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About palousian

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  1. Mea culpa, but you made me want to write the opera "Liberace in Vegas." The answer to "Einstein on the Beach."
  2. Why did you post this comment here? Start a thread. This has nothing to do with fretted violins.
  3. One interesting difference I wonder about... I think this is because I learned mainly by ear from traditional fiddle players who showed me the same way they were taught, as well as through recordings, I don't feel like I "know" a piece until I've memorized it. When I learn something by ear, it is almost immediately in that place for me. I'm a decent sight-reader; I can read it off a page, just as I go through O'Neill's once in awhile to see if there's an interesting tune I don't know, but it feels somehow mechanical to me until it comes out of my memory. And once I've taken one of those tunes out of O'Neill's, it can take much longer to learn it, because I have to figure out my version and teach it to myself "by ear" through reading it, at the same time. I like the experience of playing even Bach to be similar to my experience of improvising--it just comes out as Bach. I still have a lot to learn when I've memorized a piece, but it goes much faster once it starts getting in my bones, and I think that comes from being a fiddler.
  4. Although I'm using a modern bow and a converted-from-its-original-neck violin, Irish traditional fiddling preserves a lot of features of pre-1800 performance practice. Vibrato, when I occasionally use it (a fairly narrow version), is an ornament that sweetens a sustained note as it swells. Playing fiddle music, string crossings bother me not at all, and I tend to play passages in first position that most classical players play with more shifting, though playing Bach has given me a lot more facility going up the neck. Except on a terminal trill, where I use the standard baroque version, I tend to use ornaments out of Irish tradition--cuts, grace notes, and rolls. I decided to add the Biber Passacaglia to my repertoire earlier this year, and was surprised to find the variations towards the end that use a classic Irish bowed ornament (usually called a "bowed triplet," though no one really plays them as triplets). No Irish fiddler would be caught dead tastelessly throwing that many of them so mechanically into a tune, but that section is a great workout for that technique. Most of the Bach S & Ps are based on dance rhythms, of course, and I am apt to make that connection clear. In the gigues, for example, many classical players tend to play runs of sixteenth notes with individual bow strokes, whereas I am more likely to use actual traditional Irish jig bowings, which get the textures to swing a bit more. I recall that some anonymous violinist told C. P. E. Bach that his father's solo violin music was all you needed to become a good violinist, and I am putting that hypothesis to the test.
  5. I'm retired, but I taught 20th-c. music theory, composition, music history, a world-music course that I designed, audio production and recording, World History since 1500 (a program WSU had where people from a variety of disciplines taught the course... it was fun, actually), and I was the go-to guy in the department for all the students who didn't fit the standard mold of a music major.
  6. I'm a fiddler. I was trained as a composer, and so of course I read and know classical music, but I decided in high school that I wanted to play fiddle music and so I got a violin and started teaching myself. Significantly, I also was extremely lucky and was shown some things by great fiddlers (growing up in the LA area, they were around), but I had the idea that I wanted to play as amateur fiddlers did, mainly by ear/oral tradition, learning with no scales/etudes, but purely by playing the music. I started with American fiddling, mainly bluegrass, and the traditional styles that inspired it. Then in college, I went to Ireland, which in the late 70s was exploding with spectacular folk music. As one of the few bluegrass fiddlers in Ireland at the time, I could make a few pounds playing in a bluegrass band, but I was hungry to learn Irish fiddling. I learned from many players there, and followed Kevin Burke around, trying to figure out how he played in the distinct way he still does. When I got back to the States, I had lots of music to work on. I put in the hours, and even tried to play some Bach (since I could read), but the harder I worked at it, the more frustrated I got. I just couldn't get the sound I wanted. But I could play fiddle music OK, and always had work... but I sort-of gave up. I play a bunch of instruments and I was working, so I did other things. Fast forward to the mid-90s, and I'm teaching music at a university for my day job, and I give a workshop on Irish fiddling. Afterwards, a friend of mine who's a luthier came up to me, and in the nicest way possible suggested that something was definitely awry with my violin sound, and asked if I had ever sat down and played through a bunch of bows. No, I hadn't. I know a famous bowmaker, and for my 50th birthday, my lovely wife commissioned a bow from him. The process began with him giving me six bows to try, and OK... it blew my mind. I had been playing with a club. It was an education playing all those bows for a month, and the bow I ended up with is exquisite. But, can you see the problem coming? My violin was awful. I realize--I had played some great violins (a Stainer that was wonderful, even a Strad, etc.) but my own fiddle was... not great... at all. It's about this time that I start looking for a decent violin, and my efforts are buried here in the MNet archives. A well-known but sleazy dealer tried to shovel some dutzendarbeit at me, calling it "near Prague, c. 1790," and fortunately I was guided out of that disaster, and a very kind member here took pity on me, and directed me to the lovely 18th-c. Viennese violin I now play. Over a period of months, it became obvious to me that all that work I had put in years ago had in fact given me some chops, but I had to admit that a crappy violin and bow were really the issue. For the last five years, I have been putting in the hours, and at last have the satisfaction I craved all those years ago. And I can play Bach. With all my live gigs cancelled, and no one making records in my studio, I have been playing more than I ever did, and this summer I memorized the Chaconne. I am forever grateful to Maestronet, and the experts and participants herein, for helping me realize what was a dream for me.
  7. I still haven't worked on my little project that has this exact problem. One of these days, I am going to have to make a little patch that strengthens all those little belly cracks right at the block, and I will be going for a precise fit on the top block that will get glued. This violin has a very sweet sound, but that area of the belly would start slowly sinking with strings tuned up. At first I thought it was the neck joint, but no. Everything there is solid except the belly which was sort of suspended above the block.
  8. palousian

