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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 (6 votes) 
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Fran
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October 19, 2016 - 11:04 pm
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Nice!  I love this piece

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Demoiselle
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Fran said
Nice!  I love this piece  

Thanks, yesterday I finally hated that version, but now I don't find it not all that bad. But I have to change things.

Yesterday I asked myself, "Why in the world are you running so much?" It sounds like I'm in a hurry. In fact it seemed to be my practice mode, with many transition between strings and quickly getting from high to low. So today I told myself to play nicer, not hasting anymore, involving more long notes. That worked and I liked it a lot better.

I have more titles in my program where I tend to haste all the time, at times I even get to a point where I'm exhausted before I'm finished. A big problem was my "Sonnerie de Saint Geneviève du mont de Paris" after Marais. I felt like you have to run there as much as you can, otherwise I would miss the character of the piece. Today I realized, I can ad long and gentle notes in there as well and just at times involve my fastest phrases. If I haste through that piece, I also get mentally powered out, my concentration goes away and I tend to misplay.

My biggest problem is Handel's andante groove in his organ concerto HWV 306. I do remember, I had the same problems 16 years ago, trying to improvise via alto recorder over it: Everything I played sounded like totally meaningless and dull. Today I do tricky things on my recorder there and it sounds really funny and interesting. I didn't have these means of expression years ago and I certainly don't have them on the violin yet. And I won't be able to teach them to myself until my December concert. I have only one chance: play the violin solo extremely soft and nice, with lots of long notes. Anything else sounds awfully strained. Nice and gentle something a violin can do much better than recorders.

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Demoiselle
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Presently thinking a lot about syncopes and hemiolas, which can make long note phrases interesting. I never thought about syncopes in gavottes, but it looks like a gold standard to me now. The hemiola must be an actual form of syncopated triple time. I don't see anymore how it's not, having seen examples on Wikipedia.

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Schaick
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@Demoiselle  Nice work!  

OH, the long notes - I want  my long notes to be so rich and full of expression that I don't need vibrato!!  Does that make sense?  I have noticed vibrato is not usually used in bluegrass music.

When I am at the bluegrass jam I tend to hold the long note too long!!  It has the potential to throw everyone off.  

A song I play - "Tombigbee Waltz"  has many long notes.   Once at jam when I played it I was complemented by a gentleman who does not usually give complements.  He mentioned how on how beautiful the song was!!  I did the song justice!  YAY!!  NOW if I could only reproduce it!

If I could give the expression to "Midnight on the Water" I would be a happy fiddler!!

AHHH syncopation.  I am learning a song "Foggy Mountain Special" and every time when I first start out the banjo player say "Give it more swing".  I am just not swinging enough!

Isn't fun though learning this crazy instrument?!

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

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Demoiselle
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@Schaick Thanks! I was a violin hater all my life, because violin players' vibrato drove me crazy. I was already 40 when realizing I was listening to dated Handel CDs and then bought nothing but real ancient music, not played like classical music. Many people don't know, there is a difference between classical music and ancient music. Authentically performed baroque music is closer to folk than most people assume. There vibrato is just an effect, involved like spice on long notes now and then. But not even on any long note. We don't throw all the spice into every dish of our menu, do we? 😀

I think developing a nice vibratoless sound is a question of what I listen too. If I listen to classical violin all the time, my brain kinda gets sort of basically vibrated factory setting. Vibrato then will be part of my basic technique. You hear that a lot on YouTube: People just play a little scale and obviously cannot switch off their vibrato mode without carefully controlling all their phrases.

I had classical voice lessons and it took years to suppress sustained vibrato. The first measure is to throw away all CDs with classical opera voices on and only listen to authentic ancient music. Nonetheless, at times I hear a final note from myself, with vibrato on where shouldn't be any vibrato. And then I really curse myself. 😀

Yes, I do quarter-syncopes, but yesterday was first playing syncopes with eights, not realizing it weren't quarters. Because I have eights in my ear from jazz. I didn't even know, rhythmical shifts in quarters would be syncopes until yesterday. But I'm really surprised how nice it sounds, although technically not difficult. That's what I wanted: Play more long notes, but make those more interesting than just plain long notes.

