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flaco

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  1. I read this article too. It's interesting.
  2. flaco

    Intonation

    Did they do that experiment with a computer?
  3. Oh, and I don't play violin anymore, only viola. I used to feel ringing in my left ear occasionally after playing violin. Now the left ear is ok but my right ear gets hit hard by blaring brass and percussion instruments, much louder and worse on my ears than any sound I make from my viola. I generally played both instruments facing the scroll. The problem with wearing earplugs is that I can't hear what I'm doing anymore; I could be really out of tune or be playing with terrible sound/bowstrokes and I wouldn't know it. Maybe I need to try the custom made and fitted kind. They are made from some special material that claims to only block the highest db levels and highest frequencies. I don't know how this is possible but I know people who say they work. BTW, neither Heifetz nor Zukerman ever used a shoulder rest.
  4. Yes, a violin projects best in the direction the f-holes are facing. A double bass projects behind itself almost as well is in front of itself.
  5. In my experience, the rotation of the head makes a huge difference to the amount of sound hitting the left ear. With the head facing forward, not only is the left ear closer to the f-holes, but is also almost in a direct line of them. When facing the violin/viola the few inches help, but now neither ear is in the direct line of the f's. It can work technically to play either way, without sacrificing posture. If the few inches don't make a difference why do you think that people are only complaining about their left ears? Not the right ear. I know higher frequencies (A and E strings) move in a more direct line while lower ones move in more of a circular pattern.
  6. Sorry about your misadventure. I would have put it on consignment at a shop and at least tried to get my money back on it. An unknown English violin from the mid 1800's selling retail for 6 large is not unreasonable.
  7. Totally irrelevent to this discussion, but many musicians often use the words portato and portamento as if they are interchangable. They are NOT. Portato is multiple notes played in a single bow with slight separation between them. Portamento is a glissando. Many people use the word portamento when they really mean portato. This drives me &%*#'n crazy! I've heard world famous conductors and some of the most successful string teachers misuse the word portamento over the years.
  8. Some people hold the instrument and position their head in such a way that the left ear takes more of a beating than it needs to. By this, I mean instrument to the left and head forward; so the left ear is a couple inches away from the f-holes and the right ear is 180 degrees around your head from them. Pinchas Zukerman generally plays in this position. Many violists use this position too, more than violinists. But violas are usually softer than violins. If you're worried about hearing loss it might be better to turn your head so that you are facing the instrument, nose pointing to scroll. Heifetz played in this position. An instrument with a bit of cushion to the sound or softer strings can help with the up-close loudness factor too. I still think the risks of playing violin or viola regarding hearing loss is nothing compared to going clubbing or to love rock concerts regularly. I don't remember the exact numbers, but your average R&B or hip-hop club was much, much louder than a violin.
  9. quote: Originally posted by: Christopher Reuning Most would say that a Viola should be priced somewhat more than a violin. I think violas are priced more than corresponding violins because violas have a more beautiful, richer, darker, sound. Wouldn't you agree?
  10. I'm sorry if this is obvious to some of you. I haven't experimented much with it. I've heard from some people that it does. For comfort reasons, I like to have my chinrest quite far to the left of the tailpiece. I had heard that it is better if the chinrest is in the middle clamped over the two sides of the tailpiece. Also, can the material of the chinrest affect sound? Does it depend on the instrument? Oh yeah, does the tailpiece material affect sound too?
  11. This has been interesting, too many posts to read everything though! I think both sides of the argument have their merits. I agree with those who think that the finest Cremonese instruments remain unsurpassed with regards to tonal beauty. But I also think that a good modern violin can sound better than many old Italian violins (that aren't examples of great Cremonese), and is often a good alternative, as anything old and Italian has a much heavier price tag. There are so many violins in the 50-200k price range that don't sound as nice (to my ears) as a good modern violin. In the case of many old Italian violins, I don't think they're even differentiable as being "Italian" in sound or as sounding special, when compared to a good modern violin. I even wonder why someone spent so much money for it in the case of the crassest violins. Of course there are other great Italian instruments that aren't Cremonese that are at the top of the spectrum too. Tetzlaff is a fabulous violinist and musician. In my opinion, it's not his beautiful sound so much as his sense of style and creativity that make his performances great. I heard Vengerov once and correctly guessed that he wasn't using his Strad that day. I also heard YoYo playing a modern cello and it sounded good because it was YoYo, but considerably less beautiful and personal than either of his great cellos. I have never tried an instrument by either Mr. Burgess or Mr. Darnton but I've heard very good things about both of them. It's nice to see two qualified people take opposite views on this.
