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How objective is projection?


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27 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

 

David Soyer (Guarneri Quartet) toured for a while using a Suzuki cello.   Why? He got tired and frustrated with people coming up after a performance and saying, "What a wonderful sounding cello. What is it?" (implying that the credit went to the cello).

Evidently an emotion that is not uncommon. In the article from the „New Yorker” Article I reproduced here https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/341608-1940s-roth-violin-history-and-grade/&do=findComment&comment=827958  Joseph Wechsberg bemoans that as quartette playing child, (on his Mittenwald school violin) everybody congratulated him on his fine performance, whereas as an adult people only congratulated him on how wonderful his Amati sounded.

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28 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

Evidently an emotion that is not uncommon. In the article from the „New Yorker” Article I reproduced here https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/341608-1940s-roth-violin-history-and-grade/&do=findComment&comment=827958  Joseph Wechsberg bemoans that as quartette playing child, (on his Mittenwald school violin) everybody congratulated him on his fine performance, whereas as an adult people only congratulated him on how wonderful his Amati sounded.

There's also the story (I don't know if it's true) of someone coming up to Heifetz after a performance and commenting, "Wow, your violin sounds really great." Heifetz then held the violin up close to his ear and replied, "Funny, I don't hear anything.".

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Bear in mind though, Jacob, that there are a lot of fiddle heads out there, and always have been. Part of what they come for is to hear an instrument they probably know by name live, and get to look at it in the case in the green room, afterward. There are probably some people here who can relate to that  :D

If going to a concert were a purely objective, arms-length matter, the people on stage could be playing behind a screen with no audience disappointment involved. But it would be like having sex in the dark -- nice, but missing something. People want to see as well as hear. How performers come across on stage is an important element in their personae, which people relate to as the  "reality" of them (however great the disparity of this with actual reality may be. How many concert goers thought of Leonard Bernstein as a guy dancing around with a martini in one hand and a cigarette in the other, wearing a red bikini at the post-concert party at a friend's apartment ?).

As for the other, anyone can suggest anything he likes. I'll see your undercover Strad copy, and raise you with my being a secret emissary from the galactic federation, as well as the reincarnation of Johannes Brahms.

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A secretly warm-hearted and generous man behind the prickly exterior, he was in the habit of secretly gifting students he judged as promising with good instruments. Beside leaving Sherry his Tononi, among others, he gave another guy whose name escapes me a Pietro Guarneri of Venice.

I don't believe any of the Kloz family makers were on his shopping list.

 

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People almost always come up to me post-performance to remark that my violin's sound is extraordinary, and they're wondering what it is. My bio clearly identifies me as an amateur, and so the question I usually get asked is, "Is it a modern?" rather than the assumption that people would tend to make with a pro who'd be more likely to have an antique.

So even the general public has gotten the message that moderns can be excellent, thanks to all those news articles about blind tests.

(But no. I'm not playing a modern, actually. This seems to almost disappoint the people asking that question.)

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18 minutes ago, lwl said:

People almost always come up to me post-performance to remark that my violin's sound is extraordinary, and they're wondering what it is.

It's an insult to your talent, is what it is.

Appreciating the craftsmanship of the maker is one thing, but using it and the composer's craft to make beautiful music is quite another thing.

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2 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Are they? Often only their luthier knows for sure. For example, the luthier who happens to have their Strad in the shop while they are performing. ;)

David Soyer (Guarneri Quartet) toured for a while using a Suzuki cello.   Why? He got tired and frustrated with people coming up after a performance and saying, "What a wonderful sounding cello. What is it?" (implying that the credit went to the cello). So he decided to have some fun with it. :D

Sorry, but there are some things which only those who are "behind the scenes" know.

You're bending over backwards to make your point, which is not really an honest one. We all know (has nothing to do with scenes) that violins need to be worked on, and people play loaners or different instruments while the work is being done. Sure, you might not know night to night which violin Perlman will play, and I'm not sure it really matters, but no matter who is behind what scene, we all know which instrument he plays on which recording, and which instrument he's favored for quite some time. So mostly, when you hear him, you're hearing his beloved strad he rants and raves about, right? 

I understand that you won't always know, and emergency repairs/loaners happen. But when most player supply a bio, which normally states what violin they "play," they are going to use that instrument most of the time. What you are saying is the exception, not the rule.

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14 minutes ago, sospiri said:

It's an insult to your talent, is what it is.

Appreciating the craftsmanship of the maker is one thing, but using it and the composer's craft to make beautiful music is quite another thing.

If people not knowing much about classical music is insulting to someone's ego, then sure, but I don't think so. People do have a sort of hardon for strad/GdG... they have attained a sort of mythical status that sure, they don't deserve. But it's ok for the layman/woman to not know anything about violins beyond that. After a concert, they're (hopefully) just excited, inspired, and grasping at the little bit of knowledge they have, to try to relate to the experience. Any compliment should be taken as one, not turned into a chance to take offense. 