Canon%2Bin%2BC.GIF

Just a test, whether I can insert an image from my blog (it's my own handwriting)

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Demoiselle
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So, these are the syncopations I worked out, I mainly want to use in gavottes to have more variety in my phrasing:

DSC00387.JPG

Nr. 2.) is my favorite! Because its three bars the whole phrase in itself is shifting rhythmically which I find very interesting. I especially think of one Handel gavotte which in the middle has a part which is exhausting me, because I always feel like stuffing it with lots of eights. Nr. 2 sounds nice there and it fills that part completely. 😀 The rest works nicely then without, but I sometimes involve Nr. 1 once and mix it into my usual phrases. That sounds also nice. Nr. 6 maybe in other pieces, but that one is too calm for my gavottes. I cannot concentrate on 3.) through 5.b) right now--maybe after my little act in this week's upcoming open stage. The Handel gavotte is definitely then the first piece of my 4 pieces program.

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Demoiselle
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My gavotte solo didn't work out so well, because the stage light showed me all the shining skin oil spots on the fingerboard where my fingers usually hit. Which funnily means I'm able to finger blindly, without knowing it until Saturday open stage. After my complain, the stage light would be too much and irritate me, they faded it down a bit and everything was fine: J.C. Bach's Wedding Cantata and Now Rest All Forests. Those skin oil spots had helped me over months. I should now learn soon to ignore them at full stage light as well.

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Demoiselle
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I now see, at that point where I'm able to hit the right places on the fingerboard without watching them, many troubles end. Because now I can watch my bow hand bowing and suddenly the little rascal doesn't have the guts anymore to fool around.

When I closely had to follow my fingers on the fingerboard a year ago, bow discipline wasn't possible of course. I've heard it a lot for months, but now I really see: most mistakes are being caused by the bow hand, although I usually suspected the fingerboard hand first.

I find fascinating how many 'buttons' I've found over the past 18 months.

  • recording very simple and slow play-alongs at my spinet
  • 4 months later starting with slow Aebersold jazz ballads
  • early 2016 going over to Handel/Bach etc. play-alongs by MusicPartner
  • starting uptempo training via MusicPartner in early August
  • now fingering blindly and going back to Aebersold playalongs which are much faster

Aebersold will now make me faster probably for the coming 2 weeks. Last year I was struggling with dotted eights (played like 6/8 in jazz), now I even add triplets and even managed to play a couple 16th phrases. So Aebersold is definitely the right medium to push me ahead at this time. After that I will have to go back to MusicPartner, slow down to concentrated accuracy and then focus on my concert program with my spinet recordings. I'm sure it's gonna be quite a bit easier 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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Demoiselle
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I'd like to share my new method: playing while constantly dimming the light and finally play in the dark.

I had started dimming weeks ago. While playing in full light I'm able to see the little skin oil spots on the fingerboard. They helped me to find the right places since taking off my First Frets in February. By dimming I was able to find out, whether I was able to play without seeing those spots. But still the pegs of the patch box gave me a little orientation and I still needed to see that.

Today I dimmed more and more and finally played completely in the dark, which worked like a dream. When the light is on I can focus on the bow but after some time will look at the fingerboard again because I'm used to it. But tonight I just played a complete Aebersold play-along jazz track without any light on. So now I'm absolutely sure I can do without looking.

Dimming down works well to wean off the habit of watching my fingering.

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Demoiselle
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Knowing that my bad sense of space is not effecting my playing the violin, I can now decide, that the violin is going to be my first instrument.

I now overlook what to expect and that there aren't any more traps and downsides to come.

The downside of the trumpet is the very common high note hysteria. I don't like it, I find it unhealthy (high pressure effects blood pressure and intraocular pressure, etc.) and it has a terrible macho attitude to it which I cannot appreciate. But as people expect extremely high notes from professional jazz trumpeters, I will never get to the top. That's why I have been practicing trumpet 10 minutes every other day from May 2015 on to keep my technical level.

In 4 years I will be better on violin than on any of my other instruments and people (not good players of course) will call me a 'professional'. That's what they've been assuming when hearing me on trumpet and I'm absolutely sure I will reach that goal. From there I will go on, because I'm very motivated and that will push me for the years to come. Every couple months I invent another method to push myself over the next hurdle—this will constantly go on. There will be constant progress over the years and I will never cease.

Now focusing on work instead of talking so much....

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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MrYikes
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It is inspiring to read your posts, but I'm exhausted, I need a nap and its 7 AM.  Just kidding.  Your plans are logical and it takes an exceptional person to be so dedicated.  It gives me hope that just maybe I can get my fingers to do as they are told.

