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My Journey with My Violin Since May 1716.
A probably unusual way to learn improvising via baroque play-alongs.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (2 votes) 
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Demoiselle
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What I find difficult in my technique are legato string crossings within scales. I find that very beautiful, that's why it's easy to not give up on that. It's like coming from D string G and blending that softly with open A. I've been practicing that since summer and it got much better, but still I'm working on it. This was started by my teacher who made me practice string crossing arpeggios. I also involved that second right away, ignoring her protest. I knew at once it was very useful for my technique. I find blending from 4th finger very difficult, but it doesn't exhaust my hand. I discovered there are many ways to do it and it must not necessarily sound like a breakpoint. If I do it right the two notes don't sound very different. I move the bow a little more away from the bridge on the open string.

I have a serious issue with the 4th finger A for instance: If I don't stop the A string with another finger, it will ring too and it will sound like a sudden unisono of two strings. If a finger touches the A string just a wee bit it will even snare like crazy. That was my main argument against my teacher, "What is that? Suddenly two violins? Why, this is totally anorganic!" As I see it there are only two ways to mask it: putting on a huge vibrato or running fast. Not my philosophy at all.

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 find blending from 4th finger very difficult, but it doesn't exhaust my hand. I discovered there are many ways to do it and...............

Yes, blending from the 4th finger in chromatic transitions within C major pieces for example. It happens, baroque music is underrated in this matter. But I guess I meant the 3rd finger in this case because I was mainly thinking in A major.

By the way, that blending from the 4th finger G♯ in C major over to the open A will work much better in the future. I absolutely believe that, because I'm playing the G♯ so frequently with 3rd finger in A major. I'm getting used to it and my violin gets used to it. I even think this new chapter will make her ring more beautifully. Anyway I  think I got a really beautiful violin on that October 2015. At least in my view and that counts. As I see it now I won't have to invest once more in the future.

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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January 2, 2018 - 3:59 pm
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Demoiselle said

Gosh, thanks a lot! I will check the piano chords whether they partly contain solutions I like better than mine. At least I'm not the only quarter idiot in the world as it seems. LOL  

I believe it's more common to have it written like the muse score edition I linked to you. 🙂

Also, I am sure that you are not an idiot. exactly

"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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Fiddlerman said

I believe it's more common to have it written like the muse score edition I linked to you. 🙂

Also, I am sure that you are not an idiot. exactly  

Nobody calls me an idiot, people would never dare that..... It was just irony.

People rather think I'm like a professor. In all things music I'm indeed painstakingly accurate. I focus on essentials—music and how to present my show, but I also know historical aspects very well. It was paradox they called me "our professional" in our open stage even 2015. I played violin just a couple months and it didn't sound too well. But obviously I still showed my professional attitude from semi-professional jazz. I don't take it lightly whenever I step on stage. And people know I'm practicing very hard at home. Plus my music has always been deep science, so whenever I talk it probably sounds professional to people.

Yes, jazz and jazz-related music has shaped modern music literature. People are focusing on beat, groove, swing—the 1800s felt Music very different. Today the rule is indeed: the beat is written in quarter notes. Another rule is dotted notes are played like 6/8 time or triplets. In the baroque era this was also different: Even eights often had to be played the same way—the musician had to know exactly when and in which styles. Oh, that's 'science' again....

sleepsleepsleepdonesleepsleepsleep

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

Fiddlerman said

I believe it's more common to have it written like the muse score edition I linked to you. 🙂

Also, I am sure that you are not an idiot. exactly  

Nobody calls me an idiot, people would never dare that..... It was just irony.

......................................................  

Reading this again it sounds like I would hit people. LOL

No, people are afraid of me analyzing them. School teachers already told me I'm frighteningly intelligent—it's not my fault, I can't do anything about it. But I've learned I can fight rude people off. That's why it doesn't hurt me if I call myself an idiot. Nobody else would do it. Actually I like to be humble and it's better to call myself an idiot than a great person or whatever. But I certainly stand for my knowledge and have to use it wisely and responsibly.

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

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Ferenc Simon
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We'll give you anything you want! Just don't hurt us, allright? :O 

(just kidding ofc 🙂 ) 

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Demoiselle
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This video taught me clearer where I'm standing and who exactly I am as a person who practices on the violin.

My YouTube comment:

"This video helps me to see even clearer: I'm a completely different animal. My technique is many open strings and many string crossings. So I'm practicing very-very different. The classical violin means the art of high positions—the ancient way the art of string crossings. That's the difference between the philosophies of the 1800s and the 1600s. I knew that before but now I see even clearer. Very interesting!"

