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GoPractice

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  1. On the west coast of the US ( where I have caused some trouble ) it appears many in the business do not care what others think. So must be upfront about my brash opinions. Granted, most European instruments and bows from the forgotten-era came through the East. But in my experience, this comes down to complexity in more expensive ( French ) bows. My thoughts were incomplete. If the bows to be evaluated are without a doubt what they are stamped, or at least the work of related maker, a better shop can give you that information. Many throughout the US are capable of offering opinions. But if something might be special but unsure of origin, then those experts should be pursued. Also, I demonstrated a better, stamped, student "German" bow against a French bow that cost 200x, the other evening and the player sounded better with the "German" bow. So playability is not always the issue when it comes to pricing. It is worth your time to search out a group of experts. Older bows are absolute pain.
  2. I am no one to offer opinions on this. But Mr Swan makes a valuable point, as I read it. Expertise is established and developed by the individual. Not everyone can be an expert on everything. And some experts are willing to offer their expertise, but not at writing papers ( though perhaps Maestro Babbitt does. ) But as opinions are offered freely here, there are those who are valued as experts in their areas of expertise we read what is expressed. What do I know? I value Maestro Dorsey's posts. But I have internally disagreed with some of Maestro Childs' opinions, for example, but his credentials are quite excellent. I own his books and hold is writings in great esteem, but having seen this or that, there are some doubts and some surprises when some owners show me papers. Maestro Jerry has been has been absent for awhile but his low-key assessments that I have heard have been amazing, insightful. You are looking for, perhaps, the best forum for your bows? Are you near NY? Is it work flying to the UK? It is worth going through the archives here and if it too much trouble, one can approach an auction house. For insurance purposes, there are many who are helpful in writing papers for potential increases in value. Not sure, but one of insurance agents wanted evaluations every 5-ish years.
  3. Have explored this in the past when the internet allowed us to share music files somewhat easily. The first Sonata is in G-dorian and opens and closes with some very nice open g-strings. Hardly anyone starts with an out of tune instrument, but they are there and the intensity of the pull of the first of the chord can de-tune the instrument. Nervous micro-tuning backstage does not always help. The Ciaconne ( sic ) opens with stopped strings so we often hear the behaviour of the instrument, clamped by that nervous violinist. Not fair to the instrument. I am joking of course, but that opening phrase is often the biggest technical hurdle, if not emotionally, to start this long journey down a path of exposed roots and jagged rocks. One of my instructors told me that they had performed the work in NYC over fifty times. I guess it was far more popular then. I asked where it was, that he felt more comfortable, that the finish line was felt or visible. He never answered and reminded me that the fingers had to be released as the bow rolled across the strings. I thought seriously about compiling a series of stories of player's relationships with the Bach series ( S&P, Suites ) but was too lazy ( couldn't negotiate an advance from to get that sweet but powerful Voirin ) and too damn unpleasant to get anyone to speak to me. A majority of these lovely and personal recordings of students ( students of Bach ) performing not-on-Strads, not-even-on-Burgessi, are wonderful records of hundreds, if not thousands of hours of work. But because of a variations in recording methods, it was difficult to get great data off these files. There maybe a better way to evaluate the sound, but it did not work for me, as this was the inexpensive way to approach an easier subjective analysis. It would be great to find one hall and one miking method to evaluate instruments. The suggested recording when studying the works in my teens was the Phillips, Grumiaux. These were the days of the LP and I did own several including the Big H and Szeryng - DG, which did make sense to me at the time.
  4. The descriptions are important in context. "You had to be there," was/ is a common refrain. So am curious has it was explained. Resistant. is one I like. Guarded, is another. In front of many people or on the record, there are the more diplomatic words that might be necessary. One might not have had the opportunity to explore an instrument fully, or even had a chance to be acquainted with it, before the questions are asked. There have been instruments that I have wanted to praise, own or dismiss, but the time had run out, did not have the cash or the maker was standing there infront of others whom I did not know. It is awkward, but given a host, determined to show their wares, is still the the Host. At times, I believe that the player's opinion is unreliable as we are hearing the instrument only from one perspective. The Point Of View may not be the correct as those hearing it at a distance find it excellent while the player finds the instrument burdensome. I try to listen to and "feel" the space but as a player, the circumstances can still be unreliable. There was a demo, once, where the maker with setter in hand, made an adjustment and it was as if he performed the Heimlich on the instrument. It was at a store, and to the owner's surprise, it was not set up very well.
