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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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December 8, 2016 - 4:35 pm
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This was recorded on my live concert, Sunday, December 4.

Just doing things my way. 🙂
______________________________________

Violon --- Demoiselle
Spinet --- Demoiselle (then playback on stage)
Chant --- Demoiselle

All improvisation, except for the two vocal parts. I added in Frère Jacques for two reasons: firstly it's an exciting idea, secondly I'm a multi-instrumentalist and need to gain time for changing instruments while singing. I may play Marin Marais' original subject as well in later years, which is now way to difficult on violin (I play since May 2015). Growing with this piece. Long live musical freedom! 😉

P.S.: I just listened to my October 21 version of this same piece: stark difference, I've really involved since then. That old version is really lame, compared to this one.

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Demoiselle
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"Halleluja" or Handel's Organ Concerto Groove HWV 306

Recorded at my live concert, December 4.

This thing has always been my biggest challenge and my biggest headache, but I'm very happy with this live version. It should be played fresher still, but I've never played it that fresh before. It's not a big problem to me any longer. Also the recorder solo is very fresh and funny, for I was really very awake in that moment. I can really spoil this piece on my recorder as well, if I feel tired and my fingers are kinda lazy.

This arrangement is my improved version, using Handel's subject at the start for violin and then in the vocal part. I still find this piece a violinistic challenge for it fatigues my fingerboard hand pretty soon.

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Demoiselle
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December 9, 2016 - 1:16 pm
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"Une jeune fillette", one of my favorite melodies ever, worked out very well last Sunday during my concert. It was all easy and finally I improvised a final phrase over the spinet outro which was born out of a really happy mood I was in.

I am using the MS.MovieMaker files of weeks ago and just change the sound track. Here I added the lyrics to the video.

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Demoiselle
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December 9, 2016 - 3:05 pm
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Another upload from my concert is an old melody, which started as secular love song in 1601 and later was covered by both churches with new religious lyrics--also by Bach. The most famous version is "O Haupt voll Bluth und wunden" of course ("O Sacred Head, Now Wounded"). But last Sunday I did the original version: "Mein Gmßth ist mir verwirret" (my mind is puzzeld) due to a young lady of course.

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Demoiselle
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December 11, 2016 - 5:28 am
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I am asking myself how long those concert takes will be up to date, because yesterday I trained fast stuff with Edition Peters MusicPartner play-alongs and I had to give up with my alto recorder during a presto movement. My violin then beat the recorder the first time. That presto was really terribly speedy, but it seems my progress still is as well.

Most of my concert is now here in an audio link, in three parts. It's all written in ancient German language, but on the bottom is always the media player and a link to the next part. Fortunately, historical German and English is the same in this case, because "Concert Part II." goes in Modern Early German and English (because it was actual French when it came to England and Germany).

http://galantewelt.de/Academia.....ncert.html

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BillyG
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December 11, 2016 - 8:54 am
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A lot of hard work - it has paid-off !!!  Well done !

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
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Thanks, you're right. Creating all these numbers over a longer period of time was just nice. But assembling them together to a program and rehearsing that was hard.

I should have started on violin long ago, but had no clue it's exactly the right instrument for me. The way of generating sound with that bow simply works with my kind of motor functions. It's just a matter of a couple years--things will be technically possible I could not do on other instruments.

The other day the was and interesting comment on YouTube:

andrewhcit said:

Dec 9, 2016

"If you're motivated, you can go far. I had piano lessons starting at a young age, but I'm self-taught on viola starting at age 16, got into a professional orchestra at 29, and performed as a featured soloist for the first time at 31, playing the Bruch Romance for Viola and Orchestra with a local community orchestra. I don't plan to quit my day job, but at 33 I'm still improving my technique and fixing bad habits. And I know people who started even later and reached high levels: one full-time professional violinist I know started learning at 50 and went pro at 66 after retiring from another job. That said, if you don't have prior music lessons of some kind, make sure you learn your music theory. It becomes an important foundation at higher levels."

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Demoiselle
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I see again and again, many torture themselves with vibrato and have lots of headaches over it. But I disallowed myself to intrude and chime in over there and instead decided to speak up here.

