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Lydia Leong

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Everything posted by Lydia Leong

  1. I echo Crystal. I agree with Andy on Zyex. I haven't tried the light-tension Zyex, but the medium-tension Zyex is the stiffest string I've ever played; I hated its lack of give and the lack of vibrance in the sound. CML101, try Pirastro Aricore or Synoxa. Infeld Red might be good, too, though I doubt they'll be particularly viola-ish. I doubt the Obligatos will be what you want.
  2. Authenticity is still important to a player, for at least one major reason: resale or trade-in value. Buying a fake, when you know it's a fake, just because you like the sound, and paying the price appropriate to the fake -- that's a fine thing. (Yes, HKV, we hear you.) But if you think you're paying for the real thing, you are presuming that there's a safety net beneath spending all that money: Unless the market collapses, you can always get back some reasonable value on what you paid, either to deal with a personal matter (I've known a number of players who've sold instruments to raise cash for things) or to put towards the purchase of another instrument.
  3. I was happy with Dominants 'til I discovered there were other things out there that sounded better on my violin. (Arguably, the audience also can't tell if you're playing a million-dollar Strad or a $20K contemporary copy, so...)
  4. quote: Originally posted by Ludwig: I'm left-handed too. It's NOT an advantage when playing the violin. Perhaps our intonation may be a bit better, but I would say 70% of violin-playing is in your BOW hand. Brain imaging of violinists doesn't seem to bear this out; it shows that the part of the brain that controls the nerves of the left hand becomes noticeably enlarged. In the left hand, it's more than accuracy; it's also speed, agility, and strength. You need good control over the right side of your body, too, but there's more margin for error, IMHO -- the movements are closer to gross motor than fine motor. Your left hand needs to be accurate up to a tenth of a millimeter, for correct intonation. The muscle twitches that control, say, a crescendo are finely judged -- but not nearly as much so.
  5. I would also add that even if you're not sensitive to the nuances of different strings in performances, it still impacts the end-result tone that the audience hears. And besides, for every hour of performance you play, there's dozens or hundreds of practice hours leading up to it. The better the instrument sounds, the more enjoyable this practice is. I would say that on my previous violin, switching to Obligatos had an even greater positive impact than getting the violin properly set up. On my current violin, changing E strings has major effects on the sound of the whole instrument -- audible to another listener from some distance, not just to me. You can have great technique and great equipment, and strings will still make BIG differences in the end-result tone. (No amount of technique is going to make a bright violin sound viola-ish, as CML101 wants.)
  6. Why are the very late examples worth less? (One would think the maker would get better over time.)
  7. To set and maintain professional standards, perhaps? After all, it's one of the few professions in the world that still maintains a formal distinction of what a "master" is. (Same reason that you have the American Medical Association, IEEE membership levels, etc.)
  8. I will maintain that it is EASIER for left-handed people to learn to play the violin, because the delicate quick precision work is done with the left hand. (Yes, you need good control in your right hand, as well, but you can get much farther without it, and ultimately the left hand is what really develops a lot -- this latter fact is borne out in studies of brain development in violinists.) If you have problems controlling your right hand, trying to play "backwards", fingering with your right hand, is likely to be nigh-impossible. (I am left-handed.)
  9. I love playing pit. But I've been very careful to avoid playing second violin in pit. (There are some terrific concertmaster solos in the musical/light opera/opera literature!)
  10. I'm left-handed. It's an advantage, when it comes to playing violin.
  11. Thanks for the responses thus far (especially Arpa). I tried sight-reading the first two movements this morning, and they turned out to be gratifyingly straightforward. (I was not feeling either brave or alert enough this morning to try the last movement and its unfriendly-looking cadenza. ) (Are the trills supposed to start from above or not? Listening to Shaham, it sounds like he starts them from below.)
  12. Some commonplace ones: rotator cuff (shoulder) injury to left arm (caused by twisting the arm in an unnatural fashion, thus placing tension across the cuff and potentially causing it to tear, or at least causing tendinitis of the shoulder and neck), left-hand trigger thumb (caused by a "death grip" on the neck), tendinitis of the hand (caused by over-stretching), tennis elbow (either above or below the elbow, caused by tension, whether it's clenching, a spastic vibrato, etc.), right-arm rotator cuff injury (too much tension in the bow arm), right-hand trigger thumb (clenched thumb on bowgrip)... RELAX when you play. Rest as often as you need to. Pain is a sign that something is wrong.
  13. I have observed two absolutely excellent master classes -- one by Mimi Zweig (Joshua Bell's teacher before he went to Gingold), and one by John Kendall (a well-known Suzuki pedagogue). I was rather young at the time, but they made an impression nonetheless. Zweig was teaching primarily her own students; Kendall was teaching a group of students picked from the various attendees at the Stevens Point camp during the summer. They behaved very naturally, were unfailingly kind to the students, as well as effective teachers -- leaving no doubt that they'd be wonderful to study with privately.
  14. It depends on the difference in the sound quality. Personally, given the choice of something that handles superbly and has a sound I like, and something that doesn't handle as well but has a better sound, I'll take the former choice. (This is even more so for a less advanced player, I think.) If you dislike the sound that the bow that handles well produces, don't buy it. But if you like the sound (even though it might not be the sound you like the *most*), I'd go for it. Or keep searching.
