La Folia

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  1. Strad loses again

    Gosh, those are nice.
  2. I find that most people who start as adults have a stiff, rigid right hand. That's possibly the most overlooked aspect of bowing. It's impossible to have good tone without flexibility. You need a flexible bow stroke (yet powerful, when needed) and a flexible hand. I see a lot of students who are obsessed with (1) bow placement and (2) straight bows. And they try to attain those two goals with a hand that might as well be in a plaster cast. You can't draw a straight bow without a flexible hand or wrist. A lot of teachers overemphasize some technique such as a strong thumb or strong little finger, which can become a sort of self-destructive magic. You sometimes see students with everything stiff and rigid from the elbow to the finger tips. Sometimes even the elbow is stiff. This doesn't cut it. If the goal is not supple fingers and a supple right hand, then there is something wrong. (By the way, you don't need or want a particularly straight bow. You should have a mental image of where the right hand should be with the bow at the tip or the frog. The key is straight enough, but not too straight. You figure it out. There are plenty of great examples to watch.) And frankly, I think emphasis on bow placement is misplaced until the student has a comfortable command of the bow. You don't need a death grip on it to avoid dropping it. Once you have that command of the bow, then you can place it wherever you want it relative to the bridge. Did I mention that flexibility is key? Good luck.
  3. Anyone else think the art world has gone mad

    Hilarious. Meddling politicians battling across the Iron Curtain. Everyone knows it wasn't Pollock. It was the Beatles that won the Cold War.
  4. Anyone else think the art world has gone mad

    For what it's worth, I suspect that the photos just don't do these pictures justice. I've seen the one in the National Gallery close up, and it's spectacular. The pictures of it? Not so much. So keep in mind that they could be a lot better than they appear here. I guess I've kinda changed my mind.
  5. Anyone else think the art world has gone mad

    Yes, indeed. That one is spectacular. This one -- well, maybe I just don't understand art. Maybe it's not what it once was.
  6. Downforce Experiment

  7. Secrets in the wood (Stradivari's maple)

    Good. I didn't think so.
  8. Secrets in the wood (Stradivari's maple)

    Martin Swan, if I'm not mistaken, some people have denounced conclusions from his forthcoming paper, without seeing the data. If that is not the case, then you and other critics need to make that very clear. But regardless of what was denounced, what is undeniable here is the tone of one or more persons. Debate and alternative opinions are acceptable. Other data is even more acceptable. What is not acceptable is the tone. I do not condone that in any way. If some people think it is fair to criticize in that way, then I think it is fair to denounce the critics on procedural and fairness grounds.
  9. Secrets in the wood (Stradivari's maple)

    GeorgeH, you have repeatedly denounced Bruce Tai's arguments even before you have seen the data, or at least all the data. You have denounced him as a pseudoscientist, even though he has posted most of the world's data on some extremely rare samples. You have adopted a persistent accusatory tone that many of us find unacceptable. I was going to warn you away from this behavior, but it's too late. I have already written you off as a crank with an agenda, and others have too. When Tai's papers are published, and only then, you will have an opportunity to submit a comment to the journals. That will be considered by the editors, possibly with the advice of referees or an editorial board. It might help your case if you have any credibility of your own as a scientist or luthier. You will have one and only one shot at making a carefully-written, carefully-reasoned argument. Unfortunately, this is the Internet, and you are allowed to filibuster. The rest of us will have a scientific exchange of ideas and arguments in the spirit of learning something about old instruments. You, on the other hand, seem determined to continue with an unhelpful, accusatory tone. Have a good trip, and take your time while the rest of us discuss the subject impassionately.
  10. Secrets in the wood (Stradivari's maple)

    Amen. Well said.
  11. Secrets in the wood (Stradivari's maple)

    Don't be absurd. And don't be insulting.
  12. I made one once for myself. It was moulded to the angle of the mandible (look it up), with perfect anatomy, and it was wonderfully comfortable. I never found that it locked the violin in place, and I personally don't understand that common complaint about chinrests. It was a prototype that I used on a somewhat junky violin. When I got a better violin I realized it didn't fit the violin very well, so I decided to make another one. Meanwhile I just made do with a lousy, standard wooden model, and then I got busy and never got around to making a better chinrest. But I really recommend doing that. It doesn't make your Bach worse, but it might very well make it more comfortable.
  13. I've never seen a commercial chinrest that matched the anatomy of the human jaw or any part of the jaw. None of them even comes close.
  14. Workshop space Chicago - moving

    Cairo, Illinois? ...Consider flying from Midway on Southwest.
  15. Workshop space Chicago - moving

    Seriously, not wanting to discourage you, just so you know, Chicago is BIG, and traffic can be slower than Miami evacuating in a hurricane. So you don't want to go very far if you can help it.