Before my concert on December 4, I was like, "After that I might start training vibrato." But now I feel like I have no time to do that, since there are more important things to practice than that shallow vibration effect. It is neither part of basic technique nor essential for musical expression. A non-vibrating note is more honest, I would use vibrato rarely anyway and won't invest time into it yet. Maybe in summer.... and in summer I will possibly be like, "Let's see, maybe Christmas...." 😉

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Demoiselle
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What I find essential is, to play MANY musical pieces and to not struggle with one piece too long. Broad repertoire means broad experience. A piece that is too difficult can be taken up months again and will then likely work much better. In the meantime I have tried a dozen more pieces, which help me to also manage the difficult one. Trying to bite through for a longer time by trying it over and over again will stop the progress. My father was stubbornly chewing on a few pieces over years and didn't get ahead. Music was a hard struggle to him. Wisely giving up and postponing doesn't mean you're a quitter.

Self-taught beginners should stay with just C major and A minor for some time. Struggling too early with too many ### and bbb is a very bad idea. We don't start running with a 20 miles run if untrained. On the fingerboard we have to learn how to play all notes of the C scale correctly before daring especially Eb, and Ab/G#. Bb and F# will occur earlier, partly even in C major pieces at times.

Wanting too much too early is more harming than helping. A beginner should keep it as simple as possible and learn to master the simple things first. Which already are a struggle at the beginning.

After playing a little longer, it is fine to have a repertoire of pieces in C, G, F major and A, E, D, G minor. G minor is related to Bb major, but closer to the #-side, and therefore mostly easier than Bb major.

Working with play-alongs demands:

  1. Listening a lot to CDs with professional players of the same music style to train your ear and learn the style. It is harmful to mostly hear yourself playing and not enough listen to others. You're likely the worst model to learn from. We all need to listen to the good examples of professional players a lot. Since we get notes everywhere, some people feel like notes was enough to make music. No, listening to music is more important and should always be the first thing. You understand the feeling in music only by listening; plain notes are dead things. The more you listen to CDs the better. I know a guy who is wondering why his music doesn't sound nice, who tells me, listening to music would give him headaches. I once played a CD on Christmas day and he was complaining! If he cannot relax while listening to music, making music is probably not a good idea. Music is not coming out of me because God put it in there. If I was Arabian, my hearing experience would be different and I would make different music. Musicality is being gained by listening experience and you take in what you hear in your culture. And musicians have to listen a lot!
  2. Working with chords, which works best with keyboards, but also with guitars, ukuleles etc. Melodies follow the rules of harmony and you have to gain a 3-dimensional hearing. It does not mean working hard and having headaches, it means more playfully experimenting with chords and understanding what melodic phrases match this or that chord. There are experienced people who can join into an orchestra, without knowing the tune and without seeing the notes. Their experience is telling them, in what direction the harmonic concept of the pieces is going. So this is no superhuman clairvoyance, but just the experience of a chord-trained ear.
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Demoiselle
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December 13, 2016 - 12:48 pm
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I just saw, my old recording of Johann Christoph Bach's wedding cantata was in September and I can't stand for it anymore. So I unlisted it, obscured the pictures with a YouTube filter and loaded pu the same pictures with the new soundtrack of my concert.

You can read something about that cantata over there: http://fiddlerman.com/forum/ba.....ce/#p81831

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Fiddlerman
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Thanks for sharing!

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

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Charles
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Demoiselle said
I see again and again, many torture themselves with vibrato and have lots of headaches over it. But I disallowed myself to intrude and chime in over there and instead decided to speak up here.

Before my concert on December 4, I was like, "After that I might start training vibrato." But now I feel like I have no time to do that, since there are more important things to practice than that shallow vibration effect. It is neither part of basic technique nor essential for musical expression. A non-vibrating note is more honest, I would use vibrato rarely anyway and won't invest time into it yet. Maybe in summer.... and in summer I will possibly be like, "Let's see, maybe Christmas...." 😉  

In combination with what you said in the "Canon in D" thread regarding crescendo and decrescendo for expression, I'd say a good rule of thumb for most expressiveness would be, "How would a good singer sound?"

Vibrato in the human voice happens naturally under certain conditions if you're using proper voice mechanics. Unfortunately, as with many things in life, people got hung up on the effect (vibrato), and not the cause (proper voice mechanics and the right conditions). I've heard people with a forced vibrato (and even a fake one), and it doesn't sound good. The one that falls out naturally if you're doing things right does.

You'll never get vibrato on a violin without intentional effort, but when it would happen naturally in voice seems like a good rule to me for when to use it.

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Demoiselle
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December 18, 2016 - 7:54 pm
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Charles said

In combination with what you said in the "Canon in D" thread regarding crescendo and decrescendo for expression, I'd say a good rule of thumb for most expressiveness would be, "How would a good singer sound?"

