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Everything posted by nicolo

  1. My practice room is the bathroom off the master bedroom. It's about 5 ½ feet by 16 feet. - Wow, I must have had too much wine last night. This post was rambling all over the place. I'll edit out the superfluous and get right to the reasons why I like to do practice sessions and solo playing for fun in the bathroom: 1. I can practice in here without disturbing family members who may be watching TV in the living room and without interfering with my son's cello practice, which takes place in his room at the other end of the house. 2. The acoustics are good in the bathroom. The better the sound, the more satisfying the session. Resonant, but not too resonant. It's just right. 3. The large mirror over the vanity is handy for visually monitoring my posture, bowing, and left hand position. 4. If and when I figure out how to work my son's digital recording equipment, it will be a great place in which to record some unaccompanied stuff.
  2. Well that's pretty neat - performing on two different instruments in the same recital. Do you spend time practicing on both the violin and piano on a daily basis, or do you focus on one for a period and then on the other?
  3. Hi Tim! Your mind just never stops working and reworking things, does it? One of the signs of genius. My first impression of this one is that there's not much mass between the strings and fiddle. But maybe the mass is just what is necessary and just where it must be. I'm sure you have done your own practical test with it. What do you think about the tonal results so far?
  4. "You may be holding the bow too tightly." Yep, that's probably it right there. The bouncing during a long bow stroke is usually caused by the wrist or right hand trying to make controlled adjustments as the bow moves. Try ignoring the wrist and right hand and just letting them relax. Drive the bow with the forearm muscles only, and the right hand and wrist will naturally follow and adjust without causing interference. For the purpose of bowing, these components of the arm are kind of like dance partners. They can't function effectively if they both try to lead at the same time. Usually, the forearm must lead. I also expressed my opinion on the importance of the forearm in the thread on colle bowing, if you'd like to see any more blah, blah on that subject.
  5. It would have to be bigger than a top-10 public radio ban to suit me because I'm sick of just about everything written after the romantic period and am getting less tolerant of it all the time. I'm especially tired of everything on the classical music station in San Antonio, which might as well be known as the anti-classical music station. Weary with checking it every day while driving to and from work and having some kind of atonal postmodern crap ooze out of the speakers. Maybe one time in a hundred I'll catch a classical or romantic period piece, and that will almost certainly be something insipid by a minor or forgotten composer. You can bet it won't be Mozart or Beethoven and they've never even heard of Chopin, so don't bother asking. Maybe an obscure baroque piece at three in the A.M. since nobody's listening anyway, but no Vivaldi. Nothing with that much musical substance, or some insomniac might enjoy it. The objective, you see, is to convince listeners in the Bach-free zone of south-central Texas that nothing written before 1900 is worth listening to. We could only hope to hear a student play the Vivaldi A-minor concerto one more time. And in San Antonio, Mendelssohn's violin concerto is only a legend. Some of the older geezers can whistle a few measures from the first movement, and it sounds very lyrical, but we wouldn't know for sure with the memories of the aged being what they are. We who listen to the classical music station in San Antonio think Eine kleine Nachtmusik is a foreign film and we never saw that one. Unless you want to embarrass yourself, don't mention the Pachelbel canon to the classical music enthusiasts around here. We've never heard such a silly term, so we'll just giggle and ask what planet you're from. Comment on Paul Hindemith, and we can communicate. We've all heard enough of that stuff on the radio to know what you're talking about. We may even claim to appreciate it just to impress you with our apparent musical maturity, but we really don't like it very much. Not very much at all.
