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My Journey with My Violin Since May 1716.
A probably unusual way to learn improvising via baroque play-alongs.
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Demoiselle
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Fiddlerman said
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".  

That "Air on the G String" helps me a lot. I always had a little rest of doubts, I might be on the wrong track with my left-handed playing. Some may consider it against the nature of the violin to shift the focus from E string to the G string. Like, "Why don't you play viola then?" But frankly, I like a violin's G string better than the sound of a viola. And this air delivers me an argument to defend my personal style. Anastasiya Petryshak in the above video sounds great! And people seem to love that dark violin sound.

But now it comes back to me where this air belongs and certainly I have it on CDs: Ouverture D Major, BWV 1068, 2nd movement.

But as we see here: They also type "Air on the G String"—obviously because many search that term on the YouTube.

Here same air, with Koopman, and it's part of a playlist with the whole Ouverture/Suite.

The plus-point of this air is it's groove. In baroque music to me it's like in jazz: "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing". Whatever doesn't swing puts me to sleep. There's a certain type of arpeggio movement which turns me off, like the Brandenburg Concerto movement I tried it summer: It sounds cute when I hear it first, but the deedle-dadle-doodle of the bass is far from groove and slows my blood circulation down until I wanna go to bed, or the violin may fall out of my hands.

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
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...  

Hello Mark, nice to meet another left-handed right-fiddle player! I taught myself since May 2015 through December 2016 and then had a teacher since January 2017 until early August. She always considered me an interesting case and wondered what the consequence might be. Months later she was like, "Maybe you should have started on a left-handed violin, but now it's too late." I disagreed and would have changed to a left-handed violin, but I like it as it is. The bass cannot be to my right! It was always to my left at the piano and whenever I drummed the deeper drum was on the left side. It is part of my musical nature after decades of playing music.

I met violin playing YouTube commenters who complain it would be difficult to play on the G string. So that's easy for you and me. I have been harshly practicing on A and E string to get better there. And maybe it was too much. I will always involve A and G string, but my home base has to remain G and D string. I'm supposed to be there mostly because there I can maximally relax. And yes, I like that dark sound, so it's really right for me.

I will possibly start working on this Bach air, also in C major (in the original Ouverture it's D major), but I will NOT leave the 1. position. The point is, in ancient music changing position is hardly common. My teacher tried to talk me into changing position but I paid her and I certainly decided. My first rule is: until I'm not perfect on 1. position I won't change anywhere. My second rule: open string goes before 4th finger. I want to try that Bach air, but not plainly on G string.

What is the consequence of playing a right-handed violin left-handed? You're very much at home on the G string, also on the D string, on the A string it gets more difficult and on the E string hard. Right-handed players have it the other way around. They very much prefer the A string because it's comfortable for them and not so much the D string. And while listening to various violin sonatas you can listen a long time until you hear them playing on the G string. Sometimes they touch the higher range of the G string, but you rarely hear a G or A.

A violin tutor on YouTube suggests to slant the violin more to reach the G string. Plus she recommends to move the elbow inside, which causes the pinkie to home in on the G string. That's how I understood I have to do exactly the same on the E string. And I need it a little on the A string already, especially on the D.

Nonetheless this can't give reason to dwell on A and E string all the time. My home-string is the D string and I'm supposed to visit the G string a lot from there. I will continue to involve A and E string, but I'm not supposed  to use them as much as right-handed players. Because to us these strings are more difficult to reach and tire us sooner. I play the E string maximally up to Bb and B in the 1. position. I don't like the extreme high range on the E string anyhow, so why change position? But maybe I will do that in a couple years. But as long as scales up and down tire me on the E string soon it would be very unreasonable to change positions. No, to me there's no other position on my violin than the first position. I will never play Schubert or Beethoven, where you see them playing in high positions all the time. If you watch professional baroque violin players on YouTube they leave the 1. position extremely rarely. I saw only on case, but that was on the E string in order to get higher.

I think it will take years to gain the right strength on A and E string to stay up there for a long time.

