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  1. Do the arts deserve funding? Without getting too deep into very complicated current events, public and private funding ( of the arts ) is good, right? In the past week, I overheard the word, "Entitlement" attached to performance arts over a dozen times. The term was used in response to many arts groups asking for operational funds. From what I understand, the amounts are relatively small. I currently take in zero dollars from any arts focused non- profit. It's been that way for at least ten years and being somewhat careful, I believe that to be true. My time "working" in that sector, is donated. Nope, have not paid Union Dues, for years. This is not a boast. I would like for this to be a legitimate, non- self interested question. There are no direct interests. There might be an indirect benefit, but I care less and less how operations are run. Besides, the graduating kids are far better technical players these days. Cooking might be of more interest these days. I remember playing ( "serenading" ) in an Italian restaurant during college. Two hours of solo violin work is difficult. The pay was virtually nothing, but the eggplant was good. Medically, or scientifically, our lives - for many of us, anyway - is a bit on hold. Priorities should be set, but... I really need a road trip out to the desert.
  2. first person monkey Could not resist. The generic term "Brazilwood" is too literally, wood from Brazil, though it might not have been from Brazil. Not very specific, though better more learned players and dealers have started to be much more specific. For a length of time better bows were divided into Pernambuco and Brazilwood, for perhaps the ease of the consumer to discern in quality? Tons of information on Ipe online. I first learned about it from a guitar maker who was experimenting with the material. He was actually making decorative corporate furniture ( for their headquarters, ) but decided to start using the scraps. There is an interesting variety at some woodworking stores. I have used it without much success and apologize for the vagueness. Of the dozen sticks, most of the pieces have been heavy and depending on the orientation, a little over damped. I have experimented on a potential electric bass neck...
  3. The frog appears to be cut in a bit but the proportions are always relative until seeing it from all angles. It was nice, that the photographer rotated the button to expose the pins. It is an interesting bow. Yes, I gazed at the frog for a bit. I have thought a bit about a few bows including this particular auction, but because I will not attend the auction will most likely not participate. Not sure you if you were just curious, but the frog was secondary to the profile of the head. If it were a serious bid, I would have transferred the image of the frog into software. I have played an Ivory frog that was cut in deeper, so do not find this one extraordinary. Always want to try the sticks first, but the profile of the head appears to be a composite of some French makers I like. But the overall facets looks a bit too much like a production bow. But with this frog? Might be reading too much into it. Sometimes a bit of chatter in the cut sways an opinion. Can not pass judgement without actually picking up the bow. Would like to see how narrow the slide appears in the form. If the frog were a bit more square, taller, might have had a friend stop by... The bow is starting to get pricey.
  4. So given any ideal, there are those who like object to be broken down to it's simple elements. One argument, however absurd or extreme, is that the development of the string quartet bridges between the keyboard, a Harpsichord a fortepiano a pianoforte, and the vocal four part of soprano, alto, tenor and bass. The extremes of the ranges being very expressive, if desired, and clinical, if desired. Beethoven, Mozart, likely started on bowed stringed ( can not remember about FJ Haydn... update: wiki tells me that a singer first then violin and keyboard ) that keyboards were essentials in their development of their compositions, which given many of us compose/ work at keyboards, that SQs had to have been "heard" as keyboard voicings. If we were to bias towards the keyboard sound, that a more uniform SQ made sense. Thus from that intellectual juncture, we might hear and play all the composers to Brahms. I would love to play the Brahms Piano Quintet with uniform instruments. It was re- written... It could have been two pianos, with perhaps Clara Schumann? What glory. More uniform instruments also implies more uniform playing, if the goal were to achieve two equals. So Maestro Darnton's observations of the Hutchin's Octet lack of interest is how I see it. Too homogeneous a characteristic may not be as much of an interest when other possibilities are far more interesting. From an academic point of view or as part of a day dream, the single maker quartet... hell, why not an orchestra, is important. There are plenty of us who would love to ( additionally work for free to ) "advance" bowed instrument literature. But composers will not invest time into a project unless there is good wood.
