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Hey Steven Redrobe


K544
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Even though you don't know squat about the history of Soviet violin playing, and its organic connection to the earlier Russians, let me tip my hat to you for an item on your website.

I refer to your remark that the objective of moving the bow is not to keep the string vibrating, but to keep the bridge vibrating.

I was thinking about that this morning in my practice session. I happened to be working on the cadenza of the Shostakovich concerto #1, and I started focussing my attention on managing the bow so as to keep the bridge vibrating all the time, except when I came to a rest or a natural bow lift. The effects were these: first, and most obviously, it is a good way to remind oneself to keep the bow close to the bridge (the right way to play, in my humble opinion); but second, and more surprisingly, I found legato bow shifts at the frog feeling smoother and more natural (the bridge, that is, has to be kept moving right through the bow change) and my bow distribution in general felt better.

Thank you very much.

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I'm grateful for the advice Steven has given. It seems to strike to the core about how we can direct the violin to produce sound. Namely the importance of the bridge and what we try to effect with it while bowing.

Steven, generally I've been told that to play softly (p, pp, ppp), in addition to lighter bow pressure, one should move keep the bow closer to the finger board. Playing loudly would be the converse. Then there's bow speed to factor in as well.

Looks like there's a lot of experimenting now, re-thinking the framework for violin dynamics. Please keep up the good works of educating us.

BTW I think it is very meaningful that Steven address his background, it shows his passion and dedication to the violin, and it is an indication of what *works*. That Steven is willing to share his knowledge is already worthy of utmost respect. Right-on Stevo! smile.gif

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I would just like to thank Stephen for his excellent website with great information. I especially liked the section about how vibrato makes the string stronger. I think someone of Stephen's experience, credentials and expertise is incredibly valuable to Maestronet. Stephen - I would like to meet you some day. You seem like a very nice person and a great violinist. Thank you for helping us.

[This message has been edited by Jonathan Rubin (edited 03-12-2002).]

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Well, I was struck by Steven's advice also. Thinking about vibrating the bridge gives a different mental focus, and that can affect tone. Unfortunately, I got lost on his website looking for tips.

On a lighter note, Longhair, Mark, and natnot, my pedigree can beat up your pedigree! Nyah! (Just so you know, I'm a violinist "orphan" with no idea and no care about it.)

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Dear g#maj,

thank you for even taking the trouble to look at my little website. It is evolving as I write and some of my students who are doing this for me should have added items within a week or so I believe.

At present the "tips" are to be found in the essay under the section entitled More about Erick Friedman.

To everybody else I assure you that my motivations are entirely altruistic. I repeatedly restate my "credentials" in order that people know the antecedents of the person who is being so bold as to try to give advice, but mainly because I want to generate interest, amongst the younger generation, in the playing of a violinist I consider one of the TRUE greats of all time and THE successor to Heifetz. NO - not me!! - Erick Friedman. He deserves it.

I am truly sorry if I have appeared to be bombastic or immodest. It was not intentional I swear.

Yours respectfully,

Steve smile.gif

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Steve,

My e-mail is

yee@hawaii.rr.com

alternate: yee@hawaiiankavacenter.com

Perhaps you could post your writings on your website as well.

I appreciate your advice. No matter what you or anybody does there will always be critics. However, I value insights, esp., from those who have a respect for humanity and come from the heart.

I think we have a tradition of poking fun of one another and ourselves in this country. I get a good laugh when people call me Kava King, Farmer John, or "Dealer". smile.gif

My teacher, Simon Kim, was a student of Heifetz. In fact, he told me so. Even showed me the violin that was given to him by Heifetz. And he wasn't ashamed or bashful about this. Facts are facts. Those who complain about these things are probably just jealous and harbor ill-thoughts, and that's too bad. We carry on...

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Friedman is already very well known to the "younger generation" and would be so even without the link to Heifetz and Milstein and Galamian.

On the other hand, I'm definitely NOT a fan of his playing though I respect him and his disciples tremendously.

For me, the object of moving the bow is to MAKE SOUND.

I don't try to keep my bow to the bridge, as I prefer to locate my natural "sounding point" closer to the fingerboard as Mrs. Pardee taught me.

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quote:

Originally posted by stephen redrobe:

...This comes DIRECTLY from JASCHA HEIFETZ.

DIRECTLY I tell you!!.

I guess that settles it. Heifetz was right, and everything everyone else does is wrong. tongue.gif Actually, to tell you the truth, I never even liked his playing very much.

And there are many ways of playing pianissimo, and thoughtful use of tone color is very much a part of making music. Some advocate playing pianissimo close to the bridge, some don't. For example, listen to Anne-Sophie Mutter's husky pianissimos (which are easily heard over an orchestra), and tell me they are played close to the bridge. (Or was it Sonnenberg? -- my memory is definitely starting to go smile.gif ).

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Dear Steve,

I can't tell you how happy I am that you are here to help. Your knowledge and many years of experience speak for themselves. I think that in posting your association, you were presenting honestly with a tremendous background to back up everything. I am truly happy to have met you, if only by an internet association. And, as Jonathan Rubin has voiced, I too hope we have the chance to meet someday.

Thank you for your dedication and tremendous efforts! And I totally agree, Erick Friedman does deserve the highest regard. From what I have learned, intonation is everything, and of what I have learned (which I do not consider nearly enough), this is the most important aspect in playing not only violin, but any instrument. It is a stuggle, undoubtedly we all deal with, but one which should, in my opinion, never be shrugged off. Thanks Erick Friedman and to you for all your dedication to music.

