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About Zeissica

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  • Birthday 10/28/1966

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  • Location
    Albuquerque, NM
  • Interests
    Violin & Viola playing, astronomy, audio, family & friends.

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  1. Your goals are reasonable, and should keep you busy for years to come! I think the biggest key to success in practicing is to have a plan, and to continue modifying that plan as you progress. Having only one hour per day is a great reason to focus your plan so that you don't waste any time. For one thing, don't spend time on passages that you've already mastered, at least when you are in the "learning and perfecting" phase of a practice session. Here are some options: Odd days (M, W, F) 10-15 minutes of scales & double stops in the key of your main literature (etude, concerto, etc.) 30 minutes of working difficult passages from your main literature - slow, focused, concentrated work 10 minutes of playing whole passages, even if slowly, to integrate what you've worked on 5 minutes of playing something "easy" or "fun" with only the goal of playing as musically as possible Even days (T, Th, Sat) 10-15 minutes of slow warm up on an etude you already know, but might be rusty on - strive for smooth sound, smooth shifts, and accurate pitch & rhythm 20 minutes of bow exercises on literature you know, starting with no vibrato and all expression from the bow, or using only 2/3 of the bow but striving for good sound & expression. 20 minutes of sight reading along with a recording of string quartet music, orchestral music, etc. (strive to match the musicality & character of the recording) 5 minutes of slow scale work concentrating on pure tone & intonation
  2. I only had the opportunity to see Mr. Harrell live once, during the 1980s. He played a big concerto with the symphony here, the Lalo, I believe. But what really sticks with me still is what he played for an encore: the Sarabande from the 5th cello suite. It was just haunting and sublime. I think I have the autographed program somewhere.... RIP, Maestro
  3. Take a look at Clean Feed - it appears to have been made for music collaboration and may work well for lessons. https://cleanfeed.net/ -Karl (I have nothing to do with this company)
  4. Probably the best way to "electrify" it would be to get an LR Baggs bridge pickup system. It won't have a particularly natural sound, but you could certainly pipe it into a preamp and/or headphone amp system.
  5. Andrew - good point about ear plugs - I know several pro violinists around here who use either one (in the left ear) or two of the "musician's" earplugs. They are designed to give a neutral sound while reducing the level moderately - 12 to 15 dB would be a good range. Makers include Etymotic, Eargasm, etc.
  6. Mining YouTube will certainly increase... And, I've never gotten tired of watching/listening to this performance:
  7. BP - a few thoughts. First, it is true that most violinists are looking for a loud-ish, responsive violin that projects with minimal effort. It seems you have one of those. In some ways it is like driving a real sports car - responsive and powerful but not easy to control without learning how to drive it. One clue was in your post about your teaching suggesting more bow pressure: this can also lead to a harsher sound. I'm sure your teacher knows this and I don't mean to contract that person. But a real fundamental aspect of bowing is the "three factors": Bow speed, bow pressure (or weight), and contact point. The book by Simon Fisher "Basics" covers this very well. I suggest having a look at it. Your bow may not be ideal for that instrument, but it may be the least of the issues. You also mentioned your E string "sounding like a harmonica" - this to me says "harsh sound, with some 'grind' in it, which isn't want you (or anyone, typically) wants at all. Bowing is very challenging to learn. Most players spend their lives working on their bow arm & hand. There are dozens of strokes to learn and master. I do think gut strings like Pirastro Olive or Eudoxa (the old standards from 20+ years ago) or maybe Passione (much newer) will be better than Dominants in terms of a "rounder" sound, although I do agree that it won't be a night and day difference. It is possible that the sound post needs adjustment - this can make a significant difference. In my opinion, I agree with Michael Richwine and also skiingfiddler that probably the biggest key here is to learn to play softly with good tone.
  8. What a bummer! Will keep my eyes out. Please post additional photos - the scroll is distinctive, yes, but I'd like to see the rest of it for potential spotting purposes.
  9. There was definitely something very special about her and her playing. The sheer joy of music shines through. I love those videos with her playing chamber music with Perlman, Zuckerman, Barenboim & Metha from the early 1970s.
  10. I've been learning to make bows and am not aware of any treatment of the wood other than possibly staining it for a darker color after the bow is finished. For that, nitric acid and ammonia are the two methods I've heard of in wide use. Then, once finished and stained (if needed) then French polish (shellac) is used for the final varnish. I'm sure there are many methods & treatments I don't know about, but this covers the basics.
  11. Heritage for me - no complaints so far (haven't made any claims).
  12. 16 Strings Quartetto Amoroso The Don Giovannis Four Quarters Four by Four The Four Fingerboards
  13. I like Porteroso's description best, and Duane88 has some great points, too. When looking for a bow, the feel in the hand is the first thing that I notice, which translates to weight and balance. A finely balanced bow can be heavier but not feel that way. Next is how it plays and the control of the string. I call it "grab" and the bow IMO should have even grab from frog to tip. Next is flexibility or lack thereof - not too stiff, not too flexible. This is one of the things I think is very personal and changes over time. A lot of late 19th Century bows seem to be too soft (for me). Next is sound, and I believe it is a factor of the above attributes, plus the quality of the wood and the camber. And, a bow that does all strokes well is fairly rare. A heavy, stiff bow may give you great sound on the C string, but be too "rough" for the A string (on a viola). One that is light and flexible may sound wonderful but not have enough control or enough power. One that does everything right but is on the heavy side may be too fatiguing for regular practice and rehearsal. I can't imagine purchasing a bow without playing with it fairly extensively, at least for a couple of weeks.
  14. I recently went through several rounds of "try and find the buzz" on my viola, and it turned out to be the nut needed some work, and the fingerboard needed dressing. Problem gone.