Vibrato in the human voice happens naturally under certain conditions if you're using proper voice mechanics. Unfortunately, as with many things in life, people got hung up on the effect (vibrato), and not the cause (proper voice mechanics and the right conditions). I've heard people with a forced vibrato (and even a fake one), and it doesn't sound good. The one that falls out naturally if you're doing things right does.

You'll never get vibrato on a violin without intentional effort, but when it would happen naturally in voice seems like a good rule to me for when to use it.  

"Vibrato natural in singing," that's where I'm coming from since it was taught to me while learning opera singing in the late 80s. And my teacher was really a professional opera singer, who later was a stand-in at the big opera house in London. Even 'just' being stand-in is a high honor in that house!

Well, it does not mean to diminish the skills of my ex-teacher, but I've learned better in the meantime. It was hard work to unlearn sustained vibrato by self-teaching since 2007. Which became sort of pest, especially since the early 1900s, but was not common during the baroque era. My vocal vibrato was also in my recorder technique which was also very prolonged to get rid of. (Because I was buying cheap old CDs of recorder sonatas 15 years ago.) I was very unforgiving since September, when I started to prepare my recent concert. Now it's really a big difference and I'm glad about it. I don't want to be that constantly bleating opera goat any longer. By the way, my teacher wanted me to study voice, because he thought I was very talented. Today I'm glad certain things got in the way because I don't think I ever profoundly believed in opera.

I looks indeed like that sustained vibrato can make a voice more powerful--like they put little wooden balls into police whistles. That vibration adds something pretty brutal, like in hysteric opera sopranos. I cannot dispute, this helps a lot to come across over a big orchestra of the late romantic period. But I'm not a friend that big orchestras any more--I feel like it has something inhuman (every musician a small wheel of a merciless machine).

I think the claim, vibrato would be something natural, came from a time when everybody was used to doing and hearing it, so hardly anybody could imagine something else.

There's still a bit vibrato in my voice now and then on long notes (but not on all long notes!) and that's okay. Time will come when I will start to involve vibrato on the violin, but it will be less than in my singing. And it will be relatively easy, because it will be putting a little vibrato on a long note now and then. Sustained vibrato is very-very difficult I have to admit. So I'm very happy to not need it at all. 😉

By the way, I always had at least two vocal vibratos--one more opera-like the other gentler for crooning style. I don't know whether I will be a crooner again, unless they throw real money at me. I mean, that 'pretty' amorous 1930s Hollywood vibrato, I loved at young age, was a lie! The whole Hollywood conception of love is a big lie! I'm not falling for that nonsense anymore and cannot find Bing Crosby all that charming any longer. I want to make honest music and vibrato is supposed to be an occasional effect in it.

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Demoiselle
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December 19, 2016 - 5:04 am
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Demoiselle said By the way, I always had at least two vocal vibratos--one more opera-like the other gentler for crooning style.

No! There are many-many vibratos. A good vibrato matches speed, time and character of the tune. Bing Crosby's gentle crooning vibrato can also occur in lyrical opera singing and even good crooning vibrato cannot be the same in any tune. My teacher praised Bing Crosby a lot, since Bing had a very healthy and good vocal technique. Yes, technically he was great--I just distanced myself from general Hollywood cliches about love. Which are stupidly hysteric and downright a trap for inexperienced young people. General modern vibrato also is an hysterical idea and a romantic cliche.

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Demoiselle
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December 19, 2016 - 12:26 pm
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Saturday I had a very interesting discussion in our open stage event. I met a piano playing woman who hadn't played for 8 years and now struggles to find back to her old technique. My suggestion was to start anew by learning to improvise. That's how she can regain things like fast scales and arpeggios sooner.

If you lack time, it is very different to keep a broad repertoire of sheet music. Playing piano just 20 Minutes daily would probably not be enough. I would have the same issue if I had to keep my technical trumpet standard via sheet music. Doing that via improvisation takes way less time--right now I'm even down to 7 minutes daily!

I think that woman could restore a good piano technique much quicker and relatively effortless via improvisation, and then keep that standard by maybe even playing less then 20 minutes daily.

Which also is a very effective compensation for my advanced age. Young people who learn violin the traditional classical way struggle with sheets, changing positions and vibrato--which is very costly in terms of time. I concentrate on nothing but basic technique.

