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

Well done

Mark

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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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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

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Albert Sammons

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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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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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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!

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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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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BillyG
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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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December 19, 2017 - 6:13 pm
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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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