Yo Ma-Ma

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  1. Well, I got an H4!! Monkeyed around with it awhile tonight and figured out how to play a cello quartet all by myself! :-) But I think I must be doing something wrong with the input settings or the distance between my cello and the recorder, or something. The sound quality didn't come out that good at all; sounded kind of nasal and metallic and weak. Also "echo-ey" and not very natural sounding. I was recording with just the built-in mics, and had those selected as the input source. I recorded four tracks to make a quartet, and the lower tones weren't quite as bad but the higher ones (D and A string) were really kind of yucky sounding. I had the mic gain set on Medium, the recorder mounted on a small tripod about 2-3 feet in front of my cello; and for the input levels, I set the little fader icon about 1/4 - 1/3 of the way over from the far right (that's about as far as the bars came across when I played a few trial notes). All the reviews I've read talked about "astounding" and "CD-quality" sound - what am I doing wrong? Any ideas appreciated! Thanks, Yo Ma-Ma
  2. LOL - yup, I had a couple of pretty odd intonation lapses! "Vibrato - a device used by string players to hide the fact that they are on the wrong pitch" I was just glad I wasn't so nervous that my bow bounced uncontrollably on the strings. (it did the previous day when we had our "dress rehearsal" at the church!) Thanks so much for the comments - any problems listening to the file? i.e., does it take way too long to download? Since I uploaded that one, I've managed to compress it a little further but now it's in Windows Media Audio format. The file's about half the size now, though. Maybe this one will be faster. (bear with me - I'm just starting to explore the realm of uploading music files to a message board!) Thanks, Yo Ma-Ma
  3. Hi all, ** I deleted the original 6.6Mb file and attached a much smaller one in my next reply to this topic. ** this was recorded in my church a couple months ago; this was my first shot at playing a solo in front of my congregation. As a little background, I started playing cello as an adult, at age 40, and just this past summer (after 5-1/2 years of playing) I finally got up the nerve to commit to playing a solo in church. (I do play in a cello quartet for weddings and such, but I found that's somehow a lot easier than playing alone in front of 260 people you've known forever!) Anyway, everyone seemed to enjoy it (I may have been the first cello player some of them have ever heard!) and a number of people asked me afterwards if I play solos for weddings. I'm thinking I would like to pursue that at some point...after some further improvement. This was the first time I've heard myself on a recording and I heard some areas for improvement that I hadn't been aware of before. I was hoping folks on this board could give me pointers for more "musical" playing, phrasing, etc. too. We don't have the most high-end recording equipment in our church, but I guess the recording is fairly passable. Let me know what you think! (I've never tried linking a music file to a post here before so I hope I did it right and it works okay for those who want to give it a listen!) If it doesn't, maybe someone could help me out and tell me what I did wrong! :-) Thanks lots, Yo Ma-Ma
  4. Hi all, After quite a bit of research, I was finally able to determine that the sonata being played on YouTube is #2 from the Six Cello Sonatas, Opus 5, for cello and basso continuo. I assume the second cellist plays the figured bass from the b.c. part. Once I knew what book to look for, I found a number of sources; Shar is one but it's out of stock. I did find the (Peters edition) book on SheetMusicPlus.com, though, and have ordered it. Can't wait - I loved that piece when I heard it on YouTube! Yo Ma-Ma
  5. Hi all, This is the first time I've tried posting a link (below), but if this doesn't work and you go to YouTube and do a search on Geminiani, there are three movements of a Geminiani cello duo, very nicely played by two cellists with no accompaniment. They should be the top three videos that come up in the search results. I belong to a cello duo and would love to get ahold of that sheet music. I left a comment on the video of the 2nd movement asking where to find it but haven't gotten any replies yet; also posted a message for the guy who posted the videos. Does anyone here know if and where it's available? I haven't had any luck finding it. Or are they maybe playing their own transcription of a cello & orchestra or cello & piano sonata? If anyone can point me in the right direction, many thanks! :-) Yo Ma-Ma Geminiani
  6. Hi Dave, Thanks once again - you've been SO helpful! I also appreciate the recording time estimate using the SD card provided with the unit. This recorder sounds like just what we need. We didn't want to go TOO expensive, so this sounds like it'll work well for us. One of the other quartet members has some small speakers, so we'll give those a try and see how they sound, then upgrade those if needed. I remember trying to record myself at home a couple years ago (my cello teacher said I should do that from time to time) but all I had was my boom box and a chintzy plug-in mic, and the results were abysmal! So this H4 sounds like it'll be a HUGE improvement. We want good, true sound so we can self critique as we get ready for gigs, weddings, etc., and also so we can record sound clips to post or to email to brides who are looking for a music ensemble. Thanks for your help! Yo Ma-Ma
