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tchaikovsgay

Galamian Violin Hold

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47 minutes ago, Carl Stross said:

Most people use a rest simply because that's how they were taught. A rest helps with intonation. There are excellent, almost fundamental reasons to play without a rest but once one spent 10 or so years with a rest the change is practically impossible to make. I knew 2 or 3 minor soloists who tried and it didn't work well. And they really tried. 

That may be part of the reason the issue can be emotionally charged. It is a lot to ask of oneself to switch methods in this respect as the use of a rest or otherwise impacts so many things in both hands. I don't know how someone who is answerable the public and others to perform to a certain standard can make a radical change--it must be really tough. Us amateurs can do whatever we like :D and even so, attempting a radical change with the months of feelings of failure, discomfort, slipping instrument, bad hand position, and so on, can just lead to misery unless you have the right guidance.

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I didn’t claim that all shoulder rest users have bad technique or even that all of them are insecure. What I did say was that the majority of people I see have adopted the use of the rest for one of these reasons.

I think there are a lot of wives’ tales about the wonders of the rest (e.g. better intonation, better vibration, better bowing control, etc.) and I don’t like to support the idea that something that was unnecessary for hundreds of years is some kind of magic sinecure. This seems to tie into the idea that playing the violin is somehow more difficult than it used to be, which is absurd.

Some players feel a need to be unique and look for anything they can change about their playing habits except their practicing. It’s a little frustrating to know that the issues a player is having really come from bad posture or lack of practice and to be stuck avoiding the elephant in the room. There is a lot of talk about longer necks, yet I have yet to meet anyone who used a tape measure and actually demonstrated a longer than average neck.

People have gotten taller on average over time, but there have been especially tall players in the past like Ole Bull who seemed to manage without trouble.

 

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On 5/24/2018 at 1:09 PM, DBCooper said:

Or, be like people who just want to be restless for no good reason and struggle with vibrato, endurance, shifting, and stability ;-)

That's the kind of wisdom you get from being on the run for 50 years.

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21 hours ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

 I don’t like to support the idea that something that was unnecessary for hundreds of years is some kind of magic sinecure. This seems to tie into the idea that playing the violin is somehow more difficult than it used to be, which is absurd.

 

 

You probably should give up your TV, car, computer, cell phone, and any other modern day inventions.  Surely they are not needed, they were unnecessary for hundreds of years :-D

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35 minutes ago, DBCooper said:

You probably should give up your TV, car, computer, cell phone, and any other modern day inventions.  Surely they are not needed, they were unnecessary for hundreds of years :-D

Ah, the miracles of modern science--TVs, computers, cell phones, waterproof carbon fibre violins, and shoulder rests! I agree, none of these were needed for hundreds of years, and none of them are needed now! In music they add convenience at the expense of beauty, for my taste. We weigh the pros and cons and make a choice.

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2 hours ago, DBCooper said:

You probably should give up your TV, car, computer, cell phone, and any other modern day inventions.  Surely they are not needed, they were unnecessary for hundreds of years :-D

I’m not against modern inventions (at least not completely), but the violin isn’t a modern one, and adding new parts now just doesn’t make sense to me. Experimenting with new materials doesn’t bother me (like Kevlar, carbon fiber, or the new fingerboard material, etc.) because they won’t affect playing style or technique.

To me, the idea of trying to “improve” the violin in this manner is like getting a Model T Ford and putting a spoiler and nitrous oxide tank in it. Or like putting a laser sight on an English longbow. As long as you’re the owner, it’s up to you to do what you want,  but once you make these kinds of changes, the items aren’t really the same anymore. 

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2 hours ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

I’m not against modern inventions (at least not completely), but the violin isn’t a modern one, and adding new parts now just doesn’t make sense to me. Experimenting with new materials doesn’t bother me (like Kevlar, carbon fiber, or the new fingerboard material, etc.) because they won’t affect playing style or technique.

To me, the idea of trying to “improve” the violin in this manner is like getting a Model T Ford and putting a spoiler and nitrous oxide tank in it. Or like putting a laser sight on an English longbow. As long as you’re the owner, it’s up to you to do what you want,  but once you make these kinds of changes, the items aren’t really the same anymore. 

You should probably get rid of all that modern stuff in your car, too.  After all, cars didn't originally have ABS, airbags, traction control, etc.  You might as well ditch your smartphone for a feature phone too -- who needs the internet in their pocket?  In fact, why not digress to a landline, or a party line.  

The shoulder rest is not trying to improve the violin.  It's providing access to the violin to those who wouldn't otherwise be able to play well without it.  

A hundred years ago there were other factors.  Those than didn't have the physique to play without a rest played poorly, or simply quit.  There is no reason for that today -- with custom chinrests and various shoulder rests, almost anyone can play well.

Having taught violin at the university level for the last 20 years, I can easily see who will benefit from a shoulder rest and who may not need one (or may be better off with an anti-slip pad of some sort).  Should a student feel inadequate because they aren't able to play without a rest because they simply lack the physical qualities that would make that possible?  I think not.  But people seeing these discussions on the internet who don't have an experienced teacher to snap them back to reality may forever suffer.

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36 minutes ago, DBCooper said:

You should probably get rid of all that modern stuff in your car, too.  After all, cars didn't originally have ABS, airbags, traction control, etc.  .... Those than didn't have the physique to play without a rest played poorly, or simply quit.  There is no reason for that today -- with custom chinrests and various shoulder rests, almost anyone can play well.... But people seeing these discussions on the internet who don't have an experienced teacher to snap them back to reality may forever suffer.

