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Everything posted by palousian

  1. I'm sorry you took offense at my reply. I was trying to be helpful and address your questions, but you provided so little information that it was difficult.
  2. You addressed this thread to recording enthusiasts, but then it seems that your question is about live sound reinforcement. Related, but... not at all the same. And then you say that your question is about microphones, but really it's about monitoring. For recording, my experience is that the sound right on the instrument is nasty compared to the sound in the room, and I can't imagine that clipping anything on your bridge would be a good idea acoustically, your claims that this sounds great notwithstanding. If that is true, though, and you are stuck with these, then in spite of "I really do not wish to invest in monitors," that is in fact what you need to do if you want to keep using sound reinforcement. Obviously, you have to hear yourself, and a monitor is how that is done. Period. In any case, it would be useful to know what gear you are using--you claim not to know "mic specifics" but, you're using them, right? Can't you call this person who purchased them and ask what they are? Can't you look at the thing and read a brand name? It's useful to know what you're dealing with, and it seems like the tiniest effort on your part would give us that information. I recently posted a thread about a great violin mic, the Shure SM-7B, but it looks like a couple of gray pint cups stuck together in front of you. I don't care about that, myself, and it is fabulous for both live sound (because it rejects off-axis sound so well) and recording. There are various close-mic options that clip on the side of the violin, but I prefer to have something I can back away from. Still, to play well with it... I need good monitors. And yes. there are feedback issues if you don't know how to set it up; you almost certainly need an EQ if you aren't using an in-ear option. I would hate to play where I had two wires coming off my instrument, but... The one exception to the need for monitors is to use an entirely different approach to sound reinforcement. I have started rehearsing with a guy who is testing out a couple of different Ear Trumpet condenser mics that pick up an area behind the mic well. We don't use monitors because we're half facing each other and I can hear both myself and him acoustically.
  3. Welcome ifiddler, You haven't posted very good photos for anyone to identify your violin. Follow these suggestions if you want to follow up on this. https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/333119-how-to-photograph-an-instrument-for-identifcation-purposes/ That said, your violin was probably made in the cottage industry in Saxony/Bohemia in the late 19th c., but others more expert than I will hopefully weigh in. Better photos could help, and really... you could start a Violin ID thread for your violin instead of tacking it on to an old thread.
  4. I would go shopping for a Stainer. I knew a guy who had money and sort-of lived this dream. He bought a late Strad (I think 1734 or thereabouts), and kept it in a vault at a violin shop, where I played on it once. It was an interesting sound and had higher arching than I expected. I would still go for the Stainer. I got to play one of those once in a different violin shop. The luthier knew me, and had just tuned it up, and said--have you ever played a Stainer? You will love this violin! He was right--it was bliss.
  5. Oh yeah, along with the Electro Voice RE-20, it's a classic broadcast mic. I knew a classical guitarist who swore by his RE-20, but I think they are huge and ugly. The SM-7B is a better stage look. It was when I saw vocalists using it that I started paying attention. I should get a commission from Shure--I've already sold two fiddlers on them.
  6. I owe my last few years of violin-playing bliss to this group. I stumbled on this site as many do, and made my clumsy steps into this community, but I appreciate the professionalism of the professionals, and the quirkiness of the characters. I wish everyone a Happy New Year, and I am forever grateful. Thank you.
  7. I'm late to this, as is so often the case, but I had an unusual trajectory in the path of bows vs. violins. I had played for decades on a weird violin and a club of a bow. I had tried and tried to get them to do what I wanted and had mostly given up, but I was good enough to do gigs, and I did them. Then, I was giving a workshop in Irish fiddling, and a luthier who attended came up afterwards and told me that I ought to try some better bows. As it happened, I know an important modern bowmaker, and my wife, being the goddess that she is, commissioned a bow for me. My experience in trying several of this maker's bows proved immediately Martin Swan's elegant distinction of sound versus expression. ALL of his bows instantly transformed my connection to the instrument, but though they sounded "better," I believe that the transformation was in my contact with the violin. They ALL made the instrument sound better. I have been told on another violin website that my experience was BS because I am not accomplished enough as a violinist to know (yes, the commenter was a Neanderthal though probably a virtuoso--you know, whatever), however, this maker observed me playing his bows and though I kept coming back to the bow that I had determined in the first ten minutes was the bow I most preferred, he wanted me to keep playing all of them for a couple of weeks, then the two I most preferred. But I kept coming back to that first bow (a la Jeffrey Holmes' anecdote). That is, until the maker handed me the bow he had made over the previous few weeks, and that one was really something. Now... I suspect that I was handed a bunch of bows to try because they were all specific types this maker makes, and what I preferred gave him information about what worked for me. I don't think it was magic or juju or whatever, but this archetier knows what he's doing. Well, it didn't take too much longer for this fabulous bow to point out to me that my violin was the REAL obstacle. Actually, I realize now that it was pretty awful, but I had blamed myself for its inadequacy. This bow was the interface that demonstrated the glaring flaws of this instrument, and then... with the help of an eminent Maestronetter... I found a fabulous instrument to play. The sound was not in the bow, but bringing out everything a violin had to offer WAS in the bow. And it was truly a life-changing event to get that bow on a great instrument. Mission: Accomplished. And Happy New Year, everyone!
