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My Journey with My Violin Since May 1716.
A probably unusual way to learn improvising via baroque play-alongs.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (2 votes) 
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Demoiselle
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I do now fully understand the consequence of my playing a violin for right-handed players left-handed. My teacher found it always interesting to figure that out. But the anwer is very easy: The G string is easy to play, the E strings is the hardest. The A string is the transition to the E string, much harder to play than the D string and that makes it harder to progress to high notes. That's why scales which contain the step from Bb to C tend to tire me. It effects me a lot on bad days when my arms feel heavy anyway. So on bad days I can't play the A string so frequently and hardly get to the E string.

Most violin players rarely play the G string—probably because it's hard to play. I use the G string a lot and I like it. I have to keep in mind, that G string and even more the D string are my homebase. The D string is supposed to be used as frequently as others use the A string. Doing better on A and E string is a matter of time and training. I think it will come.

I started extremely slow. I played as slow as possible, like the slowest adagios and sarabandes in baroque music. That made it easier to control intonation and precision. On bad days I have to hold back: play slower and keep more to G and D string. Because on really bad days I hardly make the transition to the E string.

I just heard on the radio, Jimmy Hendrix played the guitar also left-handed....and successfully. It is an option for improvisers, but I would struggle right now in an orchestra because there I had to play A and E string a lot. It isn't my goal anyhow to play in orchestras, but I assumed it could be an option to meet other players for a small band. I better not try that!

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string.

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Demoiselle
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Demoiselle said
I do now fully understand the consequence of my playing a violin for right-handed players left-handed....: The G string is easy to play, the E string is the hardest. The A string is the transition to the E string, much harder to play than the D string and that makes it harder to progress to high notes. That's why scales which contain the step from Bb to C tend to tire me. .......

Most violin players rarely play the G string—probably because it's hard to play. I use the G string a lot and I like it.  ......  Doing better on A and E string is a matter of time and training. I think it will come.

.... On bad days I have to hold back: play slower and keep more to G and D string. Because on really bad days I hardly make the transition to the E string.

Here's  the answer and it's fairly easy:

Usually violin players rather struggle on the G string because fingers can't reach it so comfortably. In my case it's the E string since I bow with the left hand. But of course I looked up information about normal right-handed players finding it hard to play a scale up to the 3rd and 4th finger on the G string. And the answer came from a teacher:

The first solution is to tilt the whole instrument, which I find very awkward for it makes the violin instable by losing the grip of my chin. The second solution is great for me. It means turning the elbow inside, so my pinkie get closer to the outer strings. That results in ridding my right fingerboard of tension, beginning on the A string and then getting even worse on the E string. If my right hand pinkie can't comfortably reach the A string, I have to move the elbow inside and then on the E string a little more. Right handed players have that issue rather on the D string and then on the G string it gets even harder.

My ex-teacher could really have helped me by suggesting that, but I think she had very long fingers and didn't have that problem so much. I told her several times about my problem and her answer was rather nonsense than helpful. She gooble-de-gooked me once more with the suggestion to play with three wooden balls on the palm which would make the hand softer. I could have done that forever and it wouldn't have helped me. She was into yoga and believed in Asian stuff like that. And she hated tuning devices and wasted a lot of time by repeatedly trying to talk them out of me. I'm highly annoyed while recalling that, but I'm glad I didn't get angry. Yelling at my teacher wouldn't have made anything better.

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string.

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Demoiselle
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My worst problem is solved—just within a couple minutes. 😀

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string.

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Ferenc Simon
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Good job! 😉 

It's nice that you managed to figure it out, yea moving your elbow inwards under the violin will make the furthest strings more accessible. It's sort of a natural movement, you can try rocking your elbow back and forth while having your fingers above a string in a line with your wrist straight and you can visually see it acting like a lever and moving your fingers above the correct string based on your elbow position 🙂 For some reason I actually enjoy that movement and keeping the wrist straight will be much more comfortable than trying to stretch it! 

