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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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I came to the result that overstreching my fingerboard hand has NEVER been my actual problem. In fact the problem was lack of strength whenever the leverage of stretching fingers is long. On the 3rd and 4th finger the leverage is longer indeed, especially on far to reach strings. The only way to deal with it is training the muscles by practicing. Some people have less strength than others and those have to train harder. But it takes time. In winter we all have less strength and this time I really understood. No force! In fact I cut back and that was good. Now spring gives me lots of energy and I get further ahead....

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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More precisely with an example:

1.) Trill on F# and G on D string (2nd and 3rd finger)

2.) Trill on F and G on D string (2nd and 3rd finger)

The leverage of the 3rd finger is in 2.) longer, which makes it harder.

This is exactly my issue when trilling C and D on the A string. I'm training that.

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

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bluesviolin
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@Demoiselle A. : I'm not very good with computers, but I can't seem to open any of the links to hear your playing. can you or anyone else advise me on this.

also, a couple of questions about your violin. was it just not possible to acquire a left handed fiddle, or have one set up for left handed? I don't know if a left handed set up is possible as the finger board is usually sloped downward somewhat to the treble side. where is your chin rest positioned? bass, middle or treble. or perhaps you do not use a chin rest? why did you go with something as small as 3/4?

wondering if anyone else on the forum has a left handed fiddle, or plays a right handed fiddle left handed as Demoiselle does.  

"Striving to attain Mediocrity"

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Mark
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Blues,

I play a right handed violin left handed, it stems from a accident I had at 10 years old with a table saw, I'm missing my index finger and limited movement in my middle and index finger so to note with my left hand is impossible. I started playing guitar shortly after the accident and the teacher I had, had my guitar set up left handed and thats how I learned to play. The issue being I go some where with out my guitar and I can't play I have never run into another left guitar player jamming, at 15 I was invited to play bass in a group and desided I would just turn it over and play it so any where I go I can play bass lots more right handed instruments to use than there are left handed ones, so following the same logic I just play a right handed fiddle left handed. So far just a few adjustments to make In my playing, but all in all not an issue to worry about I'm doing the same thing with the mandolin right handed instrument  just played left handed that Big G chop chord is a real pain make backwards, have a ways to go before I'm proficient with that chord shape.

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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Demoiselle
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bluesviolin said
@Demoiselle A. : I'm not very good with computers, but I can't seem to open any of the links to hear your playing. can you or anyone else advise me on this.

also, a couple of questions about your violin. was it just not possible to acquire a left handed fiddle, or have one set up for left handed? I don't know if a left handed set up is possible as the finger board is usually sloped downward somewhat to the treble side. where is your chin rest positioned? bass, middle or treble. or perhaps you do not use a chin rest? why did you go with something as small as 3/4?

wondering if anyone else on the forum has a left handed fiddle, or plays a right handed fiddle left handed as Demoiselle does.    

It's my fault, not your's. I tidied up my channel, finding too much junk, not considering, this would also effect my posts in the fiddlerman channel. So I deleted all the junk. But I didn't delete all of the and left those: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-cxgo_BlsYHaKMrTZoSShQ/videos

NOTE: I JUST DELETED ALL THOSE POSTS ON THIS THREAD WITH DEAD YOUTUBE LINKS. IT IS A TOO BAD EXPERIENCE IF PEOPLE SCROLL DOWN A COLLECTION OF DEAD LINKS IN THIS PLACE. June 1st, 2018

I love a 3/4 and feel like it's perfect for me. Historical baroque violins where often very small (I don't mean modern baroque violins), especially the violins of maîtres à danser (baroque dancing masters). And as I have been doing baroque dancing for a long time, being my own choreographer, I tend to fall in love with small violins. Some male violin players have very large hands and use a full violin, so I don't see why a 3/4 instrument shouldn't be right for me.

I would frankly hate a violin for left handed players. I have been making music for many decades and the bass was always on the left side. It's part of my nature now, that the bass is never to the right, like on left-handed violins. It would only confuse me. There's no point which speaks against playing a right-handed violin left-handed if you're not a classical player.

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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bluesviolin
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OK, thanks Mark & Demoiselle for the input and explanations. I understand it all much better now.

Nice sound from that 3/4 violin!

"Striving to attain Mediocrity"

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Fiddlerman
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May 17, 2018 - 9:17 pm
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@bluesviolin - Left handed violins haven't been around all that long and are not common. They are available but perhaps more as a gimmick than a necessity. I am, or at least was, a professional violinist for most of my life and plenty of my colleagues were left handed. It wasn't even a question when you began playing. All violinists back in the day used the same instrument. You need two good hands and your dominant hand can be your fingering hand just as well as your bowing hand.

