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Everything posted by Quadibloc

  1. In general, I have not been interested in claims that the design of violins would be improved by anything that smacks of numerology or mysticism. But the image that began this thread does seem to make a convincing case that the standard violin design was based on a logarithmic spiral derived from the Golden Ratio.
  2. I was curious, so I Googled. An early result revealed that he currently plays an instrument by Christopher Dungey, after having played a 1720 Montagnana and a 1673 Stradivarius - the result being his Wikipedia article.
  3. In case anyone here has not noticed this news article yet, I've supplied a link.
  4. In addition to being from Canada, which converted to metric shortly after Pierre Trudeau was elected, despite the U.S. being overwhelmingly our main trade partner, I have an M. Sc. in Physics, and so I would be very familiar with the metric system in any event. I am glad that my response turned out to be helpful - and that you have a playable violin.
  5. Quadibloc

    Free Pianos

    It is true because people find it hard to afford living space, free pianos are out there. But usually they're not 19th century antiques, so I doubt you'll find real ivory on the keys of one.
  6. The total length of the violin, if it is 494 mm, would not make it that small. The body is more than half the total length, and so it would be a 1/8 size violin or larger. However, the total length is also given as 11 1/2", which is less than 300 mm. So if the metric size is a typo for 294 mm, then, yes, a violin with a body length smaller than 200 mm is indeed very small, less than 1/32. However, given that a six-year-old child is less than half as tall as an adult, it may well be that someone would have felt that such a small violin was the right size for such a child, even if the convention today is to use one that is larger. Had the length been 194 mm instead, I'd agree that it was virtually certain that it was intended for a doll or otherwise to be looked at but not played.
  7. But she can still be acclaimed, if at least one person recognized that she was very good, and then said so in public.
  8. And, indeed, this is not a typo. While Katia Bunatishvili plays the piano, Lisa Batiashvili plays the violin. And here they are, doing just that. As for Yuja Wang, while she seems to be very talented to me, I have seen some criticism of at least one of her performances: some feel that her attempt at a homage to Art Tatum was inadequate.
  9. And just to prove that there are very many famous women playing the piano, from Katia Buniatishvili's small homeland comes another acclaimed pianist, Nino Gvetadze:
  10. And here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFRFgRm1BYE is a duet between Katia Buniatishvili and Yuja Wang. Small world, isn't it?
  11. I don't follow classical music all that much, so, for example, I hadn't heard of Khatia Buniatishvili. I mean, I had heard of Nona Gaprindashvili and Maya Chiburdanidze, and more recently, of a certain Ms. Paikidze in the United States... not that any of them played the piano, as far as I know.
  12. Burning fossil fuels is a bad thing, and disposing of plastics into landfills creates its own problems. But making articles for permanent use out of plastic doesn't seem to me to be any more problematic than the use of stone or granite. Thus, plastic chess pieces mean we can do without elephant ivory. And of course there's the tagua nut where a closer resemblance is sought.
  13. Maybe this is the news item to which he is referring: https://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/sounds-of-the-future-ottawa-symphony-tries-out-plastic-3d-printed-violins-1.4161834
  14. To me, 007 sounded like a normal violin, while 006 sounded like a violin being played as a fiddle... and with something (i.e. a resonant peak or two) missing. (Since, as you later noted, both recordings were made with the carbon back, maybe this was just due to one effect of the carbon back being less apparent with different musical material. It's interesting my preference was the reverse of that of the others.) From first principles, I would expect a carbon back not to make too much of a difference; successful carbon fiber violins have been made, and the back is a less critical part of the violin than the belly.
  15. You could be moved to playing the viola, but that's usually regarded as a demotion.
  16. I am glad to hear that I was under a misconception about what a "historically informed performance" entails. This is not only more authentic, but more musically valid - therefore strengthening the role of that kind of performance in addition to updated performances.