That was my comment yesterday, but I have to make it clearer: I really have to practice string crossings and string crossings and string crossings again and again. And that's very different compared to a classical violin. Connecting 3rd or 4th finger notes via legato string crossing to open strings also needs lots of training as I recently learned. I did it since summer and will do it for many months to come. And I will probably do it for lifetime to do it better and better, especially cleaner, finer and clearer. There's always a micrometer more possible towards a perfect tone......

That's  the consequence of my ancient open string orientated technique. Somebody told me, she wanted to learn folk fiddling (which is not very different from my baroque playing) but her teacher told her it would be good to also learn changing positions. And she followed her teacher. That was before I started with my teacher in January 2017. And yes, I made the same experience, that my teacher tried to talk me into changing positions.

We have to consider, teachers of classical music are often on sort of a mission. There are rumors going around, classical music may die out because not enough young people would be interested in it and everybody needs to fight hard for classical music. Professional players and teachers of classical music always felt like spreading classical music by convincing as many people as possible. It's a bit like a religion. I hear that on the radio too, here on our German public radio: There are journalists who studied musicology and also play classical music on an instrument. They constantly sound like classical music is holy and they are on a mission. Not all teachers are fanatic like that but many-many......

I basically fired my teacher who had said okay to my goals in the first place, but later more and more tried to guide me into the classical direction. I had to explain to her again and again open strings was my way to go and she forget it again (because she didn't want  to hear that and she forgets everything she doesn't like). So we had the same useless discussion every week and that on my money. Because to her there was only ONE way to learn how to play the violin and she wouldn't be flexible at all. As I feel it, this calls for changing the teacher—period. In my case I feel great without right now because I don't have any more questions. Later I will possibly look for another teacher, but it doesn't look like this will happen in 2018.

By the way, it's not the fault of classical music, that many of those who believe in it are so stupidly fanatic. I met jazz musicians who have the same attitude and to them jazz is sort of holy. I don't know other friends of ancient music but in that scene it will probably be not very different. Those who do nothing but historically informed performance are also very fanatic and talk like it would be the only way to go.

The mistake is obviously in the average human brain, not in any style of music. I would not wonder if science found out, that preference of music styles are located in the same brain area as religious believes. LOL

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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Ferenc Simon said
We'll give you anything you want! Just don't hurt us, allright? :O 

(just kidding ofc 🙂 )   

No, I'm just  thinking loudly. After one of my opuses I know better what I have to do and how to practice. But some people behave like it hurts them if they don't like to hear people who "think too much". I don't care, they better not address me for there's no small talk inside me which would bore me to death.

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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If I play the violin, the masterpiece in question will be too obvious. So here are the exact chords with the exact bass line.

dancingdancingdancingdancingdancingdancingdancingdancingdancingdancingdancingdancing

Irresistible rhythm, the whole court is dancing.

I'm happy my violin isn't in the pour shape my spinet is. Some springers are being catapulted just too harshly by their keys, others sound way too soft. It would be lots of work to fix it and I can't make that decision to do it right now because I rather practice on my violin. Some, some, some day.......

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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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Demoiselle
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This is the theme, or musical subject of the masterpiece in question:

My idea is a forest with deep snow and an injured guy in 1600s uniform limping through the deep snow. There are wolves around but they don't show. Finally he falls, the film ends and we don't know what happens to him.....

It is very hard to play martelé all the time, so here I actually lift they bow after each note.

Oh, I was  the howling wolf and I overdubbed the wolves. Someday I will make this Vivaldi piece again and also ad my drums, which will make it more dramatic. And the wolves will get more reverb.

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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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Demoiselle
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So the last project was Antonio Vivaldi's beginning of the Winter part in his Four Seasons. The break is most certainly a breakneck thing in case you've heard that violin solo. But the chord of that break can be a final chord as well and it will be! The "doing things my way" concept allows me to use these famous and very hazardous materials. I start with improvisation, do my own break in there, and then end with the theme/subject. Could be a future project for my future band—I've been gathering repertoire like this since 2015 and this is great.

I found this music in a radio program about the history of the lyrics in Schubert's Winter Journey. It started with some people traveling during winter time since the 1760's and writing novels about it. The plot: a guy thinking about suicide in freezing weather on a bridge and they played Vivaldi's Winter in the background. And I was stewing over whether it might be Bach or something because I heard at once I could use it. But later I found out it's Vivaldi.