  8. Hm, I wonder what they want for the nice 19th-c. Qashqa'i saddlebag face that the instrument is leaning on... Probably looks something like this in the wool...
  9. The best source for learning traditional Irish fiddle music is sitting down with a skilled player and learning by ear/observation. Second choice is a video, and third choice is picking it off an audio recording. Yeah, you can play the notes in the book, and there are lots of books and the notes make nice tunes, much of the time, and with a slower tune (as outofnames is playing here--which sounds pretty good, IMO) you can do fine, but... you said "good source." When I started, decades ago, choice #1 was really the only way to do it, and that was my pathway into the music, and then you could move onto choice #3 once you grasped the style, but nowadays, with YouTube and video lessons, you can get an authentic sound going much more easily, without leaving your home. I would urge anyone the least bit serious about learning Irish music to learn by ear/observation, since reading alone will not get you there, in my experience/opinion. It would be like learning to speak French from a book, without speaking to a native/trained speaker--your accent would probably not be very good.
  10. This may be because I'm a composer, but there is always a soundtrack running in my head. Things I'm working on, earworms, recent projects, Bach, etc. Whenever someone starts playing music, or a CD or whatever, the soundtrack immediately shuts off. That's OK, of course, though it's why I hate piped in music while shopping, and generally play NPR news when I'm driving... unless I'm learning something, then I put that on in the car. When I was a young guy (I'm in my 60s), I was always putting music on, expanding my knowledge and delight, and I've always (and still) put on fiddle music to learn more tunes, but as I've grown older I have focused more and more on what I'm working on, and am distracted by other music. The one exception is that my son is becoming a great jazz/blues/R&B guitarist and most days he sends me tracks to listen to, which is fun--I've become a much more informed listener to those styles of music as a result.
  11. Not happening in antique oriental carpets and weavings... for what that's worth...
  12. Thank you. There are a few rugs, and you're right--Baluchis, Turkmen,...and South Persians. Mainly from eBay, over the years (especially in the Wild-West period before 2007), which was always better for antique rugs than violins, I think. Sometimes there are crazy things--$30 19th-c. rugs!, and well, what can a rug fiend do? The high ceilings in this house, and all the rugs make a couple of lovely-sounding spaces for recording acoustic music.
  13. I would hesitate to recommend the SM7B for someone's only microphone to record, even though it is now by far my favorite violin microphone. It will set you back around $400, and the Cloudlifter (highly recommended) is another $150. If you have to get one good microphone, I'd recommend spending your money on a large diaphragm condenser microphone, though I don't know of anything around $250. I mean, there are a bunch of mics at that price, but I haven't heard them--my favorite large diaphragm condenser under $1K is the Audio Technica AT4050. They seem to be about $650 here and there, and that is a lot of microphone for that price. You can record anything with one of these (placement is everything and the room sound is important), and if you listen to my test recording, the examples I recorded with it are not bad at all--and I was using it close (a foot away) for comparison. There are some ribbon microphones close to your price point; the Cascade Fathead II that I used, and was my go-to violin mic (and for some voices, the bass side of some acoustic guitars, and also trumpet... in my experience) for years used to be around $300, but now they're around $500. I think supply-chain trade war weirdness has clearly taken a toll on the price of gear. Your violin would probably sound great with an SM7B, or a good ribbon mic, but the cello/viola thing might like the large-diaphragm condenser. Depends on what it sounds like. I think that microphones are not unlike violins--it costs some money to get quality gear. Unless you find someone who is selling good equipment they need to sell. I got my arsenal of fabulous preamps from a guy transitioning from being an up-and-coming rock star to being a filmmaker.
  14. I was hoping more would respond, oh well. I've been looking for a decent live fiddle mic forever, so I suppose I elevated the importance of finding a good one. Anyway, I tried the SM-7B through the Avalon, and while it was rich enough that I would do this for recording, it wasn't some transformational moment--clearly it is the microphone itself that has this pleasing tone. Overall, though, this is a great violin microphone. They're about $400, and the Cloudlifter is another $150, so... there you go...
