Andrew Victor

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Everything posted by Andrew Victor

  1. OK - back with more review of DEJA "Soloist" rosin. I now conclude this stuff is quite unique in my experience. I have long felt that an ideal rosin would have static friction (that pulls (and pushes) the string and thus creates the vibration and sound - the bigger the displacement the louder the sound) in proportion to the pressure applied to the string by downward force as well as by the speed of the bow and sliding friction (that damps the string vibration during the slip phase) of zero. I feel this rosin comes closer to that than any I have tried in the past 20 years (maybe 70) - it's not something I am equipped to actually measure. So I upgrade it in my estimation from 4 to 5 stars. I think it will bring out overtones from any instrument very well and this should promote "projection," but I have not tried it in a large hall. On my cellos (and with the 3 bows I tried) it brings out the upper octaves of the C string like no other rosin I have tried.
  2. Minkey, I think it is common practice (by some) when a bow is rehaired and then prerosined by the rehairer, powdered rosin made as you described is applied - often unless the customer specifically requests it not be done. at least that seemed to be the case many years ago when I first had to pay for my own bows to be rehaired. I have always preferred not to have that done, but instead to always do my own initial rosining and know what rosins are on my bows.
  3. I would expect any bow stamped "GERMANY" to have been produced specifically for the US or UK market. My W. Seifert viola bow has no other stamped identification than "W SEIFERT"
  4. I thought some more about my trial of DEJA Rosin the other day and checked the surface of the cake and realized that not much rosin had been removed from the cake when I rosined my bows. So I "scored" the surface of the cake by gently cutting a "square grid" pattern in the surface and tried it again with the same violin and viola bows. The result was a very nice and very rich tone on both instruments. (Scoring the surface of a new rosin cake is not something I usually (if ever) do. Probably should have tried it with that old Liebenzeller-I cake 50 years ago. I might try that if it's still around.) I have not tested the DEJA playing qualities for a typical "set" duration of say 2 hours, but based on the short-term result the DEJA ROSIN seems to be a good deal, especially for the price and size of the cake. I will keep playing with it on the bows to see how well it holds up and report more at a later time. EDIT: I've kept DEJA rosin on the bows the last couple of days and it seems to keep its character very well. I give it 4 stars (out of 5 maximum). It has gotten very hot here in CA the past few days (~100°F) so it's had a pretty good test/
  5. I never have worried about what I look like when I play - and it shows! Damn those new cell phones, anyway!! Glad I didn't know when it mattered. At least I played in a tux!
  6. I should add to my 2000 post that the person who thought my L. Seifert bow was my best violin bow was the (now late) Henry Meissner a California violin maker and violin/viola player. It was at the time I had him give my insurance evaluations for all my instruments and bows. He played a marvelous sautille with my L. Seifert violin bow. This was before I had bought the W Seifert viola bow, which to me was a better bow. I had bought the *** L Seifert from SHAR at the time the catalog had it priced at around $60 but by the time it arrived the Euro had gone crazy and I think it cost me $180. It was evaluated for insurance by Meissner in 1980 for $550.
  7. I TOOK A 2nd LOOK AT DEJA SOLOIST ROSIN 5 DAYS LATER - CHECK MY ADDED COMMENTS IN A LATER POST (on Sunday, Aug. 11). My cake of Deja "Soloist" Rosin arrived yesterday. It is a neat cylindrical cake, of 3/4" thickness and 1.5" diameter a substantial size. It is nicely packaged in an aluminum case that holds the rosin and its attached cloth. I find this case particularly nice because the top is threaded: a much better idea (in my experience) than the friction fit cases that come with "Old Master" or "Baker's" rosins for two reasons (1) the threading makes the cylinder less likely to deform and (2) threaded tops go on and off more easily than the friction-fit ones. The rosin itself is not too soft or too hard (may tend toward the harder end of the usual range)**. I tested it on 3 bows, one each violin, viola, and cello and played on the appropriate instruments. I feel I do not get as much low tone as I get with my usual "Leatherwood (supple)" rosins - but then Deja rosin lists for 1/6 the price Leatherwood (the most expensive rosin I've ever seen). On the other hand I thought I got more higher register output with the Deja rosin and on the cello I got better responsiveness in the higher octaves of the lowest (C) string than any other rosin has given me with this bow.### I removed what rosin I could from each of the bows with a microfiber cloth before rosining generously with Deja. Then I removed the Deja and re-rosined the bows with the appropriate violin, viola, and cello (supple) "Leatherwood" rosin and played each instrument again immediately after playing it with the Deja rosin. I essentially played a 3 octave scale on each instrument (4 on the cello) and also some "noodling." It will take me more time to decide how and when to use the Deja rosin. * *Hard rosin? In the 1960s I bought a cake of Liebenzeller gold I (for violin) and felt it was like trying to rosin my bow on a stone. I never did use it. It was another 30 years before I tried Liebenzeller again - that time grades II, III, and IV - and did use those rosins for about 10 years until Tartini (and later Andrea that replaced it) was marketed. Deja is not that hard. ### The state of my hearing must be taken into account. I wear hearing aids in both ears. Without them I am very hard of hearing. Even with them I do not have a full spectrum of normal hearing.