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Demoiselle
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MrYikes said
It is inspiring to read your posts, but I'm exhausted, I need a nap and its 7 AM.  Just kidding.  Your plans are logical and it takes an exceptional person to be so dedicated.  It gives me hope that just maybe I can get my fingers to do as they are told.  

Whenever I see a 90 years old fiddler playing the violin with an insanely virtuosic fingering this helps me a lot. Age must not be a barrier. Just turn away from old people who tell you it's hopeless. Their philosophy is poisonous! Most aging people buy it and that's the reason why they have no hope. It's mostly laziness. Older people who think and act like young people don't have it homey. Striving for homeyness is laziness and that makes people passive and feel nothing but meaninglessness.

My ideas surely are exceptional. It's basically "occupy the old masters!"--don't be their slave, be your own master--make Bach your workmate. It's not to overthrow the world order, it is because anyone of us has the same right to be creative like Bach.

Basically it takes 5 or 6 years to learn an instrument if you practice a lot daily. Last Saturday there was a violin player in the audience who was like, "No, she sounds good, it's really okay." In 4 or 5 years people like that will say, "Wow, that's really amazing!" Because I will work daily and harder than I worked with any other instrument. Because violin is the ONLY instrument which matches my ideas: in baroque AND jazz. It is the leading instrument in baroque and also very good for jazz. And unlike recorder which dynamically is very limited.

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Demoiselle
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MrYikes said
It is inspiring to read your posts, but I'm exhausted, I need a nap and its 7 AM.  Just kidding.  Your plans are logical and it takes an exceptional person to be so dedicated.  It gives me hope that just maybe I can get my fingers to do as they are told.  

I see it this way and I have just been pondering it after waking up this morning.

Our body has two downsides which are hindering the goals of our mind:

  1. laziness
  2. fear

That's why the mind must constantly find out ways to trick the body.

Let's say, I'm able to rave over a couple very slow ballads out of the Aebersold repertoire. It doesn't sound great, it just works so-so. Which is a good start! Then I try "I can give you anything but love", which is medium tempo, I find very hard and it seems I will never manage to play that. It tires me and it's 'only' medium, but I find it pretty fast and this is encouraging me a lot.

The advice I will always give myself is:

  • Play hundreds of ballads from the Aebersold repertoire which are C, F, and D minor to make it as easy as possible. Ignore passages where the chords confuse you and ignore your false notes like they were correct (in this moment we want to technically step ahead--we can improve our hearing later anyhow, which is mostly a matter of listening to professional jazz recordings and experimenting with chords at a keyboard). Important is to forget all chords beyond C, F, and D minor, so the bar you have to jump won't be unnecessarily high. And really-really the slowest tracks you can find in the Aebersold pool. And you do that for about 3 months.
  • The next step won't be "I Can't Give You Anything But Love", we're already afraid of. No, we choose "Indiana" http://jazzbooks.com/jazz/prod.....B2PMS0rKM8 which is insanely fast. I'm struggling to play even sustained quarter note phrases (if we consider the walking bass quarters). Never mind, just play slow phrases, try a couple quarters which already will be terribly stressful. Now we go back to "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and suddenly we find that not so difficult anymore, after escaping the hell of Indiana on Aebersold's BURNING CD.
  • So now you can try more medium titles out of the Aebersold pool and from time to time you go  to burning and other fast tracks. You also go to other fast tracks which aren't as crazy fast as Indiana, which will help you to completely take the medium goal. Nice side benefit: Very slow will now be very easy and you can now fully live your creativity there.
  • Longterm goal now is to also conquer fast tracks and use extremely fast tracks to make it not so hard anymore. Maybe 6 or 12 months later..... So maybe after a year or two you will be able to play sustained quarter notes in Indiana and after 6 years possibly even eights (which kinda is virtuosic, so if we won't ever reach that goal it'll be no drama).

If we manage to motivate ourselves every day for years to come and we stay healthy it should come over 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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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A fun tune you might enjoy is "In the mood".

Demoiselle said

  • suddenly we find that not so difficult anymore, after escaping the hell of Indiana

In this election year and because I live in Indiana,  This just felt so real.

