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About Zeissica

  • Birthday 10/28/1966

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    Albuquerque, NM
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    Violin & Viola playing, audio, family & friends.

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  1. Zeissica


    The loudness button on old stereos turns up the bass and the treble frequencies, or a "smiley face curve" if you will, to give the perception of a "fuller sound" and to compensate for the differences of perception of frequencies at lower volumes. Take a look at the studies on "Equal Loudness" contours at Bell Labs by Fletcher and Munson. I agree, though, about instruments not seeming loud up close, and have experienced it myself. A recent example for me was when playing a Mozart oboe quartet, and I kept asking the cellist to play out more, as there didn't seem to be enough bass "support" on stage. Well, I walked out into the hall for a second, and the cello was quite solid out there. It came across that way in the recording, too. And, the opposite can be true of course - instruments that sound loud under the ear but don't project. I disagree, though, that the louder (or, perhaps those that project better) instruments are only required for soloists or concertmasters. Certainly in playing chamber music, each of the instruments should "hold up" against the others and allow for a wide range of dynamic expression. Having enough "power on tap" while of course keeping a good tone when playing more softly is really important, IMO.
  2. Looking forward to this! On the program is Eliza's Aria from Wild Swans by Elena Kats-Chernin, Pisachi (Reveal) by Jarod Impichchaachaaha' Tate, and Quartet No. 9, Op. 59 No. 3 by Beethoven. https://sanjuansymphony.org/event/san-juan-symphony-string-quartet/ https://sanjuansymphony.org/event/san-juan-symphony-string-quartet-2/
  3. The short answer is "no" - I'm not sure there is a "perfect" bow for any specific player. That said, there are likely some "near-perfect" bows out there, something that feels good in the hand, draws a big and nicely colored sound, and is versatile, i.e. can do good bouncing strokes along with on-the-string work. As Matestic so aptly put: this is also about you and your instrument. No other player can pick a bow for you. And as others have suggested, there is nothing like trying a bunch of bows. I live in Albuquerque, so I'm grateful to have the Robertson Violins shop here in town and they always have an amazing inventory. Big cities like LA, NY, Chicago, probably Dallas, Denver, Atlanta, Cleveland, etc. should all have good shops with lots of options at different prices. Contemporary makers are probably your best bet for finding something under $15,000 or likely even under 10K that is a step up from what you have, maybe even close to perfect. When you start looking at old English or French bows, get ready to shell out the big bucks!
  4. Bows absolutely affect the sound of the instrument, although probably in most cases the audience wouldn't know. The better the instrument, player, and bows involved, the differences can be surprisingly dramatic. Here's a video I just came across the other day where Teng Li, principal violist for the LA Phil, plays a bunch of different violas. At the beginning, though, she plays on one viola but with four different bows. Even on YouTube, the differences between bows can be heard fairly readily IMO.
  5. I'm not sure I can put it into words that would be helpful. The general gist is that it is a set of activities and exercises that better align the body for the work you are doing. It is very popular with singers - most of the classes I've been to have been populated by singers and a few dancers, and then one or two string players. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Technique
  6. I went to a specialist a few years back, but I don't see why a PCP couldn't prescribe it.
  7. Some bows can be truly bad, but I wonder if it is the hair? Maybe it is synthetic or just really cheap, bad hair? Or, perhaps it was never rosined properly - usually after a re-hair or a new bow, powdered rosin is used. Just thinking of what might have gone wrong with a $100 bow lol. Is there a shop nearby that might have a few decent cello bows handy? Or a bow person to look at the hair and recommend a re-hair?
  8. Stage fright and performance regret are challenging issues for many of us! I've found what helps is a combination of physical work through Alexander Technique lessons, mental work in a variety of ways (there is a FB group called "Confident Mindset for Musicians" for instance), and the occasional beta blocker. I'm primarily an orchestral and chamber musician so solos are difficult, and auditions are brutal to survive. But that's what most of us have to endure to advance... it does get easier by doing it more, just like sight reading. But the challenge of it never really goes away (at least for me).
  9. Some woods may cause a reaction as well. I use a Strad Pad on both violin and viola - but keep in mind these pads need to be cleaned periodically. Another factor is how much pressure one is putting on the chinrest/chin and a sore spot there can indicate too much tension or clamping pressure. This might be something to discuss with the teacher.
  10. Most do, but not all. I have an early (1860ish) James Tubbs viola bow with an ivory face/tip that appears to be original.
  11. Simon Fisher's "Double Stops" excercise book is useful in this regard. Also, "Violin Mind" by Hans Jorgen Jensen and Grigory Kalinovsky helps in the understanding of of the different tuning systems, and how to listen for specific notes based on the harmonic series. Very interesting book.
  12. I agree with DG on this - testing strings is tough and takes quite a long time - months or maybe years. The break-in period is so different between makes and models, and of course core materials, too. Passiones take maybe a month to be truly settled before they hold their pitch fairly well and sound as they should. Some synthetics can only take a week or two. For my violin I had a similar experience to DG - I tried many string sets, for say a couple of months at a time, and liked many of them, disliked several (EP Gold, for instance). Once I tried Warchal Brilliant Vintage (with Westminster E), I stopped looking - they are a great match to my GDJ-pattern fiddle, with slightly less tension than most, and a "gut like feel" but the stability of synthetics. I don't think they sound exactly like gut, but close enough for the obvious tradeoff of tuning stability. They sound excellent though and are maybe 2/3 the price of the "top brands". What's not to like?
  13. Kathleen, that sounds like a terrible audition experience, and I have no idea what was meant by the conductor shuffling your music on the stand and being so close to you while you were playing. Very strange! Auditions are a grueling experience and in many ways don't really have very much at all to do with actually playing in an orchestra. Yes, they need to hear your ability, but often the committee is picky about details that are their personal pet peeves rather than seeing, or hearing, rather, the larger picture. I can understand being picky when having to choose between two like candidates and one is getting some of the details correct and the other is missing those details. Overall, at least for the ones I've played, they are looking for precision in rhythm, stroke, and intonation. That's the baseline, and then, especially if you advance to the finals, they are looking to be won over by your musicality, tone, and interpretation. Every committee is different, though, and will listen for different things. I've done many auditions, and done terribly at some, and well at others. Most have been blind, in the professional ranks. But in college, the chair auditions in the fall were in front of my professor and the conductor. Perhaps strangely, there I did well, and worked my way up to principal by my senior year. I don't think I had much stage fright at the time - that came later lol. Playing in front of a screen is more challenging, in my opinion. The amount of preparation that goes into an audition, to be truly ready, is staggering, and always takes a mental and physical toll on me. Afterwards, I always ask for notes from anyone I know was on the committee, so I have specific ideas about what to work on for the next one.
  14. B J-W, in my right eye I have the Symfony multi-focus replacement lens and it works reasonably well. I still wear single-focal-length glasses most of the time now when playing in an orchestra or quartet. I don't always need glasses when practicing at home. However, that is dependent on how tired I am and how good/bad the light is.
  15. Some of them are, yes - depends on the era, the specific violin, the condition, and the pedigree. Vuillaumes have definitely come up in value in the last decade or so.
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