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  1. Okay, some clarity is needed I think. I don't know how to read music, I have had one lesson over three years ago and I am not even completely clear as to how to properly hold the instrument, especially when it comes to the fingerboard. Books that show me "folk tunes" might as well be written in Klingon... I learn best by watching, but when I look at videos online for beginning folk fiddle they always are the same... "Alright, so you purchased a fiddle and would like to learn to play? Well, lets try a simple tune.... " and they play. Their fingers move up and down the finger board, the music comes out and they finish the song and say... "now let's try another tune". It is almost as if everything I have found to date in regards to beginners videos seem to think that I already know how to make this fiddle make anything more then a rather scary screeching sound. No matter how "beginner" the video lesson is meant for, it just always seems like I have missed the first few lessons. It is frustrating.
  2. Okay, next question... Are their any books for beginners that you would recommend? Keep in mind that I am wanting to play folk fiddle, not classical violin. I am in a fairly small town in regards to instructors and I am still searching for one that will suit my needs. I am hoping that there might be some good lesson books out there to fill in the gaps a little?
  3. I know that a fiddle and violin are the same thing, but I think we can all agree that the style is not. You are really the first person to suggest finding a classical teacher to learn to play folk fiddle. For the most part the consensis seems to be (both here and locally) that learning via a classical teacher will just teach me techniques that will either be irrelevent or will result in habits that will have to be altered/relearned to play 18th/19th century folk. In regards to the famous Pearlman comment... If he wants to call his violin a fiddle, hey, that's cool... but you would be hard pressed to find many who would say what he plays is "fiddle music". I have heard tell of his famous remark before, many times, but I think the comment was said to be charming and humble more then a serious interpretation of his own instrument; kind of like Armstrong saying he is just another pilot. Afterall, if it was normal thing to say, it wouldn't always be used as a reference, would it? Thanks for your input though, it is always good to get a variety of opinions from knowledgable people when working up to something that is going to take so much time and money to accomplish.
  4. I have been told by a few here as well as some local people I have contacted that I need to find someone who advertises themselves as a fiddle instructor, instead of a violin instructor. I really have no problem learning to play using the standard way of holding the instrument, I just don't want the instruction to base itself in the formal style of classical violin. I learn much faster when I am given some amount of creativity in technique.
  5. There are some telling examples of the shoulder/chest playing in period art. I have been researching period violins/fiddles for the last couple of weeks as it related to what I plan to eventually portray and the information uncovered so far is really facinating! The chin position that we all know so well today was clearly the dominant way of playing from about the early to mid 18th century onward, but it seems that the lower positions such as the collarbone and shoulder hung around to some small degree in rural areas and among the poorer folk; where the players were likely taught from father to son instead of any formal training. Here are some images I have found so far that I thought you all might find interesting. Painting by Gerrit Dou, 1653 Painting by Adriaen van Ostade, 1672 Painting by Guercino, 1625 English woodcut, late 18th Century French woodcut, 18th Century An interesting postcard, late 19th/early 20th Century A good example of an early 29th Century "rural" style of play In the last photo, he seems to be somewhere between the chin and the chest position. Also, note his hand position on the bow.
  6. Very interesting! Is this article available for online viewing? I have found that the majority of the period artwork showing people playing the instrument against their chest or collarbone seem to come from the late 17th century. It seems that by the mid 18th century the chin method of holding become far more common. It is very interesting to me how the way the instrument was played evolved in such a drastic way. Few instruments seem to share that kind of history.
  7. You misunderstand, I was not saying that no one put the violin under their chin back then, just that it seems it would have been far more common to see someone playing it against their shoulder before the advent of chin rests then after. I have seen many current bluegrass and folk players hold the instrument against their shoulder, you only have to watch a few episodes of HeeHaw to see that. It seems to be more common in the rural areas of the south as well and I have seen that style of playing first hand on several occassions. It just seems more "historic" in a way, at least to me.
  8. Although I am a big fan of classical music, that is not the style of music I plan on playing. In an earlier thread I expressed what my main interest in playing is so there is little need to go into that again, but in simple terms I wish to play 18th & 19th century folk tunes, I guess best fitting decidedly into the "fiddle" catagory. I really would rather learn the play with the instrument pushed against my shoulder then under my chin. For me the chin position is horribly uncomfortable and I find that I can control the fiddle much better when it is braced against my arm and shoulder. Since my main goal is to play at historical venues and reenactments, this seems fitting since this was a common way of holding the instrument two centuries ago, especially in the folk community. Heck, chin rests weren't even invented until the 19th century anyway. My wife insists that I have Holmes Syndrome, a kind of inside joke among psychologists used to describe people who are puzzled as to why they have not mastered something in a very short period of time. (Note: This is in reference to Sherlock Holmes, whom throughout the books series repeatedly expresses frustration that after only a few hours of practice he has not yet mastered the violin.) Although I have owned several violins and done restoration work on them, I only now am trying to take the steps to learn to play. I have less then 2 weeks of solid practice under my belt and am already frustrated that I am not seeing any marked improvement or progress.
