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rank beginner questions


dick l graham
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I have made 3 fiddles but dont play and am teaching myself to play as tiny town with no fiddlers. my questions: 1. How often is rosin needed and how do you tell if too much or too little.

2.Why are soft and hard rosins both needed. 3.Are strings noted by pressing on the flesh of the fingertip or with the nail leading. Thank you in advance for your help. You are all the greatest for putting up with an old man.

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Gee, Dick - you may refer to these as "rank beginner questions," but they are active topics of discussion among all players!

First, it used to be said that it was hard to get too much rosin on your bow if you sort or whacked the wood part against your leg, or ran your thumbnail across the hair at the fog, or somehow got any extra rosin off your bow. But now, at least I find, that with some of the newer expensive rosins (Andrea, particularly), I can and do get too much rosin on the hair, and have to work hard at getting it off. How can you tell? Only if the bow doesn't seem to catch/glide properly over the string - you sort of have to learn. After new bow hair has been generously rosined, several strokes at every practice session, or every once in a while, should do it.

Soft rosin, usually the darker stuff, is used mostly on violas and cellos, because it is softer and gets the larger strings of these instruments moving quickly. Or not. Lighter rosin is not as much effected by high humidity, I believe, and therefore has its uses everywhere, though mostly for violins.

The usually suggested way of placing the fingers on the strings is, as you say, with the fingernails leading, to the side with your hand turned sideways mostly, with the tips of the fingers contacting the string, or the fleshy pads right behind the tips.

A good website to go to for illustrating the "proper" playing methods is :

http://www.masterclass.com

The best of luck! How I admire anyone who can actually MAKE a violin!

Shirley

PS - this may sound as though I really know what I am talking about, but if I am contradicted by someone who actually does know, take his/her advice!

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I have made 3 fiddles but dont play and am teaching myself to play as tiny town with no fiddlers. my questions: 1. How often is rosin needed and how do you tell if too much or too little.

2.Why are soft and hard rosins both needed. 3.Are strings noted by pressing on the flesh of the fingertip or with the nail leading. Thank you in advance for your help. You are all the greatest for putting up with an old man.

Wecome to the violin world.

1. Rosin, after a liftime of experience, I actually bow across my dark trousers and if I can see the rosin residue on them, I do not add more to the bow.

2.I have both soft and hard rosins and find the climate conditions affect which is better on a particular day or season. My rosins of choice the past few years have been Andrea (and before that Tartini). I like the symphony grade better, but there are condiitions when I use the solo grade.

3. Always play with the "pad," although you want your fingernails to be short. For cello one would really play with the pad. On violin, the pad about 1/4 inch from the nail is the usual place. If you get closer to the nail you can sometimes get a more intense vibrato. But you want to play far enough from the nail that you can move your flesh on the string (and also with respect to the bone within) to vary the pitch the little bit required for vibrato.

You really should get a teacher - even if only for a few lessons some time apart. You can not learn to play the violin without a teacher. Although you can learn to fiddle without a teacher, the range of what you can do will always be limited by what you did not learn and by the bad habits you acquired while not learning it. I'd estimate that without a teacher you will learn only about 5% of what you need to learn to play that instrument as a violin, and perhaps 1% of what you could learn.

Good luck.

Andy

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I have made 3 fiddles but dont play and am teaching myself to play as tiny town with no fiddlers. my questions: 1. How often is rosin needed and how do you tell if too much or too little.

2.Why are soft and hard rosins both needed. 3.Are strings noted by pressing on the flesh of the fingertip or with the nail leading. Thank you in advance for your help. You are all the greatest for putting up with an old man.

+++++++++++

Assume that self-taught is your only choice.

Here a few things should be paid attention to. (My former teachers told me tirelessly)

when I was a beginner)

1. Don't hold the bow too tight. (relax, place your fingers on the bow in the way as the drawing of any instruction books to start playing)

a right start is important. (left hand fingers as shown on any instruction books)

2. Draw long bows, do it slowly. (all other parts of your body will follow, because of non tensed movements )

3. Try to read music score as you play. (Read better, play better, in my case)

Good lucks.

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Welcome

I may have a slightly different view than Andrew. It doesn't mean he or I are wrong, both of us are successful with our methods,so try both out. That said:

1. I use very very little rosin, probably add it to my bow once about every 8-10 hours of playing and just a few strokes. I've had my curretn cake for longer than I can remember. I use good ol inexpensive Hidersine. As my hair gets older, I may need to add a little more. I find too much rosin (more than a little) hampers souidn production or makes it too thick souding. Believe me, I get a very large sound with very little rosin.

2. The previous answers are better than anythign I can add. I use a light rosin, even for my viola.

3. I assume you are talking abot stopping the strings with the fingers to get the various notes. Here I have a slight disagreement with Victor. Get up on the fingertips, fingers arched - nails short. The nail will only damage the string. If you play enough, you will get good tough callusses on yoru fingertips. Forth finger is the toughest, keep it arched and work it regularly.

See my post on More Bow per note for a good primer on learning to hold and pull a bow. We always focus on the left hand when we start, but the real music comes from the bow, so don't neglect the right hand/arm.

I second the teacher suggestion. Very few learn well without a teacher. I did know one young lady, who had a strong musical background and already played several (non-stringed) instruments, who took up the cello, and found good insructions on the internet. She played beautifully, with great form and technique, but did finally get instruction to improve. You'll find that these days, even lowly fiddlers :) have some decent classical technique happening. (That was a joke, I love fiddling, wish I could do it)

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REBUTTAL---not quite, but Dr. S said:

"3. I assume you are talking about stopping the strings with the fingers to get the various notes. Here I have a slight disagreement with Victor. Get up on the fingertips, fingers arched - nails short. The nail will only damage the string. If you play enough, you will get good tough calluses on yoru fingertips. Forth finger is the toughest, keep it arched and work it regularly."

and I thought about that and realized that that indeed is where my calluses (and the hard, dark lines across my finger tips) were when I was young. But now, with encroaching arthritis (and the latest cortisone shot didn't seem to take too well) I do have to hold my hand in different ways to reduce pain (no more Paganini Caprices for me!). I even had to give up playing with a shoulder rest this past year, because I can no longer arch may hand over to the G string unless I tilt the fiddle more than the rest permits. SO - what I said about where to play on the fingers is based on these changes in my own playing. But it does illustrate to me a wider range in possible technique than I had previously allowed for in my own playing and that of those I taught.

Andy

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