  17. While that may be true, this can confuse people by confounding two different meanings of the word "romantic". Given that jazz, which often employs popular songs from Tin Pan Alley, as its source material, is generally regarded as a valid musical art form, taking the notes of Baroque composers, and interpreting them as though additiional performance instructions, such as a Romantic composer would provide, were present can't be categorically condemned. If you go back far enough before Bach, you will encounter a time when it was not the general practice to give detailed performance instructions, but performances at the time did still include contrasts of tempo and loudness as the perfomer found appropriate. So playing only what is written at least in that case is even inauthentic. And, of course, the older musical instruments got replaced by the ones we use today partly because they were perceived in their day to have limitations that people struggled to overcome. But while taking the music of the past and giving it a form suited to the present day is legitimate, so is trying to hear it as it originally was. Indeed, I would even go so far as to say that the two modes of performance are interdependent. Going back to the source as a reference is needed to ensure that performances of an old tune for the present don't use, as their starting point, the old tune as brought up to date for the recent past - from a version updated to the slightly less recent past. Having updated performances helps confirm that a particular tune is of interest, and worth the effort to play as it once was heard. So both approaches, I think, play a very valuable role, even if one may prefer to listen to performances of one or the other kind.
  18. The post that said that postmen would not be able to whistle it didn't seem to draw any conclusions from that as to how good it was. But given that the works of Schoenberg were atonal, composed by means of the 12-tone system, it is not surprising that, for those who believed that the harmonic relationships between notes were the very heart of music, atonal music was... a practical joke in poor taste, or worse. Of course, if one actually listens to some of Schoenberg's compositions, one will discover that they're not that bad at all. Which goes to show that rhythm and tone color are also very important to music, important enough that music can actually survive without harmony and counterpoint.
  19. That is hardly true, even if one's definition of "real music" is a fairly narrow one. As we've just learned, there was Joachim Raff in addition to Johannes Brahms, who both continued the classical tradition with less radical change than Wagner introduced. In addition to Debussy, one might cite Gustav Holst, Edward Elgar, and Alan Hovanhess. But my definition of music is rather broader... so for me, what Scott Joplin wrote was genuinely musical - and then there's George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers... as music is a human universal, one should not be surprised that it hasn't come to a stop. Even if it is hard for me to connect to some of the very latest musical trends, such as rap music or the liberal use of autotune.
  20. Ah. I had thought that the web site did do a pretty good job of going into some depth on it: what my summary missed was that Brahms was the darling of those who wanted Classical music to stay firmly within the tradition that went from Bach to Beethoven, and Wagner was the darling of those who wanted progress and change. Raff, as a composer who remained largely within the tradition, but still changed somewhat with the times, didn't quite endear himself to either faction. Worse yet, even if he is terribly underrated, according to that web site, though touched with genius, he was not fully the equal of either Brahms or Wagner, which prevented his music from creating a new faction. Today, though, having seen Wagner have Schoenberg come after him, at least after having Leonard Bernstein explain it to us, we know Wagner's approach is a dead end, and enough time has passed since Brahms that we expect today's composers to still be new and different in some way. So I suspect that today we see Raff as having taken the right course - and some composers on that road are recognized; Debussy comes to mind. One thing one might perhaps find from a more in-depth view was whether Raff had a Salieri who helped to push him into obscurity; but one suspects that one can't really do anything to make a composer become forgotten; anything one does would only call attention to him. Even a slighting reference to him as having written Opus 85 No. 3, as though this Cavatina were, of his works, like the Canon of Pachelbel's works. EDIT: Upon further reflection, a possible suspect has occurred to me as having supplied an active push to banish Joachim Raff to obscurity. Copyright law! Remember, for several decades after his death, an orchestra would have to pay for permission to play his works, unlike those of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and so on. Thus, absent a massive and continuing popularity, like that of Brahms and Wagner, it's probably quite easy for a composer who is no longer producing new works to fall into obscurity.
  21. I had to sharpen my Google search to find out it was Joachim Raff you were talking about. A site dedicated to his music states that during his lifetime, he was regarded as one of the foremost composers of the Romantic era! That site has a page which seems to go into detail on the reasons for his current obscurity. He was a prolific composer, and some of his works were lightweight, and apparently critics seized on those to dismiss him. Also, he was viewed as derivative, which I suppose is the fate of any later composer who tries to follow in the Romantic tradition instead of forging new ground in the manner of Wagner or Schoenberg - John Williams, of "Star Wars" fame, has faced the same criticism.
