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  1. Cast instruments could be collapsible, including the ribs. it would be such a great thing to have....
  2. I think that casts of scroll and plates of good instruments could be commercially available. I remember Bissolotti had a plaster cast of a Strad scroll in his bench.
  3. Yes, studying music is expensive, and you will not profit from your studies unless you have a fine instrument in your hands! As Laurie mentions in her article, " The highest violin technique makes sense only on a fine instrument. "
  4. The sooner you put your hands in a good violin, viola or cello, the better for your technique. "The highest violin technique makes sense only on a fine instrument." I will transcribe a very good article by Laurie Niles. Laurie Niles Your violin is your teacher, too: So get a good one February 14, 2007, 11:28 PM · As of this month, I've been playing the violin for 30 years. My violin anniversary is February 18, to be specific. I know because I started on Melanie Mayer's ninth birthday, as did Melanie. She reminded me every year. So wherever you are, happy birthday, Melanie! I've been playing on an excellent violin now for one year, and it has opened my mind in ways that nothing else could in the 29 years before. That's right, my nine years of violin instruction before college, four years in college, two years in graduate school, years of performing in dozens of orchestras, solo recitals, not to mention literally thousands of hours in the practice room – none of it taught me what a good violin has taught me. One sees this phenomenon in small children: the child with a quarter-size violin who is ready for vibrato, for example. The child can do vibrato, even, but neglects it because he or she can't see the point. Then the child gets a larger violin that resonates, and suddenly vibrato makes sense and he or she can learn it. The highest violin technique makes sense only on a fine instrument. I've been looking back at pieces I played in college and reading the notes my teachers wrote in the margins. At the time, I played on a German factory violin given to me by my grandmother; it had been in her attic. For all her good intentions, though, it was a squeakbox. "More tone!" implores my teacher from the page of a Brahms sonata. "SUSTAIN" in the last movement of the Saint-Saens concerto. "Darker sound on the G string" was a comment in a Bartok piece. Even "LOUD" at the end of the Andante melanconico in Intro and Rondo Capricc. Certainly there were requests that had more to do with the player than the instrument ("Stand straight! Relax left hand!") but I also saw much begging for a sound that simply was not possible or that took such heroic effort. I worked and worked and worked to make those things happen, and still the results were marginal. I barely have to do anything to make more tone, or a darker sound, on my current violin. Without having ever played a fine violin, I did not even understand the completely different plane of playing available to me. I understand now why some conservatories and universities make fine instruments available to students. I used to think that if one played well on a bad violin, one would be way ahead of the game when stepping up to a better one. That if one was "spoiled," playing on a Strad in college, one would never figure out how to make do with something lesser. It's not true. If one plays on a fine instrument, one knows what to seek in any instrument, and one also knows its importance. All those years of fighting a bad instrument cause frustration; they block out what could be; they prevent the exploration of one's fullest potential as a musician. I am grateful to at last have an instrument that allows me this; even if I'm destined to be a very late bloomer! But I would implore parents, schools and young musicians themselves: get the best instrument you can. Get the one that will awaken you to your fullest potential!
  5. I've been using the Alberti for perhaps 10 years now, I have two blocks, they are very nice indeed.
  6. The fact is that we can't have classical music without animals... hide glue, fish skin (woodwind), sheep wool felt (piano hammers), bone, animal skin in drums, etc.
  7. A fine pro violinist in our State Orchestra phoned to a very famous German maker asking about commissioning a violin. The luthier's secretary told her that he was not making instruments for orchestra players... Eventually, she got a very fine Sergio Peresson violin from a good dealer in Europe.
  8. The higher projection will result in a higher bridge. The string angle will depend on the projection of the neck over the table and the lower saddle heigh. Some instruments will benefit from the higher tension, others will choke under it. The sound with a higher bridge may loose warmth too. In extreme cases, even the response may get worse with that. As usual, it will depend on the instrument, and the style of the player too. As a viola maker, I like higher bridges, but I use a 10 mm projection of the neck over the table, and a 9 mm lower saddle, and my plates are on the thicker side, so the instrument will not choke.
  9. Quite a nice viola test drive session with Lars Anders Tomter Tomter, with 41.5 and 40.7 cms. violas (16 and 16.3). I had the opportunity to examine his nice 1590 Gasparo, quite a fine viola.
  10. Thanks for the translation Matthias! Hartmut is quite a good player and teacher, he has 4 ex students in the Berlin Phil, and some principal violas, as in the Gewandhaus Leipzig.
  11. I am happy to have my work available now at Benning Violin Shop in Los Angeles. Two very nice 16.3 violas.
  12. Thanks! Hendrick, it is 16-inch viola (40.7), caliper, not LOB. The model is personal, but inspired in Andrea Guaneri, you can see photos of it in the part of the this site dedicated to living makers. Jezzupe, The player lives in Amsterdam. She told me she rented a digital pro recorder, mikes, etc. and went to a 12th Century small old little Chapel looking out over the Pyrenees, totally isolated, and spent a week there recording the album alone.
  13. I will talk about things the player can notice by himself. So, highly controversial issues as projection is out of my comments. First, the violin family was created by the Italians to mimic the human voice. So think about the violin as a good Soprano voice, as Maria Callas. When you draw your bow from the end of the fingerboard towards the bridge, increasing the bow weight, a dramatic difference in volume and color is noticed, that happens only in very good instruments. The dynamic range is essential. Without it you can't "shape" the sound, that is essential in music interpretation. Think about Maria Callas singing fff with the tutti orchestra, and also she singing as whispering to her lover in pianissimo. Easy to play. Balanced in all positions and strings. You can dig your bow on the string and it will not choke. The voice a a good singer will not crack. Quick response to the bow. Notes will not mix in quick passages (clarity). Think about a good baritone singing Rossini's largo al factotum, the diction will be perfect. Also Ella Fitzgerald's voice.