  12. I don't know why you guys give Josh Bell such negative reviews. His repertoire is enormous, he's very good at most styles, chamber music, sonatas. I don't think you could say that about most concert violinists. I've heard him several times in big halls and never thought he had a small sound, maybe he used to when he played on that guitar shaped violin. He got a different one a few years ago and I think it sounds much richer. Bell also varies his vibrato throughout his phrases and has a very unique and expressive way of feeling rhythm (not bad rhythm, just creative). I actually think this makes him very unique. He has a cd from the 90's of three French sonatas with Thibaudet; Franck, Faure, and Debussy. Just beautiful, probably the best I've heard those pieces. Somebody mentioned Kogan as an old-schooler that was unique. I couldn't disagree more. For my ears, he is a machine, an amazing one no doubt. But there is no character, no variety, it's all the same. Bowstrokes all the same, vibrato always the same, that same Russian school vitality on every note without the imagination that Heifetz or Oistrakh had, rhythm very straightforward and square, but technically as solid as it gets. I think the best musicians today as well as in the past are unique and special. The ones from the past that were indistiguishable probably were forgotten, for the most part. And probably some of the less original players of the current time will also be forgotten.
  13. You don't think that Mr. Cao was taking steroids, do you? That would be so unfair!
  14. Del Gesu received a citation for driving 50 in a 35, but he did NOT go to jail for this offense.
  15. wow, 466 is now above $60,000!
  16. I don't think one should ever buy anything at an auction without inspecting in personally. You could find an Ouchard for a cheap price but it could also be that 1 in every 30 Ouchards that is uncomfortable to play on and hasn't sold for more in a shop simply because noone likes playing on it. It all depends on you budget, but if you're spending more than a few hundred dollars, it's a very good idea to make sure you've tried the item and like it. Never assume it's as good as something else you saw by the maker.
  17. The next version of the software should allow each pitch of a passage that's been played to be recorded and analyzed. In some cases tuning note by note can be helpful but most intonation problems arise from a sequence of notes, hopefully technology will address this in the future. That way one could play a fast scale or other rapid passage and use the device to find out which notes were out. After all, tuning an open string exactly (something everyone can do) doesn't mean the person will always play in tune (something hardly anyone can do). I think most musical people can hear single pitches when they're held clearly, it's when they go by quickly that things get muddy. That's why fast passages can be faked. The visual equivalent of that is a movie film; one sees photos, maybe several a second, it's not continuous as in there are gaps in the exact visual record; but it doesn't need to be as it provides an illusion of being continuous.
  18. I've always wondered why Sderci and Lanaro are always so well represented at auctions. In fact, I don't think I've ever looked through a catalog without running across those two names multiple times. Especially in viola category, there are usually few violas in the first place, but those two guys usually have instruments in there (out of the thousands of makers that could). Why? That Maggini school violin at Tarisio is listed at 36.8 cm. Isn't that huge for violin? What does "probably" really mean? Overall, the catalog looks very enticing with lots of interesting and nice looking lots.
  19. I'll probably stop by Tarisio sometime this week. I like to receive the catalog first so I know what numbers to look for there, otherwise there is just too much stuff to weed through.
  20. OK, I'll try to throw in a few names. But remember, most of these great players owned and played on many bows over the years. I tried a Bernard Ouchard labeled Vidoudez that Primrose used to play on. It's quite possible Primrose either knew Ouchard or the Vidoudez shop and it was his modern bow, I'm sure he had others. Someone mentioned he played a Voirin, he probably used to more often than this. I tried an Ivory frogged Hill that Lillian Fuchs used to use quite a bit, as confirmed to me by one of her former students. It was a Hill, but probably the best Hill I've ever tried, really smooth and strong. I don't know the name of the specific maker who made it. I think it was on the heavier side, maybe around 73-74. Cynthia Phelps plays on a Tubbs. Isaac Stern's viola bow was a gold mounted Sartory which was sold in the Tarisio auction. It was in very, very, very mint condition; suggesting that he must have hardly ever used it. I know Tabea Zimmermann uses a fine French bow to go with her Vatelot viola, she even said something about how she likes the combination of a French bow and strong modern viola. I think it was a Voirin but I could be wrong. Robert Vernon, principal violist of the Cleveland Orchestra, uses a violin bow on the viola. He must prefer the agility of it; he pulls a very big, rich sound, so that's not an issue for him regarding lighter bows. I don't know if it is French or not. I heard that Zukerman, too, uses a violin bow; but that is secondhand, I don't know for sure. But he also pulls a big, rich sound.
  21. The boy is very talented. It's impossible to predict how his career will be from that clip though. And then there is Vengerov playing the same piece if you scroll down, and there is a big difference! He's clearly on another level. Both Heifetz and Menuhin recorded The Round of the Goblins when they were very young. Absolutely phenomenal performances by both of them. I'm sure Midori, Sarah Chang, Hilary Hahn, Gil Shaham, James Ehnes, and a whole host of others would have also played that piece quite easily when they were young. I'm just saying that it takes a lot to stand out these days.
  22. It's not always physique, but there are a lot of those fat finger types out there making rich sounds on their violins.
  23. I agree with you about being loose...unfortunately that is easier said than done. I can't remember for sure, but in Henry Roth's book, Pinchas Zukerman says something about left hand pressure, anyone have that? I'll look for it and post it tomorrow unless someone beats me to it. Why is it that people with fat Perlman-Oistrakh-Laredo-Stern type of fingers seem to do the best job of sealing off the string with their left hands, vibrating richly, and making gorgeous sounds? A big hand with a powerful stubby finger stopping the string, seems to be a formula for success.
  24. Just play and listen...that'll get you where you need to be much before all this overanalyzing will.
  25. I like to feel a slight tingle that originates in the big toe of my right foot and comes up my body, all the way to the fingers of my left hand.
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