Andrew Victor

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  1. Overtones are critical to use of vibrato to achieve decent projection from most violins, since vibrato adds higher-power neighboring overtones to the sound produced when playing certain notes. The pitches of the overtone peaks vary instrument-to-instrument but a competent player will quickly find how to perform vibrato on a "new" (i.e., unfamiliar) instrument if it is decent enough. See brief "vibrato" discussion near end of the following link. It was an article by Joseph Curtin in The STRAD magazine 10 - 15 years ago that solidified this thought for me but it was my own experience 55 years ago when I had to play some solo parts in our community orchestra concert that first raised the issue. My own cello had broken and I had to play the concert on a borrowed KAY cello; the effort required to produce sufficient vibrato to engage enough overtones for projection in the venue was unbelievable - in fact at one point my left hand flew off the neck! Somewhat embarrassing - but I recovered - and bought a replacement cello the next time I got out of town.
  2. In my opinion, Victor Sazer's book "New Direrections in Cello Playing" (not so new any more) provides excellent guidance for returning cello players who might have forgotten this and that and would rather not engage a teacher again. The cellists I make music with these days range in height from less than 5 feet to at least 6' 2" and all manage to do a great job with 4/4 cellos. PhilipKT has written nothing above I could possibly disagree with.
  3. Ifshin Violins did a New York neck reset for me 14 years ago after I bought a new cello from them. First they lowered the bridge* for me before I first took it home. The next week they lowered it a bit more. The following week, when I requested further lowering they refused and did the neck reset while I wandered around Berkeley for a few hours and had lunch before taking it home again. It has worked out fine for me even though it still has higher "action" than either of my other cellos. * I was used to a lower bridge.
  4. Really?? Someone would spend 10 minutes listening to a community orchestra audition? Really??? Just be sure that whatever you play is performance ready.
  5. I'm jealous. It's something I would love to do - but a "week trip" instead of a "day trip." I would start by narrowing down the number of potential makers by using this URL that Laurie published:
  6. As of this past November - been playing for 80 years - the first 30 without a shoulder rest (although I did own one - a "Menuhin", I think. The next 40 years with soulder rests - mostly Wolf Secundo. More important is finding a shoulder rest that is comfortable for playing an 8 hour day - even if you don't play that much. Important to set things up so you can hold the instrument on your collarbone. Most recently I've been using an AcoustaGrip foam (with micro suction) for violin playing (~ 3 years) and a GelRest Micro when playing viola (about 2 months). I use a thinner chinrest on viola but use the same "topography" for my jaw on both - in order to get that on viola I use a very low chinrest and build up the top with an "Impressionist" to match the top of my violin chinrests and just enought that both instruments fit between my jaw and collar bone exactly the same way. The lowest chinrest I have found is a "Joachim" and any dealer can replace the violin "barrels" with slightly longer viola ones.
  7. Really fantastic. Every Bach solo work is a Universe of potential expression and color. I do recall seeing Lara St. John performing the Chaconne from Bach's 2nd Partita at our local Border's bookstore in 1996 (hawking her new CD) and she rolled the chords. It was a delightful experience for my 7 year old granddaughter who had been taking violin lessons from me for 6 months by then. and was delighted meeting Ms. St. John, exchanging a few words and getting her Bach CD signed.
  8. I remember the last time I went to buy a replacement cello tailgut (mine had broken) and the store no longer sold them. That's when I "discovered" the Sacconi nylon! I think it was almost 70 years ago. The Sacconi tailcord was invented by Frank Passa, who gained his lutherie skills in the shop of Sacconi in NYC before moving to San Francisco where he set up the shop he owned for 51 years. I visited Passa at his home in Santa Rosa, CA in 2000, about a year before his death. He and his family were still producing Sacconi tailcord there. His product was far superior to competing, cheaper products ("off-brand") of the same design, which I found consistently would stretch and continue to stretch after installation. He also had stacks of pernambuco bow blanks stored in the large garage under his house, and instruments and safes that had come from his San Francisco shop that had closed the previous year.
  9. I've had 4 of these (left-mounted) - on 4 violins for a decade and a fellow violinist then put a quarneri model Resonation Chinrest (RC) on his Enrico Rocco violin with good result. My only disappointment was that I had to go to a different model chinrest from my favored 50 year old Original Stubers. Another thing, mmmm's photo is misleading. The rubber is not that thick - what you see in the photo are the parts of the rybber that shield the violin edges from the metal posts. The actual rubber linings that rest on the instrument are quite thin. Much more recently I attempted to order two of the lowest-height RC model to use on my violas and found the website "down for maintenance." So I tried something else - I removed the cork lining from the chinrests I was using and replaced it with 2mm thick rubber sheeting cut to fit. It works at least as well as the RCs lin improving tone. So I took the little bit of rubber I had left and relined two of my old Stuber violin chinrests - and "voila!" fantastic sound and that same old jaw comfort I had enjoyed for earlier decades. Unfortunately I donated my two other Stubers to a local youth orchestra a few years ago (I've ordered two replacements - I hope they have the same contours).
  10. I've never used titanium, but of the gut, nylon, steel wire and Kevlar I've used, I prefer Kevlar- better sound (violin, viola AND cello).
  11. Back to 40-0's query: Re-examining your question, I perceive that you are actually reading music in terms of note names. I think you must do things differently than I do. I have always related place on the staff to place on the instrument rather than to the "name of the note." So I've had no problem switching to a new clef on a new instrument. I got through a number of serious concertos on my 2nd instrument (cello) before realizing that I was playing bass and tenor clefs without ever thinking of note names - in fact if asked to name a note in bass or tenor clef at sight I would actually have to relate it to either an open string location on the staff or the "F-spot" or " middle C-spot" of the clef. But in treble clef I always knew the note names because I'd played violin since age 4. It was not until my 60s (20 years ago) when I was teaching cello to a piano teacher that I decided to try to play piano and had to learn note names in bass clef. Now, for the past 4 years I've taken up viola on a more serious level than earlier and I face the same problem with alto clef. Perhaps it is similar to the mental maps we use when driving. Once you know where you are going, you just follow the map in your head. Once you have related the locations of the "dots" on the (treble) staff to location on the instrument you ought to be able to drive it anywhere the "dots" go from the map on the sheet music. I like Etorgerson's statements about not wanting to "fix it." It does take an act of will to begin that step. I was that way with viola for 40 years - just for normal playing. Now I'm facing the same problem about reading the viola (alto) clef on cello - it would definitely be a useful translation skill.
  12. Watch your left hand in a mirror while you play to see what you are doing. If your instrument strings are in tune with each other you are not reaching across perpendicularly to the strings - even though ti feels like you are. You will need to get used to what it feels like to get the proper finger spacing across different strings. You could practice double stops by playing the notes separately and then together - i.e., scales in all sorts of intervals - although if you are new to the instrument you are probably limited to first position and this limits the intervals you can test - but still, you can do some.
  13. What instrument are you now playing in treble clef? In high school band I played baritone horn in treble clef. I also played violin in treble clef --and cello in bass, tenor, treble and "trouble clef" (that is treble clef played an octave down). Now I also play viola in alto and treble clefs. Sometimes my mind glitches when sight-reading music on one of the chin instruments and I will shift an alto or treble clef note a space (or line) up or down one when the music is fast and my mind switches to the other instrument. I rarely do that on cello because the physicality is so different than the other two instruments'. All you can do is remain alert to what mistakes you make and let time heal the wounds.