Could've mentioned it earlier but was kind of under the assumption that maybe you already heard that a thousand times and it didn't help.. since it's all over the place :)) I remember Fiddlerman mentioning it as well in more than one video and probably in the comment section of almost every youtube video he made haha. 

Still, glad you managed to find a way to play more comfortably! Keep up the good work!

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Fiddlerman
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November 29, 2017 - 2:04 pm
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Demoiselle said
My worst problem is solved—just within a couple minutes. 😀  

Halleluja 🙂 You are super lucky that your worst problem was solved in minutes.

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

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Demoiselle
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Demoiselle said 
The first solution is to tilt the whole instrument, which I find very awkward for it makes the violin instable by losing the grip of my chin. 

No, my violin must be slanted as much as possible all the time. It doesn't mean loosing the grip of the chin, it means holding it more with the cheek and the side of the chin. Because if I don't have that cheek position on my chin rest, the violin tends too much horizontal and I have to pull my elbow very hard inside the more I'm progressing to the higher range. Especially I as a left-handed player must basically slant the violin. My middle-position chin rest is actually great for that.

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string.

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Demoiselle
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Fiddlerman said

Halleluja 🙂 You are super lucky that your worst problem was solved in minutes.  

Thanks! I think you would have given me exactly that advice if I had posted a video. But I had decided years ago that the face is private data and as face recognition is becoming more and more an issue this obviously is an issue online.

This is sort of screenplay but it's actually not really fiction. But there were other issues why I decided to keep my face offline and part of it was very negative experiences after performing on tv in the 90s.

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string.

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Demoiselle
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Now it's much better for me to play without chin rest, so I took it of. My right cheek is resting on the tailpiece now, very close to where the mouth ends, and the chin touches the wooden top. I had found a higher position of my chin before that, but the right f-hole was screaming into my right ear and that sounded painfully nasty. But now it's very nice.

I still have to get more used to this whole new way of holding the violin, but the transition up to B and C (last notes on 1st position on the E string) works fine: I go up and down and up and down.....and it doesn't tire me out anymore. Even on the E string I can leave all fingers down on the string, up to that B. And without changing anything else, my pinkie can still stretch for the C nicely. Now the E string sounds sweeter. Very relieving that, because lately I began to ask myself whether there would possibly be no way around starting anew on a violin for left-handed players. I'm used to having the bass to my left on many instruments since about 50 years, a left-handed violin would terribly confuse me.

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string.

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Ferenc Simon
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Nice to read you found a comfortable position to play in!

Be careful with the tailpiece though, if you put pressure on it, it alters your tuning and with higher pressure you could even break a string and damage the violin.

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Demoiselle
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The professional baroque players (who always play without chin rest) rest even their chin on the end of the tailpiece. But the tailpiece of a baroque violin is very flat, mine is not and it would feel too shaky. Plus my position with chin on wood and check on tailpiece helps me to comfortably keep a slanted position. I would absolutely hate to press my mouth corner on the tailpiece, so that's not gonna happen. And it's a difference whether you stress a tailpiece's upper end or more down where it's fixed like I do. Without chin rest the violin is lighter and I like that.

I did a 2 hours concert (without pay and in a club where I'm member) in December 2016 and was doing not too bad. Very weird bow hold, the fingerboard's end was rested on the thumb all the time. So my since May 2015 self-taught fingers could nicely reach all strings. Since January I then had a teacher who taught me to place the fingerboard on the knuckle and secure it with the thumb aside. All decent players do that, but she didn't tell me to slant the violin more and move the elbow inside. Because if I don't do that I put a terrible strain already on my 3rd finger the higher I go. She wanted me to keep all fingers down on the fingerboard in a scale, up to the fourth finger. And I told her that would be impossible and that I wouldn't do that on the A and E string. There is a player of the famous Sydney symphony orchestra on YouTube who once stated, it doesn't always make sense to keep all fingers down. Well, I could have nicely kept all fingers down if she had given me the advice to slant the violin more and move the elbow increasingly inside the higher I go. The consequence was that you hardly heard me play on the E string and the higher region of the A string. I made just a few short trips up there and then had to recover from that by going down again as soon as possible. Although a dark violin doesn't sound too badly (June 2017):