  7. Dave - thanks for the comments on the H4 - that's very helpful. Is the sound pretty decent and "true" if you play your recording back thru, say, a set of small portable speakers or even those little folding travel speakers for iPods and MP3 players? Did you upgrade the SD card in yours, or using the one that comes with it? Thanks! Yo Ma-Ma
  8. Hi all, my cello quartet is thinking about buying one of the Zoom H4 Handy Recorders. I'm not real familiar with how these things work...Does anyone know if we can hook up a pair of small speakers and immediately play back what we've recorded? We want to use it at our rehearsals so we can objectively hear how we sound and discuss how we can improve. Also so we can email good recordings of our playing to brides who are looking for a group to play for their weddings, etc. I know the description mentions that there's a headphone jack for "monitoring" but I wasn't sure if that meant you could listen thru the phones as something's being recorded, or if you can actually play the recording back thru the phones (or speakers) on the spot, without having to first upload the recording to a computer, MP3 player or whatever. Anybody know? Does anyone have one of these? Are you happy with it? Thanks for any help! Yo Ma-Ma
  9. I play cello, not violin, but I have a Gliga Gama cello which I've been told blows away most cellos in the $4,000 and less price range. It has a very mellow, sweet sound; it didn't have much projection when I first got it but I've made some changes that have helped that a lot (geared pegs to take away the need for fine tuners, also got a lighter tailpiece and a titanium tailgut). The workmanship of the cello is superb and a local luthier appraised it at almost twice what I paid for it. I suppose this info doesn't help much since you're looking at a violin, but I can vouch for Gliga Gamas, at least. I've read a number of good things about Gamas (violins, violas, cellos) in other threads, too. The only negative seems to be that Gligas aren't set up well when they arrive and you have to spend some extra to get that taken care of at your local luthier. Once that's taken care of, though, they seem to be wonderful instruments. Since you are looking at a used one, though, maybe you can check with the current owner to see if the setup issues have been taken care of. And as the others have said, of course compare it with your current instrument for workmanship, sound, projection, and response. If you like it better, then I'd say grab it up! Sounds to me like an excellent deal! Yo Ma-Ma
  10. Neil - LOL...some peace ambassador I'd make! Re my current thread, I've succeeded in alienating two of my three quartet buddies! I did try REALLY HARD to keep the peace, though! :-) Seriously, though, I think that is VERY cool about Yo-Yo Ma!! Yo Ma-Ma
  11. Well, my friend played trios last night! She wrote me this morning and said it was a real eye opener! She said she's been playing totally off me all this time (and I was playing off her and trying to tune the others out), and had been so focused on that that she hadn't ever really LISTENED to the group objectively. She said she was really surprised at the level and the quality of playing (or lack thereof). She felt really discouraged and trapped now that I'm gone, and she doesn't want to double-whammy them and leave too. But she's got a good attitude about it and isn't mad at me for leaving or anything. She may try to phase out of it later on herself (time constraints!) but for now is just going to treat it as a mentoring opportunity. She's really good at encouraging and motivating people and making suggestions for improvement in such a way that people listen to her. I tried that for a while to try and make the best of the situation, but whenever I made a suggestion, they'd argue with me. :- Very stubborn, strong-willed types. My friend said they didn't rag on me or anything last night (probably because they know she and I are close friends), and that they are starting to get over their hurt. So that makes me feel a bit better. I still haven't heard a word back from either of them, and maybe I never will! The one lady who "released" me from the group seems like the type who holds grudges and really wants you to feel it when she's mad at you. I had hoped we'd be able to part on good terms, but maybe it just wasn't meant to be. I'm feeling better, though, and our other, better quartet is getting back together soon because we've been asked to play another wedding (and reception), so that'll be fun. It's over, I'm free, and we'll all heal before long. Yo Ma-Ma