Most left-hand violins are inexpensive instruments either meant to be sold as a niche violin or special request instruments. Some of the special request violins can be far more expensive. If a violinist loses their 3rd of 4th left-hand fingers they could still learn to play a left-hand violin without any issues what so ever. There is even the possibility to learn to bow with less or different fingers missing.

You can't just simply alter a right-hand violin mostly because of the bass bar and the position of the pegs. The E-string peg is further towards the scroll so that the fingering hand won't clash with that peg so much, especially when vibrating.
So to alter a violin you would need to open it and move the bass bar to the treble side and after gluing the top back you would install a sound post on the bass side. Obviously, the bass side would now be the bass side but on the opposite side. LOL
Next you would probably want to reshape the fingerboard to lean down towards the new bass side and cut the bridge that way as well. You would also probably need to change the nut but at least alter it so that the lowest string is the E string which is the opposite of what it was. 🙂
With new unshaved pegs, you might be able to keep the holes but probably not, as you would have to ream them from the opposite direction. Most likely you would need to make bushings, drill holes big enough to start reaming with a peg hole reamer.

"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
.......
Most left-hand violins are inexpensive instruments either meant to be sold as a niche violin or special request instruments. Some of the special request violins can be far more expensive. If a violinist loses their 3rd of 4th left-hand fingers they could still learn to play a left-hand violin without any issues what so ever. There is even the possibility to learn to bow with less or different fingers missing. .......................

There's a huge difference in the quality of feeling and expression between my left and my right hand. My pet bird can tell, who runs away from my right hand because it's clumsier. Obviously a cuddle from my right hand is no fun to her. LOL

I'm sure that my right hand would never reach the feeling of my left hand, I would sound worse. On the other hand my left hand is stronger as well, so there I could profit from more strength on the fingerboard side. I have to admit that I underestimated the strength needed for fingering when I started. Whenever I inform people that I now play the violin, they sound like, "Oh, that's very difficult, you need a good ear." I usually reply that you need awfully strong and persistent hands. My right hand tires soon and my left would absolutely do better. But my right also lacks feeling. Maybe some people with dominant left hands don't have such extreme difference and maybe some of them have almost equal hands. In my case the difference is very stark.

I still think, it's easier for my right hand to gain some more strength, than learning to express more beautifully. I can train the muscles, but if feeling is basically wired on the left side of my body I cannot change that. Nonetheless it's also impossible the meet the strength of my left hand via right hand. I did rapier fencing sport years ago and tried to get to equal hands: My right hand improved but it never became equal in precision, speed and strength.

The fact that my left hand is my bass hand is just a very old habit. I played Fats Waller style piano stride (jazz influenced by ragtime) since the 70s and here you need a very strong left hand. Here being left-handed resulted in having a very strong basic rhythm, which is an advantage. My stepmother often complained because I was drumming with my bare hands on my desk while listening to jazz. Here me left hand had mainly the part of the bass drum while the right was mainly the snare. They increasingly shifted and blended rhythmically the more I learned offbeat with shifting accents. But basically my left hand remained to be mainly the bass drum. That's why I would never accept a violin with G string on the right side. Trying to change decade old habits would be waste of time. I has been part of my system for a too long time and I had practiced it too often in piano and percussion.

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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bluesviolin said
OK, thanks Mark & Demoiselle for the input and explanations. I understand it all much better now.

Nice sound from that 3/4 violin!  

Thanks, yes I tried all the 3/4 violins in the shop in October 2015 and this one was the loudest, fullest and richest. That's what I explained to the store clerk and he fully agreed. Tricky may be the fact that my self-made clip-in bow is made of a beech rod. Beech is no typical bow material. But I'm attached to it and at least feel 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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MACJR
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Demoiselle said 

There's a huge difference in the quality of feeling and expression between my left and my right hand. My pet bird can tell, who runs away from my right hand because it's clumsier. Obviously a cuddle from my right hand is no fun to her. LOL
 

I guess I am one of those people who can train my left hand to do anything my right hand can do. I still consider myself right handed, but in reality, I am more ambidextrous than single handed.

I can even write left handed, and often do. Since I developed right wrist issues, about ten or so years ago, I switched to using the PC mouse with my left hand, and that means creating my art left handed too. It did not take long to get used to drawing digital art left handed. Now, it makes no difference what hand I use for the mouse, or digital drawing.

On speed challenge games, I am just as fast with my left hand as I am with my right.

My cat does seem to show some preference for me to pet her with my left hand though. She will accept being pet with either hand, but she most often reclines on my left side, while I am petting her.

