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Suite Jane

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  1. I have a bright French fiddle, and I just made the switch from Dominants to Tonicas this past weekend. The Tonicas are warmer and fuller sounding, and also very responsive (I am talking about the G, D, and A only---the E was a disaster and came off after only a few minutes of playing). In addition, the Tonicas solved a G string problem I've encountered every winter---when the humidity drops here in the cold weather, the G stops sounding when the bow moves across the string. I thought it was my bow and had it rehaired. It was the Dominants. SJ
  2. Hi, My first violin was a Paesold. I think it was a 950, but I could have the number wrong. It cost about $900, and I bought it from a general music store, not a violin shop. It had a nice tone, but it was very heavy and the top was very thick. Therefore, it didn't have much projection, and playing forte was nearly impossible. One of my teacher's other students recently purchased an instrument from Shar for about $1,100 that is vastly superior to my Paesold (at least in my opinion). Also, you might look into Scott Cao instruments. Do a search for past comments. Most folks appear to love them. My luthier told me that the cheaper Paesolds were made for children playing in student orchestras. They're made heavy to be as indestructable as possible, according to him. But maybe you're buying one made by Roderic Paesold himself, and if so, these comments don't really apply. SJ
  3. Hi, Just in the last three weeks, my A and G strings have developed a lot of surface noise. Even my teacher can hear it, and it's driving me crazy when I play. I haven't changed rosins or changed how I apply it. My bow was rehaired six months ago and has been sounding great up until now. This week I put new A and G strings on, and still I can hear the noise---especially above third position on the A string. I'm using Dominants which I know a lot of people don't like, but they've been fine until these past 3 weeks. No changes in humidity that this instrument hasn't faced before without a problem. I've had the violin for several years and have always loved its sound. Now I can hardly bare to practice. What would bring on this sudden change? It is very unpleasant!!! SJ
  4. Hi Journey, Yow, this is my first post on the new board. It takes me a while to get used to new stuff, but anyway here goes... I'm getting my wood bow rehaired this week. The shop loaned me a Coda Aspire bow---sells for $199. I have been playing with it for 2 days now, and I have been very impressed. It is wonderfully balanced and plays incredibly easily---even spiccato. Honestly, it is really easy to handle. And it draws a nice smooth sound even up in the "nosebleed" positions, you know, way up there. No scratchiness--very mellow even on the g string. My only complaint is that the sound does not seem as rich and complex as the sound I get with my wood bow. I would almost call it "hollow"---at least that's how it seemed at first. Now that I'm getting used to it, I don't mind it so much. All in all, I think this is a great bow for the money. Good luck in your search, SJ
  5. Hi, Last night I was at a small, informal concert, and the violinist made some interesting comments about a baroque bow she was using. She had it made by someone named Jose Rodriguez Carrington (I think I got the name right---he works in the Hague). Instead of putting the bend into the bow by using steam heat, he carves the curve into the bow. I'm just curious: Wouldn't carving the bend cut and shorten many more of the wood fibers in the stick? It doesn't seem like this would be desirable. But I don't know a thing about bow making. Any comments by knowledgeable folks? The bow sounded wonderful. She switched to it to play Mozart after using a longer, harsher sounding bow for a Schubert sonatina. The contrast was remarkable. She says this bow-maker only agrees to make bows for folks if they take him to dinner and convince him of why he should do it! SJ
  6. I agree. Keep using your fourth finger. Don't try to shift to avoid it. In my first year of lessons, I couldn't get any kind of a decent sound out of notes played with my fourth finger. But now after a few more years of playing, that finger is almost as strong as the others. I don't even think about it any longer. Your pinkie just needs some additional time and practice to get its act together. SJ
  7. Hi again, Thanks for all the advice. I've been working with this stroke on a simple scale for the last day or two, and I find that I do much better. It sounds almost decent. When I go back to more difficult note combinations in the etude, however---not so hot. I think the suggestion about memorizing the etude is one I will try next, based on my more positive experience with the scale. BTW, I think my bow is not the problem. My teacher tried its bounce and thought it was fine. She sounded great...as usual, sigh... Thanks again, SJ
  8. Hi, I'm just learning spicatto bowing---for a Mazas etude. I can get the bow to bounce easily about a third of the way up from the frog. In fact, it bounces so much that I can't control it. I'm using very short strokes. My teacher has told me to loosen my knuckles on my right hand, but that just makes the bow leap off the strings even higher. I find this stroke so distracting that, although I can play these 2 pages of 16th notes quickly and accurately legato, when I bounce them I can't even get past 2-3 bars without falling apart. After two weeks, I'm feeling pretty stupid and frustrated ! Any advice???? SJ
  9. You are so lucky! I have several of his CDs, and I am dying to hear him live, but no such luck so far. Do you know what his performance schedule is for the US this year? Fat chance that he'll ever make it to central NY..... SJ
  10. Ha, ha---my husband is trying to learn how to play the Scottish bagpipes. We are always kidding him about getting a kilt. I see this new interest of his could be a whole lot more interesting than I first thought....
  11. Thanks everybody for the advice. I'm off to the local music store tomorrow to check out the possibilities you suggested. Also thinking about himidifying my little practice room. SJ
  12. Hi, Every winter here in upstate NY I have the same problem: my bow suddenly quits drawing a full sound out of the G and D strings. No matter how much rosin I apply (Bernardel), the bow slides across the lower strings without drawing much of a sound or, in the worst case, any sound at all. I have to push down really hard with the bow to play low notes. In the past, I've wondered if I need to rehair or change strings, etc., but now after 4 years, I know that's it's a humidity problem---it's very cold and dry from Jan-April. Every spring, when the humidity goes up, this problem disappears. Can anyone recommend a stickier rosin than Bernardel that I could experiment with? Probably something darker? I've never used any rosin but my current one. I need something sticker, but I don't want to ruin the sweet ringing tone of my fiddle. Thanks for any suggestions you might have to solve this small but very annoying problem, SJ
  13. Hi, Rachel Barton does a nice job on the Handel sonatas, and her ornamentation is nicely done---very clean and articulate. She uses a Baroque violin and is accompanied by a harpsichord. SJ
  14. Point well taken, Dr. S. Now that I think of it, my teacher plays piano accompaniment with all her violin students (even on Twinkle-type stuff). Unless we enjoy sounding truly awful, we soon learn to listen for the correct intonation rather than madly trying to locate a particular place on the finger board by sight. It's funny---I hated having to play with the piano in the first couple of years of lessons. But now, I enjoy it, and I think it has been a huge advantage in training my ears to hear accurately. (Not that I play very well, but at least I know when my pitch is off...) So, okay...no tapes. SJ
  15. Hi oldsubguy, I don't think tapes are that big a deal. My teacher insists that all her students start with them (including the adults). After a few weeks, I was simply ignoring them, which she noticed, and we took them off. I would be amazed if anyone became really dependent on tapes for long. How can you read music and keep looking at the tapes for finger placement at the same time? As you progress, you will naturally listen for the correct intonation rather than seeking out the tape positions. Just my opinion. I don't see this as a deep philosophical dilemma....Do what you personally feel comfortable with! SJ
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