Steve_W

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Everything posted by Steve_W

  1. Thanks Michael, I like the idea of the plain lizard-skin wrap. That would deal with both my concerns about playing with a bare stick--possible lack of grip and potential wear to the stick--while being reasonably durable and easily replaceable.
  2. I think you could be right on this. I found a couple bows on the Tarisio site that are similar to mine (but attributed to John Dodd) which look to be in original condition and have no windings at all. Maybe I'll just ask the shop to remove the windings and grip next time it's in for rehairing and see how it works. Thanks!
  3. I have a contemporary copy of a transitional bow by Edward Dodd ca. 1750 that I really like for classical-era music; it's light, flexible and responsive. This copy has a modern leather thumb grip and tinsel wrapping, to match the original bow the maker copied. Since the balance point on these bows is shifted towards the tip, the appropriate grip for this style of bow is further up the stick above the thumb grip, and because of this, after years of playing the tinsel is now starting to fray and will need replacing soon. I'll probably have the thumb grip removed and the wrap replaced with something more historically accurate. Does anyone know what Dodd used for wrapping on his bows? Tinsel, silk or something else? Or maybe nothing? Without going to wire wrapping, is there a choice that would be more durable than tinsel? Also, can anyone recommend a shop in the San Francisco Bay area that is familiar with historical bows and can do the work? Thanks for any suggestions. -Steve
  4. I wanted to add a website to my earlier recommendations on tune databases. Chris Walshaw, inventor of the abc notation system, has relaunched his abc notation website, now at http://abcnotation.com/. This was a great site for all things abc and I'm very happy it's back! As a bonus it now includes a great tune finder page that pops up the abc code, a standard notation preview of the tune, and a playable midi file all on a single page. Like JC's abc tune-finder, this is a "meta-index" to other collections and includes pages mentioned by Ken and myself earlier. It also has a page of links to other abc collections on the web, including some British ones that I was previously unfamiliar with. Very handy resource!
  5. Steve_W

    IHS

    I thought it stood for "I Hate Stradivari"
  6. I heard this morning that Jerry Holland lost his long fight with cancer and passed away yesterday evening. He was a great Cape Breton-style fiddler who wrote many tunes that are now entrenched in the celtic fiddle repertoire; his most well-known compositions are probably Brenda Stubbert's Reel and My Cape Breton Home. He was also a great guy and leaves behind a huge number of people whose lives he touched and who will miss him greatly...
  7. Agreed that nothing beats listening to recordings, or ideally learning from other fiddlers. Written music can actually be a hindrance to the learning process for anyone with a classical background, since those players tend to take the notations too literally and miss the subtler aspects of the style--things like lilting rhythms which aren't usually notated... But once you're familiar with the style, and the shorthand used to notate it on the written page, you can use tunebooks to learn new tunes. As Ken said, Scots fiddle in particular has a long tradition of publishing tunebooks, back to at least the 1750s. Part of the fun for me is finding obscure tunes in the old books and putting them into my tune sets. If I had to rely on playing only tunes I'd learned from other musicians I'd lose probably 50% of my repertoire! Here's a great site that has audio and video clips from Northeast-style contemporary Scottish fiddlers: The Fiddle Tradition of North-East Scotland And here's the University of Aberdeen's James Scott Skinner website, with audio clips and facsimiles of some of his tunes: The Music of James Scott Skinner -Steve
  8. Besides those Andrew Kunz's Fiddler's companion at http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/FCfiles.html is useful. It isn't primarily a tune site; it has information (author, source, history, recordings, etc.) for tons of tunes, but does include a number of abc transcriptions. Nigel Gatherer's site at http://www.nigelgatherer.com/tunes.html is another good one (JC's Tunefinder--the first link that Ken posted--indexes it); he has a lot of abc transcriptions of traditional Scottish, Irish and American tunes, including my abc transcriptions of Robert Petrie's Scottish collections from the 1790s. There's also a bunch of abc for Scottish and Cape Breton tunes on the Cranford Publishing site at http://www.cranfordpub.com
  9. Yeah, cost is the big drawback. I paid somewhat less than list for my copy on Amazon but think it was still around $400 (that was for Sibelius 4, I've since upgraded to 5 and see that 6 is now out...). I haven't worked with the student version; it seems to have some significant lacks but the cost can be deducted when upgrading to the full version. There's also a demo download available from their website that might be worth playing around with; I think I'll grab 6 to see if it's worth ugrading from 5 (which I'm pretty happy with).
  10. What "lack of comments?" This topic has generated more comments than most recent topics in this forum, and a number of people have made recommendations on products. Regarding your earlier comment about speed of entry, I find Sibelius note entry to be pretty speedy if you take advantage of all the shortcuts and have a number pad. Much faster than my hand-notation and a lot better looking!
  11. You may already know that in Sibelius this can be done via cut and paste; you highlight and cut all the notes from the mistake, insert the missing note(s), then paste the cut notes back in after the addition. Not ideal, but a heck of a lot easier than re-entering everything. I agree, an "insert note" function would be quite useful.
  12. I've heard very good things about LilyPond from the folks in the ABC Users Group. If I wasn't already using Sibelius 5 I would look into it. (I have BarFly--Mac only--for dealing with ABC files and love it but find it most useful for simple lead sheets that don't need to be print-ready. You can do a lot with ABC but a lot more with a good typesetting program!)
  13. Steve_W

