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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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Demoiselle
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September 19, 2018 - 5:40 pm
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The certain church organist, I had a jam session with in August, has to struggle through 14 stanzas of this hymn on the German Thanksgiving Sunday in October. So he asked me to bring some variation into this. That's why I wrote this second voice for violin. I found it surprising that this works with trumpet as lead instrument and violin as second voice.

But there's more possible. I heard, the leader of the trombone choir plays violin very well. So I may have even a second violin.... Plus I want to get a good trumpet player, so I can focus on violin and trombone. From my old folk music days I know a woman who is a good percussionist. She should be able to play my timpani.

But even if it's gonna be just me and the organist, I can play my second violin under the congregation singing. Plus I will do an extra stanza where I will improvise hazardously. Which I wouldn't do during the first stanza in this hymn. It's good to start with a fixed second voice.

The good thing about this all is, that many will hear me and after the service I will mingle with those folks. And as I will have my instruments, they will of course ask me, whether it was me who played in the service. So that will be a good start for my propaganda: "Folks I'm looking for guitar players and a string bass!" Maybe I find a drummer who will play the timpani. My timpani are just two big hand drums, but maybe he will have real timpani.....

I have the feeling things are going the right way after I had been searching and hoping for years. 

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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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September 22, 2018 - 7:49 am
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DSC00645.JPGImage Enlarger

I finally filed this upper edge round, where my bow hair at times hooked when I played the E string's open E. Also filed this edge from below, although it doesn't show on this photo. It had annoyed me for over 3 years and I always assumed it was the mistake of my bow technique. I don't think so. It must be a matter of playing a right-handed violin left-handed. But now it's really perfect and I have no more accidents on the open E.

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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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bocaholly
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September 22, 2018 - 6:08 pm
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Very interesting, @Demoiselle. I'm always surprised how tiny violin adjustments can make such a big difference in sound and/or comfort.

I don't think that catching your bow hair on that corner is specific to playing a right-handed violin lefty. I do that too playing righty. Now that my bridge has been shifted north 5mm and the fingerboard shortened by 8mm, I'm flirting more often than ever with that corner. I just may have to take inspiration from your DYI so thanks for sharing 🙂

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Demoiselle
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bocaholly 
Very interesting, @Demoiselle. I'm always surprised how tiny violin adjustments can make such a big difference in sound and/or comfort.

I don't think that catching your bow hair on that corner is specific to playing a right-handed violin lefty. I do that too playing righty. Now that my bridge has been shifted north 5mm and the fingerboard shortened by 8mm, I'm flirting more often than ever with that corner. I just may have to take inspiration from your DYI so thanks for sharing 🙂  

I don't know whether I understand you correctly: You also are left-handed and play a violin designed for right-handed players bowing with you left hand?

That's what I do at least. The downside is, the E string is harder to reach. And my bow hand has to reach down the hill (so to speak) because it's curved the other way. So the bow tip is coming more downside and therefore the bow hair sometimes hooked, when the tip moved up a little. Filing something off is no problem to my violin since I devarnished her anyhow 2 years ago. But of course if you do that to a varnished violin, it looks awful. In the meantime my violin looks a 100% okay after I applied a wee bit woodstain with a cotton stick. Well the little edge is rounder than the others, whereas the color looks exactly the same now.

I had devarnished her, since the instrument looked properly built and sounds well, but the varnish was very thick and looked cheap to me. Luthiers told me, that varnish made her sound darker and that's exactly what I don't want. I scratched it all off, partly with my fingernails, partly with the rear end of a fork.

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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bocaholly
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@Demoiselle 

I am right-handed, have a right-handed violin and play right-handed 🙂

Nonetheless, I occasionally get stuck on the treble side upper corner of my C-bout.
But as I said, my bowing is not as in control as it should be and with the modifications to my violin (bridge moved towards the scroll 5mm) my bowing area is closer to that offending corner than usual.

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Demoiselle
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bocaholly said
@Demoiselle 

I am right-handed, have a right-handed violin and play right-handed 🙂

Nonetheless, I occasionally get stuck on the treble side upper corner of my C-bout.
But as I said, my bowing is not as in control as it should be and with the modifications to my violin (bridge moved towards the scroll 5mm) my bowing area is closer to that offending corner than usual.  

