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Everything posted by Baiorin

  1. In my experience, the "smooth and continuous" movement can feel surprisingly violent to the player, because of the necessary energy to activate and release. Though, i might be exaggerating a little bit. It's up to the player at the time of the performance to determine how much they want to be heard (energetic). Without being too hypothetical, there's a decending section in the 1st theme of Mozart's 4th concerto where, to play fast, one must really concentrate on getting the fingers OFF the string faster rather than ON. There's always a ragged forth finger in there, somewhere (2342), that makes it sound not so great. There might be a parallel in that the bow should probably leave the string as fast as it can, so there is a perception of a clear pitch to the listener and player too. Frankly, prior to live recordings, i believe that audiences in awe overlooked the possibilities of many technical shortcomings. Much more difficult to do now. Wondered how close the mic was to the Maestro, in the Mr Heifetz clip. As for the bow, i've been admonished? in front of rather more famous people by a NY bowmaker as to my bow tension being on the looser side. My belief is that i want to "feel" that camber - and in dry climates, under hot lights - i run the risk of breaking the bow. I admit that i don't tighten like Zuckerman, where the stick and the hair are nearly parallel (i again, exaggerate, a little). Anyway, that offers a little bit more energy loaded into the bow. My comment about the Kittel is more curiosity, where the bow is stiff and the head height low. Where Sartory/Richaume head heights are necessary for most orchestral playing (though Mr Oliveira appears to use one) was the energy stored to get that bite? This goes back to the "school" of performance, but i believe that there should be enough energy introduced into the bow that it leaves the string, even for an instant. So ideally, when practicing a fast passage at a fraction of the speed, the articulations themselves should be played like they would normally play. A drummer practicing a very difficult combination might slow down the phrase, but they would try to maintain reasonable stick velocity. One is more a reflexive muscle group than the big-macro that's being controlled. One of the best training exercises for my kids to get bite, not the release, is to float the hand with relaxed wrist and fingers over the d-string. The bow is held relatively flat and the slowly lowered to string with the arm, while all else is reasonably relaxed. Upon making contact with the string, the player will "bite" and quickly release off the string either by pushing down-then-up or across the string to the right - basically snatching the bow back into the hand. This is one exercise for getting the bow off the string, fast. Fast is important - quality comes later. Gotta break some eggs for an omlette; gotta hiss and scratch to deliver sweetness to row H, or clarity row DD The down bow action is more difficult, but i can get kids to develop velocity by taking them to play darts. It's almost like tossing a bow, frog-first. Anyway, that's the start. Pracitice in twos (little hiccups, really), then threes and fours. If one is gifted, they can probably bypass all this. This also happens to be the best time to sync up your left hand work with the bow too. I don't know what others think, but it's difficult to sync at speed, and have a sympathetic accompanist (one who won't rush, play too loud, or is a practical joker), played clearly and loudly when one is tired... for an encore. But should not there be Joy, not frustration, when playing anything with a Lee, or especially a V.Fetique. (Glenn, i'm sincerely jealous. My performance bow is 57g, while my working bow is 64g. The heavier bow sound fatter and feels better.)
  2. Most wolf problems tend to be similar, right? If the set up on the Glass is optimized for the instrument, there are quite a few things that you might try including playing with the tailpiece after-length, center of mass of the tailpiece (probably ebony?) and a heavier gauge G-string. On a cello, an associate can run their finger over the top during the sustained duration of a wolftone and mute it. It is possible also to find this location on a violin. On a younger instrument, a violin player might be able to move the location of a wolf through playing, adaptive or otherwise. The Glass is probably young enough. I've tried this on older instruments, that have laid dormant for deacades, and the location of the wolf is more resistant to change. One is less eager to try experiments on an older instrument too. Personally, i have been having a very difficult time trying to adjust to some newer instruments, but believe that i'm becoming a better player for it. The last thought is that i believe in experiments, similar to what they did at Oberlin with "gluey." It's just that one has to be patient (and sort of know what's going on). I find that subtle changes in mass or post/bridge location can influence a violin for the better, if the player is able to "feel" that change in their playing.
  3. Stradivarius, light of my life, fire in my loins. My sin, my soul. Strah-divah-reeooos: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Strah. Divah. Rioos. Douglas Martin, light of my life, fire in my loins. My sin, my soul. Dahg-Lahs-mharTeeen: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Dug. Lahs. MarTeeen. Franzen, ok. Nabokov, good.