I tried a lot of music styles since the 70s and was a semi-professional in jazz who made pretty decent money in the 80s. I know what I want. Jazz on trumpet or trombone is still okay, although it's not my no. 1 style anymore. But I tried jazz on the violin and I didn't like it. So it's gonna be baroque—rather 1600s than early 1700s—and that kind of folk which is close to baroque. Well, historically baroque music was nothing but highbrow folk—blue-blooded people just copied that and invited the most talented musicians in towns to their courts. The best, like Handel and Telemann, got jobs at court, so people today think it's just court music. Blue-blooded people were rather dumb and inactive. The brightest people at courts where mostly intelligentsia which came from towns. I know these people, I've read many of their books (originals and reprints) and that's my world.

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string.

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So I have an old buddy who was the director of an amateur movie in the 90s, in which I played the female lead part. Today he's not anymore so much into life-action films, but rather into animation. I delivered music and voice for a humorous vampire movie he made in summer and now he just started with a pirate movie. It is called LISELLE, who is the female pirate captain and I've already spoken the first scene in which she escapes the gallows with her crew, by accepting a job as her king's pirate in war. My buddy is ready to release this below violin scene as sort of teaser, so I can load it up now. The music style is similar to my former upload from July, "Mein Freund ist mein von Johann Christian Bach - Improvisation"—only this time it's a traditional German pirate song. More info under the video on YouTube....

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string.

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Fiddlerman
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Great sound on your violin in this video. Congratulations.

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

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Mark
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I agree, very good sound with all the instruments!!

Well done

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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Demoiselle
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Fiddlerman said
Great sound on your violin in this video. Congratulations.  

Thanks, I had a good day on that November 27 when I recorded the audio. I hope my latest improvement will make it possible to play better on days when I feel sick and tired—slanting the violin and pulling elbow inside. I'm getting used to this now and it seems the effect already shows.

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string.

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Demoiselle
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Mark said
I agree, very good sound with all the instruments!!

Well done

Mark  

I was just lucky to have created this sound. It was a mere experiment to add a hand drum to my very lute-like spinet playing. I was just fooling around and suddenly there was a fusion I had not expected—that the combination spinet+drum could be a serious option for a rhythm section. The drum brings in a kind of bass sound and drama which makes the whole thing round. It was an accident but I love it.

The combination violin+treble-recorder wasn't new to me, it was very common in 1600s French music—also in this unisono form. Finally the recorder adds some wildness which I cannot express on the violin yet. But the two melody instruments help each other in the final short collective improvisation. They are very different and that's probably the part of the trick. Spinet + deep drum + violin + treble recorder would be an interesting band with four different people.

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string.

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Demoiselle
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So I had taken off my chin rest.

Demoiselle said
The professional baroque players (who always play without chin rest) rest even their chin on the end of the tailpiece. But the tailpiece of a baroque violin is very flat, mine is not and it would feel too shaky. Plus my position with chin on wood and check on tailpiece helps me to comfortably keep a slanted position. I would absolutely hate to press my mouth corner on the tailpiece, so that's not gonna happen. And it's a difference whether you stress a tailpiece's upper end or more down where it's fixed like I do. Without chin rest the violin is lighter and I like that.  

Sometimes I have blinders on if I try very hard and watch very hard. I later looked up all my favorite baroque violin players on YouTube (which are many) and they all do it like I do: placing their check rather beside the tailpiece. Their chin seems to be on the violin's top at times but they're far from clinging it to the instrument! I was watching video after video, wondering how they control their violins. At times they even move their heads! I was wondering until I reviewed this video (which is above somewhere already):

There is an atmosphere of easiness in this group which has always fascinated me. And it seems this easiness is highly contagious. Because after watching this I was suddenly able to play without clinging with the chin—at times I even moved my chin away from the top of my violin. The cheek gently stops the violin from sliding away, so no force needed. I use the chin to slant the violin more if I have to. I keep it maximally down on the G string side so I can better reach the coming-up E string. But I still love G and D string best, so it's good that I play a violin for right-handed players left-handed.

