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Lydia Leong

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Posts posted by Lydia Leong

  1. I was thinking of intensity, not of speed, when I said "Brahms". His tempos in the Mendelssohn are actually rather slow throughout. What it doesn't have is "lilt": the same kind of quality you get in, say, Mendelssohn's "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

  2. Yup, it's a common trick in the music written by the virtuoso violinists. And there are some pieces where you have to alternate left and right-hand pizz., like Sarasate's Introduction and Tarantella. There's also left-hand pizz. in some works not written by virtuosic composers -- in a Prokofiev concerto, for instance. A left-hand pizzicato has a different tone quality than a right-hand one.

    If your left-hand fingers are strong, your left-hand pizz. will probably be good, as soon as you get used to the effort. If your left-hand fingers are weak, it'll be an effort to pluck the string and you won't get a good sound.

    I actually think it's easier to extend the third finger and pluck with it, since it's larger than the pinky, and for the vast majority of people, also stronger than the pinky. The finger you use, though, will often depend on the fingering of the passage around it.

    You don't want to pull the string too violently, though -- you don't want to stretch it out of tune!

  3. I had a teacher who told me that a continuous vibrato was unforgivable, unless one was older than seventy and was afflicted with an uncontrollable palsy. wink.gif

    (His point was: The player should be able to turn the vibrato on and off at need... and it should *never* be used to mask intonation problems.)

    I would say that vibrato contributes significantly to the shades of tonal color that you can produce. Listen to a player like Milstein vary his vibrato -- and slide subtly into and out of it.

    I wonder how much of this originates from the instruments we learn on, too. On a lot of instruments, it's easier to get an approximation of the desired effect through use of vibrato, than it is by varying sounding point, bow pressure and speed, etc. Ditto for trying to get sufficient projection and after-ring on notes.

  4. Theresa,

    Do you know an orthopedic surgeon, sports medicine specialist, or an ergonomic specialist?

    You might find that they'd be extremely helpful in assessing the physiological impact.

    You want to be very, very careful about anything that causes injury, especially as you go past childhood. Even minor damage can lead to scarring, which can lead to loss of flexibility, which forces you to compensate, which leads to more damage... Better safe than sorry. Worth consulting someone knowledgeable, not just musicians.

  5. Why is Spohr compulsory, style-wise? I'm sort of inclined to think his compositions aren't very good music, to be honest.

    Ditto Vieuxtemps.

    Wieniawski is also writing in the same show-off-your-technique vein, but IMHO he's a better composer. Stylistically, though, is he really all that important, beyond the style of, "look at my virtuosic technique! and yes, I can play this musically, too!" ?

  6. Auer later retracted that "unplayable" statement, saying that what he actually meant was that he didn't have adequate time to prepare it for performance.

    He did, after all, teach the concerto to his students.

    How many contemporary violin teachers do you know that routinely teach a brand-new concerto to all of their students, after all? Rates of adoption for new repertoire have certainly changed.

    Auer decried vibrato that was not tastefully applied. This is still a valid criticism, I think.

  7. The people who are most obsessed with labels like "gifted" and "talented" are often the ones least likely to be truly gifted or talented. wink.gif

    People who have a gift/talent for something have a natural knack for it. It could be playing the violin. It could be quilting. Such a knack may be immediately revealed upon the person taking up whatever it is that the knack covers, or it may only become apparent with training.

    True genius is another category entirely, I think. You know it when you see it. Heifetz. Menuhin. Bobby Fischer. Etc.

  8. I can't get the movies to play on my PCs -- QuickTime's MoviePlayer, the Windows Active Movie Control, and RealPlayer, all of which should be able to read .mov format, say there's an error with the files.

    I haven't played this work, though I want to, one of these days. Plenty of other folks on this board have, though.

    I doubt the technique has a particular name, whatever it is. There are lots of combination-effects in virtuosic music, as well as modern music.

  9. I think that particular disc of Chang's is excellent. She's got fabulous technique, and that particular CD shows it to good advantage. (And unlike virtually all of her concerto recordings, it does not appear to be heavily over-miked, thank goodness.)

    Also worth hearing, in modern recordings, are Gil Shaham's (in "Devil's Dance") and Rachel Barton's (in "Instrument of the Devil").

  10. Stephen,

    I had a teacher who did that, too. (I don't know if he owned a Strad, though. I don't think so -- but he did have an excellent and no doubt expensive instrument.)

    He could toss off Paganini caprices while smoking a cigarette out of the corner of his mouth. He never seemed to notice. But it made *me* nervous. smile.gif

  11. I wonder to what degree the RealAudio conversion is distorting her sound -- that's certainly not a flattering recording.

    It sounds like her open E string is out of tune (listen to the bit where she plays it, and then the same E on the A string. The open E is noticeably out of tune, whereas the E on the A string rings purely.)

    I wonder what she was trying to do there: her vibrato is so wide it practically forms a field of potentiality around the actual pitch. wink.gif

    (A poor imitation of jazz style?)

  12. Flyboy,

    You live in the Bay Area? Do you play in Redwood? If so, who are you? There are at least three members here on the board -- myself and one other player are in the 1st violins, and there's a cellist as well. (Feel free to email me privately: lwl@black-knight.org )

    I agree with the various assertions -- thus my original point, which is that traditional training ill-prepares one for contemporary works. smile.gif

    While exposure/practice helps, systematic training is even better, I think.

    [This message has been edited by Lydia Leong (edited 11-20-2000).]

  13. All of the technical literature that I can think of has its roots strongly in tonality. Most of our exercises come from the mid-19th century or earlier, and our basic foundation of scales, arpeggios, etc. are the very essence of tonal music.

    However, we now have a century's worth of musical composition that departs from the ear and mind's expectations of tonal music, to greater or lesser degrees.

    Notes are not just notes; good players anticipate and the muscles react accordingly... and are betrayed when the sequence violates tonal expectations. Intonation goes haywire, too, because dissonant intervals are hard to hear in the mind's ear. We end up with difficulties in shifting, too, because we're covering intervals that we're not used to hearing, with the hand in a position that violates the usual expectations that have been set by arpeggio exercises, etudes, and the usual shifting workouts (Sevcik, for instance, is almost always done in a specific key).

    What can be done to overcome this weakness, either as part of one's original training, or as later "repair" work?

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