned a ton. Being fortunate enough to privately study with someone on Ouchard's list, I would like to say that, in my opinion, there are dozens, probably hundreds of teachers out there who can guide the right student to the highest levels. For the student, it is important to find someone who YOU can work with, whose strengths are YOUR weaknesses, and who ultimately will teach YOU what you need to know. Teacher's reputations, by definition, are built on their results with OTHERS. Figuring out who will help you go where you want is one of the most important, and personal, things a student can do.
  10. I don't know of any Suzuki teachers who even use the 9th and 10th volumes. Frankly, to go strait from Suzuki Book 8 to Mozart concerti is too large a leap for most students - it certainly would have been for me. I started at age 3-4, and did roughly one Suzuki book per year among supplementary repertoire. I finished Book 8 around 11 or 12 and went to another teacher, with whom I played DeBeriot, Accolay, Haydn, and others before tackling Mozart concerti. Oh, and I wholeheartedly agrere with Andrew's contention that starting young brings early familiarization with the instrument, but it does not guarantee early progress. The typical 4-year-old simply cannot learn new physical concepts at the same rate as a 10-year-old.
  11. This is great news. Looks like October 4 is the release date. You can pre-order on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obi...lance&s=music&n=507846
  12. Quote: Intonation used to be much more creative. Oh, for the good old days!
  13. First of all, congratulations! Being asked to be concertmaster is quite an honor, and you can take heart in the fact that the conductor has confidence in your ability to handle it. I have been in your situation a few times over the past few years, and I have some ideas. The first and most important thing to realize is that people respect confidence. You are the concertmaster. You are in charge of ensemble, articulation, and bowings. Anyone that disagrees with your decisions is wrong. They will just have to deal with it. There is a pinch of prima donna in the recipe for a concertmaster. It's not about being a jerk - it's about projecting confidence and competence. Second, please realize that choosing bowings is one of the least important duties of the concertmaster. Really! All you can do is be consistent... If you start worrying about what people are thinking, you're done. It is the orchestra's job to worry about what the concertmaster is doing. If you are consistent, the orchestra will thank you. You say the cellist "made me play my part for him" as if he had a gun to your head. This is ridiculous for a number of reasons, not the least of which is: it's just not that important to match bowings with the cellists. My personal "pattern" in bowing while sitting concertmaster is to follow the parts exactly, unless that is totally unrealistic (4 bars in a bow, for instance)... Every entrance is down-bow, unless it is a pickup, in which case it's up-bow. That's my base, and of course some things need to be changed, but in my experience, the fewer changes made, the better. Here's the point: you as concertmaster don't want to be thinking about bowings. Think about counting rests and playing in a confident, slightly demonstrative way. Enjoy and don't worry - it gets much easier with experience. Have fun!
  14. Like Erika's husband, I asked for my suit to be made with a little extra room in the shoulders. It works like a charm, and I don't think it's visibly larger. The other "trick" is to find dress clothes made of light, comfortable material. You can always add another undershirt, but really - when was the last time you were chilly in a concert? Go with light. I have worn a tie in performance maybe once in the last three years. I hate ties! Shirts with mandarin collars are vastly more comfortable, look sharp with a jacket, and don't need a tie! Of course, bow ties are unavoidable, but a nice soft flexible bow tie is worth the investment over one of those hard-as-a-rock, tightly knotted contraptions...
  15. Couldn't agree more. Wait until after the rehair to start messing around. You might find that all along it was the hair with no bite, not the rosin.
  16. Great story, guta! What an incredible experience it must be, to decide to buy a Strad. One day... If Mr. Heifetz is still playing the De Chaponay, I can confirm that it carries very well - in fact, from the back of a small hall, it is one of the loudest violins I have ever heard!
