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Meet “ratvn” from Fiddlerman’s “Fiddle Talk” forum
sp_BlogLink Read the original blog post
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 16, 2013 - 11:31 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

• Please begin by telling us anything you would like to about yourself. Age, place of birth, residence, etc.
Hi all, here is Robert, I'm 53 and reside in Kent, Washington State, USA.

Robert - known as "ratvn" with his favorite violin.Image Enlarger

• What made you decide to play the violin?
Playing violin was my dream when I was a little kid. It did not come through after 40+ years and finally I got to start learning to play.

• How long have you been playing the violin?
I'm at 16 months into learning and one year of fiddlerman.com member.

• How often do you play? How long are your practice sessions?
I would love to practice every day for about 30 minutes to an hour, maybe a bit more on some days when health permits

• In your opinion, what's your proficiency on the violin?
Not very proficient yet, but improving every day, after every practice session.

• Your greatest personal experience with playing?
I was so thrilled when recently a girl overheard my practice when walking by my room (think it was Irish Washerwoman) and a bit later on commented that I sounded pretty good. The story was over a year ago when I first started without…

READ MORE >>>

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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1stimestar
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October 16, 2013 - 12:25 pm
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Nice to meet you.  Good interview. 

 

Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.

 

Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North Country

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sunshineb
saskatchewan, canada
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October 16, 2013 - 12:40 pm
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very nice to meet you and learn a bit more about you, Robert!

love hearing how playing music has been a part of your journey back to good health!  :)

"you make a living by what you earn, you make a life by what you give." ~winston churchill

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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October 16, 2013 - 12:57 pm
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It's great to meet the man behind the music. You have come very far in what is really a short time. Keep well and keep fighting.

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DanielB
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October 16, 2013 - 4:01 pm
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Great interview!

thumbs-up

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
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October 16, 2013 - 4:03 pm
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It's nice to meet You, Robert! Your violin family is impressive!

You're doing great in your playing and i wish You further success! Actually, knowing what is behind your violin life makes me amazed by your will. Wish You good health, and keep up your great work with violin!

hats_off

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StoneDog
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October 16, 2013 - 9:44 pm
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I really enjoyed your interview ratvn. I watch all your vids > SWEET!!! > Your passion for this instrument is deep and I felt that before reading about you. It always seemed to come out in your playing. Your are truly a player, a musician > one who brings sounds from the heart.

ratvn > ROCKS!!!!!!!!!

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Robyn.fnq
Queensland, Australia
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October 16, 2013 - 11:28 pm
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Nice meeting you Robert, and I love your survival story.  Having spent many years working in Oncology and Palliative Care, I really love the attitudes of some of my patients ... 'This cancer won't get me!'

I was interested to hear you tune your violin a semitone down, I didn't know that was possible.  Is it just for particular strings, or your general preference?

Bravo my friend!

thumbs-up

If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're probably right.

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Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
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October 17, 2013 - 12:05 am
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That was a great interview, Robert.

I was sure you practiced more often just from the way you play. Real nice.

 

Ken.   hats_off

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Ginnysg
Southern California
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October 17, 2013 - 12:25 am
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wow, very nice interview!  I always enjoy your videos - you've progressed so well!  Keep up the good playing!

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” 

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ratvn
Kent, Washington USA
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October 18, 2013 - 12:04 am
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Thanks all for your encouragement and support.

It's a privilege and my pleasure to get interviewed. Thanks FM for putting it up.

You All a Great Family. You All >>>ROCKS!!!

 

@Robyn.fnq: thank you for your encouragement. I'm not off the hook yet, still on their radar scope and hopefully I won't fall off their screen that quick.

the semitone tuning down is a still a debate of whether it sounds better so whatever works for you is good. Some of Baroque pieces were played with A=415Hz, with gut strings and original violin design, instead of higher neck angle, string tension to make for better projection, solo that needed to stand out from the rest of orchestra instruments. The standard tuning today, mostly, is A=440, in USA, as for piano and other instruments, but there are countries that specify it differently, A=415 for example.

It's very simple to carry out if your tuner has preset/adjustable for it (there are also other methods). My tuner has preset for A from 410 to 480 Hz. So just set it at A=415Hz and then proceed doing everything normally as one would, from tuning to play sheet music to fingering as nothing happened. At the end, if one  would compare it to an A=440 tuning, it would sound a semitone down, a transposition/modulation, like playing in different key, ie instead of C minor, it's B minor.

The only inconveniences with it are when playing with some fix tuning instruments, piano/keyboard/others for one, playing in group project in which there is a set of tuning pitch and tempo to follow, or playing along with an audio from youtube tuning at A=440.