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3 minutes ago, Porteroso said:

If people not knowing much about classical music is insulting to someone's ego, then sure, but I don't think so. People do have a sort of hardon for strad/GdG... they have attained a sort of mythical status that sure, they don't deserve. But it's ok for the layman/woman to not know anything about violins beyond that. After a concert, they're (hopefully) just excited, inspired, and grasping at the little bit of knowledge they have, to try to relate to the experience. Any compliment should be taken as one, not turned into a chance to take offense. 

Maybe, but it sounds like the sort of thing another player would say also, as if they believe that a stupidly expensive violin/bow combination is required to blow peoples' socks off, which is what a lot of players believe is it not?

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2 minutes ago, sospiri said:

Maybe, but it sounds like the sort of thing another player would say also, as if they believe that a stupidly expensive violin/bow combination is required to blow peoples' socks off, which is what a lot of players believe is it not?

Oh, I see. I rarely see players giving that sort of backhanded compliment, but yeah I've heard that too. I think there is some truth in it. Some credit should be given to the maker of the instrument, it is a part of the music when it is used. But the instrument is more or less a constant in the equation. Every player will sound different on it. If someone discounts the player, and praises the instrument, I think they just don't like the player. I've probably said stuff like that. There's a concertmaster of an orchestra I go to hear regularly, and he's disgusting to me. Such a needy attention grabbing violinist. He sounds great, but the entire concert is a game to him, to see what ridiculous moves he can pull off. I remember them playing a Brahms symphony, and at the end of the slow movement, he actually stood up as the orchestra played its final note. It was incredible!!!! As if his body was so entranced and enthralled with the music that, seemingly with a will of its own, it lifted into the air with the energy of the last note! !!!!!!g4ba tqt76f$#$#@#ing idiot. Ego is the main barrier to music these days. You find quality everywhere, either someone is inviting you to experience something with them, or they're out to get attention. Anyways, ahem, uh, yeah, projection.

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1 hour ago, sospiri said:

It's an insult to your talent, is what it is.

Appreciating the craftsmanship of the maker is one thing, but using it and the composer's craft to make beautiful music is quite another thing.

My Mother often mentioned how offended she was when after a piano or organ performance, people would come up to her and say something like,  " I love how you "tickle the ivories", which suggested to her that there was no acknowledgement of all the work and sacrifices involved. Maybe "tickle the ivories" was a cliche from a period movie or something. I tried to suggest to her that it was a compliment...  that she made it look easy. :)

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34 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

My Mother often mentioned how offended she was when after a piano or organ performance, people would come up to her and say something like,  " I love how you "tickle the ivories", which suggested to her that there was no acknowledgement of all the work and sacrifices involved. Maybe "tickle the ivories" was a cliche from a period movie or something. I tried to suggest to her that it was a compliment...  that she made it look easy. :)

I see the role of the highly skilled instrument and bow maker and repairer/restorer as a facilitator to the performer......

How am I doing so far....?

2 hours ago, Porteroso said:

Oh, I see. I rarely see players giving that sort of backhanded compliment, but yeah I've heard that too. I think there is some truth in it. Some credit should be given to the maker of the instrument, it is a part of the music when it is used. But the instrument is more or less a constant in the equation. Every player will sound different on it. If someone discounts the player, and praises the instrument, I think they just don't like the player. I've probably said stuff like that. There's a concertmaster of an orchestra I go to hear regularly, and he's disgusting to me. Such a needy attention grabbing violinist. He sounds great, but the entire concert is a game to him, to see what ridiculous moves he can pull off. I remember them playing a Brahms symphony, and at the end of the slow movement, he actually stood up as the orchestra played its final note. It was incredible!!!! As if his body was so entranced and enthralled with the music that, seemingly with a will of its own, it lifted into the air with the energy of the last note! !!!!!!g4ba tqt76f$#$#@#ing idiot. Ego is the main barrier to music these days. You find quality everywhere, either someone is inviting you to experience something with them, or they're out to get attention. Anyways, ahem, uh, yeah, projection.

They are projecting their personality.... depends on the personality I suppose?

 

 

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2 hours ago, sospiri said:

I see the role of the highly skilled instrument and bow maker and repairer/restorer as a facilitator to the performer......

How am I doing so far....?

Fine, by me. I also don't give a hoot whether fiddle-making is called an art or a craft, which has had a good deal of debate in some past threads.

There is also the question of whether an "exotic dancer" is really anything exotic at all. Probably just the gal that lives next door to me in the trailer park, all gussied up, but some people will see her through their "booze goggles" as somthin' worth spending hundreds of bucks  a night on. Are you paying attention, A435? ;)

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18 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Which soloists do you consider to be "messy"?

"Messy" is complicated. There are messy-er players. And those pushed to the limits of the equipment in a big hall. An exhausted or out- of-control right arm will have adverse effects on the left hand. A by-product of what kind of projection works or does not work. Some older players ( on older, but not really old instruments? ) sound fuzzier too.