This Vivaldi thing is to be filed in the binder on my spinet, I have been continuing to work on A major for days anyhow. Plus I also practiced D major movements. I played G major for years, now A major begins to be familiar, so D major is not much of a challenge anymore. Fingers must learn to hear: okay you guys have heard scales but here the steps are different. They must learn to hear where they have to go next. That's the main work—and constantly watching the tone quality. Fingers now also learn to work lose from fixed natural scale fingering: The first finger must not always be E, sometimes it's right for F—hopefully without getting lost and not knowing where it is. I think a fixed fingering for the first years was good for orientation. The only exemption was F#, so the second finger had two jobs: F and F#. Now I break the old rule and any finger must be ready to do anything. I waited over 2 years and I had to since I know I learn slow. My sense of orientation is rather low. I use wrong doors dozens of times before I learn which one is right. And finally my fingers learn to orientate on the fingerboard too and to hear where they have to step next. Yes, fingers must grow ears! Which finally means freedom of 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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Demoiselle
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Well, my first finger knows he's the official E finger on the D string. But he also knows there's an upbeat on D# at times and he must be ready to do that as well. And then he has to be aware that he's supposed to yield the following E to his neigbor, the 2nd finger. The 2nd finger now has to be aware that he must step in. This can easily confuse the fingers so they don't know anymore where they are and where they actually belong. They even get self-doubts and ask themselves, "Who am I? Was I the first finger or the second finger? And what am I doing here anyway?"

That's why I have been training my fingers on the natural scale for over two years. Like little dogs—everyone of them needs to know their place. But flexibility works now. And—that's very surprising—communication between fingers! I never thought about that, but those fingers are communicating! If the first finger can't do its E job because it's on D# at the moment, it has to tell the second finger. In other words there's nerval information going from one finger to the other and it parly goes through the brain, but that is a way too long line for fast reaction. Therefore the two fingers have to communicate directly over a nerval connection. These nerves have to grow and science knows today, that the body is buidling new nerval connections during the process of practicing over time. The body is growing exactly those nerves I need for fast fingerin skills on a violin.

bug-1_gifbug-1_gifbug-1_gifbug-1_gifbug-1_gifbug-1_gifbug-1_gif

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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After the upbeat D#, on first finger, and following E, there are 3 options:

  1. Ending the phrase with 3rd finger on likely F# (4th finger to much of a strain)
  2. Going over 3rd finger F# to open A, mostly crossing legato
  3. Going to open A directly from 2nd finger E, mostly legato
  4. Portamento by first finger sliding to E, with the option of 2nd finger to F#; G or G# on 3rd finger and open A
  5. Portamento by second finger sliding to F#, with the option of G or G# on 3rd finger and open A (mostly legato also major and minor second)

My favorite are the sliding portamentos to have more options after that. I anyway like portamentos.

The point is I have to decide already on above upbeat on D#, how I will continue. This is what makes improvisation tricky. There's simply no sheet which tells me the fingering. One must learn to have these spontaneous suggestions in time. This works only flawlessly if any finger knows at any time where their place is at the moment and how to continue next. That's why I reject conventional books with études—I need to practice technical issues and improvisational skills at the same time. And what ever phrase within my improvisations don't work I will repeat a lot. Sometimes even when the following chords in the play-along don't match them, although matching parts will always follow up.

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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Referring to left-handed playing of violins for right-handed players:

The E string was mainly a problem in ♭-keys. Today I'm focusing a lot on the A string in A major and D major and there I have no problems on the E string at all. I need to keep the connection to D and E string to involve crossings into my practicing. An open E is no strain at all and if I ad a first finger it's still easy and joining the 2nd finger doesn't make it harder. Mostly I don't go higher than that, although the 3rd finger isn't too much of a strain. I just wan't to keep my strength for mainly the A string.

Right-handed players don't have this easy transition down to the G string. If they go down from the D string they have to go over the 4th and 3rd finger in scales first. So for them it starts hard as they enter their far to reach string.

In ♭-keys the E string is hard for us left-handed because we start with F on the first finger and then follows a major second on the 2nd finger which costs more strength/energy than entering the E string in #-strings. The 3rd finger then has to manage another major second and the final Bb on 4th finger gives our battery the final blow, because after all the strain before, any 4th finger will easily be a knock-out. The hand is exhausted and if you try to climb the scale down again it will sound not nice because pain never sounds nice. Trying to move on with an already exhausted hand is painful. Which is a reason to prefer #-keys and be careful on the E-string in ♭-keys. We must not run the scales up and down—a single long note can be very beautiful. And we can jump right to the A up there for example without doing the suffering over a scale. From the A string we can jump to any note on the E string and from there back to the A string and make it really sweet that way. As I have watched on YouTube, they do the same in classical music with the G string. You hardly see them touch the G string but if they do they jump to one deep note and leave the G string again soon. Classical violin literature is obviously mostly written that way. Well, in my pre-classical branch they use the G string even rarer.

