Andrew Victor

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About Andrew Victor

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  1. Andrew Victor

    Ricardo Bergonzi violin

    In three separate visits (three different years) to the traveling Cremona violin-makers "show" I found Ricardo Bergonzi's instruments to be the best of their type, certainly to my senses. I played his violins, violas and cellos. They were priced higher than the other makers' and were the only ones I would have considered purchasing.
  2. Andrew Victor

    Warchal 'Timbre' Strings

    I received my Warchal Timbre strings a few days ago and installed the A, D and G strings right away. Wonderful tone from the very beginning - but I still kept my Peter Infeld Platinum-plated E string on for the next 2 days. But finally I removed the PI-E and put on the Timbre E - really wonderful string. I'm really sold on the whole set. I've had this violin since 1956 and it has never sounded better.. I have 3 other violins now and can't wait for my luthier to stock Timbres so I can make it a clean sweep!
  3. Andrew Victor

    Effect of chin rest on ressonance and responsiveness

    My experience with a modest number of violins was that most had better sound with side-mounted chinrests. The KRENTZ wolf eliminator is now sold in different models for violin and viola as well as the original cello model. http://krentzstringworks.com/innovations/modulator/ These devices can be used to modify the tone of some instruments as well as to eliminate wolf tones. I have used them on 2 cellos to eliminate wolves more effectively than any other device I have tried in the 69 years I've played the cello. I have used them on one cello, one viola and 2 violins to make small but noticeable tonal changes. On two other violins on which I could not detect any "tonal defects" the KRENTZ devices seemed to have a slight negative effect.
  4. Andrew Victor

    Misleading News Article?

    It is known that a Pleyel piano with keys narrower than normal was made specifically for Chopin because of his small hands. Last I heard, he was a man and George Sand (reportedly a woman) believed so too. The Chopin piano still exists. All instruments stop being "ergonomic" at some level of the music!
  5. I just discovered this thread yesterday. I'm really sorry I missed it 5 years ago as it was such a hot topic, but I guess aty that time I was no longer visiting Maestronet very much and Pegbox not at all. The subject of bows, how they work and how they make our instruments sound has been a major interest of mine for the past 2 decades. I have spent thousands of dollars because of the differences in the way different bows make things sound. My minor bow collection now includes 10 violin bows, 8 cello bows and 4 viola bows - reduced somewhat in all 3 genres from what it once was. There is absolutely no question that bows make a difference to how an instrument sounds to a player and even to some who listen further away. I have 4 violins, 3 cellos and 2 violas and the best bow for each of them in any category is not necessarily the same bow for all. When testing bows (and instruments) on chin instruments (violin and viola) I also play them in "cello position" to get an idea how they sound in the forward direction, although that can give no real idea of sound projection. The best example of the differences in sound that a bow can make was exemplified for me more than 15 years ago when I did bow trials for one of my cellos that had a very annoying wolf (F# especially on the G string) AND a generally poor response on that G string whatever string brand I used (by that time I had owned that cello for 40 years). In that set of bow trials that included 66 bows (yes I kept count) only 2 actually fixed that G string sound (although nothing completely solved the wolf). Both of those bows were the only two in the trials made by multiple-gold-medal winner Paul Martin Siefried. And I bought one of them. I later also bought a violin bow from him that both I and a fellow player selected from 5 Siefried had sent me - it is my best violin bow on all my violins (better than either my F.N. Voirin or my R. Weichold). My go-to scientist for bow research has been Anders Askenfeld (of Sweden) and his various associates. He actually had research linking to this subject at least 25 years ago, but I only found it more recently. He published some graphs of bow resonance frequencies and amplitudes that included student and professional level wood bows and CF. The professional bow had lower amplitudes of high frequency resonances. I find some interesting results with my ARCUS Concerto (early ARCUS products) bows of all three genres in that they produce more overtone sound, which I sometimes want. More "thinking" needs to go into this (because I'm not going to even think about trying the math) but it seems clear to me that any hair vibrations are likely to result in some unsteady hair-string relative velocity profiles (and hence fluctuating vibration frequency patterns), while a steady velocity profile would give a more focused frequency. What would this do to overtone production? A bit of "gedanken" should make it clear that the difference in sound produced by different bows can only be due to the interaction of the hair with the strings. And the differences must relate to the acoustic impedance between the hair and the stick (at each vibration frequency) AND the stick resonances. The hair must pick up the string vibrations and transmit them to the stick, which then either attenuates them, or amplifies them and feeds whatever is at the juncture back into the hair. (And then there is the phase of the vibrations in the hair!) Perhaps these are "small" differences, as Askenfelt has written, but they are big enough for some people to pay many thousands of dollars for them. I suspect that if the math were simple Lother Cremer would have done it and included it in his book. I keep hoping to see the full explanation some day from Prof. Askenfelt.
  6. Andrew Victor

    Fingering for half steps in Chopin Nocturne

    In contrast to what Uncle Duke suggests, I would think that doing the "hopping" on the 1st finger could be very disconcerting. The 1st finger is better used as an "anchor" (or reference) in higher positions. I would expect to see that 1st finger technique limited to violinists whose names are world-famous (or their equal) - and even then it is kind of like bungee-jumping.
  7. Andrew Victor