  9. What are you talking about? You lost me entirely. My daughter plays the guitar, quite well actually, and I don't ever recall her frantically changing the base notes on her guitar to accomidate her next song. I am pretty sure that most, if not all string instruments have their own base set of notes that they are tuned to. Am I wrong about this? Anyone?? My question is whether or not this temp fret board would help me learn (and in turn get used to) the finger positions on the finger board.
  10. Isn't a banjo, guitar, harp, lute, mandolin, oud, sitar, etc string instruments as well? They seem to be listed that way in every reference I can find. I was just curious what the consensis was regarding using this tool as a learning aid, that's all.
  11. You just demonstrated your ignorance of how museums work. 1996 to many museums is in fact "new technology". Many have put these new techniques into practice years ago but if you want specific museums... Well, I already gave you a direct quote from the GETTY... that's a museum BTW, a rather famous one at that. Other museums that I know of that are/have altering and/or redesigning their exhibits and collection preservation techniques as explained previously would be... The LA County Museum of Natural History AMNH The Field Museum The Museum of the American Indian The Smithsonian (that's a museum too...) Anasazi Heritage Center Mount Vernon Oklahoma Museum of Natural History There are many many many more... Just because you have not seen first hand any drastic changes to museums you have visited, it doesn't mean that said changes are not happening right under your nose. Many of the changes to collections and exhibits would not be noticable to the untrained eye and in many cases only effects collections and storage areas that the public rarely, if ever, sees. What goes on in the public view makes up a very TINY percentage of what really happens at museums on a daily basis.
  12. Being a beginner and nearly 42 years old I have finding it very hard to deal with exacting position of the fingers on the fingerboard. For some reason my brain is having trouble retaining the positions correctly and it is effecting my ability to practice. I have talked with a couple of instructors and most seem to recommend the classic tape across the fingerboard method. But one of them recommended this... http://www.frettedfiddle.com/ He said that he has had a couple of students use this product to help learn finger placement and it worked quite well, better then the tape method anyway. I must admit, I am intrigued at the idea of such a learning tool, and even more interested in learning more about fretted violins. I see that on the site there is a photo of a "19th century fretted violin". After some searching I found some other examples of such instruments. Why did these types of violins never gain any popularity? It seems strange that something that would apparently be easier to play would not automatically gain a foothold, seeing as human nature is always to go the easy route. Regardless of the history, would this temp addition to the fingerboard on my fiddle help me at least get used to the correct finger positioning? Thoughts?
  13. The last remark, insinuating that I am lying, is a nice touch. But, if you insist on reading the specifics about some of the new technologies being used in museum exhibits and conservation practices. So be it. Let's start with Humidity and temperature. There is no single relative humidity range that is ideal for all museum objects. Recent work by the Rochester Institute of Technology's Image Permanence Institute shows that lowering the relative humidity (RH) and temperature (T) will greatly increase the life of plastics and other organic materials. Relative humidity (RH) should not fluctuate rapidly. For mixed collections, a non-fluctuating relative humidity above 25% and below 65% is recommended. Many museums have set their relative humidity at 45% and gallery temperatures between 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Lowering the temperature greatly increases the longevity of collections. However, lower temperatures are hard on visitors to the museum. Fluctuating relative humidity (RH) causes stress on materials. Rapid humidity fluctuation damages a wider range of museum objects than does temperature change. A change in RH causes dimensional alteration in hygroscopic materials (for example, wood, ivory, skin, and other organic materials), resulting in warping, splitting, and delamination of sensitive materials. Seasonal slow drifts are less harmful to structures and objects than abrupt changes. High RH (above 65%) can cause mold growth and metal corrosion. Low RH (below 25%) can cause embrittlement of hygroscopic materials such as leather and paper. However, if you are in a wet or dry climate, it may not be possible to maintain the ideal RH level. Try to set your relative humidity level so that it is stable somewhere between 25% and 65%. Above 65% mold will grow, more rapidly as the RH rises. Below 25%, the materials may lose structurally important water. If you cannot achieve even these levels, achieve a reasonable level that does not fluctuate. If this level is above 65%, make sure you have good air circulation and regular inspections for mold growth. Temperature is the major factor in the speed at which "natural aging" occurs. Materials last longer at cooler temperatures. A rapid change in temperature, if the relative humidity is constant, may have damaging effects on stressed metals, stone, films, plastics or wax, materials from which many modern collections are made. High temperatures increase deterioration reaction rates and melt heat-susceptible materials. Store inherently unstable materials, like plastics and rubber, in cool temperatures and lower RH levels to decrease the rate at which they naturally deteriorate. Waxes and plastics are damaged by freezing, so should be kept cool, but not frozen. The Image Permanence Institute (not on the Internet yet) has developed resources for determining the longevity of film materials at specific temperatures and relative humidities. Need some specifics? Cool, no worries... From the GETTY. Within the last several decades, the conservation literature has specified a number of different humidity and temperature ranges recommended for the long-term storage and display of works of artistic, cultural, and historical value. Some objects have specialized environmental requirements that can best be met by attempting