A=415 for violin is not just a transposition, IMHO, as there would be less string tension, string/bridge sound transfering/coupling would emphasize the mid and low range while reducing the high, thus would make it sound a bit sweeter/richer less harsh, and of course lower volume/projection, which is better for me as to not disturb others, also less string tension means it's easier for my fingering and strings, and I've done it that way since a few weeks into learning, up until now as general practice with quite a few different string sets. I would be happily to retune mine up to 440 if I have some one to play with. As for youtube tunes, there is Amazing Slow Downer (for pitch shifting) which is not only for practicing but also can output a .wav file with new setting/tuning, that can be input to Audacity to play along with (for multi-track recording) so everything would be in tune. In fact, all of my posted audio were with my violin tuning at A=415Hz while the audio tracks were at A=440Hz originally (then tuned down using Amazing Slow Downer to shift to the required pitch).

If you like to, you can also give it a try for a few days to see. I also have one violin tuned to A=440Hz just to follow a quick youtube tune/or some similar, so I don't have to go through all the trouble of retuning the audio piece to fit in with my violin. Whatever works for you will be best.

Robert

 

 

 

 

 

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Robyn.fnq
Queensland, Australia
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October 18, 2013 - 12:39 am
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Thanks Robert, that's very interesting.  I use BP Minus for the same purpose, and was a bit confused about pitch changing, but have discovered each number lowered is equal to one semitone, so I suppose that would equate to A=415, as you explained.

I might try that with my silent electric Cecilio, as the strings are not as high quality as my acoustic, and I use the electric for most practice to spare my family and neighbours.  I have a tuner/metronome that's adjustable in pitch, so it should be straightforward.

It's worth a try, and as you say, might sound more mellow.

cheers

If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're probably right.

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KindaScratchy
Massachusetts
October 18, 2013 - 8:25 pm
Member Since: March 14, 2012
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Very nice interview, Robert! I really enjoyed getting to know you better. Your violin collection is impressive.

1st-place

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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ratvn
Kent, Washington USA
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October 20, 2013 - 6:08 pm
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Thank you so much, Diane, @KindaScratchy for your encouragement and support.

Appreciated it.

 

 

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coolpinkone
California, the place of my heart
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October 20, 2013 - 8:29 pm
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Robert, what a great interview.  I just loved reading it.  It is so authentic, just as you are.  Thank you for all your help  on the chat box and for being such a nice guy.  I look forward to many years of playing violin with you.

Much Love,

Toni

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Ferret
Byron Bay Australia
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October 21, 2013 - 7:55 pm
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Hi Robert @ratvn 

Nice interview. Very interesting.

You said you play some 'ethnic' insuments. Do you have any experience in anything like the Chinese 'urhu'

I bought one back from China this year and things aren't going all that well with it.bunny-headbang

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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ratvn
Kent, Washington USA
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October 22, 2013 - 4:59 pm
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Thank you, Toni, @coolpinkone, and John, @Ferret for your encouragement and support.

@Ferret, John, I have a Vietnamese version of the Erhu in my instrument collection. It's very similar in construction (Erhu was originally from a minor ethnic group, near China).

My teacher at that time, about 20 yrs ago, only showed me the basic tuning/playing but I did not pay much attention to it as I was concentrating on some other instruments, Zither, monochord and later, a 2 stringed round shape lute.

Since the instrument was designed to play some particular musics, using it for western tunes requires retuning/adaptation to western musical scale, and the tunes are to be transposed/modulated to the instrument particular tonic pitch/note.

It should not be harder than playing violin. The Vietnamese one was adapted to play traditional musics, but it also could play some western tunes being a fiddle.

There are several ways to tune the instrument, depend on the type of music being played (Vietnamese traditional musics employed several tuning systems), and the one closest to western scale would have the tuning in perfect fifth (your favorite, John), a perfect fourth would also work (which is a fifth at one octave lower).

So one way of tuning it is G D, (which is the same as violin two lower string tuning and fingering), with tunes all transposed to Dm and its relative F, or for easier reading, Em and G (one sharp). To cover the higher end, being a 2 stringed instrument, it's usually played in 3rd or 4th position if needed to.

 

 

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suresh
Tuticorin, India
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October 26, 2013 - 6:15 am
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Great interview Ratvn!  Nice to know you, sir.  My thanks to the girl and FM for having brought here.coffee

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it ..(William Shakespeare in Twelfth Night)

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ratvn
Kent, Washington USA
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October 26, 2013 - 12:16 pm
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Thank you, @suresh for your encouragement and support.

You're among the most wonderful members of the forum.

 

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wookieman
Tennessee, USA
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October 26, 2013 - 11:31 pm
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That was a great interview!  Very inspirational.  Keep on keeping on!

 

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