    Fingering for half steps in Chopin Nocturne

    Starting with the A natural I would probably first finger the triplets:. 1-2-2 1-2-2 2-3-4 then 3 on the E. If that didn't work I'd practice it some and then try 1-2-2 2-2-3 3-3-4 I think I've only played it so far on cello, where large fingers have no trouble with half steps.
  8. Andrew Victor

    Baderak Bow Rite

    "I have seen other types of bowing devices designed to teach proper bowing. These attach to the violin and guide the bow perpendicular to the strings. Do teachers out there find these useful? " I have seen and used one of these devices and found it very useful. It can also help serve to position the student's violin in a proper manner so that well controlled bowing can be lerned in the most natural manner. I am not familiar with the Baderak device - but I did give every new student a wood pencil for practicing bow hold anytime and anywhere.
  9. Andrew Victor

    Rosin recommendation

    The '70s. Yeah, that was pretty much "back in the day."
  10. Andrew Victor

    Rosin recommendation

    Guido, I have used Melos. I have used almost every brand, certainly every one listed above and many more. Most were pretty good to my taste. I have highlighted those that I liked best over about the past 15 or 20 years. My problem with the Liebenzeller that I used for cello playing was that after about 90 minutes it started to get "ratty." I wanted rosin that would maintain its consistency for longer than that. Sure I could re-rosin (and I did), but that was probably in the middle of a piano trio movement. Pirastro Goldflex - apparently I am sensitive to that one and it irritated my eyes when used on chin instruments (violin and viola). I don't know a day when "all rosin was for violin, viola and cello" even if it was used that way. - must have been before my time. When I received my first cello in 1949 there was a fairly well-used cake of Thomastik 2-sided CELLO rosin in the bag. It probably dated from 1929, when the cello had been serviced by a Baltimore luthier who had put a dated repair label inside the cello. That kind of rosin was still being sold by Thomastik 18 years ago when my younger granddaughter gave violin playing a short-lived try - but she used my old cake. It would appear this brand has been discontinued.
  11. Andrew Victor

    Rosin recommendation

    Over the years I have liked best the Liebenzeller, Tartini/Andrea*, Magic and finally the Leatherman rosins in that chronological order as they became available. None of them is cheap, although Magic is relatively reasonable.. At the present time I am using Leatherman and I think it is the best rosin I have ever used. Leatherman comes in "Supple" and "Crisp" versions for violin, viola, and cello (increasing in grippiness in that order). Because I play all three of those instruments I was lucky to be able to purchase the rosins from the maker in Australia early on in his marketing venture when a half-price sale was offered ( was amused to follow its transportation progress from Australia to me in San Francisco (6 time zones) via Frankfurt , Germany (18 time zones) - it all depends on whom you hire to carry your cargo). Leatherman rosin is now sold in the USA by a number of dealers. I have also tried dozens of other rosins, but the ones I have named have impressed me most. *There is a new "Andrea Sanctus" brand of rosin that includes rosins of two different hardnesses in each cake (violin, viola and cello are different). Based on experience I have found no virtue in this product. If you want to mix rosins on your bow, just take two different cakes and apply both as you wish.
  12. Andrew Victor

    Test drive with one of my violas.

    Absolutely beautiful maple back - looks like Antonio's Emperor violin (and my copy of same). I bet I could handle a 16.3 incher, just couldn't afford it!
  13. Andrew Victor

    Methods to increase speed and quickness

    Playing the violin is like gymnastics.You see those little kids getting started, but it's another 10 years before they even think about the Olympics. Same with most violin kids, although there are few who are zooming along after only a couple of years and they may well have shown that potential on day one (I have niece who was that way, my wife's niece, actually). Playing string instruments is "small-muscle gymnastics" PLUS! Problem with adult beginners, and even adult restarters is that after a lifetime of successful "brain work" they think they can think their way into accelerating their violin skills. It doesn't seem to work that way. You have to do all that physical work and it just takes a lot of time to develop the needed coordination.
  14. Andrew Victor

    Test drive with one of my violas.

    Is the vibrating string length greater than on your 16 inch violas - or just the body (corpus) length?
  15. Andrew Victor

    Best wolf note Explanation video?

    KRENTZ has invented and sells a body mounted, magnetically attached wolf eliminator that works far better than any other wolf eliminator I had previously used - and I used almost all those that are sold in my 60 cello years before KRENTZ. After they had marketed the successful KRENTZ eliminator for cellos, the company also developed smaller devices for violin and viola. In addition to completely eliminating my Strad-model cellos' F# wolves, the KRENTZ device also improved to tone of some other notes on particular strings. In fact, although none of my violins or violas have wolf tones, the KRENTZ devices can be positioned to improve some lower-string sound on some of the instruments (the others need no help for anything). If I recall correctly, the KRENTZ company has been offering big discounts on their products the past few years on their anniversary (I think in late Autumn). http://krentzstringworks.com/innovations/modulator/