  5. Obviously this has been mentioned before, but guitar construction and bowed instrument construction is a little different. I play some archtop guitars that have graduations, but most of the other acoustics are fairly uniform in thickness. Without soundposts, there is an array of bassbars, bracings, glued to the tops. Guitars are plucked and the sonic decay, for some instruments is their characteristic and personality. Aside from effects and pizzicato, most bows create a sustained sound. Understanding the properties of wood makes sense. For the guitarmaker, finding the most resonant wood made sense. Bell like tone was perhaps desired. Whether we float or tap or measure any numbers of un- carved pieces, the desire is to make a nice instrument. Indicators, insights, guidance, helps. There are several bowmakers I know who do live and die by their Lucky meters ( this is what we call them, not to be intended as a disrespectful joke ) but again, it indicates to them some data that allows a bit more confidence in the process of creation.
  6. This is one dilemma. Given the outlines of some historic Strads vs DGs it could be more difficult to tell the difference. But given a solid lesson or two, and the visual memory that's required for some ( especially for those in the business, ) to keep track of corners and f- holes. Pinch the corners of your violin... Strad or DG? Some do want to be educated before a purchase. Moms tend to use ears, Dads, their eyes. Huge, horrible generalizations... But for the mom, wherever in the house and listening to years of practice, might notice somethings more than the father. At one shop, the mom to dad ratio when visiting the shop was likely 8 to 1. When the instruments get expensive, the who family will visit at least once to see what the experience is about. Moms remember the order of which instruments were played, while many dads struggle. Not a dig at dads...
  7. Not that we need to discuss anything in tech, but the control systems were the rage about twenty- five years ago pre- internet explosion. The subject can be off putting to old timers. A stiff, well behaved piece of wood is pretty cool. I would love to purchase any if they are available. But there are questions. And I read your posts intently. Why are older instruments the way they are? I tend to like European wood, no matter how new, over American. Given similar behaviours, those are my preferences. Lately, my limited experience is with older Pernambuco. Just recently started ( like two years ago ) a bow( s ) where I mounted a frog before the bow was cambered and fully faceted. Just listening to tonal characteristics. Trying to reverse engineer some answers? The bow that behaves better, sounds better. They are like long cello bows but feel like tree trunks. But they sound different. Yes, all three are from an unremarkable plank. There are the master makers that can make winners from milk cartons or wet rags. They have their approach. Sometimes the myth is around the genius, while others is in their flexibility. I once got a Mr Spock eye brow lift from a maker when I observed an "anomoly" in their graduation in mixed company. Despite marking me a "dumass" in utter silence in front of those in the know, it made it clear that he understood the wood better than I did the whole instrument. I like ring, but control can also be valuable.
  8. It is. I sit in a room with over 20 pairs of loudspeakers. I just had lunch of tomatoes, mozarella, OO, herbs and vodka shots with a friend who brought the vodka. Though it obliterated the food, the vodka was satisfying. It's been a very tough year. A year where kids virtually lost a full ( two? ) year of close instruction. Some of the performances attended were ghostly shells of abstractions of what was taught in the 1970s. Some did well. Most appeared a but lost, distant. So it goes. The room has four sets of 7.2 theatre systems from around the world, not Japan or America as there are plenty to hear locally. My 5th, an Italian set are in split up in storage as there is no longer a center channel. The whole home theatre system is very strange when the center ( dialog ) speaker is afforded the most information. In another room, there are a few guitar and bass cabinets with papers cone speakers. Depending on the crossover points, speakers in High- Fidelity systems try to "behave" within their frequency ranges. In a piston- like motion or with primary break up points are known nodes. Electric guitar speakers and some electric bass speakers operate full range. 12" speakers should theoretically not behave very well in the upper octaves. Actually, they do not operate "accurately" above the 12th fret high e- string. It's mostly chaos, really. Add distortion, or not. Let the speaker add distortion. Cone "break up" theoretically is the golden fleece of guitar sound. It did not occur unless the amplifier is turned up to an ungodly, profoundly level. The unique distortion produced from the structural breakup of the cone created hot and live artifacts which were distortions, apart from overdriven tubes or distorting amplifiers. Pinholes, putty, sub- structures, were used to try to control the chaos. The top experiences "breakup." The Strad 3D, however esoteric is fun. My second copy has not been returned. I have lent out three copies of the Henley never to be returned. An angel in a dream whispered that I did not need them. Just because I act relaxed does not mean that you can have my stuff. I listen to tap tones, even measure them, but given an input the low frequencies are of more interest. As for speaker drivers, the interested is in the low frequency output of given a form. The closest we can get a <25mm speaker to produce lower frequencies, in somewhat a linear fashion, phones, pads and laptops sound better. Bookshelf speakers are about the only things people are buying. Full range? It's like burning harpsichords.