  4. Tried this with a baroque bow last night as it is a very "dead" feeling bow. Wanted to be more clear on a concept - if my writing appears cryptic, please ask for clarity as i'll try to word the exaplanation better - about the double impulse. This is used by many players but rarely gets physically broken down into two pulses. The first pulse loads the bow, increasing the potential energy sort of like in a cross-bow and arrow, and the second is the like trigger. Of course, in a very fast piece of music this is nearly instantaneous. So the first pulse would be the "pre-load" and the tiny second impulse is more a release. I'll try to come up with a better metaphor. Practicing slowly in different parts of bow allows us to better understand (most) bows. A very fine bow will let a player nearly completely release (and semi-relax the hand) and behave well - not bounce around all over the place. Thanks again for posting the clips!
  5. Glenn, Apologies. My posts have been too long so forgot the obvious: yes, it's a down bow. And it is 10 times more difficult. But the kinetics are close. The counter-intuitive part is that, the player still needs to push down into the string, to get the "bite" regardless of the bow travelling up or down. So it's almost like TWO mini-impulses (one greater than the other) to get one sound/pitch. I think investing in two pulses offers more clarity than just one big, jarring one. It helps to lower the elbow, too. At music camps, you'll see kids hold their bow, upright, between the knees and then "scrape/shudder" down the entire violin against the bow while playing this lick. It was one of the funniest thing i've ever seen. The other one is where one'll tie a bow hair to the A-string and then repeatedly tug on that hair while playing the lick. From a distance, you can't see the hair so it looks and sounds funny with these little mouse-like chirps. As it turned out, at age 13, this way produced the most sound for my inept hands. The Staccato vs Spiccato definition is a problem, because for clarity, most of my staccatos in the classical style, end (and start, depending on tempo) in the air. There's just more clarity? out in the audience as the bow doesn't immediately stop the vibrating string - though by some stylistic definitions, for a staccato, the "silence" between the notes is important. It really can depend on the conductor, the hall, and the desired tempo. If the attack is explosive enough, i keep the pitch ringing. This is sometimes argued with pizziccato too. Some players will immediately stop the strings from vibrating, when the pizz is marked with a staccato mark or is played "very" forte. If the after-ring isn't there, sometimes it is difficult to identify the chord outline (harmony) or even the melody. Dramatic effect, yes! but often not musical, so these ideas can be argued after the rehearsals. It helps if the composer is alive (to ask), but sometimes (more lately) they won't offer an opinion as they are curious as to what the musicians think and do.
  6. Glenn, Thank you for posting the film of Dinescu. This piece is a bit of a headache. Take the bow out of the equation and the human hand doesn't want to do this upbow spiccato. The arm, if too stiff and excited is really good for only one tempo - unless one spends hours adjusting speeds. The fingers won't get substantial speed or "bite" without a good push downward with the wrist, first. Counter-intuitive, maybe, but it's like bouncing a small 10cm ball, rapidly, on the table. Imagine the tempo you want to go, place your open hand (facing downward) parallel 10cm over the table, and rapidly dribble that invisible ball a la Curly Neal from the Harlem Globetrotters at that speed. The hand only need to move about 1cm, up and down. Now bring the fingertips inward to consolidate the center of mass, say where the middle finger might meet the thumb and try the "dribble" again. Pretty easy, i hope, with practice. Now we add a 60 gram stick that is over 70cm long, and everything goes haywire. The second discussion is about bow tension, and what, if anything, does the violinist (or the cellist: violinists don't get to play the Rococo Variations) want out of a bow. Most of us don't own a N. Kittel bow in our arsenals - does anyone know if Heifetz used "The Bow" for the footage he was in?
  7. First impressions of any instrument are important. But as a player, it's important that a player know their limitations and for their egos to be in check. It's too common for a player to pick up an instrument and, in many cases, dismiss it too quickly. I see this in shops often and it makes me a little sick. For me, "warming up" an instrument is essential, simply because there is so much data there. When was the last time someone played the instrument? How much was it pushed? How old are the strings? This is just the beginning and this is the nature of how i have to explore a particular (any, really) instrument. It's an adventure, sometimes. Where is the sweet spot? Some instruments have multiple (jokes abound). Many reputable makers play instruments and those instruments that are presented have most likely been played and adjusted. But i have also come across makers with instruments that i know would sound better, if we worked together to get an optimized sound. Since there are vast types of music and styles out there, i hate to prioritize playability but it is a reality. Either the Brahms, Dvorak, or Shostakovich Piano Quintets can arguably be presented to the audience to be a different experience, though the first two are more similar. On the other hand, i have held an instrument and knew, even without playing it, that it would be capable of so much. Some instruments will vibrate a certain way in the hands (sympathetically) when there is someone speaking or music playing. Perhaps it a matching of my baritone voice and the similarity of my playing "voice." I certainly notice during rehearsals how my instrument is "excited" during a bassoon or clarinet solo. There have been situations where i have been wrong, where a modern instrument "felt" right, but after about an hour of playing it would fade. I was a bit concerned for one instrument. In this particular situation, the top was probably a little too thin (it was measured). But the next day, it felt great out of the case, only to fade later during play, again.