  15. You perhaps might want to review this helpful post, since your photos are not straight-on...the top in particular is distorted because the image is off-angle. Though, sometimes the experts are not thwarted by that. https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/333119-how-to-photograph-an-instrument-for-identifcation-purposes/
  16. No image of the top? You're making this unnecessarily difficult.
  17. Thanks for your thoughtful response. I think that the SM-7B sounded the most like the actual fiddle in the room. I probably could upgrade my ribbon mic to a Royer or something, but thus far the Fathead has been fine in actual recording applications. However, I may be retiring the ribbon for the violin, anyway. I suspect that running the 7B through the Avalon preamp will be the ticket for recording. An experiment for later this week.
  18. Sorry. I figured that you could open a tab with blog and the timings, and a tab to play the recording, and go back to the timings while you listen. Yes, the 421 is not rolled off at all, and the SM-7B has neither bass rolled off, nor "presence" added. Thanks for the suggestions, though--now you can go to the website and the timings are in the description (click "read more") to see them.
  19. It is not uncommon for someone to come onto Maestronet looking for suggestions for microphones. Usually I suggest a ribbon mic, and if it's a classical player, I suggest adding a stereo pair of small-diaphragm condensers, or maybe a single large-diaphragm condenser, out there about two feet (or more, depending on the room) away from the player. For a traditional fiddle player, it is not unusual to be using a microphone for live performance, and that is problematic. You can't really use a ribbon mic live (the figure-8 pickup pattern is an issue, and they are too fragile for the stage). There are the various clip-on options, which of course don't allow you to "work" the mic, but many of them sound OK. But I wanted something that would give me that warm, not-scratchy ribbon mic sound onstage, without clipping something on my nice violin. Over the last couple of years, I have noticed singers using (what I thought was) a microphone for broadcasters--the venerable Shure SM-7B. It seemed to be a warm, rich sound--not unlike what I appreciate about the ribbon mic. In normal, not-pandemic, times I would have just booked an hour or so at a good studio with an SM-7B to try it, but... not now. So, I just bought one. With a Cloudlifter CL-1 (hijacks phantom power from your preamp to very cleanly boost the sound 25dB). Wow, this is definitely the solution. Has anyone else tried this microphone on violin? I did an experiment with four microphones to test out the theory, and what I wasn't expecting was that the SM-7B just running through the Cloudlifter into a solid-state preamp would be a better sound than even the ribbon mic into the super-duper Avalon 737 tube preamp. I think I will have to try the SM-7B into the Avalon to see if that's a recording option. Anyway, I quickly recorded a couple of tunes to test (so, be kind, I wasn't trying to make a record here)--"Hector the Hero" (J. Scott Skinner) and "Hardiman's Fancy" (traditional Donegal Irish)--a sort-of Donegal Irish set, playing in a Clare-ish style. Here is a link to my blog, explaining the test, and there's a link therein to my website with the recording, if you're interested. Cheers! http://palouserivermusic.blogspot.com/2021/11/violin-microphone-shoot-out.html
  20. The differences between keys are pretty insignificant, IMO, except how it feels to the player. Db major being different than G major in that sense. That "Some keys are happy. Some keys are sad" though is mostly projection and training. There are differences of timbre but as Jacob just pointed out, they are not profound. Before equal temperament, there were more distinctions between keys, but now it is deliberately tuned to be exactly. the. same. Historical/musicological perspective helps here, I think. Traditionally, many cultures have a variety of modes (a mode is not just a list of pitches, but also distinctive phrases, songs, ornamentation, etc.). The traditions I've studied also ascribe particular emotional content to these different modes, but I think that there is a certain amount of projection there, too. Makam Nihavend is basically what Europeans would call the Dorian mode. Because it sounds minor, European-trained musicians would associate sadness or other dark emotional states with it, though the Turkish musician who taught it to me described its effect as "humility before grandeur," and went on to explain that his particular Sufi tradition used to apply the emotional subtlety of makam as a kind of music therapy. That works, too. If you are taught that this or that piece/tonality gives you a certain feeling, you begin to associate that feeling with that sound. Europeans had more than two modes at one time, too, but the development of harmony and chromaticism replaced that range with major and minor tonalities (granted, there is some variety in the minor mode). The one makam that haunted me was Makam Kurdi with the third step of the scale being exactly between major and minor, a quarter tone. At first it seemed wrong, but it grew on me, and Latif told me that the sadness in the history of the Kurdish people is embedded in that sound. Maybe. But that was the other interesting thing about makams, maqams, ragas, etc.--that many of them are associated with places and ethnic groups. Nihavend is a region in Iran, for example. That aspect of melody/tonality has been mostly eradicated from European music, but gained advantages in architecture and harmony as a result, but compared to these shadings--yeah, D major and Bb major sound pretty much the same.
