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Iceman

Re: Shoulder Rests and famous people

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A partial listing, of course.

The Restless: Ysaye, Milstein, Szeryng, Kreisler, Elman, Seidel, Zimbalist, Rosand, Perlman, Shumsky, Ricci, Rabin, Neveu, Gingold, Kogan, Stern

Questionable: Heifetz, Oistrakh, Mutter

Rest: Vengerov, Shaham, Midori, Bell, Joseficwiz (having trouble spelling her name), Hahn, Sarah Chang, Kyung Wha Chung, most young violinists born 1970 and later.

Doorstop: Zukerman

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quote:

Originally posted by HuangKaiVun:

A partial listing, of course.

Questionable: Heifetz, Oistrakh, Mutter

I've got a picture of Oistrakh tuning his violin with a shoulder pad on it.

Grumiaux used a shoulder pad as well.

Mutter wasn't using a rest of any sort in the video I saw recently.

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Leila Josefowicz. Nice list. I believe Heifetz used padding under his clothes. Same with Isaac Stern. Zukerman, doorstop? Please explain...

Victor

Originally posted by HuangKaiVun:

A partial listing, of course.

The Restless: Ysaye, Milstein, Szeryng, Kreisler, Elman, Seidel, Zimbalist, Rosand, Perlman, Shumsky, Ricci, Rabin, Neveu, Gingold, Kogan, Stern

Questionable: Heifetz, Oistrakh, Mutter

Rest: Vengerov, Shaham, Midori, Bell, Joseficwiz (having trouble spelling her name), Hahn, Sarah Chang, Kyung Wha Chung, most young violinists born 1970 and later.

Doorstop: Zukerman

[This message has been edited by Victor Ortega (edited 01-11-2000).]

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The great violin commentator Henry Roth interviewed Pinchas Zukerman for his book "Violin Virtuosos: From Paganini to the 21st Century".

Here's how it goes:

Roth: I noticed that [you use] a slightly curved shoulder pad.

Zukerman: Yes, I need it. Generally I recommend foam rubber for the average player who feels he requires a pad. But I prefer this one because it's much firmer. Believe it or not, it was once a door stop in Galamian's studio. One day after a lesson I picked it up and stuck it in my pocket. It has been re-covered many times, and I always use it.

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By the way of shoulder rests, does anyone know when were these first used, 1900? 1800?

Did Vivaldi use a shoulder rest/pad?

-sm

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"Did Vivaldi use a shoulder rest?"

They're a pretty recent invention. (Is that why all the younger violinists use them and the older ones do not?) The shoulder rest as we know it is recent, at least. Violins were used differently in Vivaldi's time. Not much is known about Paganini's playing so you can see that much less is known about Vivaldi's (100 years earlier). There aren't many drawings or descriptions. But I doubt they used shoulder rests...most didn't use chin rests.

Micaela

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Oliveira used a shoulder pad, kind of a round , foamy-looking thing on the back of his violin (presumably the Curtin & Alf) last night in concert with the Oklahoma city Philharmonic.

Elaine

Norman, OK

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Oistrakh did and did not use a rest. Also in Roth's book: Oistrakh used a pad to prevent tension in the shoulder (nervousness, I think), and he said the loss of sound is negligible if it reduces the tensing of the shoulder.

I've never seen Heifetz use a rest. In the masterclass videos, his students (for the most part, at least) do not, though they use cloths (like Milstein, if the picture in his 197? recording of solo Bach is anything to go by).

Do you know what's interesting? Rosand said shoulder pads/rests aren't good b/c the violin is not meant to rest on the shoulder but the collar bone. I think Galamian's book says the violin goes on the collarbone, but he advocates the use of a rest for whomever it applies. But people at the Fingerboard don't get quirky pains without the rests, and sometimes my left shoulder feels funny/tight because of the pressure on my shoulder through the rest (Kun).