  6. "What muscles do you use to initiate a normal up or down bow - fingers, wrist, forearm, combination?" Forearm. The forearm initiates, drives, and controls the bowing and plays the major role in articulation and tone production. The movement, speed, weight, direction, and duration of the bow stroke are all from here. Muscles in your back, shoulder, and upper arm are working too, but you don't need any conscious awareness of that, unless it is to keep these muscles from overworking. As you have already seen, the upper arm and shoulder should not be actively involved. The upper arm only elevates the forearm as needed and follows it as needed when you bow toward the frog. It should not be moving to help push or pull the bow. The wrist and fingers have roles to play, but must remain subordinate to the forearm. The one constant function of the wrist and right hand is to hold the bow and facilitate what the forearm is doing without hindering the effort. If they can do just that and nothing more, you can effectively control the bow and play like a good violinist. Then, the fingers and wrist can become more involved, working finer points of articulation, including the attack of the string. The controlled and purposeful input of the right hand can be significant in achieving artistic bowing objectives. The fingers are more important than the wrist. For the most part, the wrist is just a hinge, passively rising and falling as the forearm drives the up-bow and down-bow. Most bowing problems occur when people try to run the show with their right hand. That's when the fingers stiffen and the bow becomes unstable and the tone begins to suffer. The harder you try to control the bow with your right hand, the less control you have because you are taking it from the forearm and putting it where it is of no use. It's a little different when initiating a bow stroke with the fingers. For that moment, they are in charge. Just keep in mind that as the attack is executed, the forearm takes over. In colle or any technique, the tension in the fingers is varied as needed to simultaneously support what you're doing with the bow, but it should always be just that much tension and no more. The necessary increases will happen largely with no conscious effort. The conscious effort is to keep the fingers relaxed and flexible.
  7. Hard to tell without checking it out, but in addition to the questions you listed you could ask: Did tuning the new strings pull the bridge forward so that it is leaning toward the fingerboard? If so, the feet will not be completely in contact with the top of the violin. The bridge would need to be pulled back into position. Did she hear any little pops coming from the violin while tightening the new strings? Most violins today have a nylon tailgut. They are threaded on the ends and have little brass nuts that adjust the length and hold it in place. Sometimes the nuts slip on the threads of the nylon when the strings are tightened. This causes the tailpiece to move closer to the bridge, which shortens the afterlength of the strings, changing the tone of the violin and/or making certain strings or fingered notes sound out of character.
  8. Writing music came so easily to Bach that he believed anybody could do what he did. He was wrong about that. Despite the musical wherewithal his own children may have inherited and their years of instruction and development under his guidance, none of them was able to reach his level of artistic creativity. So how plausible is it that Anna Magdalena transformed herself from copyist to composer of the cello suites? The researchers are either fooling themselves or attempting to make a name for themselves. Many authors have written articles making radical statements as a quick way to be recognized, promote agendas, or make an easy buck. For example, I have read that Beethoven was a black man. According to another article, George Washington was a woman who passed herself off as a man. These articles sold. If they had presented arguments that Beethoven was a Caucasian and that George Washington was a man, they would not have been worth publishing. An article stating that J.S. Bach composed the Bach cello suites would be of no particular interest either. It's easy to produce authoritative sounding BS, especially when all the subjects are long dead. Historical revisionists do it all the time, which is why we think the American Civil War was fought over slavery.
  9. "Next time I see a missing dot , I will assume the label is genuine." - Yes, that's my favorite part of this listing - "... the missing (dot) over the last (i) in the word Stradivarius. The "missing dot" precludes, and eliminates any suggestion, accusation, or possibility that the label is a "fake."" Bid with confidence!
  10. If you go to sheet music plus - http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/ - and search on Vitali, you will find, among other entries, Respighi's arrangement of the Chaconne for orchestra and also Respighi's arrangement "for organ in score, strings, solo violin in set," whatever that means. And this may be a non answer, but lacking an accompaniment arranged for organ, a good organist should be able to adapt from what's notated in a piano accompaniment. And he/she could feel free to do that because the piano part does not aim for baroque authenticity anyway, at least not in my Schott edition. I also have a question: If the origin and/or development of this piece as we know it today is obscure, then probably none of the bowing, phrasing, and other interpretive markings printed in an edition were indicated by the composer. So how closely should I be obliged to follow them?
  11. Ever heard of overtone singing? It's the production of two notes simultaneously with one voice. I could demonstrate it, but can't explain how to do it. There are some sites on the internet with more info, if you'd like more info. Here's one: http://www.yogimont.net/jia/overtonesinging/
  12. It's been awhile since you wrote the initial post. Maybe your spirit is dead by now - killed by Kreutzer. If not, get away from that stuff before it's too late. I wouldn't argue against the value of Kreutzer's studies as an aid in developing technique. The problem is that in order to work with them, you have to hear them. They don't have sufficient musical interest to justify the awkward tedium of playing them. It's much more rewarding and enjoyable to work on things with which you can develop technique and make music at the same time. The main benefit is that you can then be artistically stimulated and therefore genuinely motivated. The first thing I might assign a student who is sick of Kreutzer would be the first violin part of Bach's double concerto in D minor. It's fun all by itself and very good for developing better intonation and a more articulate bow.