  9. We spray paint a large florescent "X" on the sides of the horses, when we think the tails are worth cutting.
  10. It is a busy time of year for some. Helped some kids move out this weekend; they asked an old guy assuming that I'd offer to buy lunch. There will be responses to your post. Shunyata, you've accomplished more than I have over the past year. These are the sweet observations that we develop and think through hopefully carefully and luxuriously and might quash over time. As for personal rehairs, being lazy, braided hair gets played. But generally hair is prep a day before installation. The slowish way I work, I can work on distribution and more equal tension of the install. I generally hold my breath when squeezing in the spreader wedge. I have taken a few lessons on rehairs later in life and more than a few have said the work is fine, that it is unlikely that I could make a living off this limited skill set. This is a luxury that some shops do not have. As individuals, we have that luxury. Actually, there's some tied and prepped hair hanging from the a light that's been there for 2 years that was to go on a Coda. The experiment was to go with a very thin ribbon. But there was not an opportunity to play the bow and sort of gave up. Keep experimenting. If it's not for outside consumption, it can be installed upside down, half up half down, spiraled. Try installing hair on one half and the other. Pay attention to how the bow collapses under load. Keep notes. I generally do working with metal, but not so much with instruments, which has been a mistake. It is when the interaction develops with others that the more reassuring data is collected. Also, here's the time to test rosins and parse observations, some about wear and the evaluation of hair quality.
  11. Hearing these matched instrument realizations is definitely interesting. Not sure what opinions to form at the retail, performer level. But certainly, your questions are important. Lest we forget Professor Hutchins, the String Quartet has become a standard literature. Emerson SQ is perhaps the group that might be the most familiar. Mr Drucker, Mr Setzer do sound different and their approaches, phrasing, lines are identifiable and different in the recordings. I heard the ensemble live with Mr Finckel. Had not heard the newest ensemble in a smaller hall. Mostly matching instruments. I grew up with the older recordings of the Budapest and LPs of anything that was available. Tower records was the portal to hearing new ( actually old recordings, some historic, that were new to me ) performances. I would have my parents order me recordings and they would arrive, occasionally, broken. Reading record reviews offered some insights into how to spend my money. Being young, and naive, given to choices in performances of a specific piece, I chose the one that was shorter ( faster. ) So the Emerson were the newer generation past the Lindseys and the Amadeus. When CD releases became available, there were Tower stores opening all over the place which might have lead to their demise? Alban Berg SQ and Takacs were also of interest but there were no guarantees that they would play something educational live. Certainly, Beethoven, Haydn or Mozart would be on the program but Schubert, Dvorak, Ravel or Debussy? Emerson did play interesting programs. Sequoia SQ and Kronos were very educational. The later Emerson was nearly entirely matched, If not mistaken. The rest were on different instruments. Even if an individual player is in residence, how much of a financial risk would one take to please others? I also know of faculty who would rather play their personal instrument over anything the schools foundation's have in a vault. Cue up the OP. Hearing Quartets in competition is exciting to me. I know of the sacrifices the players make and the ordeals they go through to find the best instruments to achieve their goals. The artistic choices are interesting. Some stress colors or dynamics, while there are groups that excel in technical nuances. I have to say that in my travels that better older instruments tend to offer both, in much broader ways. I think the Pacifica SQ play one of the oldest cellos out there. They have sounded wonderful to me. My thoughts are that when players are forced to compliment