  8. Steel strings are amazing once one learns how to play them. Set up, rosin type and bow arm make a difference too. Since the string tends to resists stretching, one can play very fast and clearly if the bow drives the string. In a previous thread there was talk about a softer sounding string. In my experience, it sometimes helps to get the lower tension version of a string type or brand. The overall characteristic might be similar. The minus in using lower tension strings is that the overall tension of the four strings might not "activate" the top (the overall system) as well. Steel string may pose an opposite problem where the overall tension is too high. The possible equivalent of an elephant sitting on your chest. The ideal for most people is where the system is in a state of "equilibrium." Of course it's not, but one hopefully gets the idea.
  9. Just a few thoughts. The piece starts with this huge lick. It's also an encore piece at the end of a concerto or a recital. It's kinda heroic for anyone to want to play this piece at that particular point. The difficulty for many is that it's easy to run out of bow. The shifts can be beastly because of the speed. There are a few points to consider when learning this piece. This is method is for adults, not so much for children, because they may not understand the process. I'll try to be clear. If one applies this to children, besure to check for tension. If they are constantly missing a specific pitch, it is likely the stretch is too big. First, learn the lowest octave really really well. I can't stress this enough. It well help in establishing what the player may want in the upper octaves. It's the easiest and the best to practic, before venturing to the baby octaves to follow. The hand position is relaxed if the open D-string is used. The one note "out of place" in relation to a G scale is the Eb (lowered 1st finger), G-scale being one of the easist to play on the violin. The run is based off c minor scale, that starts on a G note. In the free "gypsy" sense of the piece the B natural (second finger on the B string - and i believe virtually everyone agrees on this fingering except for the tiniest of students being forced to play on a 4/4 instrument because of the increased volume/tone) can be slightly higher in pitch as it is the leading tone to the C note (3rd finger). Also the lowering of the Eb and raising of the F# can make for a more expressive and exotic reading/playing of the melody. When practicing this, try to bring the left elbow under the instrument a little bit more than usual to get on the finger tips. This will also allow for better access to the upper octaves. Use the least amount of pressure possible on the finger tips (and the bow arm) to get the desired pitches, when practicing this at first. There's plenty of time and opportunity to get tight. This is dynamic, of equalizing muscle tension on both sides of the body, is very important for most players to balance out the control over the right or left halves of the body. It's easier to add tension to, rather than relax, one half of the body. The hope is to develop enough speed and clarity with the least amount of bow to have a dynamic finish in the upper most 3rd octave of the run. By starting with the least amount of pressure in both hands/arms, try to develop a more secure/focused tone over many repetitions by slowly decreaseing bow velocity, but applying a slightly greater degree of pressure at the string. If one is unsure, make sure the contact point is right in the middle, between the bridge and the fingerboard. The note distribution is 4 notes on the G-string and 4 on the D-string. Develop a smooth bow change over those two strings. Think of all the joints working in unison to pull the bow to the next string (as you will continue on to the e-string. The longer term goal is to have a "countinuous" bow change to the E-string. Do not go beyond this octave at first. Be sure during the practice to get most of the tension out of the upper body as possible. Up and Down should be practiced - maybe even with the full bow. I think i've seen Perlman play this entire opening run in half a bow. We will most likely need most of the bow. Once the first octave is reasonably secure, continue by analyzing what works for the individual. Everyone is different so i hesitate to offer specific fingerings. With smaller (and lighter hands) the 1212 fingering can work. This takes immense pre-practice to nail. Remember that there is a big Eb - F# gap in the run. Generally, depending on the players flexibility 123 fingerings can be used, but the large Eb - F# gap between the 2 and 3rd finger may cause complications. Also shifting this gap, except for practiced players can be a cause of frustration. If we any room to "fudge" the note, remember that the B natural and F# can be on the higher side and the Eb a little lower. A good player will tweak the tunings a little bit in every octave in preparation for a performance, though the performance, anything goes. Reminders that every octave be practiced with the least amount of stress in the fingertips, and reasonably slowly. Part of this pracitce is developing muscle memory as there are few of us who can actually concetrate on each note at high speeds. The goal is, to develop the left hand so the right arm/hand can do what it needs to create a secure sound. As the right arm develops, so will the clarity of the left hand. Just a thought, during the development of the left hand, make any correction to the movement of the bow arm. Ultimately, i'd like to spend less than a 1/3 of the bow for the first two octaves if a singing tone is desired in the highest octave. The contact point on the G-string will be different than on the E-string, as that point will be far closer to the bridge at the end of the musical run. In theory, the pressure tends to decrease in every octave replaced by bow velocity. Some players really love to "hammer" the highest the notes, and in that situation, added pressure will add more drama. I personally love to hear players really make some thing out of the high notes because the piece is just starting. Relaxation helps with clarity in the highest octave, which in turn helps players develop a more secure sense of pitch, both in listening and in playing.
