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Everything posted by matesic

  1. That sentence is unchallengeably correct but begs a hundred questions at a more fundamental level. I'd like to see if AI could learn a task that many humans find pretty easy, for example identifying the three notes of a triad simultaneously played on piano or by strings. Not so easy when you only have the mixed Fourier spectrum to look at. Looking at the biological responses of cochlear hair cells and neurons in the brain, we really don't have much idea how humans do it and AI, even if successful, probably wouldn't enlighten us. The leap from that to such exquisite discriminations as between a plain violin and a "great" one is cosmological.
  2. Violin, viola, bows, I've had them all from Yita. Their T19 17" viola I like a lot and still play quite frequently with their "snakewood" bow. The T20(?) violin was fine for the money but doesn't do much for me sound-wise so now lives in its case. I've never had it set up so maybe it needs another chance. Yita's Sartory copy violin bow I use regularly when I'm going more for tone than agility. Their service was great (delivery to the UK usually in a matter of days rather than weeks) and I've no complaints about the quality of construction or finish, but the viola certainly needed a deal of setting up. I guess noses would be turned up in a conservatory but I knew several violists and cellists in my (rather good) community orchestra who had a similarly satisfactory experience.
  3. Only women need handbags on the platform. Men should carry their spare strings, bow ties, correct spectacles, inhalers, phones, bubble gum etc in their pockets
  4. Only women are allowed handbags on the platform When the oboe gives the A, try not to drown it with your concerto Try to look like you're enjoying the music Try to keep up with the soloist Wait for the chorus to catch up Try to figure out if the conductor is giving the beat or an impression of what he wants to hear later
  5. I'm no expert but it looks remarkably like a violin I once had labelled Jan Basta in Schoenbach, although the f-holes of yours are cut more in the Guarneri style. Mine raised about £100.
  6. The record companies are getting desperate. Never mind the music, hear the money!
  7. ..now with 29 co-authors - can't be wrong!
  8. Does every artifact have a right to exist for ever? Should superfluous violins all be hung on walls like hunting trophies, or just quietly burned or buried out of the public eye? Should they have been created in the first place? Intentionally or not, the "artist" has absolutely succeeded in provoking controversy and debate about a superficially trivial issue that does have implications for the present human and global condition (smiley face deleted).
  9. I wonder if the authors asked the luthiers' advice before designing the study, and whether any of the latter (or present company) thought it misconceived and that resources might have been better deployed elsewhere?
  10. Here's another dollop of my wisdom, FWIW. It's not how the violin sounds that matters (what James Beament would call its inherent "timbre") but how you can make it sound - in Beament's lexicon the "tone" in which the contributions due to the instrument, the bow and the player are hard if not impossible to evaluate independently. The combination that sounds best is also influenced to a considerable degree by the particular demands of the music. I regularly play on 3 instruments using either of 2 bows. One instrument I prefer for its timbre and ease of playing, another for its strength and depth, so I'll use it for different pieces. On the easiest instrument I prefer one bow for slow romantic music (using it I can extract greater strength and depth), the other bow for music requiring greater agility. In technically demanding music I'm unsure which violin/bow combination would work best but I'd start by changing the player. I take Rue's point that beginners may be satisfied with an instrument that an expert would reject, and that personal taste varies inexplicably. But there's still that elusive wow factor that some violins possess, most players and listeners perceive and is the reason we all blow so much hot air on this site. Edit - and there's also the acoustic (lack of) that causes some otherwise impressive violins to "die"!
  11. I agree with most of the above but confess to being a hobby repairer myself, although only of violins that are clearly cheaply made, have only superficial damage and cost next to nothing - violins that you'd never find in a dealer's shop and certainly not worth the expense of professional restoration. After first thinking every hulk deserves a hearing I'll usually go through a "well, that's not too bad" phase, but ultimately out of a dozen or two there hasn't been one I ever want to play again. I'd say their tonal shortcomings fall into three main categories: 1. dull and lifeless. These I often think might sound decent if I just worked a bit harder on the vibrato, but eventually decide it isn't worth the effort. 2. nasal and shrieky, seems to apply most often to violins with steep arching. 3. boomy and unfocused, maybe more often applicable to violas. That's just the initial impression. I try not to pass judgement until I've had sufficient time to discover how well they play (how well I can get them to play) in various sorts of music. Some of the borderline cases may perform acceptably in slow lyrical stuff but become nigh on impossible to get to speak in faster or more complex music. I initially thought it might help me come to some objective judgement to record myself and see how each fiddle sounds in playback, but that way it actually becomes much harder to tell the difference. I can easily understand why audiences are less discriminating than players. And not just the old junk - the same applies to most modern mass-produced stuff and a large proportion of the amateur-made British violins of the last century that I've got to try out in auction houses. It's these that I most wonder about - are they truly beyond help or is it just a matter of setup and the right strings?
  12. Is there no such thing as a bad violin? Maybe I'm deluding myself, but as long as a violin has all its bits in more or less the right places I think I can tell quite quickly whether it's redeemable or not. A number that I bought unheard still sounded awful after a considerable amount of tweaking. Maybe others' criteria are different from mine, but in my experience there's pretty good agreement amongst players as to what qualities we're looking for.
  13. I finally got around to watching the video. Forget the title added by the SCMP - surely it's a promo made in Cremona!
  14. I remember one occasion when a fine young fiddler performed the Barber concerto (or was it Korngold?) with our orchestra using a Klotz. Even before learning that my immediate thought on hearing her was "needs a better violin".
  15. I doubt any luthier ever called it a "nice" bow. I should definitely get one for my "chairlo" (built around a chair leg).
  16. I've never seen classical violin played that way, maybe because the top and bottom strings aren't so equal in status. It makes me wonder (again..) how many lefties are put off the violin through being forced to bow with their right arms. You usually hear the argument that it doesn't matter because both arms are equally important, but I say it's the "executive" arm that naturally calls the shots and it's the bow arm that determines when the music starts. Someone should conduct a survey to find out how many good players (of right-handed instruments, the right-handed way) are naturally left-handed and to what degree. Fewer than in the overall population I'd guess.
  17. I can see why their free-thinking personalities may not be suited to long-term orchestral membership. Even for those who stick it out, isn't there a 10,000 hour rule after which time you've lost any passion for music you may once have had?
  18. Real men don't sing. I'm the only man I know who does, apart from my Japanese friend who introduced me to karaoke. I don't count droning with a guitar.
  19. Great stuff that I'll enjoy reading. Having (as you do) topped and tailed it, my first caveat concerns the repeated references to "fascist Cremona", as if Mussolini's regime ("fascism" = "bad", OK?) had infected the town itself. Maybe that's not the impression the author intends to convey and just reflects my own indoctrination, but also I think revealing his bias is the unqualified assertion (last page) that "Many tests ... have shown that new violins are preferred by both musicians and the public".
  20. A few years ago I bought this one (sight unseen) from an auction house that neglected to mention that in the past it had undergone violent decapitation. At £40 plus commission I didn't feel cheated, but it didn't play well. A year or so later I sold it via a different auction house that also somehow failed to mention the decapitation. Overall I just about broke even.
  21. I've never known anyone who did this, but that's what they said about Dick Fosbury. Looking at my strings I don't see any obvious sign of rosin build-up. And as you know it's at the other end where the most wear occurs, although Dominants don't seem to be as prone to unwinding as they used to be.
  22. I don't think I've ever heard an orchestra play several rungs higher than outstanding. I'm prepared to believe they may have perked up a bit when "sir" appeared. Fear will have that effect
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