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Everything posted by Zeissica

  1. She is truly an ambassador for the arts - and very generous with her time. I watched a virtual master class she gave, perhaps 9 months or a year ago, and she spent time with each student, and gave positive and specific feedback to each one. Sure - that's what a master class is all about, but it was still impressive with so many kids. And she does this all the time!
  2. I was on the stage in the viola section - I thought she sounded great - wonderful interpretation of the Brahms concerto!
  3. It's comforting knowing that you speak for all of us.
  4. violinnweb, I'm not sure what it is about the culture here on MN, but some feel comfortable giving rude/blunt answers. I think it detracts from the experience for many and probably limits participation from newbies (not that you are one). Maybe that's what they want... I wouldn't take it personally.
  5. I agree with palousian that Sound Reinforcement and Recording are quite different disciplines. If the OP's transducers really are "clip on mics" then they might be able to be mounted/positioned not directly on the bridge, thus allowing the instruments to sound a bit more natural and with full volume for the players. However, if they are some type of pickup, then they have to mounted on the bridge on order to work as designed. One advantage of bridge mounting and the resulting dampening of the sound is that acoustic feedback is likely reduced a fair bit. This means you can be amplified more before the feedback starts, i.e. "greater gain before feedback". I've used DPA mics mounted just behind the bridge using their rubber mount that attaches to two of the strings behind the bridge. But I agree with those that say such close mounting generally doesn't sound very good. The DPA4099 is an instrument mounted mic (using a short gooseneck) that allows for better positioning. Still, it does not result in a "true acoustic sound" which only happens at a distance from the instrument. Adding any type of monitors to the mix can be very challenging and problematic. However, if done properly, it can work very well. Most high-level touring performing musicians use custom in-ear transducers connected to a wireless receiver. Someone has to mix the different feeds for the different musicians. Many church musicians use a system like the Aviom or the MyMix which allows each musician to tailor what they hear in their ears. And, often, pros use a "hot spot" or similar small powered speaker that they have on a stand facing them from a short distance, where they can reach it and control the volume. That said, any time you are listening to a speaker with your own instrument in the feed, you are back to the problem of acoustic feedback. In my opinion the simplest setup that would have the least compromise is to choose an instrument-mounted (not bridge mounted) mic like the DPA 4099, so you can hear yourself play but then have a reasonable chance of getting a decent amount of amplification in the PA system.
  6. I keep my viola in a viola case - built in security! <wink> I'd probably want to fly around the world and try "the best violins" and the "best violas" that all the top shops might have to offer, and buy whatever played & sounded best, regardless of name. Maybe they would be a GDG/Strad/Whatever and maybe not. The money would be spent to enjoy the process - most of us never get to do something like that. Along the way, eat in all the best places, attend concerts of amazing groups and artists, buy some bespoke clothes, etc.
  7. Yes, that is correct as I understand it. Beyond aiming to match a pattern to start with, It seems that experienced makers get a sense of how much more or less camber to put in based on the feel of the stick as they are going along.
  8. While the fine tuning involves some trial and error, there are some standard bow camber patterns out there. I was taught to aim to match the pattern, which takes a good while in the first place. My pattern is a direct copy from my teacher's. Then as the OP describes, let the wood cool and see how it looks when tensioned. There are jigs for the tensioning - some use a wire with a threaded screw middle part to simulate tension. The way I was taught is that when tensioned enough, the stick will be nearly perfectly straight. Adjustments would then be made to achieve that - this fine tunes for the camber vs. stick taper. As FiddleDoug mentioned, it is a risky process and a fair number of sticks are broken in original cambering and even in re-cambering. Good to have some cheap sticks to practice on!
  9. I'm sorry for your loss - my thoughts are with you and your family.
  10. Kerson Leong is a phenomenal player and has a bunch of great "lesson" or "playing tips" videos on his YT channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/KersonLeong
  11. As a violist, for me there seems to be a "sweet spot" somewhere between about 16-1/4" and maybe 16-1/2" but as others have pointed out, LOB is far from being the only factor. I recently played maybe 20 violas, all above 16" but no bigger than 16-1/2 (the end of my size comfort limit), and the differences in sound was remarkable and all over the place. While setup & strings doubtless played some role, some violas were just "alive" on all strings, had character, had power & responsiveness, while others were not. Many were quickly eliminated - even those costing far more than my budget would allow. I have no doubt that string length for the size is an important factor. From high school through college I played a 16-7/8" instrument (John Honeycutt) that sounded terrific but was just too big to handle (I'm 6'1") and ultimately led me to quit playing from the strain of it. For a couple of years I borrowed a lovely 1775 Gagliano viola at 15-1/4" and while it had a very nice sound, it just didn't have much power. My friend has a 15-1/4" 1790 Cuypers viola that simply sounds amazing - warm and "big" with plenty of projection. But I do think that smaller violas that "sound good" are rare. I don't personally agree that "smaller means they project more like a violin". I've found the opposite. My favorite viola lately has been a 2001 Cison at 16-7/16". I believe it is based on the Tertis pattern, so the upper and lower bouts are wider than the traditional designs, and wow does it have power, color, and projection, particularly on the C and G. And yet, the A retains a nice clarity. The D is very colorful and can definitely sing in the upper registers. Not being a maker I don't know what else has gone into Cison's pattern at this size in terms of arching, etc. but the ribs do not appear to be particularly tall. My advice to any violist looking for a new instrument is just to play anything and everything under your price cap, at any size up to your limit for playing comfortably. And, I agree that size should by no means be the deciding factor.