    Carbon bows

    I think the braided look comes from using pre-woven CF cloth and clear resin. I can imagine that starting with CF cloth may be cheaper than building up a form from wrapping thread around a mandrel, and could lead to better consistency with a lower effort of quality control, but that's just speculation. But it does look cool ;-) My favorite bow is my octagonal Arcus Sinfonia which doesn't have the "braided" look, and which I assume uses wrapped construction although I can't find any useful info regarding Arcus' construction methods. I like my Diamond SX as well but it's not "magic" like the Arcus. ALB, thanks for the explanation on the GX stick. It might explain something I found in trying a couple different SX's. One belonging to a friend was extremely lively and loud--as you say, wanting to jump off the strings--but mine, purchased about 6 months later was somewhat more stable and quieter. Although it was more conventional in its performance, I was a bit disappointed! I assumed it was due to variation in manufacturing but this make a lot of sense.
  14. Ah, I see. I went straight to the articles and missed that little picture on the his front page! I suppose I also would have figured it out if I'd read his bio...
  15. Dr. S, I agree with you about Arnold Steinhardt's writing; I like Indivisible by Four and also Violin Dreams, which I'm sure was mentioned earlier in this thread. He also has a nice blog at arnoldsteinhardt.com. Some of his "Fiddler's Beat" journal entries are very funny! [Warning, his site has background music enabled by default. It's very nice background music but still. It can be easily shut off though.]
  16. I must be missing something because I can't find anything in that link that directly relates to this discussion. I also don't understand why you resurrected a 4-year-old thread to post it.
  17. AKA The Rainaldi Quartet in the U.S. I agree, it's the perfect Summer read and I've found nothing else in the same vein. I'll probably re-read that and Body And Soul by Frank Conroy, and maybe Vikram Seth's An Equal Music at some point this Summer... I recently finished Practicing: A Musician's Return to Music by Glen Kurz, based on a recommendation that I think was made somewhat earlier in this thread. It was good but I got quite PO'd with Kurz by the end; he threw away a career as a potentially great guitarist based on his inability to adjust his expectations and cope with perceived failure. This also would be an interesting companion to "Outliers."
  18. Cool, thanks for the link. Yeah, I remembered that he'd planned on leaving the Strad to the college, but I wondered if he'd followed through and if they kept it or sold it... Interesting that Cozio is still calling that "Stainer" a Stainer! Seemed a bit shady to me... Speaking of old bio's, I just found a copy of Gary Graffman's "I Really Should be Practicing" which I remember reading and loving about 25 years ago. It has become a collector's item and it's difficult to find decent used copies at a reasonable price; I look forward to re-reading it this Summer.
  19. That's one of my favorites, actually, and I think I mentioned it in an earlier incarnation of this thread. I first read it as a teenager back in the early 1970s and have probably reread it an average of once every couple of years since. I'm sure it's long out of print but worth finding. Arnold Gingrich was a successful author and magazine publisher and a lapsed amateur violinist whose interest in the violin was reawakened in his 60s. This book chronicled his infatuation with violin playing and collecting over a period of around 3 years in the mid-1960s, during which time he purchased some nice violins (among them a Petrus Guarnerius and a Strad, also several Dodd bows) and through his associations with people who worked in shops, got to play some incredible instruments. There are some nice vignettes about the psychology of collecting, the history of the violin and its makers, and anecdotes about performing and performers. Great book. I've often wondered where Mr. Gingrich's Strad is now...
  20. I don't know about the mid-50s Roth violins but understand that the violas are considered to be decent intermediate instruments; I have a '56 Roth viola with a similar label on long-term loan and it's nice; reasonably good sound, well-made but a little heavy. Would say it's not a professional instrument but a decent amateur one--a good quality factory instrument. Hope that helps.
  21. I would also want to make sure that the instrument is well-protected inside a good suspension case, since I've heard of major damage to instruments occurring by impacting the insides of a case, even when the case was undamaged. Apart from gross incompetency by the baggage handlers, the thing that would concern me the most is the TSA staff opening the luggage and repacking it badly... I think I would do about anything I could to avoid this situation if it was my instrument.
  22. Hi Eiji, how does the height adjustment work? I can't really tell from the picture. As I posted before, I really like the look of this stand; the only other feature I'd like to see is some sort of integrated stand light. Can't advise you on a chair; I always practice standing!
  23. I'd agree with Maestrolover; I fly with a fiddle several times a year and have never had issues on domestic or international flights (although I don't travel USAir so have no experience with them). I've never asked permission and nobody has ever questioned my carrying it onboard. That said, unless I'm flying to a paying gig I take my #2 instrument, a fairly cheap but decent-sounding anonymous old Strad copy in a shaped case, rather than my main fiddle in its Weber oblong. No sense in tempting fate...
  24. Personally I like this stand a lot; it would be ideal in my practice room. I currently use a Manhasset at standing height, with a shelf and a stand light. I tend to let music accumulate to the point that the Manhasset sinks, and I think a sturdy stand like this one would be a perfect replacement. If it had a built-in light it would be perfect! Nice work!