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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 (3 votes) 
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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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M U S I C A L   G U E S S I N G   G A M E

I was looking for an old master to abuse for improvisation for many months. And I failed the first time with something from Bach's Brandenburg Concertos which put me to sleep. In the meantime I found Bach's Air on the G String which has more swing, but that'll be quite some work to prepare....

Saturday was something on the radio where they used a baroque piece which seemed right and I guessed the composer wrong. But finally I found out what it really was. I didn't cover it completely, just until the first break (it is indeed a break for solo violin in the original) it's really great for improvisation.

I have to admit I was anxious in places: First at the start, then before the break, although it's weird that the break worked out fine then. I suffered from last minute panic in the final rubato. But I think I will play this all better later......

  • Topic: abusing old masters of the baroque period for improvisation fun and exercise.
  • Info: This old masterpiece was NOT about water, seaside and waves, but it was written about something else which occurs in nature. My violin improvisation was of course not composed by the master in question, but my spinet background was (not from notes, I just covered it my way, though should be recognizable). And it is the start of the last part, until the break. The part after the break I added myself to get back to the D minor dominant seventh chord, but I decided to cancel that for the future. I could get back to D minor from the A minor break just nicely. The original version does not start with D minor though, I just like D minor better.

WARNING: THIS VERSION WAS RUBBISH! SO PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO THE LATEST VERSION......

https://youtu.be/vMe5jfUc_zM

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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January 9, 2018 - 8:05 pm
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The musical guessing game must be rebooted, because I need to change the chords. I've just carefully listened to a recording of the masterpiece in question and found those chords out precisely. And I must say, they seem quite jazzy: with Gm6 chords which then change too even G°7 (or Gv7) ect.  That is fascinating! The solo violin starts with rhythm, like  the rest of the strings. That thing is breathtaking and very groovy—exactly what I need. And I really have to start with the rhythm part to make it recognizable, also for my future audience.....

fireworks_giffireworks_giffireworks_giffireworks_giffireworks_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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January 10, 2018 - 5:35 am
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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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M U S I C A L   G U E S S I N G   G A M E

s e c o n d   t r i a l

No, the old version of the masterpiece in question was not recognizable at all! That's why my improvisation sounded so awful. I never knew where I was during struggling through. The new improvisation is much better, but it would be better still if I hadn't recorded it, because whenever a recording runs I cannot relax at the violin. I played the E string too long and that's not healthy for me because it tires me soon, which finally is hearable.

https://youtu.be/77TySJLDVQE

I also recorded the musical subject of the masterpiece in question. But it would sure give everything away, so that later.....

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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January 11, 2018 - 9:42 am
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This 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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January 13, 2018 - 8:37 am
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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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January 18, 2018 - 1:16 pm
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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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In November my animation film buddy asked me to play something on the violin for his just created pirate lady. She was supposed to play the violin in her captains cabin, in a melancholy mood. So I improvised this melody with just violin and no other voice added and called it Lonesome Violin. Later I played the pirate song I've already presented here, we both liked it better, so this melancholic little piece wasn't used for the film.

A couple days ago I used this short phrase from Lonesome Violin, added Spinet chords, to finally ad a tenor recorder voice too. I needed this as title song for a page on my website.

https://youtu.be/dfmaFrAFSL4

This is how my music would sound if I'd have myself cloned twice to form a trio. 

violin_girlviolin_girlviolin_girl

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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Demoiselle
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Right now using my WIN XP tower who can't do video. Since my laptop croaked I have no moviemaker program. Most internet work I do via this smartphone.

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 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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