-V

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Heifetz despised shoulder rests.

Legend has it that he once said that any violinist who needs a shoulder rest to play should consider taking up the cello. 

While this statement is most likely apocryphal, it is known that Heifetz refused to allow the use of shoulder rests in his masters classes.   Students using a shoulder rest would be asked to leave. 

Edited by FritzR
typo

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" Virtuosos of present and past ".  Stephane Grappelli.  Not really a classical, but a relaxed player,  who know his way around the fingerboard and played without a shoulder rest.

 

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Dylana Jenson , No rest (sorry if spelling wrong) I know she stopped using it when studying with Milstein.  He asked her to do without.

Josh Bell, a Kun I think.

Me, Struggling as always.  Mostly Kun Bravo without folding legs if it will fit in the case, with folding legs if it won't.

 

DLB

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It's an enduring topic - that's for certain! :P

If it's more comfortable to use a shoulder rest - then use one.

Personally - can't. Hurts. If I had to use one I'd have to quit entirely.

What I found most upsetting in recent times was reading about American school orchestras obligating their young players to use a shoulder rest, or they were not allowed to play.

What idiot is responsible for that dictate?

BTW, reading through older posts, I see that some people think a shoulder rest and a shoulder pad are equitable. They are not. I do use a thin pad to protect  my collarbone.

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As of this past November - been playing for 80 years - the first 30 without a shoulder rest (although I did own one - a "Menuhin", I think. The next 40 years with soulder rests - mostly Wolf Secundo. More important is finding a shoulder rest that is comfortable for playing an 8 hour day - even if you don't play that much.

Important to set things up so you can hold the instrument on your collarbone.

Most recently I've been using an AcoustaGrip foam (with micro suction) for violin playing (~ 3 years) and a GelRest Micro when playing viola (about 2 months). I use a thinner chinrest on viola but use the same "topography" for my jaw on both - in order to get that on viola I use a very low chinrest and build up the top with an "Impressionist" to match the top of my violin chinrests and just enought that both instruments fit between my jaw and collar bone exactly the same way. The lowest chinrest I have found is a "Joachim" and any dealer can replace the violin "barrels" with slightly longer viola ones.

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On 1/10/2000 at 11:14 PM, Iceman said:

Can someone name virtuosos of present and past who didn't/don't use a shoulder rest?

It's simple, really.  With few exceptions, the old guys had no neck or short necks, and many of them were overweight.  The others didn't make it.

There was a time when the shoulder rest didn't exist.  In a tradition-bound art there must have been a considerable backlash against anything new.  I think it took roughly 100 years for the resistance to collapse.  By the way, even Galamian endorsed shoulder pads in his book, albeit somewhat begrudgingly.

For a very long time students were discouraged or forbidden to use one.  That attitude must have prevented or destroyed a lot of careers.  Now we discover anecdotally that many of the greatest violinists were cheating by using hidden padding of one sort or another, while claiming they were not using a shoulder rest.

I'm happy that so many top modern soloists use one.  Contrary to predictions, it certainly doesn't hamper their tone production or their careers.

I think the prescription to hold the violin with your collarbone is misguided and unnecessary.  I have seen some very bad results from people trying to follow that directive.  Holding a violin is not easy.  I once carefully watched the violin sections of a major symphony.  Most of them were continuously squirming and shifting their position, with apparent discomfort.

Teachers owe it to their students to help them find an effective method to hold the violin -- with or without a shoulder pad, and without outdated historical preconceptions.  Every student is different in that respect.  Any teacher who can't do that should either be shown the door or relinquish the job to someone who can.  Maybe teachers should have mandatory assistance from someone with special training.

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Wow. That response pretty much illustrates the whole Brave New World mentality in one neat package.

 

 

 

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This last week I went to 2 concerts at the Haydn Festival here in the UK. None of the violins nor violas had shoulder rest or chin rest and I saw no signs of discomfort.

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