  5. The charm in many of these works is in the details. The flutter of a fine bagpiper's ring finger is often a joy and difficult to reproduce. The breaths of the flurry of long and short bows and the gasps of the retake make for a lot of fun when the tempi are not quick nor stable but frantic. SO for cello and viola, the tenor banjo transcriptions have floated about read in treble clef, but in C. The better tunes I have learned have been in bars nursing hand temperature beer as no one transcribes these pieces. Must sit through six rounds of unison melody making. I have sort of refused to write out the melodies as they seem sacred the way they are and learned. I worked with an south asian master and it was also without music, as it was a distraction to what was being taught. Certainly was a different type of mental workout. Mapping out long rhythmic and pitch patterns from memory was completely different from sight- reading. Hearing well played and enjoyed "learned" music is truly wonderful. But style counts, so hearing the chimed hammer dulcimer and working in the thumping of the Bodhran to solo performance is challenging. A simple ditty played well is excellent.
  6. That were made. He was often also a catalyst.
  7. He was great at many levels: playing, teaching, advocating, touring, and encouraging younger players ( any musicians, singers ) to perform. He toured often enough that catching him once a year in a club or hall was possible. It would be interesting to better understand how he acquired instruments. When showing off his latest, he'd just smile and offer up as long as I would be willing to play. They were fine, solid instruments. With him, actions were more important than words and he'd play or show something without much chatter. Byron was easy to like and respect. I do not know anything about his finances but he worked and he made music and supported what he believed in. I truly appreciate the efforts that he made.
  8. I am grateful for Eastman and what they have supplied for the past 20 years and for those who have been associated with the brand, like Potter's. Without knowing your location it is difficult to make concrete suggestions, but this particular price- point is highly competitive, so suggest that you do a wide search if you can. And I give this advice sincerely without hearing that particular instrument. I have switched to virtually playing all post- 1990s instruments and it is amazing how reliable they are. But the earliest of the models are staring to develop cracks at the saddle due mostly to the very low humidity where they are located and others are also changing. Honestly, I have not been to very many shops this past year due to obvious reasons, but there are many fine instruments out there. It also takes a bit of time to coax out the best of the instruments at this price- point so be patient.
  9. I used to French Polish the area just to seal the end grain. On edges, it does not require ( as ) much skill. If someone were to show you how to start the process, it will protect the exposed wood. On flat surfaces, like those of a classical guitar, the application requires a great deal of skill. The layers are very very thin, so if one were to work the edges from time to time, the area will build up. Otherwise, the texture will start to look like antique wood signage from Newfoundland.
  10. Depending on your build the Wittner tailpiece might not match. This might be an exception but with all the extra pieces they include, the company makes a great effort to try and have the chinrest fit the individual. The surface texture is fine, but if one sweats a considerable amount, it can get slippery. I do like the plastic feet as they are thin and tapered and are more comfortable for some students have issues with that area making contact with the skin- bone.
  11. Hi Sheldon, Not to knock on your post but there are a few issues that that need confronting. It is true, at least I believe, that this site is a fantastic place for a vast variety of experts and their knowledge. But I find it awkward to ask for those here to open their database without more information. Are you an amateur or professional? Would it be possible to describe the instrument, the strings, the set up... Of course on your end, being careful of not offering too much information to, perhaps, protect a tech or shop that deal with might also be important. Discretion can be important. Many here are too modest to offer their services. And throwing out names is not too difficult, but there are also other considerations that follow. But your willingness to travel a reasonable distance, here in the United States, seems reasonable. I can say that there are dozens of people willing to take on your cello and there are many who might be too busy. No one wants to turn away work, but that is often a reality. Finally, is this a tonal or a response issue? Sure, it can be both, but often the tried less- expensive solutions are a compromise of sorts and as the projects furthers is way through time it costs a great deal more. Pictures of the bass bar, thicknesses, bridge details will get better responses. Collecting data takes time. Do we need assess two cellos for comparing an contrasting. I have been at that "incurable" stage with several instruments and have had to move on. And I do understand how difficult that can be. Trying to locate the better technical advice, is difficult. Or at least the expertise that puts your mind at ease, that the correct decision will or might be made, on a structural change or sale. In purchasing an instrument, a choice was made that something about the instrument was significant to own, and that is a fair commitment. But I rarely alter an instrument, like graduations or a bassbar... I look for other instruments. With family heirlooms the situation is more complex. Finally to the nuts and bolts... When I think of bravado, one teacher loved Morel. Morel was able to have a solution for everything as that teacher was suspicious of Francais. Morel had a gift that could convince many of anything. He had a solution ( and workers ) who could accomplish most anything. Then there are those a more modest and quiet with an approach to somethings more tangible to some. Guy Rabut ( in NYC ) expanded on what I consider to be to vocalization of tone and the adjustments based on vowel sounds. Deeper vowels, I believe, require more activation and can slow down response. Maestro Kishony? Do you want a freer quality of play if you are working so hard to get that tone? Perhaps more information would help you in your search...