  12. Hi Shirl - thanks, that helps. Yes, I am feeling a little better. At first I was really upset at having hurt them, and then feeling pretty hurt myself when the one lady "released" me from the quartet. She actually reprimanded me rather sharply for not telling them in person and for insulting them via email instead of insulting them to their face, then ended by saying, "Please just go and find other folks of your own level and enjoy yourself." Well, I guess this all did come as a bit of a shock to them, esp. since they probably thought we sounded pretty good, to suddenly have one of the two stronger members opt out saying their best efforts don't meet up to my musical expectations for the group. Guess I'd be kinda upset too, if I were in their shoes, but I wouldn't just kick the member out without even allowing him/her to come talk to the group about it, after they offered to and everything! I replied to her email and didn't grovel or anything, but said I was sorry she felt insulted when all I was doing was giving constructive criticism about ways the group could improve (and they did ask me that, after all!), and being honest with them about not feeling challenged enough any more. I mean, if the group was a good fit for me after 2 years of lessons, wouldn't it occur to them that if I kept taking lessons I'd eventually outgrow the group? I met my friend for supper tonight and talking to her helped a bit, too. She wanted me to stay in it, too, but has been very supportive and understanding about my need to move on. She's actually a better player than I am, but for her that group is her one night of "musical relaxation" for the week and she does enjoy going and isn't as concerned about doing serious work on the music. She also wasn't sitting as close to the bad player as I was, and I was always kind of a "buffer" between the two of them. Anyway, after supper she headed over there to play with them as a trio and I just headed home. Part of me wanted to go with her, because that was our Thursday routine - meet for supper after work and then head over there. She's going to write me tomorrow and tell me how it went! Wonder if they got much playing done, or just a lot of venting...or if my name is anathema now and didn't even come up in the conversation! :-) I'll keep you posted on the continuing saga... Yo
  13. Well, it's done. I officially got booted out yesterday, before I could even talk to them in person as I had planned to tonight. The original plan was to tell them all of it in person (instead of emailing) but it came out in an email because they asked me in an email why they were lowest priority, why I was dissatisfied, and what were my expectations were of the group. I answered as diplomatically as I knew how, gave some (what I intended to be) constructive criticism on ways I thought the group could improve, and added that I'd talk to them in person on Thursday when we got together. Well, as you might expect, they took my constructive criticism way different than I intended it, and got very insulted. I wrote back that it wasn't intended to be insulting, just constructive criticism. Since then I haven't heard back from them. The lady whose house we practice at has made it clear I'm not welcome there tonight or hereafter. (she also wrote a very toned-down message to my friend saying she had "released" me from the quartet. That was mighty nice of her, since my friend and I were the ones who started the quartet, not her!) So, anyway, mission accomplished - though not quite in the way I had hoped! No one ever said it would be easy. I do have some regrets about how it all went down; probably should've just held off on saying anything at all until we were all together tonight, but then when they started demanding (via email on Monday) why they were my lowest priority, I went for broke and answered them honestly but politely. So I guess we won't get the chance to talk it all out tonight and part on more amicable terms. But we'll all heal, and I do feel very liberated now. That whole issue has been weighing on me for over a year now...waffling back and forth from wanting out to deciding to stick it out a little longer out of loyalty; knowing eventually I'd still want out but not knowing how to do it; and all the while trying to avoid having to do any more gigs. They're just in this for the fun of it, and there's nothing wrong with that, but because they're not very willing to work hard their standards are just set lower than I'm comfortable with, as far as what's "good enough" to play in front of an audience. I've always had it drummed into me that you practice until you've got it as solid and secure as you can get it, and strive to make it a pleasant experience for the audience - not one that sets their teeth on edge! I didn't work this hard and come all this way to be mortified in front of all our audiences, and then leave the gig feeling frustrated and embarrassed while they just blow it off like it's no big deal ("yeah, we made a few mistakes, but overall I thought it went well"), and here we were just barely holding it together for the entire concert! More wrong notes than right, not together, solo part not coming out because the other three were too loud, etc. etc. They've decided to continue on as a trio for the time being. My friend is OK with that (for now); she wasn't as frustrated with the whole bit as I was. (but she wasn't sitting close to the bad player, either.) It'll be interesting to find out how it goes. Just thought I'd let you all know how it ended up! Talk