Maybe I am really left handed, but never knew it, because I could use my right hand just fine.  😉

MACJR

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Demoiselle
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When starting school I was forced on writing with my right hand. I still do that, you can read it well, but I will never be able to develop a beautiful hand. Although I did work a lot on historical German handwriting since 2000. I focused on fast historical common writing and still write shopping lists etc. in Baroque-Current. Trying to write slow to approach calligraphic quality is useless. Knowing all this, I would NEVER let my right hand do the bowing!

Today I still have the habit, to change my pen to the left hand, whenever I have to add some drawing. I change even if I just draw a line, using a ruler. If the result is supposed to be clean I better change to the left. My father hated that changing and slapped my face whenever I did it. But it was so very much part of my nature that I got slapped a lot during math homework. How can you focus on changing a habit like that if someone constantly slaps all focus out of your brain?

Fiddlerman said
....You need two good hands.....
  

I have strong will power, but my extremities generally lack strength and stamina. It was always like that. That's why I constantly watch my condition while playing. Whenever my arms get tired I stop and pause for a while. I go and wash my dishes, then I go back to my violin. During the next pause I will dry those dishes or bring out garbage. There's always a reason to pause and get something else done.

I can only play the violin because I disempowered the old masters to be my own master. I make all decisions and whenever something seems to be hard, I will change it or put it off. Or I have one of my recorders play the theme and let the violin just improvise. Still I have issues with Vivaldi's WINTER part in the Four Seasons. Improvising over that puts too much pressure on me, there are dynamical and dramatic changes in this ingenious chord progression which tire me out too soon. You can't relax on a couple long notes there, you have to move. At least I can play the theme and let someone else do the break. In the break you really have to run, which would kill me within seconds. There is no way to use slower phrasing in it. But it's also rhythmical precision which causes me to run out of battery: if each note has to be exactly on point. There's no way to rhythmically delay something.

I see myself playing old Advent chorales and then sing them. After singing I can improvise one or two choruses. That's what I can do easily without running out of energy. Apart from Advent I collected lots of musical subjects which match my body's battery power. Like Johann Christoph Bach's beautiful "Mein Freund ist mein". Great for singing and improvising.

Some people are their own worst enemy. I'm very different in this matter. If I wouldn't treat myself right, who would? As a 'teacher' I know I will hardly find a student who will always give her best. More isn't possible and I respect that. Call it friendship and trust. I'm not gonna slap my own face and I will never put any pressure on myself. At least I'm a much better parent than my parents were.

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: thanks for the detailed info about left handed fiddles...very interesting, never would have thought about the peg issue.

I may be semi-ambidextrous. I do everything right handed except write on paper, but my left hand is better at playing violin than my bow hand. for the most part, my bow hand just follows my left hand around.

That's why I don't/can't fiddle. learning fiddle bowing seems to be going against my nature.  

"Striving to attain Mediocrity"

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Demoiselle
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bluesviolin said
@Fiddlerman: thanks for the detailed info about left handed fiddles...very interesting, never would have thought about the peg issue.

I may be semi-ambidextrous. I do everything right handed except write on paper, but my left hand is better at playing violin than my bow hand. for the most part, my bow hand just follows my left hand around.

That's why I don't/can't fiddle. learning fiddle bowing seems to be going against my nature.    

To make it clearer:

I neither use a violin designed for left-handed people, nor do I change my right-handed violin. I just grab my normal right-handed violin with my right hand and the bow with my left. The only downside is that fingering in the high range gets more difficult, because A and E string are far outside. The upside is easiness on G and D string because they are very close. Usually the home string of violin players seems to be rather the A string—in my case it's the D string. Classical violin players rarely touch their G string and if they do, it's rather single notes. I play all kinds of phrases, including scales, also on the G string in any musical piece. Usually I will visit the G string range at least once in a tune. And I like to involve the open G whenever it's harmonically possible. I love those deep notes anyhow.

3 years ago I also assumed the product line of left-handed violins to be rather limited when the shop suggested to buy such instrument. I see no reason to do that. It is no problem to bow with my left hand on a right handed violin. The curving of the bridge seems to be the wrong way then, an issue I pondered quite a lot in 2015, but I have no real problems with that. It is my right hand which struggles with fingering, especially if progressing to A string D and on the E string. It is an issue of longer leverage on far to reach strings of the 4th finger. I can do it, but my right hand tires soon. Staying on A or E string for a long time is a bad idea, I have to go back to my home string D timely. If I follow that rule I easily survive a slow or moderate (not fast!) tune for up to 3 minutes. None of my violin solos will be that long though 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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@Demoiselle - If I were to try to switch sides playing the violin it would feel horrendous because I am used to bowing with my right hand and fingering with my left. Anything anyone does one way from the beginning will feel strange to change.
There are chores that I do with one hand and not the other, then switch to give the other hand a break. Those chores feel restricted using the untrained hand.

