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A measure of humility characterizes human greatness


rufviol
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I think it's pretty normal for someone to launch into equipment*

talk. I mean, when I'm talking with photographers, we spend an

equal amount of time talking about their camera as we do any other

aspect. (OK, to be honest, we spend more time telling client

stories). Art directors will wile away the hours talking about

software and hardware. You guys on this board have spent quite a

lot of time discussing violins and bows. People in dog sport are

always comparing new training equipment. We're just that kind of

society.

 

There's a violin on ebay that the guy carved out completely with a

butcher knife. I don't think he'd be very fun to talk shop to!

Now, on the other hand, I hate* it when people assume that my

programs and equipment are so good that all I have to do is push a

button. I suppose if I had one of the best violins in the world, I

would eventually get a little scrunchy about people thinking that

almost anyone could make it sound good. So it all depends if the

woman was "in" or "out". If she was a confidant of Heifetz, he

probably would have responded with "Yeah, it was in really good

form tonight. Sometimes it has a hard time adjusting to higher

humidity"

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I heard an amazing violinist, who lso really knows instruments, say that he had heard a stradivarius played so badly by someone in a masterclass that he didn't recognize what it was and thought at first, that it was just an old box. On the other hand we watched a master classat a decent music conservatory, where the instructor, 1st chair of an important orchestra, was playing on a donated strad and there was just no way that anyone could possibly match her beauty of tone. No comparison.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
solveg

Now, on the other hand, I hate* it when people assume that my

programs and equipment are so good that all I have to do is push a

button.

But why? Such people obviously aren't in possession of the facts. If they thought the quality of your work was due to your camera being possessed by the ghost of Bourke-White, would your reaction be the same, or would you just smile and quietly think them a daftie?

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bean_fidhleir, I hate it because then they think I'm an unskilled,

over-payed button pusher! I like it a lot better when they say, "I

don't really understand what she does, but, boy, we should give her

more money, and maybe not talk so loudly while she's performing her

magic!"

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A master looks up to ideals which don't really exist, and then he

lets those ideals go in an instant. He does the best he can with

what he's got.

He doesn't compare himself to others at all, and he respects

everybody no matter how big or small they are or how many fancy

words they use in a forum.

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LOL! Well, I just read this on www.kulviolins.com. If it's true, it

totally explains Heifetz' response to that woman. And if it's true,

it shows us how history changes. Would we, the history-tellers,

have decided today that Heifetz was wry and humorous or egoistical

and rude?

 

"... as Jascha Heifetz proved in many experiments, nobody, not even

the critics, could tell whether he was playing his Guarnerius or a

modern copy; then, if he announced which violin he was playing, the

critics would hear what they expected to hear. So, when he would

announce he was playing a copy and go ahead and play the

Guarnerius, the critics would complain it didn't sound good. Or he

would announce the Guarnerius and play the copy and the critics

would rhapsodize over the tone. But the point is, Heifetz could

tell. Sure, a Stradivarius or a Guarnerius sounds good, but mainly

it is much easier to play, especially if you're Heifetz..."

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quote:


Over a period of hundreds of years, one common trait appears to be a measure of humility that characterizes human greatness

I think this is true, but largely culturally determined. If one goes back further than a few hundred years, humility appears irrelevant in many (most?) cultures. One rarely if ever hears of humility as a virture in the Homeric epics, the stories of ancient Egypt, Persia, or or China. The ancient Hebrews were humble enough before their god, but not particularly amongst themselves. (I am not counting as "humility" the trait of "knowing ones place" in a heirarchical society.)

In cultures anteceding ours, I think Socrates (via Plato) was the first big proponent of humility as a virtue. Jesus embedded humility throughout his teaching. These two great teachers probably account for our own estimation of humility as a virtue. Those who follow other teachers may not think likewise.

HS

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quote:


Originally posted by:
solveg

"... as Jascha Heifetz proved in many experiments, nobody, not even

the critics, could tell whether he was playing his Guarnerius or a

modern copy; then, if he announced which violin he was playing, the

critics would hear what they expected to hear. So, when he would

announce he was playing a copy and go ahead and play the

Guarnerius, the critics would complain it didn't sound good. Or he

would announce the Guarnerius and play the copy and the critics

would rhapsodize over the tone. But the point is, Heifetz could

tell. Sure, a Stradivarius or a Guarnerius sounds good, but mainly

it is much easier to play, especially if you're Heifetz..."

I doubt that Heifetz would play on an ordinary modern instrument. If the story is true I presume his copy would still be a pretty good instrument. Good modern instruments will also sound good in the hands of a good player.

As for people thinking that the violin sounds good or not-so-good depending on what they're told it is, this is not a surprising result. It is a well known fact that people's expectations bias their interpretations of what they experience. This is why scientists insist on double-blind experiments: to prevent the experimenters from influencing the subjects.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Hank Schutz

...I think this is true, but largely culturally determined...

...These two great teachers probably account for our own estimation of humility as a virtue. ..

You and others do have a valid point. I guess one can distinguish between a fond appreciation of and an appreciation without constraint.

Probably explains to an extent why Trump's 'Apprentice' program is going strong, while Martha's tanked

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quote:


Originally posted by:
rufviol
quote:


Originally

posted by:
Hank Schutz
...I think this is true, but

largely culturally determined... ...These two great teachers

probably account for our own estimation of humility as a virtue.

..

You and others do have a valid point. I guess one can

distinguish between a fond appreciation of and an appreciation

without constraint. Probably explains to an extent why Trump's

'Apprentice' program is going strong, while Martha's tanked


that's right,,, humility and donald.  
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Re: the Heifetz quote.

Some folks,especially in earlier times, were raised to

give compliments that were not quite personal. My great-aunt Bertha

would say:

"What a lovely dress, and so well cut," but never "You have such

good taste, and know how to choose a gown that suites your

figure."

The second sentence would've been, to her, too intimate:

presumptuous and rude. She would compliment a dish, but not the

cook's skill: "Ah the duck is perfectly crisp, and so nicely

spiced."

She could easily have said " Your violin has a lovely tone" to

Heifetz, with the best of intentions; to actually comment on his

playing, as someone who didn't play herself, would have been

smacked of arrogance.

Context, and intent, is all.

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"Context, and intent, is all."

...and it cuts both ways. My grandparents were Russian, and I had the pleasure of spending time with them and their friends over the years when I was young. This was the last generation of pre-revolutionary Russsians. Wit of the type exemplified by the Heifetz comment was common and playful (and dry!), without a hint of defensiveness or insecurity. Those who ascribe the latter motivations for his comment are judging Heifetz out of context.

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Hi all,

The lady from the audience said to Heifetz "your violin has a nice sound". (I think) it was meant to

be a (sincere) compliment of Heifetz's virtuorsity, but she said it in such awkward way.

The lady had heard a lot of violins which had bad sound before.(my guess). Her experience had played a part

of what she said and how she said it. She finally heard something so different. Just my thought.

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Andres,

That reminds me of British "wit". While seemingly "playful" it is often only playful with regard to those who are not the target of your sarcastic remarks.

In any case, I see nothing wrong with saying that a person's violin sounds very nice. For instance, I think that Perlman's violin sounds great.

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