to other parts, voices, that there is a more interesting effect produced out of that reach- extension. And complimenting does not always mean matching. Then for awhile, I obsessed about Danish SQ. As the new vanguard, they were the most satisfying to hear and experience. Pirazzi, Spiracore, Larsen according to a Strings article dated 2015. Low risk, they played wonderfully, that which is a string quartet. As for similarities, I did try making a Jay Haida and a Scott Cao SQs. When a nearby music program purchased an assortment of the instruments, we tried the different flavors. Being new, less than a year old, and midrange in the pricing, the tonal range was narrower. Some were better combinations. It was fun but after an hour or so, the finger pointing started. I was going to go back and record the instruments but never did. Patterns aside, the assumption is that the woods were similar as were the varnishes. We all played our personal bows. For my own playing, depending on the literature, the ensemble is built around the 1st violin. 2nd violins fuller or deeper g- string but slightly pronounced d- a- is better. E- should be sweet. Viola will mostly need to be heard. I play the largest viola I can handle that is punchy and tilted upwards. Can easily be the 3rd violin in Pachelbel. Cellos need to be gutsy for chamber? The 1st violinist can always get away with what they own. For the limited concertos there are for viola that people will pay to hear, can be performed with this tonal quality but think Yuir Bashmet more than Ms Kashkashian or Ms Kavafian. What does a viola sound like? As much as I love Primrose, the performances are still polarizing for some. Walter Trampler is who I grew up with, so the thought of dropping in to play in some Mozart Quintets was always how I heard it in my head. SO should a maker be forced to produce a Brescian copy in the midst of the Cremonese and Venician models - sorry there is a Peter of Venice in there somewhere? Why not more northern? You are asking the questions I have. Some music is decaying in the sense that though I appreciate and massage and develop it, some works are no longer vital for others. The expressions of Haydn Op33, however lovely, may not be as urgent, or necessary. I have played with young players from great schools and they are, as in the past, often absent from the very past they are playing. They do not enjoy it, as ripples, outside of the time domain, in the room or the crafted food that are enjoyed after playing. It is much more a conquest.
  12. Well, like any change in the flow of the stream, there will be disruptions. There is at least one violinmaker who ventured into other industries. I origami'd a corrugated plastic shipping case for violins for international shipping. Dressed them in thin Birch ply. The materials were locally being recycled, thus available, and with extruded plastic cylinders in the corners and around the neck, middle bouts, these boxes easily withstood hundreds of pounds of dynamic loads. I thought about throwing one out the window of a minivan, as a test, but the freeway ended before it hit 60mph.
  13. ??? The commitment required to produce a quartet is daunting. A project like this could put me in bankruptcy as well as some serious effort into the dumpster. This might be a simple and innocent question, but perhaps should be phrased in the form of a fantasy sports team. What instruments would be on the design table? This is also the dilemma of competitions. If investors were to donate funds to allow the "top" twenty makers in the world to produce what they thought would be the best quartets for past literature as well as future literature? Many current makers are bound by historical and contextual restrictions that might limited choices. There are those who submit with no intent of winning, and those instruments must still be judged. My question to you: if you were to put a quartet together of any instruments and performers together, what instruments and players would be the ultimate combination? As a performer, always thought that a brothers Amati ( or Amati family ) quartet would be notably interesting. Their abilities are underappreciated. Would the quartet be designed for composers in the future or is the quartet for players to perform decaying music?