to provide them with their own individual environments, but for the majority of objects there is considerable latitude within the recommended ranges. With the cost of operating a modern air conditioned building ever increasing, it becomes valuable to know where the greatest benefits can be earned from combining energy conservation with the conservation of artifacts. Our computer simulations using DOE-2.1C Building Energy Analysis Computer Program demonstrate the cost sensitivities of operating a model building, ranging from 40-60% RH and 65-75 °F (10-24 °C), at five diverse climates in the United States. For some time, concern has been expressed that conventional modern approaches to museum climatology place too great an emphasis on modern technology and sophisticated monitoring procedures. Sophisticated systems, such as full air conditioning, are expensive to install and require expert maintenance and other backup resources for their operation. Such resources are often lacking in developing countries and other geographically remote regions. It would appear a need exists to develop design strategies and alternative technology solutions for museum climatology, appropriate for each collection and its local conditions, which would reduce the dependence on air conditioning. The Getty Conservation Institute and the University of Canberra have initiated a research program to investigate such approaches. This paper reports on progress of the research to date, and highlights areas of difficulty. The dimensional response of parchment to changes in relative humidity was studied using RH-step jump thermomechanical analysis, in order to determine the optimum RH conditions for storage of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The magnitude of the dimensional change that occurs on reducing the storage relative humidity is considerably smaller for degraded parchment than for modern parchment. In addition, although the half-time for establishment of water vapor equilibrium is longer for degraded parchments than for modern parchment, the absolute response time is relatively rapid. Furthermore, scroll samples, degraded modern parchment and gelatin showed little (<0.2%) permanent dimensional changes following RH cycling to 16% under the test conditions. This is in contrast to the 1% deformation showed by modern parchment. In conclusion, because brittleness and cockling become important factors at low RH, a reasonable compromise RH between hygric expansion stability and mechanical stability seems to be 35<RH<40%. From the Journal of Conservation and Museum Studies... A growing scepticism in conservation circles reflects the concern over a reliance on standard recommendations for environmental control. A variety of research findings published in recent years have contributed significantly to our understanding of the processes of deterioration and their implications for collections. It would appear that temperature and humidity are best held as low as possible, to reduce the rate of chemical reactivity, but that the selection of appropriate values should be based on the provision of a stable environment rather than an adherence to an unfounded generalisation on environmental standards. The selection of suitable values demands cogniscence of the constraints of a particular situation -- the ambient climate, mechanical feasibility, or limitations of budget -- in the establishment of long term storage parameters for each institution. The "bombshell" that threatened to completely destroy the traditional concept of environmental control in conservation management, was the announcement in August 1994 that the work of Smithsonian scientists revised guidelines for climate control in museums and archives. In dismissing the "ideal" environmental conditions of 20°C and 50% RH, they claimed to have found that museum objects can safely tolerate as much as 15% fluctuation in RH and as much as 10°C difference in temperature. This new insight, they declared, could save museums millions in construction and energy costs to maintain environmental conditions once considered essential for the preservation of artifacts. If you need more "specifics", you just let me know.
  14. I have seen some museum collections mearly stuffed into drawers sealed with rubber gasket tape from Home Depot and others with high-tech, card swipe doors that hermtically seal once you step through to the collection room. Depending on budget, age and subject, museums do what they can with what they have. There are some out there that are beginning to rethink their collections current environments. The Museum of the American Indian is a good example of this. The preservation and exhibit techniques at that museum are state of the art, great stuff. Museums that cross their T's and dot their I's can do exceptionally well in regards to funding. Afterall, I would not be in business in this economy if that was not the case. Govt. grants, private donations and foundations (a BIG factor) and fund raising can all bring in a huge income for some museums. The company that I work for just finished a huge mobile trailer exhibit for the Port of Los Angeles, and we are currently working on several other major exhibits for museums in Montana, Arizona and Texas. Small museums struggle for sure, especially small Historical Societies (which is a shame because they are the best, IMO), but the larger museums... the AMNH, LA County, Museum of the Rockies, etc, etc... they all do well and have less to worry about when it comes to funding. But again, this has little to do with my original inquiry. As I said, I am designing a simplified version of a mount to use for my violin and will post pictures when it is done.
  15. Well, I figured a complete acrylic encircling brace with acid-free pads and environmentally controlled case was a bit overkill for my violin. My question was whether or not anyone has had any issues with pitch or tone changes in their personal instruments when hung up on display in their home or studio. The question was a simple inquiry of preference and the plus and minus of hanging an instrument if you are planning on playing on a daily or nearly daily basis. The question relates little to what I do in regards to preservation and exhibit of artifacts. Unlike others, I understand where my expertise ends and when I should ask, instead of tell. Thanks to those who were nice enough to simply answer my original question. I appreciate it.
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