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outofnames

Thought Experiment, playing violin in Zero G

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Over the weekend, SpaceX (founded by Elon Musk) and NASA successfully launched a crew from American soil to the space station for the first time in 9 years.

Musk is many things, including a bit eccentric.  If you go to the SpaceX website, you'll see an artist rendering of a violinist playing (on the wrong side) in Zero G.  Musk hopes to realize this sort of reality in the future.

Which got me thinking...how difficult would it be to play any stringed instrument in a zero gravity environment?  

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12 minutes ago, outofnames said:

Over the weekend, SpaceX (founded by Elon Musk) and NASA successfully launched a crew from American soil to the space station for the first time in 9 years.

Musk is many things, including a bit eccentric.  If you go to the SpaceX website, you'll see an artist rendering of a violinist playing (on the wrong side) in Zero G.  Musk hopes to realize this sort of reality in the future.

Which got me thinking...how difficult would it be to play any stringed instrument in a zero gravity environment?  

Not difficult.

wish I were young enough to prove it...

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Try playing your violin upside-down, compare that to playing it rightside-up and divide the difference by 2 - that ought to be like playing in 0-g.

I would imagine that if you compared playing with a conventional bow and an ARCUS** in 0-g you would find less difference than on Earth.

 

** lower weight.

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Pinball wizard on guitar would certainly sound a bit odd, you would not be able to strum as fast, would lack of gravity affect tuning?

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You would probably go spinning in various directions because of the bow arm movement.  Newtons laws of motion in an inertial reference frame and all that.  

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1 hour ago, MikeC said:

You would probably go spinning in various directions because of the bow arm movement.  Newtons laws of motion in an inertial reference frame and all that.  

The back and forth would cancel each other out.  Plus, the motion is close enough to the body that I wonder if there would be enough torque generated to really move the body much.  

I was thinking more about how much down force the player would need to exert on the bow to compensate for no gravity pulling the bow and hand down. 

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1 hour ago, outofnames said:

The back and forth would cancel each other out.  Plus, the motion is close enough to the body that I wonder if there would be enough torque generated to really move the body much.  

I was thinking more about how much down force the player would need to exert on the bow to compensate for no gravity pulling the bow and hand down. 

I teach bilateral motion, which is letting your body move opposite to your arm when playing, so as to maintain a constant center of gravity. It’s literally exactly like walking, where we swing our arms to counterbalance our shifting weight. 

Depending on the piece, of imagine using that motion would help us remain in one basic position.

like I said, I’d love to volunteer to go into space and give it a try.

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7 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

like I said, I’d love to volunteer to go into space and give it a try.

Get in the line.  It starts waaaaayyy behind me.   :lol:

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14 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

I teach bilateral motion, which is letting your body move opposite to your arm when playing, so as to maintain a constant center of gravity. It’s literally exactly like walking, where we swing our arms to counterbalance our shifting weight. 

Depending on the piece, of imagine using that motion would help us remain in one basic position.

like I said, I’d love to volunteer to go into space and give it a try.

Hmm...I often catch myself gently swaying if I'm playing a piece I know reasonably well and the music allows for it.

I never paid much attention to whether it's opposite of bowing direction.  My teacher remains fairly stationary, though I've never seen her REALLY play before.

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5 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

Get in the line.  It starts waaaaayyy behind me.   :lol:

I am old, and I remember being a little boy before man landed on the moon.

 I remember reading a book about early flight and an old man and his wife attended an early barnstorming event, where a pilot would fly around and people could watch, and at the end of this particular event, the old man turn to his wife and said, “OK, I can die now, because I’ve seen everything.”

That was a wee bit shortsighted.

I would like to live long enough to see Contact with Others, but Failing that, I’d like to be able to go into space as a tourist. Those space X people better hurry up, Because I’m not getting healthier as I get older.

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Just now, outofnames said:

Hmm...I often catch myself gently swaying if I'm playing a piece I know reasonably well and the music allows for it.

I never paid much attention to whether it's opposite of bowing direction.  My teacher remains fairly stationary, though I've never seen her REALLY play before.

I teach all of my kids this motion, and even though they all walk naturally, it’s funny seeing how awkwardly they attempt it at first.

Try this experiment: 

Sit in a chair, with a stiff back, ramrod straight. Now swing your arm out to the right is violently as you can. As you do so, Maintain a rigid torso. When you do that motion, you will feel the pectoral(?) muscles in your chest straining to maintain your rigidity.

Now repeat, but allow your body to react naturally to your swinging arm. When you do that you will find that your body flows to the left as your arm swings to the right.

It is a natural reaction of the body to maintain center of gravity, and when your right arm moves in one direction it is natural for the body to respond in the opposite direction to maintain that center of gravity.

 Now sit in a chair, with your violin, start with the bow at the balance point on one of the inner strings. Draw the gentle down bow and as your bow swings to the right, let your violin flow easily to the left. Don’t force it, and don’t try to move equal amounts With the two sides of your body. Just allow your body to react to what your bow is doing. The longer the bow, the more the flow.

Because the angle is different on Violin than on cello( more vertically than horizontal) The axis will be different, but I do think the concept is universal.

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13 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

I teach all of my kids this motion, and even though they all walk naturally, it’s funny seeing how awkwardly they attempt it at first.

Try this experiment: 

Sit in a chair, with a stiff back, ramrod straight. Now swing your arm out to the right is violently as you can. As you do so, Maintain a rigid torso. When you do that motion, you will feel the pectoral(?) muscles in your chest straining to maintain your rigidity.

Now repeat, but allow your body to react naturally to your swinging arm. When you do that you will find that your body flows to the left as your arm swings to the right.

It is a natural reaction of the body to maintain center of gravity, and when your right arm moves in one direction it is natural for the body to respond in the opposite direction to maintain that center of gravity.

 Now sit in a chair, with your violin, start with the bow at the balance point on one of the inner strings. Draw the gentle down bow and as your bow swings to the right, let your violin flow easily to the left. Don’t force it, and don’t try to move equal amounts With the two sides of your body. Just allow your body to react to what your bow is doing. The longer the bow, the more the flow.

Because the angle is different on Violin than on cello( more vertically than horizontal) The axis will be different, but I do think the concept is universal.

Good stuff.

Have you done any Alexander Technique?  Pedro de Alcantara has a few books directed towards musicians that are great and contain body awareness exercises like this.

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32 minutes ago, Stephen Fine said:

Good stuff.

Have you done any Alexander Technique?  Pedro de Alcantara has a few books directed towards musicians that are great and contain body awareness exercises like this.

Yes I took a class on Alexander technique in college. 

I remember after one class, I had a lesson, and my cello teacher, who had sold me the worm-eaten cello I was playing, started yelling at me.

”you say this is a terrible cello but here you sound beautiful, so beautiful! Such tone! And you say this cello is terrible!”

But what he was hearing was the result of the class that day, where I had been focusing on relaxing, and I had finally started learning to play without fighting myself.

it was still a terrible cello...

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