  14. Your point is understood. Many of the posts are thought out, in that rationalized suggestions are offered. I have not tried the newest strings that are marketed, so was hoping to hear the latest feedback. I can try the strings at home, but unless it's possible to get to a larger space, it's not a complete test. Have been playing more outdoors. My playing is horrible. The OP lays out a request, a string that is "highly responsive." Knowing nothing of the instrument/ set up/ player, many of us are at a loss. Guarneri, heavier plates? Not the Warchal Brilliants but the Alliance Vivace with a tighter Pirastro e- string. Some clues. Does immediacy = highly responsive? Many of us would like to examine the post, why not? the whole set up. I have a guess as what Maestro Morel would do. But if we are to only change strings... One suggested higher tension while I might suggest actually slightly lower tension, overall for an older instrument. But this being a newer instrument, we will assume the graduations are good. I have a mental sonic signature of DGs as I prefer them. A- and d- strings can be more complex but also a bit muted when playing them since the g- can be perceived as being stronger. Is note to note clarity what is desired, or a sharper attack? Or a general dynamic responsiveness where crescendos build rapidly? From a classroom standpoint, we should be able to achieve all these qualities through better playing, homes and gardens. The initial string swaps will start with the e- string then the g- string. The ubiquitous 2+2 set that cello stores offer can also be considered. For violas, it's often the 3+1. Who knows what would have happened if there were DG "Howitzere?" cello. With thicker islands or stronger bassbars, a higher tension g-string can make lower volume response better to offset a stronger e- string. Activation can sound out to be faster, but there will be tonal consequences. Because Dominants are the most familiar, I tend to test the thicker g- string hypothesis with a Dominant set before venturing on to the more expensive sets. I think a thick Pirazzi was a no, while on a viola, the thicker Obligato c- was ok. Not familiar with any Stark Pi sets. Not quite as drastic as a wrapped vs plain gut g- string, but it's noticeable. At one point, someone gave me a Hill e- string to use to approximate what a 1st violinist was playing and I went to a Stark g- for the duration. Perhaps not the most pleasant tonal balance, but against ( or more politely with ) a piano/ pianist the instrument cut through better at lower volumes. Pianiassimos, pianissimi? are understood by the audience. But plain piano and mezzopiano dynamics can be difficult manage for long lengths of time. That's when the contour of dynamics makes it more interesting for the listener, even if it's barely meant to be heard. But the dilemma is one that requires one to work harder to make the instrument "sound" more responsive. Counter intuitive? It requires more work, but for my playing, it was in that physically comfortable range of playing. making the faster bow and bite sound "more responsive." It's a cheat/ a hack. Like planing highly figured ribs into the last mms, having a very sharp blade in a reasonably set up plane is great, but the work still has to be decisive. In addition, a softer smoother sounding instrument might require medium light strings. The bow, bow hand should be supple. But the instrument won't get the major peaks. Had to play some Debussy piano duos on a program and the med-lighter strings were good with a lighter mute. It's funny, if you are playing a softer rosin, try switching back to Bernardel. Be sure to wipe the strings.
  15. Though I own many of the important bow books that are read, am NOT entirely sure of the eras or the periods of availability when certain metals, materials, were developed and deployed. I have hung out with a collector of artifacts from American silversmiths. Except for the bits they might have engraved, the passive absorption of information does not help much with bows. I am in search of sterling fret wire, though. I have yet to play a carbon Bazin or a Snakewood Richaume. Certainly by the 20th century, gold was being used by bowmakers. As a child, before the intricacies of collecting developed, older bows retrofit with gold parts became an "in" thing. I recall seeing them, and though way too big to play then, thought how impressive a gold mounted bow would look on stage. And the dilemma of a great playing stick is that it will get played. And worn. I am not a purist when it comes to fine tools so will take a bow spliced or inlaid, displaced, feathered ten ways if the stick behaves. So some of the bows of the historic past in great condition now, were likely bows that were not enjoyed. For various reasons. Life is full of twists and turns.
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