I remain,

Respectfully,

JKF

[This message has been edited by JKF (edited 03-16-2002).]

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Stephen,

I have noticed that in a few of your more recent posts, you have asked people to e-mail you for more detailed information. Obviously that is your perogative, but I would urge you to post your replies on the board whenever it is remotely practical. That way, we can all benefit.

Thanks for your insights.

db

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quote:

Originally posted by La Folia:

I guess that settles it. Heifetz was right, and everything everyone else does is wrong. Actually, to tell you the truth, I never even liked his playing very much.

And there are many ways of playing pianissimo, and thoughtful use of tone color is very much a part of making music. ).

Do you really think that Jascha Heifetz did not make thoughtful use of tone color in his playing? I am staggered by the idea!

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I don't see what the point of the argument is. Isn't this a matter of taste?

Physically speaking, of course you produce sound by vibrating the bridge, but whether you bow away from or closer to the bridge you still vibrate the bridge - just with different modes and amplitudes. So there are many kinds of timbre one can produce, and it's purely a matter of taste what one prefers. In fact it seems that it matters more how you blend these different timbres in a piece than which particular style you choose. Well, there are practical considerations such as that you want to be not drowned by the orchestra, but contact point doesn't have a big effect on this as you can always compensate by using more bow. So I can't imagine there being right and wrong answers... (btw, I love Heifetz, but I think there are many tone colors other violinists make that he cannot produce. But it doesn't really affect the level of his playing - it is not necessary for a painter to have every imaginable color available to him in order to produce a masterpiece. If an unrivaled master artist paints with the most nuaunced color shading but has the penchant of using just green and blue and no red, does it mean it's a bad idea to paint with red?)

Stewart

[This message has been edited by stewarts (edited 03-12-2002).]

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I LIKE my tone - and I am NOT fundamentally in error.

My tone - forte or piano - can project to the back of a 3000 seat carpeted concert hall with my little K500 and Glasser fiberglass bow playing over an orchestra. What's wrong with that?

Ever since I was a small child playing 1/2 size violins, I've had that ability due to the bowing I learned. That's the way Pardee AND Rosand taught me.

If Heifetz told me HIMSELF to change my bowing to go closer to the bridge, I wouldn't do it.

I've played with my bow near the bridge earlier in life, and I didn't like the effect. Too harsh for my soft ears.

Maybe this is part of the reason why Erick Friedman is not on my short list of preferred players - and why I prefer a few other violinists over Heifetz.

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I`m pretty sure that Milstein`s( and many other great violinists`) sounding point was not as close to the bridge as Heifetz`. I`m sure nobody is "wrong" on that.

About the site, I liked in the whole, but I think k544 has a point about the soviet school. Let me explain:

Mr. Redrobe seems to believe that, once Auer, Heifetz, Zimbalist, Milstein( & many others) were in USA, the "true" russian school came with them, and the Soviet violinists( their contemporaries from USSR) belonged to a lower standard. I have to disagree (strongly) on that.

Mr. Redrobe is right to be proud about belonging to such an honorable tradition (even if the name-dropping thing sounds excessive for my taste), but in the violin world, there are some traditions that deserve the same acknowledgement( or even more, some would say). I will not mention any name here, because there`s no need to( if asked to, I can mention some "soviet" - or west europeans from the same age - violinists that were not "inferior" to anybody mentioned, even to Heifetz). I personally believe that no school or technique should be claimed as "the best", due to obvious reasons. One should not insinuate that some school has more value than other, or at least not in this case.

And, Mr. Redrobe, let`s face it: by promoting Erick Friedman, you are indirectly promoting yourself, because you are his european assistant. So, you`re not being entirely altruistic as you said, even if you trully believe on that. That`s not wrong: you have the right to promote yourself based on what you do, but please, claiming complete altruism is just not true.

Respectfully

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[And, Mr. Redrobe, let`s face it: by promoting Erick Friedman, you are indirectly promoting yourself, because you are his european assistant. So, you`re not being entirely altruistic as you said, even if you trully believe on that. That`s not wrong: you have the right to promote yourself based on what you do, but please, claiming complete altruism is just not true.

Respectfully[/b]

Dear Locatelli,

you perhaps - very probably - are correct in the above statement. My INTENT however is only to promote Erick's playing.

I wish that some American lovers of the violin would realise that your very own players - Shumsky, Friedman, Rosand and others - are/were the world's finest and there is no need to look farther afield.

Let us also not forget the Zippo lighter.

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quote:

Originally posted by g#maj:

On a lighter note, Longhair, Mark, and natnot, my pedigree can beat up your pedigree! Nyah! (Just so you know, I'm a violinist "orphan" with no idea and no care about it.)

I have absolutely *no* pedigree, and I don't care! tongue.gif I'm almost completely self-taught, have bad technique and will never play very well. But I'm happy playing the music I love. And that's what counts to me. I don't get hung up on the "right" bow hold, or the "right" way to hold the violin, because I don't need to - the music is what matters to me.

Having said that, I have immense respect for those who *do* play that well and are willing to offer their invaluable advice to the rest of us on this forum, Mr. Redrobe, HKV et al included. smile.gif

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