  12. There are few tricks in knowing what to look for, at what price ranges. Because bows can be so different. Of course, one would want to check how straight the bow would be at rest and under tension. Not too much a worry for composite bows, but wood bows do an assortment of things. For less expensive woods, look for imperfections. Small imperfections are expected in most bows, but there are great ones on occasion. The quality of frog, fit and button will make your re- hair person happy. Pernambuco, right? In the past almost every player would want a light, stiff, resonant bow. That seems to be changing... I keep looking... Try to understand your own playing and how one approaches making tone. Does one pull a straight bow? What are your quirks during bow changes? String changes? Knowing how you play and noticing how a bow changes your playing for the better can be be found during a search. How a bow engages is important. Notice up down up bow changes. The other way, down up down, especially in forte work is also telling. Also what the shop rosin might be? Bernardel, Andrea, Pirastro. Play with eyes closed, play with eyes focused on bow. Listen and look for obvious anomalies. Sometimes one has to play past the anomalies to get what they want out of a bow. There are always limitations at every price point. Do not be afraid to ask about weights. You can locate the balance point. If the bow is used, check for possible repairs. Two of my bows have been repaired ( done well ) and were purchased for significantly less than the market price. That was a risk I chose, but knowing the shop, it was a very small risk. Ask about trade- in values. But If you make the effort to look for a bow that you like, you are more likely to keep it, and will have to save up for the next purchase. Recently, I have not looked at inexpensive bows ( not that you are looking for an inexpensive bow ) but the pricing structure seemed to have changed. Check on the groupings. Here on the westcoast, Arcos Brasil bows have been the starting point for inexpensive ( nickel ) and might have mentioned that I purchased a higher- end Arcos bow, not because it was Arcos, but because it was the best bow viola bow for a student preparing for a competition. It ended up being too heavy for a student ( a combination of being slightly bit tip heavy and 2 grams ) but the her prep work with that bow was excellent when she found sounding a bit more tip light. Not sure of the availability of Arcos in your area, but be aware there that they are stamped, and whether they are made by the stamped maker or now, they appeared to be filtered. The tip styles are somewhat uniform by stamp. Some names have spanned a decade. I have at least two Chagas bows viola and cello each, but can not remember which. So this has been useful to me, where I start by asking for the a group of inexpensive pernambuco bows and usually there are several Arcos bows to help set a standard. There are many other popular and independent names. Ask questions about them to develop a better understanding of the market. I did find an Ary France bow recently that was inexpensive but sounded nice. The bow feels softer, so at first the students do not like it, but after awhile, the player stops squeezing and the stick stops bottoming out. Rather, it gets better as the bow speed settles. Keep information of what you liked. Sometimes, take pictures, if the dealer allows. I do not want everyone taking pictures of every bow they try/
  13. Of course you know. The grace note is not so much in question. There is a wobble in the ensemble after the opening. No question the players are world class. Are there degrees of energy and urgency? Gemutlichkeit ( comfort, according to my browser )... I am not old school but certainly grew up in an era, here on the west coast of the US, where listening to records from the Eastern Europe consisted mostly of those from Melodia LPs. Otherwise, Isaac Stern? In the 90s, many new musicians moved to California from Eastern Europe and had an opportunity to play with, and learn from. Not that there was a unified thought on how they played but many had thoughts and experiences. And later having read, I think, David Hurwitz's book, there was a chronological dating of associated composers and works that might have been of interest. Works at the time were what we think of as Romantic- era big sound, minimal vibrato works. The pianos still not as robust. Anyway, that was my reference. Maybe I will change it. I did not know Dvorak. I sense he was a bit more conservative than other composers of the time. If you have better insight, please tell me. When energy or urgency is necessary, there are degrees. Listening to the various recordings of Rostopovich perform the Cello concerto were earth shattering. But Sergiu Luca's violin concerto was something that required concentration because I did not understand it except for its beauty. The Banff competition videos are the ones that I teach from. I also use lecturers from Professor Adolphe but they are a reference. I do need to watch more videos and update my knowledge of what is currently popular. I would love to learn more, but perform Dvorak as I understand it with others. I only fight for what is essential ( in my opinion ) within an ensemble. There are those with bigger visions. And who needs to argue at dinner? Could it also be argued that urgency still requires a bit of love and beauty? A century later, music has evolved so much, that if younger performers want to play this way they can. When my generation deviated from our teachers, our practices changed. We play out of tune on purpose, we rubato, we colour the sound rather than choosing an optimum tone and working within it. When I learned Hindemith's works, one instructor urged for unified tone/ approach. He argued that my lack of harmonic study ( lack of study overall ) of the piece put certain lines and phrases in jeopardy. If they want to drift a bit, that is respected. It is amazing how clear everything sounds these days. With headphones, it sounds as though one is on stage.