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 have more and more problems with this playing that air plainly on the G string. Yesterday I put the sound of the first video on my MP3 player, listened at the spinet and figured out the chords. Today I played it over and over again to write down the exact bass line, which I partly did in bed because I was tired. I fell asleep and it went on via repeat. When I woke up I listened carefully and hated the forced high notes—found them really ugly. It's like a tenor of the very late romantic period who shatters out high notes via chest register brutally. That's simply not baroque. The Austrian baritone and voice teacher Victor Fuchs warned this would effect the middle and deep range of the voice very negatively. It would be all about the note before the note. I made that experience too: A difficult phrase must be well prepared before you move on to it. The quality of a sung note depends on the quality of the note you sang before. If it wasn't reliably and constantly held by the diaphragm and enough head resonance added, the note and phrase after it will suffer badly.

Could it be that this can happen to a violin too? Because after listening over and over again I noted some harsh sounds which I really disliked. I'm not saying she's a bad player. I just find that fashion, to play the whole air on the G string doubtful. Maybe she would even agree and just did it because people like it. I don't just want to bitch about it, to me it's important to make clear that I have to go down a completely different track.

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
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.......................                 Mark  

Today it came into mind it was repeatedly stated, that the intonation of high string instruments would be more difficult than a cello for instance. And as beginners struggle with intonation on the E string anyhow, it must be even more difficult for a left-handed beginner. I don't consider this a reason to give up, we just have to work harder ion A and especially E string. As I said yesterday, this means to me, I will not play on the E string as frequently as most violinists. Plus I will use the D and G string more often than they do. I like the E string too since I use a good Eudoxa string, but also love the fact that I will always be more based in the deeper areas of  the violin. I want a personal, very individual sound anyhow.

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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BillyG
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December 18, 2017 - 12:30 pm
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Just in a passing reference - yup - I play a "normally" strung fiddle in the "usual" way - LOL I'm confused - using folks words above - I am not a " left-handed right-fiddle player" - but the more common breed ( ! ) i.e. a "right-handed left-fiddle" player....  yeah I get it now...

As a RHLF player, sure, the G and D were always the most difficult - until - I removed the shoulder-rest.   It took me a bit of "confidence to do this" ( not because I thought it might fall, I'm WAYYYY past that kind of worry  it was just that the instrument wanted to "move" as I moved - which I DO while playing - just what I do....) - but now after working with it for a while - I find it real easy to - well - let me say "control the slip on my shoulder/collar-bone" and readjust the instrument whilst playing...

Interesting points folks, @Mark / @Demoiselle -  yup, interesting....   Thanks for the discussion above!

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Bill, I tried a shoulder rest for about 3 months it aggravated an old shoulder injury to the point I had to do something or quilt playing the fiddle, a week after removing the shoulder rest all the pain was gone. Now I've convinced my teacher to lose the shoulder rest, and now he likes the freedom you have not using a shoulder rest.

Mark

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Demoiselle
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Warning to all left-handers: Changing a violin for right-handed players to a left-handed one is not possible. We cannot place the E string where the G string belongs to also fix the G string on the other side. The sound would be terrible and it can even damage the violin seriously.

I see another argument against special violins for left-handed players. If I later look for a really good instrument, the variety of right-handed violins will be much greater than those for left-handed players. I'm really afraid, learning on a left-handed instrument would mean going down a path of limitation. And I'm also afraid this will make buying a good instrument unaffordable. If years later there's THE deal right before my nose, with an excellent sound and a moderate price, it will likely be a right-handed one. To me the option of a left-handed instrument always was an absolute No-Go.

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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BillyG said
Just in a passing reference - yup - I play a "normally" strung fiddle in the "usual" way - LOL I'm confused - using folks words above - I am not a " left-handed right-fiddle player" - but the more common breed ( ! ) i.e. a "right-handed left-fiddle" player....  yeah I get it now...