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Demoiselle
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In the Mood would be somewhere in the middle between the hell of Indiana and the song Unforgettable on Aebersold's #58. That job in the middle is doing Take the 'A' Train and "Savoy". Unforgettable is a ballad here in a medium tempo.

http://www.jazzbooks.com/mm5/m.....B4qQy0rKM8

At the end of the practice day (it's now after 7 p.m. here) I went back to the slow ballads I have gathered on my MP3-player a year ago. And here it suddenly showed another result in a title from the same #58 "In The Wee Small Hours": I was not just able to play dotted eights (played like 6/8 in jazz) and triplets, suddenly I improvise even sixteenths up and down and up and down--without interruption. I do remember I tried small groups of sixteenth notes yesterday, but not sustained for a long time and so clear. So, there is an effect already showing.

Looking forward to the results of Sunday evening .....

You mean redhot election hell of Indiana? Is there anything red so redhot in the midwest? As far as I've heard Indiana has always been sort of cautionary tale in midwestern blue campaigning: "Don't play with the fire and go where the voters in Indiana went!" LOL

This is really funny, to see the Aebersold edition BURNING that way! Which will certainly not end in a discussion about what people should vote next Wednesday. I will never go there like I do on twitter because that's not what a violin forum is meant for. But I love this redhot Indiana pun!!

MrYikes said
A fun tune you might enjoy is "In the mood".

Demoiselle said

  • suddenly we find that not so difficult anymore, after escaping the hell of Indiana

In this election year and because I live in Indiana,  This just felt so real.

  

P.S.: Once I was a regular listener of the Stephanie Miller Show via WCPT, which explains why I know more about American politics than 'normal' Germans. 😉

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Demoiselle
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After speeding my phrasing up yesterday quite a bit, I tried a couple more Aebersold tracks which I have on my MP3 player, until I came to a samba and then finally to Begin the Beguine. This Latin stuff seemed so beneficial, that I went for really hot Caliente play-alongs (not by Aebersold but very awesome!). In this style I made the experience, that it was possible to do extremely fast phrasing without aiming much--just haphazardly. Sloppy doesn't sound so bad there, so this was really healthy to make me relax. And the longer I did it, the cleaner and preciser my fast phrasing turned out. And as it was great fun and I laughed while playing, I relaxed even more. I'll have to go on with caliente tomorrow, it pushes me ahead like crazy. My concert in December will benefit from that: I am taking another higher technical step which will make things more effortless.

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Demoiselle
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Okay, now I know what calypso power fiddling does—muscles aching everywhere: arms, shoulder, décolletage, back....
I was able to speed up my phases quite a bit more. The Latin rhythms have been whipping me over the meanest cliffs. Otherwise I wouldn't have managed that.

On Sunday the German public radio aired "Gypsy Baroque", an interesting live concert which still can be listened to until November 13 here: http://www.deutschlandfunk.de/....._id=369161
(On the big photo is the grey botton "AUDIO" which starts the music--first a lady explains the music).

On YouTube I found something similar (which is not really authentic baroque like above radio program) and I found interesting to compare the gypsies to the rest of the musicians. To me the gypsies look like natural humans, whereas the rest kinda comes across like programed robots.

There I can clearly see where I see myself: not among those who have been adapted to the classical music assembly line. I see a lot of resemblence, comparing that gypsy phrasing to my above Latin stuff. It sounds similar and it's both the natural way to make music.

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Demoiselle said

After that I had to go on with a violin improvisation, but unfortunately was scared. I did not know what to play after the recorder solo. It was like another person had just blown me off the stage with a professional chorus to embarrass me. So, the way I finished La Folia on the violin was very-very depressing. It was all lame and dull. That was an all-black February open stage, I couldn't forget its disgrace and pain for weeks. Looking back, quite funny.

That was how the La Folia self-battle (me at the recorder vs. me at the violin) ended in February open stage. Maybe it's time for a little revenge match now? Whatever, I'm not afraid of my recorder routine at the violin anymore, although far from being perfect. But at least it is to hear, that I did the calypso power fiddling, which now makes it easy to play faster.

https://youtu.be/JqhLmr03woQ

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Demoiselle
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I am very happy. A month ago I still was a little afraid my concert in December might be a bad idea because too early in my development. I was still struggling with several pieces and at times too tired to play anything flawlessly. This has totally changed--today my violin technique was unwavering--more reliable even than my recorder fingering. All insecurities have gone and I'm no longer afraid of that concert. The speed training of the past couple weeks was a success, what I do in my concert feels like pure recreation now, which makes me feel relaxed and firm. Very optimistic. 🙂

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. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Fiddlerman
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Very good news Demoiselle 🙂

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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