  17. The best sounding violin I've played is a del Gesu (ex-Wienawski), which has been played with top-level orchestras around the world. It is also one of the most demanding violins I've played. It demanded a certain broadness of bow stroke and depth of bow contact - it would not tolerate jerky, sudden movements. But when played correctly - oh wow - the sound just poured out of the thing. The richest, woodiest, most satisfyingly massive sound I've ever produced on a violin. It had an overall dark quality, but with a certain ring to it that would easily carry to the last person in the highest row of the biggest concert hall. Not sure how much it is worth - I would call it priceless - but it is probably insured in the $3-4 million range. The easiest violin to play (and the second-best sounding) was a Nicolo Amati. I could just play this violin all day - a very sweet, pure, ringing tone, and perfect balance between the strings. It demanded a fine bow, but that was the only thing it demanded. It was a sweetheart. I could tell there was enough body in the sound to tackle the romantic concertos, but that the violin would be happiest in more intimate settings, blending with other strings. I'm not sure if I remember the price correctly, but I believe the shop was asking $350 K. Even with the experience of playing a number of fine violins, I still feel (as every violinist should) that my violin holds its own. It is a flexible instrument, with a perfectly smooth transition from rich lower strings to brilliant upper strings. In fact, I recently had a last-minute opportunity to play the del Gesu described above in a concert, but I went with my violin instead. It is a 2000 Raymond Melanson worth maybe ~$13,000.
  18. I would just like to take this opportunity to bash Strings. It is the sorriest excuse for a magazine I've ever had the displeasure of spending money on. In a recent issue I found 6 obvious mistakes - grammatical, logical, and factual - in the first three paragraphs of a featured article which was written by one of the EDITORS! The factual mistakes are what really killed me - I knew off the top of my head that the information I was reading was just wrong. The Strings people should have, too, but even if they didn't, haven't they ever heard of google? Strings apparently declines to do even the most basic of fact-checking. That is simply an unacceptable and irresponsible way to run a magazine, no matter the intended audience. In contrast I still return to my collection of Strads from a few years ago (when the subscription was more reasonable) and every time I pick one up, I learn more from the interesting articles, or notice a gem of information in a little sidebar I might have skipped before. Long live Strad!
  19. The Edirol and Fostex type pro-quality solutions are great, but beyond my means, unfortunately. For the sake of price comparison, my 20 GB iRiver cost me ~$230, and recording uncompressed wav files takes ~10MB / minute, so 20GB works out to over 33 hours of uncompressed audio. The iRiver wasn't specifically designed as a recorder; it just happens to be a nice non-professional solution. You can adjust mic sensitivity through menus. The drawbacks for recording are that 1) there is no live level meter - to set the mic level you have to record a sample and then play it back to check, and 2) sometimes when the hard drive spins up while recording, the unit drops a milisecond of audio, which is audible as a faint click on playback. Both of these problems are being addressed by the rockbox people - a group of developers working on a replacement firmware for the iRiver, open-source style. It's not done yet, but it is getting closer.
  20. I will never use minidisc again. There is something better at a similar price: Take a look at the iRiver H320 or 340 (20 & 40 GB mp3 players, respectively). They have two little features that make them very valuable to musicians: 1) an external mic pre-amp, so you can directly plug in one of those little Sony mics, say, and 2) the ability to record to various quality mp3 or uncompressed wav files. Transfer to a computer for burning a CD takes just seconds, even for a two-hour lesson. I have the H120, which is the previous generation, but if you can find one for sale, it does even more than the H300s, but without the color screen. Minidiscs are still the most popular at Peabody, but my iRiver has already made 4 or 5 converts.
  21. I've always wondered what that little felt donut is for! I've always just thrown them away. Please let us know how the Oliv set seems to compare to the Obligatos, in sound and feel.
  22. Yes and no. It won't help you play octaves in tune, but having a solid education in music theory will help your playing in many subtle ways. A very great musician once told me "interpretation comes from harmony" and he is right. The more intelligently aware you are of what the harmony is doing at all times, the more sensitive your playing will become - you'll be driven to create more colors, and you'll be inspired to do more with every phrase. Inspired is the key word - your improvement from music theory knowledge will not be automatic - it will inspire you to do more than you do now. You will "see" more possibilites - you won't automatically take advantage of that. Good luck!
  23. Is there ever any difference between a hobby and a psychosis? I'm actually a fan of knives myself - in the context of cooking. I have some great German and Japanese cooking knives - the handmade Japanese knives particularly appeal to me the same way a great bow does - it is a highly specialised, highly individual work of art, as much as it is a tool. Thank you Ron and GV...
  24. GV, All I can say is wow. What a fantastic idea. Bravo!
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