As an amateur I would not personally presume to recommend abandoning shoulder rest in an Internet post, though some amateurs possibly do.

I walk whenever I can. I do own a car, used almost exclusively to help a disabled relative who cannot. The car is old enough not to depend on all that wizardry which leave you helpless if they go wrong (ABS would be acceptable to me). A matter of taste!

Having arthritic hips, I'd probably walk better with crutches. And I might play violin better with a shoulder rest. Being an amateur, I can walk and play as badly as I please.

Years of learning and thinking about violin, on and off, have developed in me an idiosynractic distaste and suspicion of the device Milstein referred to as 'that insect' :( so for those like the OP who ask how to cope without it, I can--cautiously--draw attention to some of the advice out there which struck me as interesting, and which is of course no substitute for a teacher. Only today, I was thinking that most of the violin information one can gather from the Internet falls woefully short of having a good teacher. I am not sure why, but it does.

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3 hours ago, DBCooper said:

You should probably get rid of all that modern stuff in your car, too.  

....

It's providing access to the violin to those who wouldn't otherwise be able to play well without it.

I’m afraid you’re missing the point. Modern technology that advances functionality is great. I am very happy that the chinrest was developed because it actually allows better access to the higher positions on the fingerboard. The shoulder rest does not advance the functionality of the violin, and it’s just silly to argue that it alone actually makes anybody play well. There is no substitute for technique, and any decent player will be able to play with or without a rest. Believe it or not, some people are even able to play without a chinrest. 

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7 hours ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

 The shoulder rest does not advance the functionality of the violin

Especially when it falls off four times in an evening and the quartet stops while the culprit puts it back on.....but with no adjustment so no reason why it shouldn't fall off again.

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13 hours ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

I’m afraid you’re missing the point. Modern technology that advances functionality is great. I am very happy that the chinrest was developed because it actually allows better access to the higher positions on the fingerboard. The shoulder rest does not advance the functionality of the violin, and it’s just silly to argue that it alone actually makes anybody play well. There is no substitute for technique, and any decent player will be able to play with or without a rest. Believe it or not, some people are even able to play without a chinrest. 

Yep, I'm missing the point :-D  Carry on...

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I guess we see it differently; going along with the car analogy, you might equate it to the airbag whereas one might think of it as driving an ambulance instead of a regular car.

Anyway, this is not getting anywhere, it's, as always, turning into one side basically saying the other is insecure and in need of a crutch or basically creationists mindless sheep adhering dogmatically to irrational beliefs.

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I played for at least my first decade with no shoulder rest.  If I was doing it wrong, there were four teachers who never said so.  When I started using a Kun on my own, out of curiosity, everything became much easier and I wouldn't go back.

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I’m not going to refuse anyone who wants a shoulder rest. As I said before, if anyone really wants to know my personal opinion, I’ll tell them I don’t like them.

As far as the argument here, I think      both sides have shown that the rest is actually not necessary. One side thinks it improves playing, the other doesn’t. When the car analogy came up, both sides demonstrated that, like some of the modern accessories in cars, rests are a violin accessory that can be used or not used, as the player desires. If they were a necessity, they’d be a part of the instrument. 

I’m concerned that I see school string programs and teachers who make all their students play with rests and never give them the chance to decide for themselves about what will best fit them.

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1 hour ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

 both sides have shown that the rest is actually not necessary.

It's not necessary.  It's only needed to play to 21st century standards.

 

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28 minutes ago, Bill Merkel said:

It's not necessary.  It's only needed to play to 21st century standards.

 

Anne-Sophie Mutter seems to be doing OK:)

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10 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

It's not necessary.  It's only needed to play to 21st century standards.

 

I am too old to go beyond 20th century standards.

Zuckerman said in the 21st century masterclass on Youtube, "Heifetz was the king. Still is." Coming from the ultimate Galamian player, and one who was close to Stern, that taught me something about Heifetz, and something about Zuckerman, to the credit of both.

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12 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

It's not necessary.  It's only needed to play to 21st century standards.

I can understand that the rest makes the instrument more accessible, but in what way would you say musical/soloistic/orchestral standards have changed in the 21st century? Would a Milstein not be up to standard nowadays? Genuinely asking, not trying to make a point.

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He's super musical but it might not win modern competitions if the same playing came from an unknown 20 year old.  That's just the opinion I get from listening to competition winners and what they have in common.  After the video of him a couple pages back I wrote my impression.

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4 minutes ago, Bill Merkel said:

He's super musical but it might not win modern competitions if the same playing came from an unknown 20 year old.  That's just the opinion I get from listening to competition winners and what they have in common.  After the video of him a couple pages back I wrote my impression.

I see. Maybe a more mechanical accuracy is required nowadays?

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Maybe, or a whole different approach.  It's the changing times.  J.S. Bach would never get a record deal.  George Washington wouldn't get elected dogcatcher.  Doesn't say a thing about their actual greatness.

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2 minutes ago, Bill Merkel said:

Maybe, or a whole different approach.  It's the changing times.  J.S. Bach would never get a record deal.  George Washington wouldn't get elected dogcatcher.  Doesn't say a thing about their actual greatness.

Definitely, but I still can't pinpoint it exactly...

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