  15. I held a principal chair in every youth orchestra or college orchestra that I played in, from the age of nine onwards. There are two ways to do that -- you can be the best player by so wide a margin that they have no choice but to give it to you, or you can be a player with a very high degree of technical competence, who sight-reads well and more importantly learns quickly, and, most importantly, someone who can be entrusted with a position of responsibility. In a situation where you're auditioning for people who don't know you, "playing well" is key, of course. I would say that exhibiting a precise sense of rhythm, solid technique, attention to the dynamic/expressive marks in the music, and good intonation are all very important. My impression is things like All-State orchestras, where you're meeting to play one concert on specific prepared repertoire, are more interested in Exactly How You Played In The Audition, whereas more "permanent" orchestras audition more to assess what your playing ability is. (A good player having a bad day usually still comes across as a good player.)
  16. Checking the archives, I see some of the following questions were asked on the old board, but if there were any responses, they haven't been archived... What's the difference between Kreisler's edition of Tartini's Devil's Trill sonata, and the urtext? (And how does that differ from the version that Andrew Manze has recorded, sans piano accompaniment?) Some of you have played this, I'm sure. Any thoughts on it? (The work seems to have a reputation for difficulty. Is this just because of the unpleasant-looking double-stops-with-trills in the last movement, or is the rest of the work harder than it looks?) Any favorite recordings? The question is prompted by my recent acquisition of Gil Shaham's latest recording, "Devil's Dance", which contains a number of themed works ala Rachel Barton's "Instrument of the Devil". There's a wonderful new virtuosic rendering of the Devil's Dance from the Witches of Eastwick (sadly NOT the version that's currently available as sheet music from Hal Leonard), a transcription from Young Frankenstein, and the expected assortment of other stuff -- the Tartini, the Round of the Goblins, Danse Macabre, etc. It's Shaham sounding remarkably un-Shaham-like -- everyone who thinks he sounds too sweet in everything he plays needs to hear this album!
  17. Kennedy is "The Violinist Formerly Known As Nigel Kennedy". He's British, studied as a child with Menuhin and then later with Dorothy DeLay. His version of a mid-life crisis was to turn into a pop icon. (I'm exaggerating, but not by all that much. He seems to have succumbed to that aging-rock-star phenomenon, in doing his hair and dressing like a teenager, despite being forty-something with the beginnings of a potbelly.) When Kennedy is not indulging in excesses for the sake of Being Different, he is a very fine classical violinist. His latest forays into pop (or really, music that defies easy genre classification and is probably more readily just called "alternative") vary from being awful to being rather good.
  18. More frighteningly, he could be describing Andre Rieu. Even Kennedy has some taste.
  19. Check out Gil Shaham's "Paganini for Two", a CD of violin/guitar duets.
  20. Don't underestimate the sentimental value of objects. Do you have an old fuzzy blanket?
  21. There's an earlier thread on this -- search for "most difficult", I think -- that pretty much concluded that this is largely subjective, though there are some things that everyone agrees are "difficult". Out of curiousity, DelGesu, why do you consider the Sibelius more difficult than the Paganini (presumably the first Paganini concerto is what you mean)?
  22. How much time in your practice routine do you devote to scales and scale-like exercises? Includes: "straight" (single-note) 3/4-octave scales and on a single string, scales in thirds/sixths/octaves/fingered octaves/tenths, 3-octave and single-string arpeggios, chromatic scales, finger patterns in a specific key, and chromatic finger patterns. At your level I would think scales for you are technique-maintenance, not technique-building. I don't find "straight" scales as useful as finger patterns, arpeggios, or double-stops, personally.
  23. Toscha makes a very important point, but to judge from what August has said about his teacher on other threads, it just seems like she's not a very pleasant or patient person. It seems like she has a history of belittling him, and that's not right. This thread shouldn't be, "Generous: To be or not to be?" It ought to be, "Gracious: To be or not to be?"
  24. I know the feeling exactly! It's procrastination, when it comes right down to it. I look forward to practice sessions, really, but I find it enormously difficult to get started, usually. So I make a rule for myself: The time between when I get up and finish morning stuff, and when I have to go to work, is practice time. If I don't get in an hour, then the chunk of time immediately before or after dinner is practice time as well. This gives me the self-discipline I need to get started. (Well. Maybe not exactly. I don't have that bottled-up-emotion sensation. But I do have that eager-to-practice-yet-can't-get-started thing.) [This message has been edited by Lydia Leong (edited 09-27-2000).]
  25. "Beginner" was defined pretty broadly at the start of this thread (read the first post in the thread) -- probably more broadly than I would have defined it, personally, but it was a useful definition for this thread. "Amateur" is simple: someone who does something for the love of it, rather than for pay. (There's a big huge long thread about amateur vs. professional in the archives.) This is not a reflection of playing level, necessarily, since there are some very skilled amateurs who surpass moderately skilled professionals. ("Professional level" implies that you could make a full-time living from it if you chose to do so.) "Serious" is what you make of it.
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