  13. I'm sorry, Ken - I should have put an emphasis on HIDE glue only. Titebond makes other stuff, too. While you're looking for it, you might also see Franklin liquid hide glue. That's essentially the same stuff as the Titebond brand, and one works just like the other. The Franklin liquid hide glue label has a picture of a violin on it. Meanwhile, I'd say don't fret over using the wrong glue now that it's done. That mistake has been made a zillion times by others also. If the plate has to come off someday, the glue in that spot will be more resistant to water, but not impossible to deal with. Just don't use any more of it on the violin.
  14. "I used yellowish glue. I hope, because of the small area glued, that I have not done endless harm. At least I did not use the waterproof glue." Ken, I think the yellowish that DarylG was talking about was opaque yellow such as Elmer's wood glue. Liquid hide glue might be called "yellowish" (I'd call it an amber), but it's clear. If you got just the plain Titebond liquid hide glue, it's yellowish or amber and clear, and you're okay. Here's another thing you might try on the hairline separation if the plain water method doesn't work. Run a little bead of glue right over the open seam it and squeeze in what you can by pressing a thumb or finger over it along the separation. Then wipe off the mess with a damp paper towel and clamp. Other methods could be to use a razor blade or Exacto knife blade to push the glue in or even a hypodermic needle, but squeezing it in, if possible, is a safer way to go.
  15. This is not a difficult repair. If you'd like to try it, here's how I would advise you to do it. It's easy to find and purchase small quantities of granulated hide glue on the internet from luthier supply companies who have web sites, but the smallest quantity available would probably be more than you would ever use unless you got into repair work on a regular basis. You may have seen previous posts about the "Titebond" liquid hide glue that is readily available at Home Depot and other places. It's not ideal for exclusive use in violin making, but it's fine for a small repair such as closing an opening between a plate and rib. That is, as long as it is not too old when you use it. Titebond has a finite shelf life. Open seams occur commonly at the bottoms of violins after years of playing due to long and repeated contact with perspiration. Even though one or both plates may become separated from the rib in an isolated area down there, the joint may be fine elsewhere. My first step in closing it back up would be to remove the strings, bridge, tailpiece, chinrest, and end pin to relieve tension and to get things out of the way in order to better see what's needed and get it done efficiently. Then the next step is to clean out any dirt or old glue residue, and in your case, maybe Lysol. If Lysol is alcohol based, no problem. Oil would be a problem because it would remain in the wood and interfere with a good bond. No special tools required here, and to be safe, use something that isn't rigid. For example, a wet business card or a series of them, if needed would be better than a knife blade. (Maybe an artist's palette knife if you're careful.) You stick the card in and rub it back and forth without forcing it along the seam beyond where it wants to go, and then repeat that with new sections of the card(s) until they come out clean. To be more certain of removing any oil-based residue, you could wet the first card with alcohol. Just be sure to keep it off the varnish, if the violin has spirit varnish, and don't use too much. Don't get it into the glue that is still holding beyond the open seam. After it's all clean and dry in there, you're ready to go. Put a little glue on both sides of the corner of a business card, stiff piece of paper, palette knife, or whatever and insert it to spread the glue into the seam. Then squeeze it closed and clamp it. You could use one or more spool clamps, but as mentioned earlier, the chinrest works fine, unless maybe the open seam is immediately under the saddle. Even then, you could possibly make do by putting the clamp of the chinrest over the saddle and the cup on the back of the violin. After putting the chinrest in place over the glued part, tighten it, but not too tight. Just close the seam firmly. If the opening you are dealing with is too broad for a chinrest to effectively clamp shut, use two, or work in two stages, gluing one part and then the other (easier said than done). There will be some excess glue that comes out along the joint. After clamping, just wipe the excess glue off with a wet piece of paper towel and dry with a swipe of dry paper towel. Any excess glue that you can't get to because the clamp is in the way can be removed later with another piece of wet paper towel. The glue will set quickly, but leave the clamp in place for a few hours. When you remove it, you should have a good, strong repair.