  14. Currently, I can hear significant deterioration in my own playing. Ensemble practice is with only one group and distanced performances are few. But I do take my instruments outdoors and to churches and play in their courtyards or alcoves. I still try to learn literature. I do need to re-learn the 3rd mvmt of the Barber violin to play fast. Speed, response, ear training, and locating the "center" of the vibrato has been more and more difficult since the new year. I do need to start recording myself playing far more difficult pieces and re- working my hands. Different parts of my brain have not been stimulated for a long time. Pre- performance rituals have not been practiced. My practice is necessary everyday, but the focus, effort and the other intangibles are a bit lost.
  15. Chris Reuning is very busy, like so many of the fine people on this board, but he has been receptive and patient in the past when having spoken to him. You might contact him directly. Most of the better shops in Southern California have a working relationship with Maestro Reuning. But the last time I spoke to him, it was in the Benning shop. If the access to the instrument is limited, perhaps this location might be the easiest and closest?
  16. When I play grace notes, if elongated too much, the audience might hear the grace note as proper fraction of time. If we play the grace notes too quickly, it sounds clipped. We can reduced that clipped, abruptness by playing a bit of double-stop in transition to the goal note. It is like the slight blurring in frame- by- frame slow motion video. It is getting that information to the audiences ears. Also a grace note maybe written in, when those specific notes are open to some manner of manipulation. Show pieces have a great deal of grace notes, or dance pieces with slow pick up or anticipated notes. It can be true, individualized, decoration. Or it can be normal part of notation and we stylistically decide how to play the notes, as we do in WA Mozarts works.
  17. Sorry, need to clarify the Opus numbers. From the Op50+s on the music is much more expansive. And need to clarify more in terms of chamber music. The Slavonic Dances are fine, but as a performer, there is not much there. How many of you have performed the the early Dvorak Symphonies? How many have heard them? The early works are important but not the same as the later works. Haydn's early quartets are charming but rarely will commit to performing them as most audiences expect more. In the dozen times I have performed this piece, the wonderful cello opening was always transitioned into strength and thickening of texture. Not sure how large that hall is... I have played all the parts ( and performed on three ) but the piano part sort of leads in the new section though the strings want to do their own thing with the ascending line. The upper voices are choppy and the cello viola and piano are not in sync. I like sudden changes in mood and texture a la Beethoven but the massiveness here is lost because my feeling is that they are playing a bit on the rushed side. Should this part sound frantic? As the new idea flows and opens up into a more expansive motiv, the approach feels unsettled. I am not sure that the players are feeling the same sentiments. The shift from cello to upper strings was so contrast-y. I am not sure that Dvorak was an angry as Beethoven. I think he was actually rather compliant. Whenever I listen to something new, I first listen for things I like. At master classes, one starts by highlighting the performance, right? We want to preserve what might work, what is theirs. Technically, the players are wonderful performers. As mentioned, the balance is enjoyable and the parts are clear. Perhaps because of this, the group does not sound settled... for awhile. I do like it better when the pianist plays the opening with a hint of swing, or dead on and the cello is lost in their own dreamy world. So that colored my opinion from the start. I do enjoy these links to utube. For many reasons, they uncover rare pieces, performances, approaches, education... I also pass the links on to students with my observations or not. Most will not watch the links especially now because of testing season and a lost year of education ( ans friendships ) coming to a close. The ones who do become more and more nervous about being video'd... Have to say when working with a Hungarian pianist on the Dvorak, the piece became very philosophical because he believed that we did not understand the Eastern European musician. He was patient but would scream, "I have no vibrato," when we made too much in melodic sections. A Polish pianist would plead, "let's play together." The 1st violinist asked that pianist not to practice with a metronome.