  21. I am struck by PhilipKT's comment--"Buy the best you can." It sounds so simple, doesn't it? So, if you and your student have been to a bunch of violin shops and tried a lot of violins (both in your price range, and beyond--it's important to know what's out there), then if you came upon this violin and you and your student thought--this is the best-sounding/best-playing violin--then it doesn't matter if it is a Markneukirchen workshop violin, unless they want $5K for it (offer $1500). If they want $1500, then, maybe... If they want $850 for it... well, then, maybe you found your deal. If you went to one shop, and this was the only thing in your price range, then... more shopping is in order. I'm sure you have noticed that what makes a violin expensive is not whether it has great sound and playability, but who made it when. Some of these workshop violins really do sound and play wonderfully, and some very fancy violins don't sound so great and are cantankerous to play. The intangible here is your judgment about the quality of the sound/playability. Has the teacher weighed in with an opinion? If your budget was up to, say, $15K or something, then you should make sure you've tried plenty of finer instruments, but if you end up with a Markneukirchen workshop violin that sounds and plays great for under $1K, you will be able to sell it, if you can pry it out of your student's hands. And you will have a budget left over for a good bow. My two cents.
  22. Hi Laura, welcome to Maestronet! None of your images seems to work, at least for me. When you have posted ten times, you will be able to load images directly, but in the meantime, the best method would be to post them on a photo-hosting site and post the links here. However, Three13 seems to be able to make it work (what was the secret?), and saying that this violin is "the usual" (that is, Saxon/Vogtland workshop violin) is perhaps not a bad thing in this sense... If indeed it sounds great, and is a pleasure to play, AND it is "the usual," then it ought to be a relatively inexpensive way to get those qualities. I have played a few of these violins that were great, and many more that were, uh, problematic, but the good ones can be really good. Anyway, I look forward to being able to see the violin in question...
  23. We improvise all the time, all of us. Spoken language is improvisation. You know the words, you know what you want to say, and you just dive in, saying it (more or less). You formulate what you are saying, as you say it, built out of pre-made phrases and words, assembled in a novel way. You might find yourself using an expression that you use a lot, or quoting something you've heard someone else say. That's improvisation. Of course, we've all had a lot of practice. Music is not that different, but skills in recitation of pre-existing text (to extend the analogy) don't help you just talk to people. As with classically-trained musicians who want to play fiddle music, there is a danger of hubris--you already know how to play, and you think that you should be able to play anything, but you only know one language. You can write out a fiddle tune, but no one will want to dance to it. You have to humble yourself, and re-align what skills you have to do a new thing, learn by ear, and accept that you are going to have to learn something new. The only training in improvisation that I received as part of my classical European music education was when I studied harpsichord. The performance of continuo has already come up in this discussion, and besides playing the bass line and filling in the specified intervals in the figured bass, a harpsichordist was expected to be able to improvise appropriate accompaniment. There is some surviving instruction in this (CPE Bach's treatise, for example), but the 19th century did a lot to eliminate training in improvisation for European musicians. You can tell what is important in any given music tradition by seeing what gets taught to children, and the pursuit of transcendent technical skills in European classical music training mostly pushed improvisation out the window. I had thought that the OP was looking for more general instruction in improvisation, but if it truly is performing some imagined version of improvisation of the Baroque era, then this is somewhat easier, because there is so much easily-accessible Baroque-period music to imitate, and you already know what it's supposed to sound like. I'd begin by setting up one of the simple progressions that were used by musicians of the period (such as the Romanesca bass, or the progression Pachelbel used in his Canon), and dive in trying to make Baroque-sounding music over the progression. Pieces like Biber's "Passacaglia" (for violin) demonstrate examples of this. Apparently, JS Bach could invent chorale preludes on the fly, making counterpoint lines that fit beautifully over the chorale melody, though I find it hard to believe that you could invent something like the fabulous "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" in the moment, but Johann had chops. Generally, the rules you learned in music theory courses apply here--stay in the key, avoid clumsy voice leading, etc. In this sense, you probably already have the sound in your head, and you just need practice in execution. Give it 20-30 minutes a day. "I can noodle all the notes in C major for a certain number of measures until I get a cue to modulate to F major, And then I can noodle an F major." That's a start, but the composers whose work you admire didn't do that. They also created memorable ideas with distinctive rhythmic structure, and then developed them by flipping them (inversion), going backwards (retrograde), playing them in sequences (not modulating, necessarily, but repeating them on different steps of the scale--the "sequence" in this sense is melodic/motivic, not a chord sequence). Without following a progression, you can make a motive (virtually all Baroque-era professionals could invent these on the fly), and then try to invert it, change the intervals, play it backwards, etc. Make sequences. These are all devices that they used so that they could extract maximum musical potential out of a bit of music material. Once you are alerted to these devices and master them, you will have insight into how the Baroque music you like was actually made. I apologize for the weird spacing. I wrote this in an email program and copied it, and...
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