As a RHLF player, sure, the G and D were always the most difficult - until - I removed the shoulder-rest.   It took me a bit of "confidence to do this" ( not because I thought it might fall, I'm WAYYYY past that kind of worry  it was just that the instrument wanted to "move" as I moved - which I DO while playing - just what I do....) - but now after working with it for a while - I find it real easy to - well - let me say "control the slip on my shoulder/collar-bone" and readjust the instrument whilst playing...

Interesting points folks, @Mark / @Demoiselle -  yup, interesting....   Thanks for the discussion above!  

Are you using a violin for left-handed players as a right-handed player to easier play G and D string? I'm not sure I do understand you properly.

Oh, I tried a shoulder rest and paid quite some money for it. And since I'm strictly against it. Now I even put off the chin rest. I want direct contact to the instrument, the classical teaching is involving too much stuff which to me means distancing myself from the instrument—in the consequence also mentally as I feel. It simply seems unnatural too me to involve so much stuff of apparatuses. That's part of what makes classical music so stuffy as I feel. I am purposefully dissociating myself from the classical community, I don't want to be part of that. Professional players of ancient music, who study violin, mostly play classical music as well. I will never do that, unless it's not parody of classical music. My favorite victim has always been Mozart like here in the 90s:  It would be funny to do that with a mini-orchestra, instead of my old synthesizer orchestra. Hayden's surprise symphony would also be funny with my two big hand drums as set of kettle drums.

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 said

Are you using a violin for left-handed players as a right-handed player to easier play G and D string? I'm not sure I do understand you properly.

Oh, I tried a shoulder rest and paid quite some money for it. And since I'm strictly against it. Now I even put off the chin rest. .....

  🙂  Sorry, the confusion was mine. b-slap No, I am a right handed player, playing a "normal" (right handed fiddle) held in my left hand....   LOL

My reference to making it easier to play the lower pitch strings was more to do with the removal of the shoulder-rest, giving much more freedom of (intentional, but controlled) movement/re-positioning the instrument while playing....

I was addressing the two separate issues...

And good point in the earlier post - no - never simply swap the strings around - that will indeed NOT easily or safely turn a RH fiddle into a LH fiddle....

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Demoiselle said
Warning to all left-handers: Changing a violin for right-handed players to a left-handed one is not possible. We cannot place the E string where the G string belongs to also fix the G string on the other side. The sound would be terrible and it can even damage the violin seriously.

I see another argument against special violins for left-handed players. If I later look for a really good instrument, the variety of right-handed violins will be much greater than those for left-handed players. I'm really afraid, learning on a left-handed instrument would mean going down a path of limitation. And I'm also afraid this will make buying a good instrument unaffordable. If years later there's THE deal right before my nose, with an excellent sound and a moderate price, it will likely be a right-handed one. To me the option of a left-handed instrument always was an absolute No-Go.  

I always wondered about this one though 🙂 Can't left handed people simply play a regular right-handed violin as normal? If we think about it, when it comes to the violin, both hands are actually doing pretty complex movements... it's not like one of them has it easier.. in fact normal vibrato with the left hand might even be easier to learn for left-handed people.. who knows 🙂

But I'm surprised you didn't go for that when learning in the beginning.. I mean left-handed people can play piano just fine, they don't need the keys to be put on backwards.

There might be legit reasons of which I don't know of course 🙂 I'm simply wondering here about it haha

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Ferenc Simon said

I always wondered about this one though 🙂 Can't left handed people simply play a regular right-handed violin as normal? If we think about it, when it comes to the violin, both hands are actually doing pretty complex movements... it's not like one of them has it easier.. in fact normal vibrato with the left hand might even be easier to learn for left-handed people.. who knows 🙂

But I'm surprised you didn't go for that when learning in the beginning.. I mean left-handed people can play piano just fine, they don't need the keys to be put on backwards.

There might be legit reasons of which I don't know of course 🙂 I'm simply wondering here about it haha  

My thinking as a right-handed person, is that I'm glad my bowing hand is my dominant hand, that makes it easier for me to focus on my left hand fingering. But then my left hand fingers have always moved more independently than the fingers on my right, so I'm not sure I would have ever wanted to try it any other way, but I have been curious... maybe I'll have to try it out during practice one day, haha.