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'm concentrated on precision—adagio, largo, lento (MusicPartner play-alongs).....no pressure by faster movements. Main focus on connecting 3rd and 4th finger up to the neighboring open string and back. Which must perfectly blend these bow-legato string crossings within finger-legato scales. It is possible, especially must the tip of the bow go a bit outside (away from the bridge) otherwise the open string is too shrill.

Since yesterday I think early fatigue of the fingerboard hand partly comes from inconsistency in fingering. If fingers know a 100% firmly where to go and the hand is not a bit conflicted, ease is possible. Now it's worth improvising hours and hours so fingers experience over and over again how to hit the correct intervals. Now and then repeating phrases which have failed.

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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Demoiselle said
I'm concentrated on precision—adagio, largo, lento (MusicPartner play-alongs).....

Very good to do Demoiselle. Slow precision playing really pays off.

"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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Fiddlerman said

Demoiselle said
I'm concentrated on precision—adagio, largo, lento (MusicPartner play-alongs).....

Very good to do Demoiselle. Slow precision playing really pays off.  

I find it important to correct inaccuracies right away. I don't wait until the movement is over, but will repeat any phrase which lacks sound, brilliance or pitch. What goes wrong once must be repreated correctly at least twice. This also goes for accidentially touching another string, even if it's very subtle. I can't react that way in fast pieces which are rushing me all the time.

Progress is very slow but over time I exterminate those mistakes. Old mistakes sometimes come back, but that happens rarer every day. I know I need to be able to play even if I feel sick and tired. Which was pretty much impossible in 2015 and early 2016, but this has changed quite a bit already.

The most tricky issue is hitting 4th finger D# on the A string after coming down from the E string and going over F. These days I'm more and more taking on that difficulty, which I had mostly ignored. There had been too many other problems, especially accurate string crossing legato from D string to A string. But as I'm doing much better now, I feel ready able and willing to work on the most difficult string crossing from 1st finger F on the G string, down to 4th finger D# on A string.

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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Interesting example:
I was practicing by improvising over an A minor movement by Handel and came across this phrase:

 ♫       ♫          ♩
G# A F# G# A

This whole phrase is completely legato, the A are both open string, so their bow legato must perfectly blend with the finger legato I'm coming from on the D string.

Which I had to repeat several times because the combination F# G# is a weak point in my technique. But I repeated it several times (ignoring the play-along for a while) and it soon worked fine.

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'm obviously not able to present examples from my regular practice hours here because the MusicPartner play-longs  I use are subject of copyright laws. The original works of the old masters of baroque aren't but these interpretations and the editings in Edition Peters' sheet music clearly are. Baroque composers rarely wrote notes for keyboard accompaniment which are usually added today. Like jazz pianists get nothing but chord symbols, to improvise the accompagniment and you have to write notes for amateur musicians who can't improvise. Which actually arn't jazz anymore since jazz is improvisation. In baroque music I follow the same rules although the majority doesn't.

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 have something to share.

So in fall I had learned to pull inside my elbow to home in my 3rd and 4nd finger, plus hold the violin more slanted. This prevents scales on far to reach strings from being painfull.

But if tensing has been a habit over some time it's difficult to get it out. You tense if an intervall overstretches painfully and after improving the technique you still feel some pain because the tension is still an issue. So what's the right therapy now?

Well, I kept away from G minor for weeks since the 2 b already make it harder. Since last week I concentrate on G minor (C minor, even Bb major, are out of discussion!) so how do I relax there?

I am using figurative imaginations. My first idea was waves: waves reach the beach and fingers of water fall on the beach. So I imagined to be a wave and my fingers to be bits of water falling on the beach. Which means I do not force my fingers to do sort of military march discipline, I just let them fall. I sort of switch off my will and watch fingers of water falling on my fingerboard. That's powerful imagery  which helps to relax. And it works. 

The allegory I prefer right now is a cluster of grapes falling on the fingerboard and my fingers are grapes. The wind is blowing over the vine yard and the grapes are bending down. Actually it makes sense to follow with the whole body. You are the plant, gently bending in the wind, the grape cluster you watch is your hand and grapes are falling on the fingerboard.

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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