"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 - If I were to try to switch sides playing the violin it would feel horrendous because I am used to bowing with my right hand and fingering with my left. Anything anyone does one way from the beginning will feel strange to change.
There are chores that I do with one hand and not the other, then switch to give the other hand a break. Those chores feel restricted using the untrained hand.  

Exactly my issue on trombone. I could be a much better trombone player if I changed to a trombone designed for left-handed players. But I play trombone since 1976, performed as a jazz player a lot in the 80s and 90s and starting from scratch now would be "horrendous" like you say. I rather start on violin and start right there. It  would also be a bit "horrendous" to change after 3 years from bowing left to right. But it would be useless anyhow, I better accept and follow my nature. We can neither rewire homosexuals, nor left-handed people. They tried it by force in the past which was very cruel and wrong.

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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Legatissimo phrases (grabbing, like on a bagpipe, on just one bow stroke) now getting longer and longer. I hardly got ahead in this matter since 2016 and now almost everything is becoming possible. I know it's very much a matter of strength, so that's a good sign. Muscles learn over time how to regrow and regroup. So this fight took me two years. It's worth to not give up over long periods of 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 said
..............

These days I'm successful with an exercise I 'invented' (it probably isn't new) in May, but I wasn't on a level to consequently practice it: It works like drumming with fingers on the table. With four fingers it's possible to drum nice rolls on the table and I can do it on the fingerboard as well. It works best in G major pieces and I can do it up and down. Down sounds like "deedle-up" and I can connect it with an up like "deedle-up-doodle-ip". I think this is a fairly relaxed thing and it helps to relax my technique a bit more. But it's also very dangerous, because too much of that medicine is poisonous again! Because if I practice this again and again, my wrist tires very soon and then it's painful.

.............. 

This I posted September 24, 2016 - 11:16 am

It  was painful indeed and I was able to do the "deedle-up" but the other way was very difficult and mostly failed. What I called here "deedle-up-doodle-ip" means the phrases DEFG, GFED each played on one bow stroke. I was able to integrate DEFG better and better in pieces since 2017, but the other way, GFED remained very difficult and painful. Connecting both on one bow stroke was impossible, it just hurt too much due to total exhaustion. This has changed totally now.

So now I do DEFGFED on one bow stroke, but that's not all. Yesterday I did even thinks like EFGFGFED or EFGFGEFGFDS. So that's a huge breakthrough.

This quote says, I started to try this since May 2016, so I really struggled over full two years! So nobody give up if things don't work out right away.

This exercise is related to trilling and I think it will improve trills. I also think it will lead to fast phrasing on longer terms. It is the way to more agility. The phrases above can be played extremely fast, but I think it's advisable to mostly keep them slower, like semi-quick to keep them precise, clear and clean. Muddling is no way to the better.

_________________

P. S.: I deleted all my posts with dead YouTube links because it's no good experience for people to scroll down and almost everything is dead. I will edit a new video with old recordings of my playing in 2015 and 2016 and insert that YouTube link in an old post from 2016. It will all be historical material of my development and show my progress chronologically. They just repaired my good old laptop, so those old materials are back.

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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The 'bagpipe' kind of legat(issim)o improves bowing a lot, as I see now. Grabbing phrases on the fingerboard during one long, sustained bow stroke. It is difficult, for you need clean and very steady and reliable bow technique. Non legato and semi-legato is very much easier after that. So that's now the new way to go ahead and further improve my violin technique.

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

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Demoiselle said
Salut violons!
........................
..............................................
..........................................................

(This video is a relaunch of my original audio recordings and pictures from 2015 and 2016, in a better chronological compilation, creating more clarity in this thread.)

 

How I Tried to Learn on the Violin What I had Taught Myself on Other Instruments Before

I knew exactly how to musically train myself. But I had to learn, violin is a very special instrument, with very special difficulties................................... 

After deleting the old chaos of many little videos from my YouTube channel, I put together just one longer video, which shows my start and progress from May 2015 until August 2016. I inserted this video into the first post of this thread.

The new video contains audio recordings I made in those years. The pictures I put on those recordings are all photos from that time. So it is just as authentic as the former little videos. Frankly, I find it even better and more speaking, because it is absolutely chronological, which the chaos before hadn't always been.

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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Here's what I practiced today, combining all my techniques with the new legatissimo.

I'm a bit tired today and not in the best condition, but it seems to work nonetheless. Being able to play, whether I'm under the weather or not, is one of my goals. So I seem to get closer to it.....

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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