  22. As I noted, I'm not too familiar with his work, so I don't know if it is as bad as some claim. But I researched things a bit, and found that aside from his famous lullaby, he did write at least some accessible music that I had heard and enjoyed: his Hungarian dances. And on the occasion of his first symphony, it's not at all surprising that people were hopeful that a composer had come along who could give them more of what they so much enjoyed with Beethoven. And apparently he did come close. So, indeed, he could hardly have been that bad. But apparently he at least does have the fault that he is not really a Classical composer for people who don't like Classical music.
  23. That's true enough. Remember: I was describing how I felt other people were thinking, rather than my own thoughts. While it is true, though, having been a crusader in a virtuous cause is the sort of thing that makes one a potential target for adulation. If you really like someone, you might also form a more positive opinion of his work. If Beethoven were an author, rather than a composer, the fact that his music was About Something would clearly be significant - it's like comparing Edgar Rice Burroughs to George Orwell. So that, at least, might also matter for music. I will have to admit that my limited acquaintance with classical music doesn't include much of Brahms; hearing why not everyone likes him has not encouraged me to change that. Still: long stretches of boredom, punctuated by moments of exquisite beauty: could he be a moral alternative to war?
  24. One could say that this just shows that Mozart and Beethoven were modest. But it may be also that in the United States - but not Europe - there's a tendency to automatically assume Beethoven is the greatest because of the influence of Leonard Bernstein, or even the Peanuts comic strip. Rather than disputing that point, therefore, the point that I do seriously disagree about is seeing Bach as an ending rather than a beginning. In a way, it does make perfect sense to see Bach as the culmination of the Baroque musical epoch that preceded the Romantic one. But unlike the rest of the Baroque composers (with the possible exception of Pachelbel) he joins the Romantic composers in the "standard repertoire". Yes, he had a rich musical heritage to draw upon. But it certainly appears to me to be both the conventional wisdom, and, as far as I can tell, the truth, that he put the pieces together to give the composers of the Romantic era the musical vocabulary that made their works possible. EDIT: On further reflection, while I'm still not interested in defending the proposition that Beethoven is a greater composer than Bach, the question of why he is considered by many members of the general public, whose knowledge of classical music is often simply that, like broccoli, it is supposed to be good for you, to be the Greatest Composer Who Ever Lived holds some questions of interest. Leonard Bernstein, in his essay on the subject, "Why Beethoven?", gave as his main reason the high degree of polish of Beethoven's works: they went through many revisions, and so each note had a feeling of inevitability. A naive listener might be able to detect this, but I think that simpler reasons can be found. Music teachers in the United States often talk about the "three Bs", Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. Mozart, however, ranks higher in name recognition than Brahms. If one is looking for the Greatest Composer Who Ever Lived... Bach, because he was Baroque, rather than Romantic, is somewhat alien to the man in the street. Much of his music appears to lack emotional content. Mozart has the opposite problem. His music definitely sounds nice. So it can be suspected of being light, fluffy, insubstantial and unpretentious. Beethoven, on the other hand, does not labor under either of those disqualifications for the title. Nobody is going to call his Fifth Symphony light and fluffy - or a cold exercise in mathematics rather than music. Beethoven's music is About Something, and so it is not unpretentious. Pretension isn't a good thing in itself, but competent musical scholars do agree that Beethoven was one of the greatest composers, at least, and so he delivered on his pretensions. And on top of that, in the United States, not only was Beethoven's music About Something, but it was often about The Most Important Thing in the World! The Ninth Symphony was framed around a poem by Schiller. A poem about "freude" - except it was really about "freiheit", but he dared not use that word, and Beethoven knew that. Then there is the story of why Beethoven was planning to dedicate the Eroica to Napoleon, and why he changed his mind. So Beethoven was not just a great composer, he was a hero - a champion of political liberty.
  25. I thought Beethoven had that title pretty much sewed up, with Mozart and Bach contending for second place. With Beethoven having almost the last word, Wagner's few peeps only confirming that Beethoven had gone as far as reasonable.
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