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Will L

DESERT ISLAND PRACTICING

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OK!  You are outward bound on a tramp steamer, leaving with the tide tomorrow morning. After seeing  that the rusty hulk they told you will get you safely to Bora Bora is nothing like the sleek ship in the glossy ads—the ones that conned you into this lark in the first place—you gulp and rush back to your apartment and replace your precious Seraphin with your Roth; call your insurance man to up your policy by a few zeros; and pick out a few scale books, methods, and etudes.  Because there is no use wasting away on an uncharted isle if one can use the time constructively.

 

Of course, since your packing skills were developed and honed from your 1970s back-packing experiences (where you even cut the handles off your toothbrushes to save weight), you don't want to bring your entire library.  So you wonder:  "What should I bring that will keep me fit as a fiddle and prepared for auditions if the worst should transpire?"  

 

And, since you are very wise, you realize that in ten or twenty years the standards may be much higher, so you are going to need to take materials which will not only keep up your current level but also improve your playing.

 

What would you bring and why?  (Canceling the whole thing and going to Disney World is not an acceptable answer.  We're looking for a learning experience here!)   :)

 

Depending on whether you are traveling 1st or 2cd class, or worse , what would you take if you had to limit yourself to only one thing; two things; three things; etc? Or, what works would give the most bang for the fewest pages?

 

I'm replying without reading what anyone else has written first.  Cool question.

 

I don't need a scale book, right?  Because if I do, that's the #1 thing, obviously.  But I have scales by memory, so I wouldn't need to pack it.

If, in the future, I need my technique to be off the charts, I would bring first D.C. Dounis's The Artist's Technique of Violin Playing.  Those etudes are crazy and effective.

 

#3 would be Bach Sonatas and Partitas.

#4 would be Ysaÿe Sonatas

 

I don't know!  I want to look at other peoples' answers now.

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Thanks for your input, Stephen,

 

Dounis had crossed my mind, too.  I'm a little surprised that we don't hear him mentioned much anymore.

 

Regarding scales, I'd agree with you, except if one wanted to work scales a la Galamian:  with continually more demanding bowings and rhythms thrown into the mix.  Of course a lot of that could be reconstituted with nothing else to do while marooned. I have never tried to come up with a personal scale approach or picked through and chosen bits and pieces from the old standards.  I admire people who have done this;  I remember the wonderful Marylou Speaker came up with a routine that seemed very logical.  I wish I could remember it.

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Thanks for your input, Stephen,

 

Dounis had crossed my mind, too.  I'm a little surprised that we don't hear him mentioned much anymore.

 

Regarding scales, I'd agree with you, except if one wanted to work scales a la Galamian:  with continually more demanding bowings and rhythms thrown into the mix.  Of course a lot of that could be reconstituted with nothing else to do while marooned. I have never tried to come up with a personal scale approach or picked through and chosen bits and pieces from the old standards.  I admire people who have done this;  I remember the wonderful Marylou Speaker came up with a routine that seemed very logical.  I wish I could remember it.

 

Yeah.  Galamian, Flesch, or any comprehensive system (especially those recommending many multiple fingerings)... I could recompose those in my mind on an island.

 

On Dounis:  My perception of how often people talk about him is skewed maybe.  I'm always forcing the subject on people.  A whole bevy of the etudes are basically unplayable on the viola (unless you have large hands or a small viola), but his two basic shifting etudes are probably the greatest ever written.

 

And check out this blog post discussing his wrist vs. arm vibrato views.  Doesn't it sound completely intuitive and correct?

 

*I asked Dr. Dounis if he preferred a wrist vibrato, and his reply was, “Only with the wrist, never with the arm. The forearm moves, but the impulse is at the fingertips, which activates the wrist. The arm follows sympathetically.” 

 

"The impulse is at the fingertips, which activates the wrist.  The arm follows sympathetically."(!!!!!!!!)

 

That's exactly how I've always felt it.  I've always been slightly confused by the talk of "wrist vs. arm".

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Doc,

 

Your mention of Schradieck the other day is what inspired me to think about and ask the question.   :)

 

I'm not familiar with Uhl.  What's the story with him? 

Uhl is personal favorite, because it really helped me with one of my weaknesses - sight reading.  The particular expercises I am referring to (I don't know how many other exercise books Uhl publsihed) are kind of a musically nonsensicle series of notes, but I kind of like them.  I find it a good mental challenge to play through them.   However, if you practive them too much, that aspect is lost, so in retrospect, it was probably a poor choice. 

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Since I am basically on a desert island I can answer this untheorhetically. 

 

Bach Suites, and a book of the complete scores of Mozart and Beethoven String Quartets, and probably Beethoven Cello sonatas. 

 

The quartet scores are for supporting your morale, they point to a time where you may be rescued and can play in a quartet after having studied the scores diligently. Perhaps even transcribing the other parts to your instrument to understand all the voices profoundly and to keep your head in the game of thinking in four voices of music instead of talking to yourself. 

 

The Bach is for solace against being alone and the Beethoven sonats are a hedge against the event of a pianist crash landing on your island with only a sheaf of disgusting Chopin Etudes. 