  16. I'd say the Lysol didn't cause the separation. That open seam was probably there already and you just hadn't noticed. And most probably a very quick and easy fix that would not require removing the whole back - just a little hide glue in the joint and a clamp where the open seam is. In fact, not even a real clamp is needed. A chinrest will serve the same purpose And here's a little tip about using rice to clean out the inside of a fiddle. Instead of using a funnel, insert the corner of a piece of paper into the f-hole until the paper forms a chute into the violin, and then pour the rice over the paper so it will slide in. I'd skip the Scotch Guard.
  17. What comes to my mind as the single most fun piece to play is Vivaldi's concerto for two violins in A minor, opus 3 Nr. 8. It's a spectacularly fine baroque concerto from the set of 12 fine and fun concertos called L'Estro Armonico. And if you'd care for a little a music history, J.S. Bach also had a high regard for them; he transcribed Nr. 8 for organ and Nr. 10 (my second favorite) for four harpsichords and orchestra. Anyway, the first and second violin parts are both a blast. I'll probably never have an opportunity to play either part for real as a soloist, but I do have a Music Minus One recording that has two versions on it so that you can supply either the first or second violin part. - And now that you got me to thinking about favorite pieces to play, there's nothing like a Rossini overture for a having a good time in an orchestra. And for a surpizingly satisfying chamber-music experience, try some Boccherini.
  18. Hi Betsy I've had pretty good luck with Gliga instruments. At my house, we have a complete quartet of Gligas. They're sweet, sweet, sweet, although one of the violins (the cheaper one) is rather one-dimensional. The other violin and the viola and cello are more complex in their tone and have been very satisfying. Gliga's factory setups are okay for playability, but the tone quality can almost always be improved with a little work beyond what factories do.
  19. "Why is it that all the "famous" female string players are anywhere from attractive to drop dead beautiful? I can only think of a few male violinists that I'd consider good looking." I'm not a qualified judge of male beauty, but I think there might be a fair number of handsome men among famous violinists. The Czech violinist Jan Kubelik (1880-1940) had a very striking appearance. Quite intense also. Pinchas Zuckerman is not a bad looking man, in my opinion. I would say that Eugene Fodor isn't ugly and that Joshua Bell wouldn't frighten children. Maybe women would rate these guys higher or lower. Famous female string players are anywhere from attractive to drop dead beautiful because that is an aspect of music marketing in the age of mass media. Performers in all categories have to make the most of every advantage to successfully compete. There is more than one inequity in beautiful women rising above others who are more capable. One is that men can not do that so easily. Good looks don't give them that much of an advantage. And I was just kidding about that crush. She's too dainty for me.
  20. Now I'm developing a crush on her. So if you have any more pictures or sound samples, let's have 'em.
  21. Well, she may be neck squeezer, but that's a beautiful face behind the fingertips!
  22. There are a couple of interesting things about that photo. One is the extremely short nails - or maybe he had unusually long fingertips beyond where the nails are attached at the terminal ends. Also the angle of the indentations. They go almost parallel to the nails, indicating that his hand position was such that the palm would have been continuously almost parallel to to the neck. And of course, he probably never dropped a fiddle.
  23. nicolo


    Did you use a straight edge to determine that the fingerboard has no scoop or did you come to that conclusion because the strings are buzzing against it? Or is it that somebody told you it has no scoop? In any case, if it really is unscooped, that would be a very simple thing to correct. If the fingerboard is ebony, but just not very black, I would not even think about replacing it because there is no need to. If it were my not-very-black ebony fingerboard, I wouldn't bother dying it either, but there's certainly no harm in doing that. Yes, fingerboard weight and/or density can affect the sound a little, more noticeably on some violins than others. For some violins, there could possibly be an advantage in using lighter-colored ebony, which is frequently of a lower density than pure black ebony. If so, the practical trade-off would be durability. Anyway, the real bottom line is playability. When you refer to leaving well enough alone, do you mean that there is no problem with playability?
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