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Everything posted by strungup

  1. I believe Arnold Steinhardt's Storioni violin is a cut down viola. Does anyone know just what would be involved in cutting down a viola this way? It seems to me that just about everything would have to be changed: plates, ribs, graduations, arching, bass bar, neck, etc.
  2. The Strad is available at my local violin shop. Have you tried that sort of source?
  3. Maybe the fifth string is a B string, higher than the E???
  4. Learning to make a good sound with the bow is complicated. Basically, as someone else said, you're using your mind to train your body. There are so many interacting factors that you can't specify exactly what to do. So you have to have an idea in your mind of what good sound is. You have to pay attention when you play and listen to yourself carefully. That way you'll hear when you make a good sound and sub-consciously you'll remember what you did right and little by little you'll get better. That's how it works. Good luck!
  5. I imagine one of the reasons the pristine condition of the instrument is so valued is the opportunity it offers to see everything just the way Stradivari made it. Most old Cremona instruments have had major changes made to them, such as changing the neck angle and fingerboard. Also various repairs or restorations have been done. In some cases of del Gesu instruments they have even been regraduated. Consequently, for the study of Stradivari's methods a pristine, unchanged instrument is especially valuable.
  6. Viola sound gets a lot of metaphorical description, too. For example, Brescian-style instruments tend to sound "chocolate" while Strad or maybe Andrea Guarneri instruments have a "honey" sound.
  7. At a concert by the Guarneri String Quartet I noticed that Arnold Steinhardt's chinrest was rather tall. At the reception after the concert I asked him about it and he said he had a long neck and had neck pain so he had the high chin rest custom made. I'll bet any good luthier could carve one for you.
  8. Michael Darnton's instruments are excellent and in your price range.
  9. I recently had some very good South African wine, a Shiraz from Onyx winery, so not everything has to have it's taste disguised.
  10. It's not a shopping mall The Mall in DC is the long park-like area between the Washington monument and the capitol building where the big Smithsonian museums and the National Gallery of Art are located.
  11. This "pooling effect" is interesting. In the case of goods for which there is no objective standard of measurement I think the pooling effect would be strongest. That might be the case for state college grads vs ivy league grads for their first jobs but after that I imagine that for the most part real ability will prevail. For instrument prices I think from the buyer's perspective, assuming the instrument is being bought for use and not to join a collection, the correct criteria would be does it do what I need and is it worth it to me.
  12. Yes, "urushi" is the Japanese word for lacquer.
  13. People say they want to get the sound quality of the instruments made by the great masters and ask why there isn't more experimentation with alternative woods to reach this goal. One thought regarding this is that it seems to be extremely difficult to reach that level of sound no matter what materials are used. And we know it can be done with the traditional materials and techniques. So I'm not surprised that makers striving for the highest sound quality would restrict themselves mostly to the traditional ways. A lifetime of effort might be needed to succeed with methods and materials we know can work. Why waste time trying something we don't know is even capable of working? Now, I don't mean that it is fruitless to work with non-traditional materials; beautiful things can be done which might work as well as anything a non-genius type maker could achieve otherwise. Finally, we have a good amount of information about the long-term behavior of the traditional materials. I think less is known about how non-traditional materials age. That factor, too, might inhibit makers from experimenting with alternatives to the usual woods.
  14. No one is going to give a "perfect" performance of this great music. It's impossible. My favorite recording is the Grumiaux, but I learned something new that I like from every recording I've heard.
  15. Yes, "correct" intonation IS flexible. I recall reading in the book "The Art of Quartet Playing" by the Guarneri Quartet in conversation with David Blum, that the quartet's ensemble intonation may correctly become sharp or flat depending on the piece of music being played. Also, since natural violin tuning is not tempered, the violinist must adjust intonation to be able to play with a piano accompaniment. And how many times have you been playing in orchestra, say, and been unaware that a string had flattened until you had to play it open? In that case your fingers adjusted so you played "in tune" even though your instrument was not in tune. That's where the ear tells you what to play rather than the physical memory of where to put your fingers.
  16. Concerning light-weight bows, don't forget the Arcus bows which are REALLY light. There are some concert violinists, and others, who like these.
  17. See if you can find a copy of the book "Performance Success" by Don Greene. It has a lot of good techniques for centering and relaxing and dealing with making mistakes.
  18. The operative word is "maybe". The only way I know to be relatively sure of a decent long-term return on the stock market is to diversify. In the case of violins that would mean buying many many instruments from a variety of makers. You would probably have some winners there but at, say, 10K each would you beat out more traditional and liquid investments? And you have to remember that instruments by living makers usually sell at auction for less than current prices for new instruments by the same maker. What does that do for the investment? I agree with those who say don't buy an instrument for an investment, buy it if you love it and intend to play it for your own pleasure.
  19. I don't understand what would make a premium string more difficult to play. It seems to me that the problem might be that premium strings would show up the deficiencies in beginner level instruments so it might seem like they are harder to play. Tonicas have a smooth sound which might be appealing. At one time there was a lot of enthusiasm on this board for Violino strings for lower lever instruments. The cheap metal strings, like Red Label tend to sound overly bright, even harsh. Sometimes they work well on lower level violins because the instruments themselves lack response.
  20. For symphonies I'd add Shostakovich's 15th. Bone chilling.
  21. From Die Winterreise the last song, Die Leierman is very sad. It makes me think Schubert saw his death approaching when he wrote this song. For Fear there's Schubert's Erlkonig. The father's fear at the end is palpable.
  22. If my wife's students don't show up they still pay for the lesson since they paid in advance. Of course courtesy is important on both sides, and my wife will gladly reschedule lessons if she gets advance notice and can reasonably fit them into her schedule.
  23. Professional teachers make their living from lessons and arbitrary cancellation costs income, not just inconvenience. My wife is a music teacher and has a policy that students pay in advance for a month's worth of lessons at the first lesson of the month. If they are cancelling with less than 24 hours notice, or without an acceptable excuse, they forfeit the cost of that lesson. Having people pay in advance eliminates the awkwardness associated with demanding payment for a missed lesson.
  24. Martin Cornelissen in Northampton, Mass, has made over 500 instruments of very high quality. Doug Cox, already mentioned, is close to 500 instruments made if not actually over that milestone by now. I have a Cox viola that I think is quite fine. Cox makes many different models, including long Strad models, and has copied Arnold Steinhardt's Storioni which is a cut down viola.
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