  8. My eyes usually close shortly after a concert begins - been that way for at least 50 years! Before that I wanted to see how they made the music as long as it did not distract from the music. I did learn a few things about better bowing.
  9. About 15 years ago I started using a separate stand from my stand partner. Cataracts began to affect my vision and at some point I needed to enlarge my sheet music to see it well enough. Parts up to 13 or 14 inches tall could make it difficult to watch an erratic conductor. By careful cut-and-paste of my parts I could avoid tough page turns. For the past 8 years I've been playing in a chamber orchestra of experienced older people (although only a very few are older than I am) and we all play off our own stands. I find that for some music using tri-fold instead of bi-fold music can avoid some bad page turns - and if all else fails I use my cut-and-paste approach. If that fails, I just bite the bullet like everyone else. At least surgery solved the problem of having to enlarge my music. We play without a conductor - so that problem is solved. Surgeries solved my cataract problem 4 and 8 years ago and battery-powered stand-lights provide a clue to who is having problems now.
  10. For years I have had my optometrist make a special measurement of my vision at one meter for reading music (it is a distance that works for me for both violin/viola and for cello). After my 2nd cataract surgery I used the 0ne-meter prescription AND that for closer reading to define a pair of progressive lenses that I ordered (in a frame, of course) from ZENNI - so now I can read the music AND the measure numbers. If you do not have serious astigmatism you might be able to use drug-store (or Amazon) readers, but they are often more expensive than single-vision ZENNIs. Also, for some years I found progressive readers at Amazon that allowed for reading music, computer work and reading books or Kindles.
  11. I have never heard of "Deja Soloist Rosin." all I can find out is it is sold online by Etsy that appears to be a dealership for small business products. I have bought some things through Etsy and that worked out well. My granddaughter sold some handmade crafts of hers through Etsy. I decided to buy a cake of this rosin, so if you can wait a week for mine to arrive I'll report my opinion here. Or if you have already bought some, please let us know what you think about it.
  12. I think there is music that causes emotional reactions for some people by its melodic or harmonic nature and then there is music that causes such reactions because of context. "Ashokan Fairwell" has a contextual impact, related to the upstate New York boys who went off to fight in the largely southern Civil War, likely to suffer from wounds, disease or death - never again to see the lush green of the Ashokan Valley and possibly never to be seen again by their loving families. For me the song carries an added special meaning because one of my uncles was a lawyer for the water department of New York City whose job for some years was to work on condemning and paying for all the properties of in the valley, so it could become the Ashokan Reservoir, the major water supply for the great city 107 miles to the south. It is one of those places that is gone!
  13. The Stringworks company has been around for years. I've played several of their cellos (that obviously had been shipped) and in my opinion they were well worth what they cost. I also played a Stringworks cello that a student of mine bought on ebay for about 1/2 the retail price (I had alerted his mother to the "auction" and she was lucky enough to get in on it the last few seconds - $1,000 for a $3,000 cello). It obviously was being sold because it had had an accident (I would guess from carelessness on unpacking). It also turned out fine with a soundpost reset (which I did) and a new bridge (which I adapted and fit).
  14. Just three things. 1. Listening to Rosand's Beethoven Sonatas made a believer of me. They became my go-to interpretation. 2. Back in 1950, when I was studying the Beethoven Violin Concerto, Heifetz's 78 rpm was the only version in our house and so became definitive for me. When I saw and heard him in concert as my 16th birthday present, the sound, presence, and relation to the orchestra (Baltimore Symphony) seemed pretty identical to the recorded sound at home (just better) --- except for the "PIZZ" in the last movement; in the concert that sounded like a pistol shot. Since that long ago year I have attended a few other "big shot" violin concerto concerts in which the soloist seemed to dominate as in recordings. Most notable were Hilary Hahn and Itzhak Perlman - and maybe Izaak Stern. I won't name the soloists who did not come across that way, because their performances demonstrated another characteristic of a well-composed and orchestrated violin concerto. 3. I happened to attend the third and final performance of Mahler's 8th Symphony with MTT and the San Francisdo Symphony. Immediately after the concert the audience was asked to keep their seats so two different short passages could be rerecorded to eliminate audience sounds (coughs, etc.). The recording won the Classical Recording Emmy that year.
