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The Heifetz David -- a pancake???


Tommy

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Just was watching this video on youtube (screen shot below hopefully) of Heifetz playing the Mendelssohn Concerto. His violin appears very thin. I don't believe it is just an optical illusion. Were GDJ's ribs thinned over the years as part of an "improvement" program? Tompost-492-1256099666_thumb.jpg

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Could you provide a link to the Youtube video?

There are many possibilities including that this might not be the David. He owned violins by many makers. He would also work with some acoustics researchers like Saunders. So without being able to see the whole violin there's no telling what he might have been playing on.

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Just was watching this video on youtube (screen shot below hopefully) of Heifetz playing the Mendelssohn Concerto. His violin appears very thin. I don't believe it is just an optical illusion. Were GDJ's ribs thinned over the years as part of an "improvement" program? Tom

The rib heights, according to book commemorating 'del Gesù' of the exhibition held at the Metropolitan in New York in 1994, they go from a maximum in the lower bouts of 31.25mm to a minimum of 29.0mm near the neck block. There are Guarneri del Gesù violins with higher ribs. In the photograph the slope of the flame is the same as on the "David".

Many violins, not only Guarneri 'del Gesù', have had the ribs lowered, modified, damaged, smoothed again, "improved" for better or worse etc. etc. over the years. This is a consequence of usage, accidents and maintenance. Mix that with some "pet theories" of violin improvers and you end up with lower ribs. It is not uncommon to see violins where the ribs have been raised when excessively damaged or considered too low for one reason or another.

I'll check to see if I have this particular video.

Bruce

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I don't know if it's an encoding issue, but it does look as though the lower part of the image is compressed, see the apparent shape of the bow camber and the way the lines in the wall are distorted in something like a 'fisheye' effect.

It could easily be video compression or the cameraman was looking for a way to make Heifetz look even faster and more streamlined than he already was. :)

Bruce

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In photography a long telephoto lens will compress the image, where a wide angle lens would stretch the image.

A 'normal' focal length lens is better for a naural look.

Not sure if any of that applies to old video.

Some old violins had their ribs planed down to 28mm, not sure about the one in that video though.

I like Heifetz doing the Tchaik. with his own cadenza.

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No, gentlemen, video effects did not cause this effect, and I'm not so sure the lens did either.

If you measure, you will see that the upper and lower bouts are about the same thickness, but the lower bout is thicker near the block. The lower bout looks a little thinner, but I think that's an illusion. At least that's the way it looks to me.

File compression and conversion between video standards do not cause this kind of distortion. You will always have horizontal scan lines, and they will always be straight. Vertical lines will always be straight as well. I think PAL and NTSC probably have the same (horizontal/vertical) aspect ratio, but even if the image got stretched by conversion, this would affect the whole image, not just part of it. Straight lines remain straight under this kind of distortion. File compression is not permitted to change the geometry, so it's not that.

The bow hair is not a straight line, however, and it should be. This is an unusual amount of distortion. While this might account for the apparent distortion of the plate, it doesn't really look like it to me. I think the plate is really distorted.

There is the possibility that this was taken through a funhouse mirror or a fishbowl, but it's not a mirror image, so that leaves the fishbowl. :) It looks tome that the top is distorted. I forget. Isn't this the way some violins are made so the ribs don't look to thick at the C bouts?

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The most penetrating and quality sound I heard recently was a Francesco Ruggieri, played by Hagai Shaham.

He makes a big sound even with the modern violins he tried.

His Ruggieri is not a flat 'pancake', but has high scooped arching, quite unusual, but it works.

The belly wood is very unusual, wild broad grain and loads of wavy figure.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/benconover/se...509465953/show/

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Does anyone know if this is Heifetz and Kudlach tinkering with the David, topless? JH looks a little concerned... :) (edited to remove large picture and replace with smaller, more manageable picture.)

Yes it is. I have the oriinal article from The Etude magazine 1950-1952, I forget which.

The pancake in question is Jascha's head. Very short front to back. Lots of volume above his eyes and his face was rather broad. The eyes are far forward also. I suspect the mongols left a lot of DNA in East Europe over the years.

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It may be this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw7EGTjrYSs

Sounds like the David with its rather penetrating sound.

If you go about a minute and thirty seconds into the video you get a view similar to the photograph originally put up by Tommy. It appears to be the "David" both for sound and some glimpses of parts of the violin but the video quality is absolutely horrendous. In some instances it's so fractured that it is more like looking through a kaleidoscope! :)

I don't know that there is much to learn about the violin he is playing in this particular video. Miraculously, the music comes through. I should play so badly!!!! Looks to be a Russian recording from the logo imbedded in the image and if I'm translating the cyrillic correctly KYΛbTYPA means KULTURA or CULTURE.

Bruce

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If you go about a minute and thirty seconds into the video you get a view similar to the photograph originally put up by Tommy. It appears to be the "David" both for sound and some glimpses of parts of the violin but the video quality is absolutely horrendous. In some instances it's so fractured that it is more like looking through a kaleidoscope! :)

I don't know that there is much to learn about the violin he is playing in this particular video. Miraculously, the music comes through. I should play so badly!!!! Looks to be a Russian recording from the logo imbedded in the image and if I'm translating the cyrillic correctly KYΛbTYPA means KULTURA or CULTURE.

Bruce

Not much I or anybody else can do about that, sorry!

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You have a good memory, John!

The article is in Feb. 1951 Etude.

I forget most all of the things I am supposed to do around here. But when it comes to Jascha, I remember everything. He is the Holy Grail

Andres, You said the David GDG had a penetrating sound. Nobody beat Heifetz for raw (and refinded) aggression.

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