about a clean break from a group. I was going to try and just kind of phase myself out (play with them a couple more weeks just out of good will and for old times' sake), but this way I don't have to prolong the agony. Thanks for all your thoughtful and supportive replies. I especially like Jimbow's recent comment: "In the process of worrying too much about the group and their feelings, you are not being fair to yourself. You have a primary responsibility to your own inner standards and personal development which seems to be playing '2nd fiddle' to your group loyalty. Life is short -- you need to set some personal priorities." That is so true! I was really feeling trapped and almost manipulated into staying in it forever just because I suspected what their reactions would be! Thanks again, all! Yo Ma-Ma
  14. As a matter of fact, I just joined the ACMP recently - Saturday to be exact! As to the rather sticky matter at-hand, no, the 4th player doesn't know my feelings. I've been too softhearted to tell her. That, and I think she'd take advice like that OK from a teacher or coach, but I suspect she doesn't view me as being in any position to tell her. Gets a little prickly about it. She often speaks up and disagrees with me even when I make a general suggestion about how we could be playing a passage more musically. Or how I can't hear whoever has the solo because everyone else is playing way too loud (and the music is marked piano). And she doesn't take lessons so there's no teacher to tell her these things, either. I've been writing back and forth with the quartet members the last couple of days. I started out pleading time constraints and when they wrote back wanting to know why they were lowest priority on my list of things I need/want to do musically, I told them it's partly because this quartet isn't actively practicing for anything, just getting together to jam once a week. More of a social thing than musical, though we do play a lot. But we usually just play through (once) a few of the same 25 or 30 favorites each week. Told them I'm just not feeling challenged in this quartet. Also that I'm very goal-oriented and that I love structure and discipline. Not to say there can be no "fun" in music, but I'm sure that is all they are in this quartet for...fun. Not to really have to WORK at anything. I on the other hand, am more serious about my music and want to be learning something, even if it means having to practice it on my own at home. I also said in a nice way that I haven't been happy with our level of preparedness for the gigs we've done at old folks homes. The last rehearsal before the gig, the rest of the quartet would be going "Well, that went GREAT! I think that's concert ready!" after each song, whereas I was cringing inside the whole time!! Then when I say I think it needs a lot more work (because to me it sounded awful!) and tell them what I heard that could be improved on, they look at me like I'm crazy! Way too perfectionistic, at any rate. I honestly don't think they can hear how bad we sound. Am I the only one listening objectively as we play? I'd love to be able to get a hi-fi recording of us practicing to make them listen objectively once. Because the bass line has no intonation the rest of us are constantly trying to adjust; we're usually not crisply together; our blend isn't nice or pleasant to listen to. The few gigs we've done, I've gone in there with serious misgivings about us being anywhere near ready, and more times than not, our playing reflected it. Needless to say, they are pretty upset by all this; we're going to have a heart-to-heart on Thursday when we get together, and decide what to do. I kind of hope they'll be able to go on and just get someone to replace me (I'd love to find someone for them but just can't imagine what I'd say about the musical abilities of the group to get the new person to want to join. They're wonderful ladies but just aren't really doing anything to improve on the cello.) My friend knows of a young student who's been taking for about a year, and she says he'd probably enjoy it so she may ask him to sit in for me and see how it goes. She's been very supportive of me in all this, and has been a great sounding board for me. She kinda wants out, too, but just isn't as adamant about it because where she sits at rehearsals is the furthest away from the bad player and so she doesn't get it right in the ear like I do. I'll keep you posted...Thursday night could be verrrry interesting. Yo Ma-Ma
  15. Aw, bummer that you don't live closer! :-( Yup, it's our bass line that has all the problems. Not just intonation but a really harsh, grating tone as well. Makes my skin crawl sometimes - it's like ponticello, about 80% of the time. Like she's using too much pressure on the strings, or playing with a tense bow arm/bow hold. She has always been about the loudest of all of us, too...most of the time my friend and I (who alternate on playing the melody) can barely hear ourselves over the bass line...but recently the 4th player got a new cello which projects even more! :-O In all fairness, though, she does do pizz pretty well and in tune when her part calls for that. Wonder if we could talk her into playing pizz all the time.... Yo Ma-Ma