  15. That Warchal link is certainly instructive. I use microfiber cloth every time I put an instrument back in its case and a nylon "scubbie" on the strings every few days. However when I feel that I have not cleaned my strings sufficiently (about every few months) I use an alcohol dampened pad (sold by s drug store for skin-injection prep) which I wipe on each string just once and immediately rub each string dry with an absorbent cotton cloth. I've always done it this way because it seemed intuitive to me that the alcohol could penetrate the winding. I've been doing the alcohol thing this way for over 40 years and never noticed any problem -- but the Warchal article will have me rethink this.
  16. The higher the "Delay" "lane" number, the faster bow motion (and lowest bowing pressure) the instrument can tolerate and the softer the tone and overtone contribution. The lower lane numbers (closer to the bridge) can produce more complex tone, more projection and tolerate higher bow pressure and cannot tolerate high bow speed. Of course these lane numbers are just guides, the bow can be anywhere between them and must be used in compliance with a specific instrument's tolerance at that "latitude."
  17. It is standard symbolism for indicating the "natural" octave harmonic. Every string has natural harmonics at every "integer fraction of the length of the string. That is at 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6 of the string length from the nut (and from the bridge). The 1/2 (octave) harmonic is generally the strongest; the 1/3 (fifth) is next. In my experience, better violins are more likely to be able to create harmonics for quite a large numbner of those "fractions." You will usually see violinists shoot their left hands way up the fingerboard to hit some of the higher harmonics (above the octave harmonic) but they are all accessible below the octave as well. There are also fingered harmonics that are played by having the 1st finger stopping the string and the 4th finger just gently touching it (in tune, of course).
  18. I started using an AcoustaGrip shoulder rest a few years ago for violin playing. It sticks to the back of the violin by micro-suction ans is easily placed and removed, no clips or rubber bands. Its foam conforms to one's shoulder (etc.) shape. I find more and more players in my orchestra using this. On viola (thicker instrument) I sometimes use a GelRest Micro (or nothing at all).
  19. I have found it is possible to change a viola's sound quite a lot by choosing just the right string combination. My two violas are totally different in sound and optimal string combinations - and bow choice. Also I wonder why people equate arm length (and hand size) for playing string instruments with height. My tallest height was 6 feet and I have long arms (my elbows reach my waist when I was that height - now in my 85th year the reach my hips), my violin playing granddaughter finally made it to about 5'4" but when were doing her lessons we had a "game" where we would compare the lengths of our left arms, by sticking our finger tips into the other's armpits. By the time she reached that height we could touch each other's armpits. I know violinist almost 6-1/2 feet tall with smaller hands and shorter arm.
  20. My violas are both 16". If you arms are long enough to play that size it fits very well with your violin experience because the arm extension AND the finger separations for 3rd position are the same as 1st position on violin and the other positions follow those proportions. I have not played other violas than mine - except over a decade ago I did play a Jay Haide at Ifshin Violins and thought it was a very good viola. One of our local "ringers" has actually chosen a Jay-Haide violin and viola as his performance instruments.
  21. Joachim and Kaufman are both flat chinrest models. I think the Joachim is a bit shorter (lower) if that is also what you want. Concord Music sells both models, perhaps other dealers do too. If you want a little rise (like the "original STUBER" model made in Germany up to about 50 years ago)* you can add a "The IMPRESSIONIST" to the top of the flat chinrest and fashion it to exactly what you want - and if at first you don't succeed you can just reheat it and try again. And if the IMPRESSIONIST** has too much material for your use, you can cut off just enough and use that. And if you change your mind you can just remove the Impressionist and no harm done. Been there, done that - except my IMPRESSIONIST halves are still on 2 violin and 2 viola chinrests, but I did remove them and reshape them more than once to get the perfect fit for me.. * Because one can no longer buy those chinrests except tailor-made from UK for about $160, which I did once years ago (when they were $100) and almost did again earlier this year.. **The IMPRESSIONIST is pretty amazing stuff if you are having trouble getting exactly the chinrest fit to your "chin" that you want.
  22. Is it not possible to fit a new screw into the old cap and thus get a perfect match of screw and eyelet? Would this decrease the value of the bow any more than replacing just the eyelet?
  23. 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. https://newt.phys.unsw.edu.au/jw/violinarticulation.html 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.