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Ferenc Simon said

I always wondered about this one though 🙂 Can't left handed people simply play a regular right-handed violin as normal? If we think about it, when it comes to the violin, both hands are actually doing pretty complex movements... it's not like one of them has it easier.. in fact normal vibrato with the left hand might even be easier to learn for left-handed people.. who knows 🙂

But I'm surprised you didn't go for that when learning in the beginning.. I mean left-handed people can play piano just fine, they don't need the keys to be put on backwards.

There might be legit reasons of which I don't know of course 🙂 I'm simply wondering here about it haha  

If my pet bird could speak I would just load up her statement how she views my two hands. But I can assure you she knows the stark difference, since she's going away if I try to touch her with my right hand. So even she knows my right hand is the clumsy one and that my left hand has the right feeling to give her a cuddle which doesn't feel awkward. For bowing you need exactly that feeling—if it was all about precision, I would probably use my left hand for fingering because it has more strength too. I could especially use that strength on the E string. But as my right hand is incapable of involving the quality of expression which only my left hand is able to, my weaker right hand is doomed to struggle through fingering. Over time my right hand will get stronger but it will never learn the quality of feeling and expression my left hand can show. That's why right-handed players' clumsier left hands have to struggle with fingering. It is hard but there's no other way. Music is about feeling, expression.

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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I personally have no other choice but to play left handed, I had a accident at age 10 with a table saw that amputated my index finger and severally mangled my middle and ring finger it is  impossible to note with my left hand. After the accident I switched my acoustic guitar to be strung up left handed at my teachers request, the issue is unless I take my left handed guitar I can't play anyone else's guitar, i never been to a jam and meet another left handed guitar player and the selection is slim even to day if you look for one. At 15 I began learning the electric bass and I decided to just play a normal right handed bass left handed no issues encountered in doing this. At 23 I bought nice old right handed fiddle  for the same reason I learned the bass with a standard right handed bass I can play anyone's fiddle or bass, then i took violin lessons for 3 months then my second child was born between 2 small kids, school, work, playing and singing in a group along with a couple of other hobbies I slid the fiddle under the bed for 30 years. I just passed the 3 year mark of being back at playing the fiddle so far I have found nothing that I can not do on the fiddle that a right handed player can do, at my level anyway. Will I ever be a Pearlman or Perrie Holestine, no I won't, I know that and accept that, but to play with good tone, reasonably in tune and with good rhythm I believe is doable and is what I'm working towards daily taking each step one day at a time.

Mark

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Mark said
I personally have no other choice but to play left handed, I had a accident at age 10 with a table saw that amputated my index finger and severally mangled my middle and ring finger it is  impossible to note with my left hand. After the accident I switched my acoustic guitar to be strung up left handed at my teachers request, the issue is unless I take my left handed guitar I can't play anyone else's guitar, i never been to a jam and meet another left handed guitar player and the selection is slim even to day if you look for one. At 15 I began learning the electric bass and I decided to just play a normal right handed bass left handed no issues encountered in doing this. At 23 I bought nice old right handed fiddle  for the same reason I learned the bass with a standard right handed bass I can play anyone's fiddle or bass, then i took violin lessons for 3 months then my second child was born between 2 small kids, school, work, playing and singing in a group along with a couple of other hobbies I slid the fiddle under the bed for 30 years. I just passed the 3 year mark of being back at playing the fiddle so far I have found nothing that I can not do on the fiddle that a right handed player can do, at my level anyway. Will I ever be a Pearlman or Perrie Holestine, no I won't, I know that and accept that, but to play with good tone, reasonably in tune and with good rhythm I believe is doable and is what I'm working towards daily taking each step one day at a time.

Mark  

Respect, considering all your experiences! Are you still also playing guitar? I mean, you potentially have the option to make a recording of guitar chords and use that as play-along. And if you have a good ear for chords you have lot's of options to be creative on the violin as well. I don't expect to become a virtuoso either—1600s music isn't outspokenly virtuosic anyway. I don't consider virtuosity healthy anyway, like any kind of extreme sport.

