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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 (6 votes) 
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Demoiselle
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Fiddlerman said
Maybe bad if that is all they do and never try loosing the sheet music......  

You're very right, people should also be able to read sheets. I'm not planning to teach violin beginners, but if I did they would also start on piano. I always confronted music beginners with chords and notes. So I would harass them with even more sheets. Actually what I avoid is sight-reading for at least the first 2 years. On trumpet I made the experience, focussing on sheets took away an awful lot from my expression and my energy especially on high notes. Those high notes which were close to my limit often failed. But they didn't fail when I memorized the melody and then put the notes aside. I think it was a good thing to focus on developing embouchure. I started on trumpet in late 2004 and began to use sheets since 2012. In 2012 began my One Girl Jazz Band project which performed since June 2013. That band was able to play many-many hours in 2014/15 and really had an extensive repertoire. I had no difficulties to prepare and rehearse that program.

Starting on the violin is extremely tough, as I felt it. Having to control so many things at one moment is close to mental torture. There are some geniuses among violin beginners, but for average beginners I find it extremely tough if they also have to focus on sheets. And I don't wonder quite some violin beginners give up. Many are very-very desperate, I hear them moaning all over social media. I would not bother beginners with having to play directly from sheets. No, I would tell them, "You're already having a difficult job, just concentrate on technique and sound. Just watch your fingers and bow." I heard violin students playing who have been taught for years and they still had a poor sound. I also heard many people complaining about their violin teachers or about those teachers they had in their days of youth. I'm afraid there are many idiots among violin teachers and those who don't teach don't have time to do it, because they either perform too often or they run a store like Fiddlerman.
 

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Demoiselle
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Demoiselle said
I needed some distance and then listen into my three choices out of the Brandenburg Concertos 2, 5, 6 again. Today I feel like the Andante in No. 2 is gonna be great for me.

t=310s

The movement starts in the middle (at 5:12), is not fast and nonetheless a little groovy. I want to start singing each time I listen to it, which shows it speaks to my heart.  

I figured out the chords in August and recorded the spinet background. On August 27 I tried it the first time on violin and was not happy. But I couldn't find out why and so the notes were just messing up my shelf and annoying me for weeks. A few days ago I tried it again and came to the result I somehow don't like it. And now I know why : It reminds me too much of Autumn Leaves and gives me the feeling I'm playing jazz instead of baroque. But I have no difficulties to play the first few bars of Bach's original theme (after that I will go over to improvisation anyhow). But I don't think this title is off for good. With a decent banda (band) it will probably feel different and I will like it.....

I still think it's a fine tune. 🙂 

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Demoiselle
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I just found out my spinet background is quite a bit faster than the model I posted here. Slower would be much nicer! Then there's still the question, shouldn't I use Bach's original bass line? Of course I didn't do that when improvising my spinet background. It would be the job of a cello player. But then I would get very close to the original version. Which probably will be okay if it suits to improvisation. I still have to try that out because I made the experience that some bass lines make it difficult to improvise without hitting dissonances I wouldn't like to hear.

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Demoiselle
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My view on rosin has completely changed from a year ago. Then I felt like too less rosin would be better than too much. Today I feel the opposite: better too much than not enough.

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Demoiselle
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I've been trying to make another representative recording for my YouTube channel for many weeks. Today it was the idea again, but I didn't think it over long enough—it was a spontaneous decision to make this recording. I need to hear the spinet via headphone while recording, in order to add a recorder voice later. But I'm too much focused on just practicing, so it's not gonna happen. Actually a good thing because I'm preparing for playing with people instead of just with devices.

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Demoiselle
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I don't miss anymore. Any note I have on my mind, I find and hit right away on the fingerboard. So I can now play any phrase which I have on my mind. It took me two and a half years to get there and quite some get there sooner, but I'm okay with it. I have always been a slow learner but I learn thoroughly. It was my main goal and from now on I can work more effectively. I will not practice so many hours anymore, technique will grow over years. That again will bring in more ease, because practicing hard, kinda like weightlifting, will always be a strain. I think it was necessary, but it will stop now. Now I'm just going to express myself and I can only do it if it doesn't hurt. Hands must be fresh, not tired to make it sound effortless. That's my new direction.

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Demoiselle
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There's another thing I'll have  to avoid: boredom. If I use a certain play-along track too long I will feel sleepy and that's how my music will sound then. I must change immediately to another track which inspires me. It can only sound freshly if I feel fresh and inspired. Dullness is strictly banned from now on! On a bad day I probably better not play at all. Otherwise I learn how to play like feeling bad. Which will always sound uninspired.

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Demoiselle
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What I call string legato works much better now. My former teacher didn't understand that, but I want to avoid whole-step fourth fingers (D, A, E) because I like the open string option much better. So I have to practice legato between third fingers and open strings and also involve that in scales. It proved to be very difficult and I had to work on it since August, but now I'm fairly happy with the result. My teacher had called this personal preference "nonesense" in July and that was one of the main reasons why I fired her in early August. We had also repeated debates on Tuning devides contra her Pythagorean fifth ideal. I want to use tuning devices but she was very forgetful so we had the same debate over and over again. So when I stated, Pythagorean fifth were outdated since the 1600s she replied, "But we don't live in the 1600s anymore." I think she didn't give a darn what I wanted, I payed her, and it was not her job to change my music likings. Still trying to cope with the past months since January. Music teachers are often very problematic, I always thought so and now even more so. I think music is good to enhance intelligence but too much of it can dumb people down. So if someone goes to a music college and music is everything for years, that might be fatal for mental development. Especially if it leads to fanatic fundamentalist views which lead to total objection towards tuning devices.

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Demoiselle
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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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Fiddlerman
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December 4, 2017 - 3:59 pm
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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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