I have now decided to just sing and dance on our open stage. That's way easier to prepare and I spare more time. My violin will stay at home, all I will do is practice at home and practice more effectively. My recorders are mooth-balled for the months to come. I concentrate on violin.

I think, the right institution to start are churches. But I need to reach a standard which is better than good to make organ players wanna play with me. Maybe in summer, maybe in a year.... From then on I will practice even more, until I reach a standard which makes it impossible to ignore me in public. Which will enable me to play subjects of sheet music just by ear and use sheets just as memory aid.

I see everything before my eyes now--my future. The first time in my life I can say, "I see my future and I'm very convinced, this will come true." It's no waste of time to type it down here, for it makes me see even clearer. 😉

Very happy and optimistic. 🙂

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MACJR
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I hope you achieve your goals, as you see them before you.

There are so many things I wish I had time to complete, but I know I will not have the time to do so. All I can do is enjoy the journey and do as much as I can, while I still can.

As for the violin, I have no hopes or dreams of becoming a professional player. My only goals are to be the best I can be and have fun getting there.

I am just playing the violin to please myself. No one else.

MACJR

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Demoiselle
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December 19, 2016 - 5:37 pm
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MACJR said
I hope you achieve your goals, as you see them before you.
There are so many things I wish I had time to complete, but I know I will not have the time to do so. All I can do is enjoy the journey and do as much as I can, while I still can.
As for the violin, I have no hopes or dreams of becoming a professional player. My only goals are to be the best I can be and have fun getting there.
I am just playing the violin to please myself. No one else.
MACJR  

Wishing "many things" doesn't work. Too many goals at one time rarely lead to success. I concentrate on my violin and everything else will have to wait. If my floor is dirty and my clothes smelling, both will have to wait until I'm done practicing. Also I concentrate on just one music style; later I can try another. It is possible to have several goals in life, by doing this for 5 years and that for the next 5 years etc.

Just pleasing myself with my violin would be nice, but—I don't wanna tell all my life—I have no other choice than putting all my eggs into that basket. I've been playing several instruments and people have been saying I was a 'professional' jazz trumpeter. Which is not true, because there are health and philosophical points which always limited me as a trumpet player. Progress has always been very slow and it was a struggle. The first weeks on violin were a struggle, but then progress got faster and faster. The least I expected was, that it would still go faster in the second half of this year. In these weeks I see, there's nothing that will limit me at the violin—there will be constant progress over the years, which will lead to virtuosic standard. Premised I stay healthy.

I never had a vision like that, which makes everything possible. Visions like that are very powerful if they concentrate on just ONE goal.

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Demoiselle
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December 20, 2016 - 1:23 pm
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Here's a good example for the vibrato discussion:

I rarely do a whole vibrato passage, like I do in the refrain, when I repeat "Greensleeves was all my joy". In the first line I sing it straight with a faint voice, like absentmindedly dreaming--then the pain is coming out and there's where dynamics and vibrato is added.

In my soprano recorder solo it's to hear, I cannot play my instruments warm, where I'm struggling to get the highest note--then, a few moments later that high C comes right away. Which is the price for performing with 3 recorders, violin and voice. The fast phrases I trained with calypso are to hear near to the end of the final violin solo. I held myself mostly back to spare energy for the almost 2 hours of that concert, but there I dared it.

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MACJR
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Greensleeves. It is one of those tunes that gets stuck in my head and will not go away.

I do not recall when I first heard Greensleeves, but I do remember when I first fell in love with that tune. I was still a young man, and I had been talked into going to a church with some friends, and they played live music there. I had to ask, what is that song they are playing. It was Greensleeves.

I have yet to learn to play it on the violin, but I think I will try again here in a bit.

I do so love to hear that song.

MACJR

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Demoiselle
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MACJR said
Greensleeves. It is one of those tunes that gets stuck in my head and will not go away.
I do not recall when I first heard Greensleeves, but I do remember when I first fell in love with that tune. I was still a young man, and I had been talked into going to a church with some friends, and they played live music there. I had to ask, what is that song they are playing. It was Greensleeves.
I have yet to learn to play it on the violin, but I think I will try again here in a bit.
I do so love to hear that song.
MACJR  

Greensleeves is one the outstanding composition of human history. Also, the lyrics are very interesting, for it's not just lamentation: that lament contains a development and shows how the ideas of the lovesick person slowly change. Many, many stanzas--I chose just two of them.

You're right, there's also a religious text version, but these secular lyrics are the the original ones.

It's also worth studying the chords to understand this song completely. Also very outstanding in harmony!

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