What I'm working on are Bb scales within improvisations. It is easy to play pieces in E minor or A minor. D minor gets already harder because you often start with Bb on the first finger and then continue with C and D. In G minor Eb adds on which makes the scale harder still. Plus you now mostly start with Eb on the first finger of the D string. Which isn't a great problem but all this together tires me out soon. If you proceed to C minor you have even three ♭ which means: all those difficulties appear more frequently plus you often have Ab on the G string. That's why I don't play C minor at all—that will have to wait..... 

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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 Are you still also playing guitar? I mean, you potentially have the option to make a recording of guitar chords and use that as play-along. 

for the last 40+ years I mostly played bass and sang harmony in a 3 piece group, but the piano player/rhythm guitar/Banjo player passed away from cancer a little over year ago, so I have been playing the guitar more getting comfortable with it again. For a side note I picked up a new Rogue mandolin to mess around with, while it may not be the best sounding mandolin out there it is an instrument that you can work on your technique with and for less than $60.00 delivered to your front porch it cant be beat in my opinion. Yes i have considered doing play-along tracks but time constraints have put a damper on that.

I am very fortunate to know several very good piano players and one agreed to play duets with me (poor thing she had no idea what she was getting her self into but she has been a trooper putting up with me and being very supportive of my playing)

Geoffery Fitzhugh Perry- at fiddle jam institute, has put together some good information on improvising for the beginner I know you can down load the EZ blues scales for violin for free off his web sight there all in first position. I bought his book and it comes with the EZ blues fingering for not only violin but viola and cello also, along with a play along recording in different keys to jam with to work on improvising.

 

Mark

  

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I played trombone in the 80s and didn't know anything about Aebersold play-alongs. I was performing a lot at that time, with a swing combo—at times even 3 times a weekend. Of course this routine made me better, but now I must say, nothing got me so much ahead than Aebersold play-alongs. Every day you have your personal professional rhythm section at home and play like on a jam session. And if you split the stereo channels, you have the piano in one speaker and the bass in the other. I closed my eyes and thought, "Wow, this feels really like the guys are here in the kitchen and we're having a session."

But of course  the most basic thing is listening a lot to the music you wanna play, to gather ideas what to play. Improvisation is playing out of a huge pool of hearing experience. Your brain cuts the phrases you've heard into pieces and then you can creatively play with 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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Mark said
........
Geoffery Fitzhugh Perry- at fiddle jam institute, has put together some good information on improvising for the beginner I know you can down load the EZ blues scales for violin for free off his web sight there all in first position. I bought his book and it comes with the EZ blues fingering for not only violin but viola and cello also, along with a play along recording in different keys to jam with to work on improvising.

Mark

    

Never knew of that one @Mark - just signed up for the free membership.  Thanks for pointing it out ! thumbs-up

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Days ago I recorded an old German Advent hymn which goes even back to the middle ages. It is about a ship bringing Christ.

I started with my old spinet track I had recorded in 2015, then I added violin, then tenor recorder and finally again my hand drum. In the end I liked it best without the spinet track, so I muted it.

The first half is plain unisono, then the tenor recorder improvises a second voice.

Traditionally it's still Advent right now. The day ended liturgically with nightfall and that's when the Christmas season began.

So happy Christmas for then!

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
Berlin, Germany
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December 26, 2017 - 12:26 pm
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I have a weird problem. There's a basic rule in jazz: "The beat is always written in quarter notes." I learned that from books about jazz since I was 15 years old. The walking bass of a swing tune will principally be written in quarter notes. The old masters certainly don't care about that and so I have to transcript this here too.

BWV1068.pngImage Enlarger

Source: Screenshot from IMSLP357195-PMLP100008-Bach.pdf (this is no link, just blue script, underlined)

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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
Fort Lauderdale
December 27, 2017 - 3:31 pm
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I'm sorry, but I don't understand your problem. Please explain.

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

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