I recently had an opportunity to hear Yo-Yo Ma in a large hall with a famous pianist and though the pianist was mostly courteous, but Mr Ma was truly struggling during certain passages. I mention Mr Ma by name because he can certainly take any criticism and we know he is a lovely person/ player ( one in the same ) and most people have heard him play at least through an 8cm speaker in a television. I place the blame on the pianist, but without grimacing, Mr Ma played thoughtfully. The Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations can also be a piece where we might see the cello soloist in a messy situation because the many tempo changes can force an orchestra to play some variations at much faster tempos, making it difficult in a big hall. Bombastic last mvmts also can lead to messy playing after an exhausting, overly slow and loud orchestral slow mvmt.

The higher overtones can mask the fundamental pitch and we hear more noise in the back in the hall. More grip vs more slip of the bow can also have an effect. I have been been on a summer festival stage where the strings suddenly started sounding weird where bows were not gripping and we were all hacking away in the lower half of our bows hurtling to the last accellerando and the last chords of a big finale mvmt of a major symphony. It not only sounded bad, the ensemble was terrible because no one was able to hear the attacks of the bows. Some critical temp and humidity hit on stage where the rosin seemed saturated ( sonically grainy and powdery ) and about half the players had lost control. 

The other messy sound can come from an instrument being played fortissimo ( ff ) and every note on the g-string starts to sound monotone where there is effectively no change in tonal color no matter how the player attacks a variety of contact points. It sounds as if the body resonance is maxed out and though the pitches are audible, the tonal color is bloated low - mono - frequency. like a low "c" or "d" note. This seems to occur when playing with others and more on non-standard patterned instruments. Without the contrast of playing with ( or against ) a piano or other chamber players, this is less noticeable. 

On the subject of ego, it is one thing to enjoy a Heifetz zinger, but it can be obnoxious. I used to hear the occasional "I am a doctor ( Ph.D ) and i have earned it," on the podium 30 - 40 years ago, but now, given any credit, some people whine and complain about it. Some of the young conductors get it. If they are nice and communicative, the players will likely play nicely for them. If they are bad communicators, their careers will likely be short lived.

Symphonies will continue to be in contract disputes for years to come. But some players need to understand that if they are not appreciated by the communities then the ensembles will disappear. The beginner audience does not appreciate smart-ass and stand off-ish musicians. It is no longer about wooing the philanthropists... well, we might just be putting off the inevitable, so go ahead and make fun of the newbies that applaud between mvmts.

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And strings, rosin... A lot has to happen for great music to come through, and we haven't even mentioned teachers, fellow colleagues, etc. Putting any aspect of music up on a pedestal is a mistake, but the most important part will always be the player. 

As far as projection goes, the player has more to do with it than anything else. The violin would be the second most important thing. 

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On 9/27/2019 at 9:43 AM, Porteroso said:

But the instrument is more or less a constant in the equation.

Not by any means!  Both players and listeners will have preferences, whether based on folklore and prior belief, or based on "blind" testing, or various combinations of the two.

Sure, "belief" can not only make a performer perform better or worse, but also result in an audience rating a performance or a fiddle as being better or worse.

So much to learn, and so little time! :o

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On 9/27/2019 at 9:05 AM, GeorgeH said:

How do you define "a modern?"

I think of modern as "contemporary", i.e. something by a still-living or recently-deceased maker.

My violin is from the 1850s so is definitely not a modern. I usually say, "Oh, this is a French violin from the 1850s", unless I'm talking to another violinist in which case I'll be more specific and say, "This is a JB Vuillaume." People often tell me that they've never heard another violin like it; I imagine since I'm usually playing in venues that only have a few hundred seats at most, it's more in-your-face than anything they've heard in a concert hall. (A pro pianist who used to spend a lot of time with the Guarneri Quartet told me, "It sounds like a Strad.")

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On 9/29/2019 at 1:39 PM, David Burgess said:

Not by any means!  Both players and listeners will have preferences, whether based on folklore and prior belief, or based on "blind" testing, or various combinations of the two.

The context for what you quoted was people who praise the instrument instead of the player. My point is that some credit should go to the violin, but for any 1 (constant) violin, there are so many variables, and the player is by far the most important, so most credit should always go to the player. 

Edit: About bow crunch, as I related earlier in the thread, if projection is being heard by the audience, Sassmanshaus did a lot of research on the topic and found that articulation is one of the most important things, even more than the volume of the violin. I forget his numbers, but let's say he found that violins can sustain 75 decibels in long bowing, but a really harsh articulation can be 90 dB just for one instant. 

He found that our brains respond to that pinprick sound, and can follow the sustained bowing sound, even if the orchestra is louder than the soloist, because the brain latched onto the articulation. Someone playing the same dB as another, using harsher articulation, or bow crunch, will be perceived as louder than someone with smoother articulation. 

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