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About Zeissica

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  • Birthday 10/28/1966

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    Violin & Viola playing, astronomy, audio, family & friends.

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  1. Zeissica

    Funny fine tuner

    Have not seen one of those but I can't help but think that this would introduce some undesirable characteristics!
  2. Zeissica

    Methods to increase speed and quickness

    To improve speed on fast passages, especially if they have all 16ths or all triplets, or even fast 8ths for that matter, is to use "groupings". It can be considered an extension of the "dotted rhythms" mentioned by the OP, but instead of groupings of 2 notes, you group 3 or 4 (or even up to 6). The idea is to use a metronome at a fairly slow speed - I usually use quarter to 60, but you may want to go to 52 or even 48 at first. Let's think sustained 16th note passages for this exercise, say "Moto Perpetuo" by Paganini, as an example. Group the first four notes together, starting on the beat: 1234 1234 1234 1234. Play them faster than they would be played at this tempo, with a rest before the next group of four. Use the rest to think about the next group before playing it. Once you have that mastered, then move the rest one 16th forward: 1 2341 2341 2341 234 with the same approach. Then, 12 3412 3412 3412, and finally, 123 4123 4123 4123. It is better to speed the groupings up, and have a longer rest, than to increase the metronome tempo. Don't do this any longer than you can fully concentrate on it. At first, it may only be for 5 minutes, but over time, you'll be able to work passages in this manner for 15, 20 minutes if needed. As others have said, be sure your hand position is correct, that your left elbow is correct on each string (left hand balance) and that you make smooth movements - you don't want any jerking or twitching.
  3. Zeissica

    Embarrassment of riches and practicing

    I agree with Rue that having a plan is beneficial. I would suggest something like: 30 minutes only (weeknights?) 10 minutes scales (intonation work) with drones (use a Tuner app that can play sustained notes) 10 minutes working on technical passages slowly & carefully, either etudes or real literature 10 minutes playing easier music that you enjoy, and concentrate on musicality & tone If on a weekend, you can do more than one 30 minute session, I would suggest: First 30 minute session: 15 minutes scales & intonation work 15 minutes technical passages, slowly & carefully 2nd 30 minute session 5 min. warming up again on scales 10 min. technical passages 10 min. playing easier music you like, focusing on tone & musicality 5 min. sight reading relatively easy etudes 3rd 30 min. session: 5. min warming up again on scales 15 min. playing music you like, concentrate on tone & musicality 10 min. sight reading You'll know you're ready to advance when you have mastered the technical piece or etude you are working on - i.e. can play it at a reasonable tempo, with a metronome, basically perfectly with decent tone. Same goes for the sight reading. Once you've sight-read through Wolfhart Op. 45 at decent tempos, 90+% accuracy, look for the next more difficult book (Dont?)
  4. Zeissica

    UPDATE: Returning to playing after 38 years

    Congrats on getting back into it! I didn't take quite as long a break as you did (15 years) but I would suggest one thing: take it slow! Part of that comes naturally, we don't learn as quickly as we did when we were young. But perhaps the most important thing is to not learn (or re-learn) bad habits. For intonation work, I suggest practicing your scales with drone notes - I usually use the root and the 5th of that particular scale. An app like Tonal Energy Tuner is great for that. Then, use the tuner itself when learning new parts/passages. It is extremely tough at first but gets easier as you go along. Be patient with yourself! I look forward to seeing your posts with progress!
  5. Most A-list world-class players don't list their violin in the program notes, but for many of them, it is relatively common knowledge what instruments they play. FWIW Mutter plays on the "Emiliani" Strad made in 1703. I have noticed, though, that the "next tier" touring soloists who are perhaps not household names, often do publicize the instruments they are using, as I think it does generate a bit of draw: "Wow, I haven't heard of her, but she plays on a Stradivarius - she must be good!"
  6. Zeissica

    "Mid-1800s, Possibly Austrian" violin, no label

    Interesting update. I was in Santa Fe playing with an orchestra on Monday, and the principal cellist asked about my violin. I explained what little I knew about it so far, and he said that it looked like a violin from Klingenthal, and probably late 18th Century. He had been to region and to some of the workshops there and seemed quite familiar with the features of the instrument. He mentioned that this region was known for making violins "on the back" without a form. He agreed with those here who suggested that the body had been re-varnished, but not the scroll. FWIW He also mentioned that most violins from that region do not have labels. Mine looks like it never had a label.
  7. Zeissica

    How Often and How Deep Do You Cut Ur Fingernails?

    File, not cut, every day on the left hand, and not as often on the right. Rarely need to cut them, but I did invest in a German-made diamond nail file. Best money I ever spent!
  8. Zeissica

    String choice

    For me, it is a long term process of occasionally trying new strings, but I don't want to be a constant tweaker. Once I've found a set I like, I do tend to stick with it for a while. I have found that I usually end up with a mixed set. Right now on my viola I have a Larsen "soft" A, Obligato D, and Warchal Brilliant G and C. This, on my instrument, is a very well-balanced set that is responsive and sounds great. The last change I made was a few months ago to take out the Warchal Brilliant D, which wasn't working for me, and going back to the Obligato D I had been using before.
  9. Zeissica

    12-20K Viola Suggestions

    My 16-3/8" viola was made in 2008 by Shinichiro Yoshikai in Durham, NC, and it is an excellent instrument. His violins and violas still generally sell for less than 20K last I looked. Along with the many shops already recommended, I would say that if you are for any reason in the New Mexico area, definitely check out Robertson & Sons violins and also David Brewer Fine Violins. Both of these Albuquerque shops carry an amazing inventory of instruments in all price ranges.
  10. Zeissica

    Broken Strings Cause

    Sharp fine tuners is one reason I've seen strings break. Also, possible sharp saddle if no fine tuner. For violas, sometimes strings break if the wound part of the string is too long, i.e. wrong "string length" selected for that instrument. The wound part is not meant to be bent at a sharp angle. You may also have sharp edges on the string hole/s in the peg/s.
  11. Zeissica

    Do not use cork please.

    Thanks for posting this info. I do only use a microfiber cloth, but now I'll certainly avoid using cork. I use Warchal strings on both my violin and viola BTW, and recommend them often!
  12. Zeissica

    Amazing Wood! Some Bow!

    That IS a pretty bow - curious how it plays, considering it is slightly on the heavy side. However, I've played "heavy" violin and viola bows that feel light due to the balance point and stiffness.
  13. Zeissica

    R.I.P. Anna Karkowska

    Very sad. I met her and her sister when they played here in the Albuquerque area about 10 years ago, before the CD and all the brouhaha. She had amazing technique, although perhaps unorthodox. She and her sister were very lively and funny. Wow. I didn't realize she was even sick.
  14. Zeissica

    viola string question

    I suggest Warchal Brialliant G & C strings, "short" scale. I used them on a 15-1/4" viola I played some years ago, when nothing else was very good. I still use them on my 16-3/8" viola now, with an Obligato D, and a Larsen "soft" A.
  15. Zeissica

    What the heck type of wood is this?

    It looks like Pernambuco to me, but just not darkened, stained or otherwise colored. It may not be the highest grade of wood, though. There are others here that are far better than I am at ID'ing these things, though.