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Everything posted by Steve_W

  1. Steve_W

    The Cut

    I'm sure someone with more knowledge than me will post shortly, but in my experience I don't think there's really any secret to it. Short bows, usually in the upper part of the bow (ie towards the point of the bow), often with a fair amount of pressure is one way it's done. I also see a lot of fiddlers gripping the bow a couple inches farther up the stick than a classical player would, which I think might be used to give a little more control when playing towards the point of the bow (I use a standard classical bow hold myself). I don't think you mean a "cut" since I've understood this to mean a quick single grace note. Hope this helps -Steve
  2. Steve_W


    Farther off the subject, I noticed on Pirastro's website the following quote: "Getting old, all rosins are losing their characteristical formula slowly. They dry out too much. We recommend to use rosin within one year only." I've never heard that advice before and I'm curious what others here think about it. Is it just a marketing thing? I've been using the same cake of Hill's Dark rosin for more than 20 years now (I took a break from the fiddle for a few years to work on guitar, and I tend to go light on rosin anyway); I'm tempted to buy a new cake and see if I can tell the difference! -Steve
  3. Hey, I play a Markneukirchen fiddle which is probably around the same vintage as this one and actually looks very similar from what I can tell (no, it does NOT have a clock in it!), so I'm sensitive to this stuff! -Steve
  4. "...the best gift you can buy for a violin-lover!!!" Oh yeah? I'd think that a violin WITHOUT a clock in it would be a better choice! -Steve
  5. Minuet, I have to say my experiences are quite different to yours and more in line with other posters. I have a heavy brass mute that I've pretty much stopped using because even when pressed solidly onto the bridge it has a tendency to work loose after a while and has fallen off the fiddle several times (and I was NOT holding it upside down), fortunately not doing any damage. It scared me enough that now I mostly use a big rubber practice mute which I find to be pretty good at cutting down the noise; better than a performance mute but not as effective as the brass mute, but a whole lot less nerve-wracking to use! -Steve
  6. Crystal, you mentioned Scottish fiddling and since that's the style I've been concentrating on for the last few years, after initially learning classical violin, then Irish fiddling off and on for a few years, I thought I'd respond. Regarding positions, it seems one can do quite well in Irish fiddling without ever going above 1st position, but in Scottish fiddling 2nd and 3rd positions are useful (however you can still probably play most the tunes without going out of 1st, particularly if you can extend your 4th finger like Simon mentioned). Coming from a classical background, one thing I found interesting was that a lot of the Scottish fiddlers didn't use 2nd position at all; it's either 1st or 3rd. I've found 2nd position a handy thing to have in my bag of tricks, though if I was just starting out and didn't intend to ever play classical music I don't think I'd put the time into learning it. What to work on next? For Scottish fiddling I'd say left hand work on ornamentation like grace notes, crans or rolls, double stops, etc., plus general intonation (and positions, if you decide to learn them); and right hand work on the various bowing techniques (snap bowing, stutters, and so forth). What I'd also concentrate on is getting tunes up to speed. I recently started playing for dancers and I found that a lot of the tunes I thought I knew pretty well are a lot scarier when you need to play them at dancing tempo without making any mistakes! If you're intending to play in a tradition that doesn't condemn playing from sheet music (playing for Scottish country dancing, it's quite common to play from sheet music, but try that at a session and you'll get laughed out the door, or at least looked at funny) then I think working on sight reading skills would be helpful. It never hurts to memorize tunes (but I think that's probably something you would work on yourself, without a teacher's help). Anyway, I hope some of this rambling is helpful! Good luck -Steve
  7. I also have a Super Mini Taktell, which I received as a gift around 1980. It's a good little metronome. I don't have any problem with the loudness but it is a minor annoyance to have to stop and rewind it. If I ever have to replace it I'll probably go with an electronic one but I'm not dissatisfied with this one. -Steve
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