    Bow hair

    These threads always surprise me. Maybe I don't use enough rosin, but I have never seen rosin dust fly around when I play. None whatsoever. My bow hair seems to stick just fine, and there's always a bit under the strings when I've finished playing, easily wiped off. I definitely respond to other dusty environments...but I don't have a particular sensitivity to rosin, so that would be a factor of course. Still, one obvious question I have, given this experience, is how much rosin are you all applying that you have clouds of it floating around? Or is it one of those things where if there is any of it at all, you will respond to it? Another thing, in a normal year, I would have gotten my bow rehaired about last February, but I'm isolating as much as I can and decided to see how long the hair is fine. It still seems to be fine. Perhaps I should wait until it isn't and try Andrew Victor's technique to see if I can bring it back at that point. I realize I don't know--how long does the hair actually last?
  9. Hey phillip77... Nice to have you here, interesting fiddle to look at, etc. Just some advice though... starting up a new thread on this violin would be pretty irritating, so my suggestion is to resist that urge.
  10. You are missing the point. These people were not making copies, they were making violins as well as they could, at breakneck speed. I believe that they were paid by the piece (or by the dozen--hence, "dutzendarbeit"). No one was making copies of anything, and certainly no one was making anything like a forgery. They were making generic violins. Then someone else decides to stamp it "Stainer" or "Conservatory" or "Paganini," or the brand name du jour. If calling it a "Ford Mustang" sold more fiddles, that's what they would have called it. But take a look at some actual Stainers, like the one at the National Music Museum. Not that different an arch, IMO.
  11. The selection of wood is not in the least surprising. Some of these makers had great wood to work with. But then you say-- Well, for one thing, I explained one aspect of this fiddle that does indeed resemble a Stainer, but you've been on M'net for awhile. You know the drill, c'mon. They didn't make these as copies. They made a ton of fiddles and wholesalers/distributors put whatever label in them to sell them. That's it. When Sebastian Kloz made a "Stainer copy," he was making something that was, yeah, more like a copy of a Stainer--that's a whole different thing. Your anonymous luthier hacking out a fiddle every day was making fiddles, and they could call them Amatis or Stainers or Gibson Mastertones. Whatever sold. Obviously there were various grades, and I agree that this looks like a nice one. If it sounds good, then it is worth something. But it is what it is.
  12. Landolfi. You got some dutzendarbeit and you thought it was interesting because it had been revarnished? I mean, the Stainer stamp should have been waving a yellow flag at you, right? I'm not any kind of expert (but read Jacob's work religiously), and even I can see this. Then, the back of the scroll, the corners. What, really, did you think this was? Some nice wood, and it might be an awesome player--sometimes these are. The purfling does indeed look unusually good for this sort of fiddle, to my not-expert eyes, but other factors are more significant. The "interesting" thing to me about this violin is that most of these stamped faux-Stainers have ridonkulous arching, but this one looks closer than most to real Stainer arching, which is not all that different from Amati arching (isn't it?). So, ironically, it could be argued that this "resembles" a Stainer more than a lot of these do.
  13. palousian


    Someone may make an ID based on this stamp, but there is a thread here... This tells you what photos are necessary to identify a violin, to the extent that they can be identified from photos.
  14. Looks like a typical eBay ripoff to me. The certificate is for a different violin, for what that's worth. The violin in the certificate has a one-piece back, for example. If this seller had a violin that was potentially an old Italian instrument, you can bet that they would get a legit appraisal and not shovel it onto eBay. I see no evidence that the violin sold, actually, and in any case doesn't look like a good deal to me. Maybe a real expert will weigh in, but my amateur BS radar went off on this offering.
  15. What better description for anything involving the playing and making of violins! Maintenance of violins is the only thing that is necessary.