  18. Could you better describe the buzz? Does it sound like metal buzz ( tuner ) or wood ( open seam ) or a very fine glowing buzz that create an excitation? I am always searching for that glowing buzz.
  19. And will mention that there are maker and region specific experts.
  20. A 2nd or 3rd opinion would usually go to Maestro Dipper here in the US, but if you are serious, you will have to visit several people.
  21. There are many strategies and could write a book about it. From a neuro- muscular stand point, one must do it if one is on the fringes of 4+ sharps or flats. If one is working on difficult pieces, this ( the scale among other etudes ) is necessary. Having reassured the need to pick up the instrument... I watch morning news or listen to Chick Corea or cook while practicing. If one gets it out of the way, even for 5 minutes, that was some practice. From age 14 to my late 20s, I never missed a day of playing, and mostly for 2+ hours. The vioiin, traveled with me everywhere. I made efforts to take care of that plywood case, as it took care of my instrument. When checking into hotels, the isolated room was booked. If one was not available, hotels were switched. I have a music stand in every room and several in the garage. An opportunity to practice is a luxury. Backstage, others do not approach as it is a time for deep focus. If you practice for 2 minutes, the degree of focus must be great. And it takes 30 seconds to achieve focus. Arpeggios and scales are the basics. The carbos of pieces, and the tension points and bowing the protein. Makes sure both left side and right sides are practiced. 2 minutes of practice is significantly more important that not playing at all. If one feels guilty of not playing, then do not feel guilty. Just play. Do I need to create an app that will berate you into practicing? Do it well for 5 minutes and one is done. I associate practice with salad. When I am eating salad, I visualize practice. When practicing, I think of salad with a light red wine vinegar and lemon or mandarin oranges to bridge the arugula.
  22. Richardson? I used to get sushi there when visiting kin folk. The museums, the crazy fair ground, public market in South Dallas? I miss Texas for all its complexity. Have a student in Austin and may visit him for next year for his graduation. This year's graduations are a wash. I wanted to visit Curtis and still may do so, but the current situation is strange. I have had both shots of the vaccine but still awkward travelling. This re-opening needs to be thought out carefully, Must say, I would love to hear your stories. A lawn chair, some drinks, a cool night...
  23. Listen for the first tutti of the quintet. They did miss it? Not being too critical, I do not think. Live performances are difficult but there is certainly a bit of disconnect at that point. Nervousness? I have made that mistake, too early, too eager to play. But that sudden increase in texture is epic and they missed it. The piece is great, but in all these years did not realize there was a 1st Piano Quintet so will have to research. Again, this is what we consider, what we teach. Dvorak is wonderful. Did not have the expertise to play Dvorak well enough for my grandmother before she past away. She loved Dvorak. My understanding of life was not sufficient to play what would have made her happy. That sense of effort, tension and beauty was not developed enough back then. I make an extra effort still for Dvorak because of her. Antonin was an amazing man. But his works prior to the mid- 50s were not as as cohesive, interestingly enough, arguably, like early Haydn. Would not pass up a opportunity to perform the early pieces. But of I were to promote or present Dvorak's work, it would be of a much later work...
  24. Wow, how great... Have always wanted to play the Jongen. Still chasing after a Mahler 9 too ( that was not an amateur orchestra. That's the one with the pipes? How was Brusilow? Heard he was patient in an era of hard to work with conductors.
  25. It was this very bright, polished silver. Back to Hendrik's initial thoughts. Humans of all sizes scale differently, and this guy was ( well, just sounded ) powerful. It had to be silver. Tinsel, though available was generally not on many bows through the 80s- 90s, where I grew up. Ms Mutter, Ms Chung, possibly Ms Mullova, are ones who scale on the strength side. Growing up, many of the male violinists I listened to were short. One violin teacher who was tall commented on that the fact that I had to, in essence, consolidate my tone to be "heard." He on the other hand this beautiful flowing tone that was suited for small chamber music. Though I heard a strong core and fundamental on his Beethoven cto, his Haydn was light like some desserts. It was strange to watch him perform Bach on a baroque bow which looked like a fractional 1/2 sized bow. He's the guy who clued me in on different approaches to music as a middle schooler.
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