  10. Mr Dorsey, thank you for the correction. Since the sub-division brokedown into a triplet, i presumed it was more a jig than a reel. I couldn't identify the tune, and agree the underlying pulse setdown by the bodhran sounding instrument is more like a reel. Again, please forgive the specifics, but a correction would be appreciated. Also, in the Bach work, the notoriously difficult section where the string crossings straddle the A-string, the figure is played quite well and in the upper half. It is interesting that the figure-8 pattern occurs also on the upper screen so one can see the hand moving forward and back. As that section continues, there is a slight bouncing of the bow. Even the best bows can be difficult to tame in a passage like this. When playing this piece in a larger hall, some of us will sacrifice the sweeter (more clear?) tone of the upper half and play solidly in the middle. It would be great to see this player playing the similar passage on the G,D,A to see what happens to this motion. As it is, at the end of this sample, one can hear the drastic color change in the tone on the lower string, without an increase in pressure but drawn out at a steady angle from just a slightly lower-part of the bow.
  11. So great to see. What an interesting tool. Can't stop watching this. Just a few observations regarding the nature of this and other examples posted in the window. This violinist is someone who has adapted to playing that particular bow (and perhaps the rosin). The technique is wonderful. The most obvious is that the arc of the bow appears natural, where the bow arcs around the shoulder as its main pivot point, but not too extreme. I doubt this player spent four years at RCM, to spend another 4 years unlearning the opposite arc. The playing is more likely to be further away from the bridge. The bow is biased toward the closer edge than the outer edge. I'm guessing a longer-limbed man? Except the opening and closing draw of longer bows, this wonderfully snappy jig is played mostly in the middle of the bow. The opening theme is developed cleanly in the upper half of the bow and the middle strings (A and D). Then energy, tonal color, and pitch, were all upped for the remainder of the song - all beautifully enjoyed in under 90 seconds. The "roughness" and tonal texture contributes to the building of the excitement. In watching this data, it appears that fewer non-classical players purchase living maker instruments and that puzzles me. The tonal color of some newer instruments is well suited to what is being enjoyed. I imagine that it is primarily the cost. And many instruments i've tried playing at non-classical festivals are "unplayable" by classical standards, and there is often a (misguided?) point of pride to be playing - for example - a very bad Kay Bass. Frankly, with some Kay Basses, there's no defined pitch. Anyway, i'd love to see a segment of the non-classical community playing younger instruments as i think it would advance the music. It pains me that i hear more "music" played on a knock-off, mis-labeled, "Hopf" than from many of the kids coming out of conservatories. And they are playing technically better than most generations before them (as a whole). I guess my thoughts are less for the maker and more for the player. We have all these great tools and instruments. How come the quality of music making isn't getting better?
  12. I am a violinist who, in the past, owned one of David's instruments. It was fantastic in it's clarity, tonal variety, speed, and power, but took quite sometime to develop an understanding of how it behaved (or rather had to figure out how to play it). Under the chin, it wasn't super loud, thankfully, but the tonal balance was tilted towards the higher (not the highest) frequencies making it extremely easy to tune in the left hand. A consequence of this was it made it easier to lay doublestops precisely or "sweetened" over a cello or a piano. Imprecise playing was equally richly rewarded with powerfully or stridently reproduced mediocre playing. Out in a large hall, i believe it was a better sounding modern instrument. Tops in clarity - well, a little reedy - with tonal character and dynamic range. The sound and expression carried. Interestingly, it did very well with a Dominant G, Silver D, A and Pirastro Gold-label E (all med gauge) for me as a player in a modern Orchestra setting, though some i played with would have liked a "warmer" tone. Perhaps the instrument would have been a little less "reedy" with Zyex or Evahs. Sorry to not have a solo recording of the violin to back up my description. The pictures on the site don't do the instruments justice in that the archings are generally fantastastic. He's committed to some experimentation which i am truly grateful. And one can imagine that the process is expensive, or at least one that doesn't create revenue. Have lurked forever on this site. I don't like to mix it up, so much. Thankfully this site is far more civil than any diy audio site out there. I owe many of you a great deal thanks in the knowledge you share daily. Topping the list of course are Maestros Burgess, Holmes, Kishony, Darnton, Mr Buen and many more. I have learned so much. David's instruments will sing for themselves and i don't need to defend him or his instruments in words or otherwise. Certainly he is a strong individual with ideas ( from the Santa Cruz - Monterey area, which should explain the hippy-ness ) and i've learned from those too. My thoughts...
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