 

If you take nothing, but bowing exercises and technical book you will commit suicide on a broken coconut shell. You need the great composer to pull you through, not the great puzzle makers. 

 

But of course you guys are speaking hypothetically.....

 

Ok back to studying those Mozart scores.....

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Thanks guys,

 

Re Uhl, I am reminded of when I was in an orchestra that once a year went to a university and did a week of contemporary music:  think of it, the composers were STILL ALIVE!  And many of them were there.  At the end of a week of the most avant guarde stuff, my sight reading was so much better than before.  I believe I'd like to look up the Uhl.

 

Re the pianist with his "disgusting Chopin Etudes," he'd probably be chased back into the sea when the soggy Chopin was seen under his arm and he shrugged his shoulders and claimed he "had only so much time to grab something and it was either the Goldberg Variations or the Chopin."

 

I hadn't thought about taking things to keep up the spirit, since I was only curious about what are the most effective technical works for the least amount of pages.  But if we really were on a D.I. i'm not sure we'd do well with music that needed other instruments with it, like the viola part to a Mozart Quartet.  I'd keep thinking, "Hmm, it didn't used to sound like this, something's missing but I'm not sure what."  :-)    

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I sometimes wonder how many people actually search this forum.  I thought there would be a ton of players offering opinions.  Maybe the "violin.com"  or whatever it is would have more players than Maestronet.

 

Anyway, I was going to wait to offer my choices, and still will, but in the meantime I wonder how many people have heard of or used Carl Flesch's Urstudien.  Here it is.  I suppose it's legal to post it:

 

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.31175002465519;view=1up;seq=5

 

Personally, I think it's interesting to at least read what the old boy had to say about it.

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I sometimes wonder how many people actually search this forum.  I thought there would be a ton of players offering opinions.

 

I speak with many collegues I had during my studies and some teach all over the world. There is a lot of los of interest for the past few years. It just does not make money for the work amount one needs to put in. It is a very sad situation.

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LIke I said, once you know what you're doing (yes, I'm not there yet...)...you can make up your own exercises...

...and if not...

Why?

 

This is to me the best post here.  You understood.

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I sometimes wonder how many people actually search this forum.  I thought there would be a ton of players offering opinions.  Maybe the "violin.com"  or whatever it is would have more players than Maestronet.

 

Anyway, I was going to wait to offer my choices, and still will, but in the meantime I wonder how many people have heard of or used Carl Flesch's Urstudien.  Here it is.  I suppose it's legal to post it:

 

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.31175002465519;view=1up;seq=5

 

Personally, I think it's interesting to at least read what the old boy had to say about it.

There are mostly players on violinist.com...so you might want to try the same question over there. We are two different crowds, although quite a few people post on both...

I couldn't see anything from that link! Just me?

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 Bora Bora - no use wasting away on an uncharted isle if one can use the time constructively.

 

Depending on whether you are traveling 1st or 2cd class, or worse , what would you take if you had to limit yourself to only one thing; two things; three things; etc? Or, what works would give the most bang for the fewest pages?

 

Myself, knowing who I am, would have to choose Malmsteen Anthology and/or Van Halen Anthology.  It would be a tough decision between the two.  Yes, those two are guitar music but there are countless examples of scaler runs and difficult notation to keep the mind and body in shape while using a violin.

  I read once when Joshua Bell was presented a similar question about if he could only have one composer to choose from- I believe he chose Beethoven but could of been Mozart for the choice, I can't remember clearly.

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I couldn't see anything from that link! Just me?

 

There are mostly players on violinist.com...so you might want to try the same question over there. We are two different crowds, although quite a few people post on both...

I couldn't see anything from that link! Just me?

Thanks, Rue,

I go over there sometimes but I forget about it for months at a time.  Too much time spent on MN.   :) I do wish we could drag some of them over. 

 

I don't know if anyone else is having trouble.  The link is to a copy of the Urstudien.

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I have the complete Urstudien, and much more even than Auer's _Violin Playing as I Teach It_, it's written in antiquated language, and along with some useful principles has some materials that are out of fashion and some contrary to current practice. Still, if you have the patience and self-disciple to wade through it, it's something that has historical significance.

I agree that it's interesting. I love this stuff.

c.m.

 

I haven't had time to sort out exactly what I would take.  I'm going to pour over everything I have soon and make an executive decision.   :)   My topic was inspired by Dr. S's mention of Schradieck.  I probably should not have tried to get cute.  I should have just asked:  "What methods or technical books are the most effective for the least amount of pages?"

 

Off hand, the two volumes of Carl Flesch are the first books I ever bought and I think there is a world of information and very well thought out advice.  However, there are a lot of pages.   :)   I'm not sure we're talking about the same books because I don't see the two big books as being "antiquated" in their language.

 

He is very erudite in his use of language, IMO.  You may well be right about "...materials that are out of fashion and some contrary to current practice."  And you are much more well versed and interested in teaching than I am.  

 

However, when comparing the old guys to the new, I'm always slow to assume the new guys are better.  :-)

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