  12. Perhaps over the budget of many for this sort of thing, but I've found that ribbon mics tend to work really well for strings, especially upper strings. Ribbons provide the detail but not the harshness of condenser mics. The Royer R10 is about the most affordable of their line, at about $500. With a good mic pre/interface, it sounds *really* nice on violin and viola. Since I do some pro recordings here and there, I opted for the very expensive but amazing SF-2, which is an active ribbon mic - it sounds spectacular on strings, but is out of the budget for all but a few at over $2,000. I personally haven't tried the SM7B, but now I have it on my list!
  13. Outofnames, You sound good! You have a good bow arm - nice centered tone, good bow changes. And your intonation is pretty good, too - you are well on your way. I like the character of the sound you are getting for this tune! And, we all want to get better at this - it is truly a lifelong endeavor. I don't know anyone who is satisfied with how they play - there are always new things to learn and apply to our playing. And I've been doing this for more than 40 years (with a 14 year break in the middle).
  14. Philip, I agree with you 100% about bad camera work, or editing, or both - it drives me nuts. But when done well, it definitely enhances the experience of listening to the music. We violists get overlooked a lot in orchestral videos - sometimes its like the viola section doesn't exist - only first violins, cellos, and winds.... argh!
  15. I don't personally see an issue there, either. Students often move through the sizes and adjust readily to the changes. Often they are playing too long on an instrument that is too small, or start early on one that is too large. And then there are those who (like me) play both viola and violin. There is a far bigger difference in size there, and many double-duty players switch between them even in a single concert. I remember once attending a Guarneri Quartet performance, and Michael Tree had to take leave that day as his father, Samuel Applebaum had died. So, the performance was a trio, with Dalley on fiddle, Arnold on viola, and David of course on cello. And as you can imagine, it was a thrilling performance. Again back to the very true statement about the best violin being the one you want to play - if this student has found "her violin" and she loves playing it, I can't think of how that could be bad. If the time comes where she "outgrows it" literally or figuratively, she'll adjust to the new instrument like we all do, and will have benefitted from loving to play the violin.
  16. I agree with Andrew's points. I've even found that some pegs that have a convex surface are already "too round" and reduce some of the leverage required for tuning. I (and many other players likely) carefully "register" my pegs so that I get good leverage from the left hand while trying to tune, when the strings are close to the right pitch.
  17. Like many here, I was fortunate to grow up in a household where music was important, and diverse. My dad had an excellent record collection - everything from the Beatles, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, Fats Domino, Dave Brubeck, Yes, and other pop material, to plenty of Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven, etc. He had some slightly offbeat records like Walter Carlos "Switched On Brandenburgs" and Tomita's "Firebird". I was struck by the music and by the sound of all of these recordings, and listened to my favorites many times over. I'm sure this is part of why I ended up in the audio field, and to some extent why I like to listen to and play a wide variety of music today. In terms of listening now, it is certainly rare to simply "sit and listen" although I do it sometimes when the house is empty. More often than that, I'm watching a video on YouTube of a live performance - mostly classical. I love hearing different interpretations - I feel that it helps inform me about what is at the "core of the music" along with how many different ways one can interpret a well-known work. Seeing the interplay between chamber musicians, or between a conductor and an orchestra is great stuff! Sometimes I'm checking out these recordings to help me understand music I'm learning for an upcoming performance, sometimes it is for pure pleasure. And then, I listen to classical radio 100% of the time I'm driving in the car (when alone). Here, it is for "pleasure" or at least to distract me from the realities of driving in traffic with people who should have left earlier and those that could have left later...
  18. Wow - very impressive. I wasn't familiar with this work before - definitely interesting! The playing is truly outstanding. And, from memory!
  19. I've been using the "Tonal Energy Tuner" app for a similar purpose. It definitely helps the player focus on note that might be really out of tune. I typically keep mine set to Equal Temperament, but also it is important to know that often, we as string players need to play outside of that. For playing with a pianist, equal temperament is recommended, since that's how pianos are normally tuned. But in a string quartet, melodies can deviate from that quite a bit, and chords can tend towards just intonation, as well - it just sounds better that way. Another related thought, though, is that once a student (or ourselves) get to where we play nicely in tune to a tuner, we have to move beyond that and really listen as we play. Listen for, resonance, harmonics and sympathetic vibrations, listen for Tartini Tones, etc. Some programs teach things things early which I think is a huge advantage. I didn't learn it when young, but learning it it recently has definitely improved my sense of pitch while playing.
  20. Zeissica

    E strings

    My friend who plays on a nice JBV violin had a heck of a time with whistling on the PI E string when we were doing some recording - he ended going back to the Pirastro Evahs, including the Gold E.
  21. I don't think "just practice" is good advice without some specifics of what, mechanically, might help. That's what teachers are for, and the best ones are great at fine tuning hand, arm, and instrument angles & body position just to solve those issues. The problems and challenges are different for everyone. I think the advice to consider "reaching down with the 2nd finger to play the C natural" is good advice. The idea of "where the hand is balanced" comes to mind - many violists with smaller hands will balance their left hand either on the 2nd finger or perhaps alternate between the 2nd and 3rd finger, depending, whereas many violinists "anchor" on the 1st finger (Julian Rachlin is a big proponent of this). My 4th finger, while not as short as the OPs, still gives me plenty of challenges with reaches, particularly in half and first position (I play on a 16-5/16" viola). People often assume that because I'm tall, I should play on a bigger instrument, but these days, I'm hearing more often that anything above 16" is already considered "a bigger viola". Seems everyone wants a really small viola that sounds great. I can understand that!
  22. Yes - I obsessed on that one for many years - wrote a paper on it, even. I read somewhere that he considered it his favorite quartet.
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