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string.

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Demoiselle
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I just commented on a video of the violin maker Dmitry Badiarov. There he confesses to not be a very good player but nonetheless has well-paid concerts. And frankly he is the dark-haired player of the little violoncello da spalla in above video, a cello to strap over. I find this music heavenly. What more should I strive for?! So here's my comment. The content is very important to me, so it belongs here.

So I don't have to be perfect to later give baroque concerts. As an improviser I'm actually free to play around passages which are too difficult. So your little speech made me even more optimistic. I don't know enough about ancient music audience. How tolerant are they? How much do they expect? Are they pedantic? To me it seems they are more intelligent than average jazz audience and so are musicians who play baroque. And I guess they are nicer and more tolerant than jazz folks. Frankly, I heard you with Ensemble Clematis and loved it. And frankly, feeling the need to be better than that isn't really healthy. Classical music is like professional sports—unhealthy overdo. Of course I do practice and I want to get better, but there's a healthy limit to everything. I came from traditional jazz, then went a little bebop and now prefer improvised baroque. Yes, I am even allowed to alter a musical motif. I don't claim to be as good as Bach but I'm just as free as he was.

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string.

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Demoiselle
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Eddy Chen is like, "Never pull the elbow too much inside." I then asked him to play a whole not scale starting with Ab, up to D plainly on the G string.

Today I found this—I didn't know they play that Bach Air plainly on the G string:

Elbow pulled inside very much indeed.

So then I looked for other players. Some professional violinists call it "Air on the G String", but then do it on the E string. Maybe the G string pains them? However, this lady here is very interesting:

She is slanting her violin enormously, so she can keep her elbow under the instrument.

But somebody tell me another option—until then I will say there isn't any. I pull the elbow as much inside as I can when I play the E string, I have to do it on the D of the A string already and on the G of the D string a little. Otherwise a trill with the 3rd finger isn't possible (leaving aside 4th finger) and scales end up too exhausting. As left-handed player, I have to add, so nobody gets confused.

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string.

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Fiddlerman
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LOL. Exactly.
Bach Air can be played on any string but Bach Air on the G string is exactly what it indicates...... Should be played solely on the G string or simply called, "Bach Air".

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

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Mark
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Demoiselle,

Like you, I play a right handed fiddle left handed so I completely understand where your coming from. I to love the G,D and A string, E string not so wild about especially above first position, until the last 2  or 3 months. Other than practicing 3 octave scales

I rarely shifted out of 1st position except for Bach air where I start in 5th position then shifted to 1st position and played the balance of the song in first position, my goal has been to play Bach air solely on the G string but between lack of time and laziness I have not got that done yet. My teacher wanted me to learn Nearer my God to thee starting in 3rd position on the D string and then going to second position on the E string then to 6th position on the E string there are several very good u-tube videos in that key( key of G) and in that arrangement to watch and play with.

In working the E string I have had to do a combination of both tilting me violin quite a bit and pulling my right arm in to the left and rotate my thumb under the neck at it's base, allowing my hand to come up over the upper bout of the fiddle to get some what comfortable and to reach the E string in that position. My wrist is still stretching and I feel tension build up as I'm practicing up high but it has slowly gotten better over time.

I will admit that at one time I considered it silly to play out side of 1st position, how ever, I personally now believe for me, (everyone has to make there own mind up how and what they want to play and that decision is the correct decision for them, and ultimately that's who we play for) being able to play positions allows you freedom to play with anyone in any key and express your self in ways you can't if you only play in first position. I know. I'm still working on getting comfortable and playing in tune in the upper registers. I'm having to do a lot of ear training to hear the note pitches correctly, I tend to play everything a bit sharp of the intended pitch. I've been told the fiddle is a 10 year apprenticeship and I believe that's not to far from the truth to get comfortable with a fretless instrument, that you play with a piece of wood with horse hair stretched across it, that has to become an extension of your hand, that the human body is not really designed to play.

Guessing this going to take more time to figure out than I was wanting or expecting!

Have fun figuring out how to play up the neck on the E string were all built different.

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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