I also read you had your fingerboard shortened, which is exactly what I'm planing..... only in my case it's not millimeters but about two inches. Plus throw off my tailpiece, get a wooden one without fine tuners and pegs instead you can fine-tune.

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

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bocaholly
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2 inches... yikes! 

Curious as to what is prompting you to shorten your fingerboard that much. Do you have a hypothesis as to how it will affect the the timbre of your violin? Or are you just doing this for a comfort imperative? 

If I didn't love the rosewood pegs on my violin so much, I would also be considering Wittner pegs.

When you choose a wooden tailpiece, I hope you can try different sizes. That will determine your string after length to some extent and, as per my recent experience, will make an audible difference (too short and my violin started sounding a bit tight and strident.) 

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Demoiselle
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bocaholly said
2 inches... yikes! 

Curious as to what is prompting you to shorten your fingerboard that much. Do you have a hypothesis as to how it will affect the the timbre of your violin? Or are you just doing this for a comfort imperative? 

If I didn't love the rosewood pegs on my violin so much, I would also be considering Wittner pegs.

When you choose a wooden tailpiece, I hope you can try different sizes. That will determine your string after length to some extent and, as per my recent experience, will make an audible difference (too short and my violin started sounding a bit tight and strident.)   

I talked the tailpiece over with a luthier. They even make historical string instruments and I hope they know which tailpiece is right for my violin. I will also ask the consequences of shortening the fingerboard. It looks more baroque then.

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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bocaholly said
2 inches... yikes! 

Curious as to what is prompting you to shorten your fingerboard that much.   .......................................

So that was me in 2016, and if you've seen baroque violins, my fingerboard is too long. Not if you never wear historical clothes, but I do. And therefore I want to dump my plastic tailpiece first and use a wooden one without fine tuners.

Demoiselle-avec-violon.jpg

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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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bocaholly
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September 25, 2018 - 11:29 am
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I googled baroque violins and, indeed, there is a much bigger bowing area (amongst other differenced.)

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Demoiselle
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bocaholly said
I googled baroque violins and, indeed, there is a much bigger bowing area (amongst other differenced.)  

Pre-classical music wasn't as extreme as classical music. They were down to earth and therefore didn't think of playing extreme high-notes you can reach on a long, modern fingerboard. The philosophy of the baroque era criticized overdo, exorbitance a lot. That's why I stick to baroque dance: it's simply moderate and healthy, since old dancing masters emphasized all the time how unhealthy the extreme is. Whereas I knew a girl in the 80s who ruined her spine with ballet already before she got her high school diploma. Her doctor told her to stop dancing. I understood that warning too and never forgot it. I'm far from striving for virtuosity on the violin either. I want honesty and very personal 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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Fiddlerman
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October 1, 2018 - 1:07 pm
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@Demoiselle - Cool picture. Where was it taken?

"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 - Cool picture. Where was it taken?  

SonntagsClub, Berlin - open stage October 2016.

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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On a radio program I recently listened to something new, by French jazz musicians who also love baroque music. They call it "Baroque Jazz".

Actually I hate crossover since I love baroque music on the one hand and jazz on the other. I would never try to mix my violin style with jazz phrases. In the 70s "Play Bach" stuff was pretty popular, backing baroque music with pop or rock rhythm. I never wanted to go down that road. But what above French musicians recently did I find fascinating. Although it wouldn't be my way either because it was jazz phrasing with sort of baroque violin expression.

Here's what I tried now and I'm very happy with the result of this experiment:

A couple days ago I recorded my usual practice chaconne improvisation, backing my violin with a synthesizer harpsichord. The day after that I dared to improvise a jazz trumpet over that violin. And the  result is my very personal kind of "Baroque Jazz". The violin strictly sticks to my 1600s chaconne style and the trumpet ads jazz phrases to it. Partly the trumpet adjusts a bit to the style of the violin adding a second voice. You cannot tell what style the trumpet exactly plays in those moments. So the trumpet managed to create a connection between baroque and jazz. Finally even my baroque violin could possibly be something close to jazz. After all it was all improvisation, one of the preconditions for jazz.

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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