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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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Demoiselle
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BillyG said
@Demoiselle wrote -

I am the decider, not Handel, not Bach, not Monsieur Marais (a composer at the sun king's court). The ability to improvise makes me free and I can grow on that way.

  LOL - so true....  it is all an "evolution" - and indeed - although often said, I don;t believe it - "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"  - no - personally I don't think it is.  What is more enlightening is to take some work, giving attribution to the original author / composer / player of course - and then "making it your own".   Which is precisely what you do !   So - keep on doing it !  thumbs-upthumbs-upthumbs-up  

I would do it anyway, but in the case of Marais' Sonnerie there is no other way. Whoever knows it and hears me say, I'm gonna play it, replies, "No, you cannot, it is way to difficult for you." But why shouldn't I at least profit from it's wonderful baroque 'boogie woogie' rhythm? The rest will grow.

While searching the baroque/classical music play-alongs in the store, the lady said, "Now you're looking under basson, you're not playing bassoon..." I tried to explain to her why it doesn't matter, but she obviously couldn't wrap her head around it. Finally she reminded me, I could get the music book too, and was again astonished when I explained I didn't need it.

Well, someday I might buy that sheet music to use the basic subjects and play that the first 16 bars and the rest will be improvisation. But I will probably change some phrases in there. Like a jazz musician never plays exactly Gershwin's notes.

Now I even take E major sonatas and transpose them in my wave-file editor to F major. I don't play E major yet, but having one more sonata in F is great. Which is not at all a brilliant idea, but people find it unusual because they're afraid of the old masters and that prevents them from doing things.

Handel 'stole' from Georg Muffat, changed it and made it his own very interesting work. And I like both versions.

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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BillyG
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Two words to say and that's "Yup, exactly"....   LOL

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Demoiselle
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MACJR said

Actually, I did listen, and understand what you were saying. I was making an observation about playing the full sonata, should I ever reach something even close to that skill level.  😉
Since I have an interest in history, I do not mind looking into things now and again. History is not one of my main interest, but it is among my side interests.
As with art, I do not feel that you need to know, in detail, the history of art and artist to make art. I feel the same about music. It may be beneficial, in many ways, but not essential. Just how I see it.
As for music, I will learn more about what I like as I gather and play more and more sheet music. A lot of old folk songs are fun to play, as are some of the classics.
I do like Beethoven works, but there is always, and I mean always, at least one set of measures that throws me off every time, in every tune he did, that I have played so far. It is like, where the heck did that come from, and why?
Some like to spice up their music with things like that, but for the unsuspecting beginner, they are like traps or mine fields.  😉
MACJR  

 

You will probably mix styles and make it all together just one personal style.

I thought about the viola question again, and came to the result, you can listen to violin players as well and also profit from them. I recently heard a viola concerto and found the player made it very violin-like when playing higher notes. In fact I was first assuming it was a violin and astonished when the radio announcer said it was a viola.

I now see again how people are really different in their ideas. The concept I use for my work at the violin would probably not help you at all.

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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MACJR
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Demoiselle said

You will probably mix styles and make it all together just one personal style.

I thought about the viola question again, and came to the result, you can listen to violin players as well and also profit from them. I recently heard a viola concerto and found the player made it very violin-like when playing higher notes. In fact I was first assuming it was a violin and astonished when the radio announcer said it was a viola.

I now see again how people are really different in their ideas. The concept I use for my work at the violin would probably not help you at all.  

As to the viola, I do want to buy one sometime soon, but I am leaning more towards an electric violin first. Then in a month or three, go for the viola.

I still have a long way to go to find out where I found where I fit in the music world. I have much to learn and skills to build. How I go about it may indeed be different than you do it, and the path I take may be down a different way, but it is still good to listen to what you have to say, consider it, and learn from your experience.

Even if I chose to do and think differently, your way and thoughts are bound to influence mine in subtle ways over time. This is okay with me.

I do find your music interesting. As I said, I love to listen to Greensleeves, and your music is much in that same style.

And yes, it would be good to broaden my knowledge of music history as I learn more about playing music. I do not mind at all you sharing your knowledge with me, and the rest of us.

MACJR

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Demoiselle
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My final violin solo in Greensleeves is influenced by Tanya LaPerrière you already heard in the middle of above examples. That is baroque, which is pretty much what I've been listening to since I started on violin. So Greensleeves should sound very much baroque and somehow a bit like Tanya (if you ignore the fact that I'm much worse most certainly) who I really-really adore. I should have her in a gold frame....yes, I'm gonna do that after Christmas..... LOL

Here is another video with Tanya--I think this example is probably best to compare to my Greensleeves version.

I absolutely hear that I'm coming from her. I listened to her CD "VERSO VENEZIA" a lot since I started on violin. Also to other CDs of the same style, but Tanya influenced me most. I also watch her videos carefully which causes that she at times pops up on my mind while I practice. Which is showing me exactly how to play a phrase--especially short notes, which just came without practicing. Her body language is very speaking, she's downright acting while playing.

So the good influence doesn't come from me, it's coming all from her. 😉

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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Today I very much profit from the speeding up since November. I am awfully tired and slow--a year ago I had to give up then, unable to play anything. Now I can play and I really did some boring stuff which would have put me to sleep months ago. All I could rave on in early 2016 was Adagios and Lentos. Today I even did moderate Allegros and in Adagios used more phrases in eights. I do not fall asleep so easily while moving faster than just doing slow quarters and long notes. I think it boosts also blood circulation.

Yesterday I was fitter than today and really pushed speed again : with repeated sixteenths in groups à four. That's a very effective exercise to play scales with up and down! Even more difficult are the same phrases with groups à two sixteenths. I was struggling with this, but if I play groups à four and then suddenly go over to two, even that works for a moment. I did these scales while improvising on Handel sonatas. Groups à four I was then able to increase to I don't  know what--might have been 32th. But I really need the vivid time and swinginess of play-alongs. A metronome would make me awfully sleepy.

These exercises make agile and agility is very useful because it makes slower things 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 said

So the good influence doesn't come from me, it's coming all from her. 😉  

As she was influenced by others before her, and you by her, and others from you, and the influence will continue on after, for as long as there is still anyone left to be influenced, or at least still willing to be influenced.

Sorry for the late reply, the last few days have been a bit busy. I did not have time to see the new videos until today. I have not even had time to practice playing for the last four days. I should be able to get a practice session in today though. That pleases me.  🙂

MACJR

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MACJR said

As she was influenced by others before her, and you by her, and others from you, and the influence will continue on after, for as long as there is still anyone left to be influenced, or at least still willing to be influenced.....
  

Please don't compare Tanya to me, I'm playing since 2015, she has studied for many years and then has been working as professional for years. I also listen to Helène Schmitt and other violin players, but Tanya LaPerrière works best for me. We can figure out who influenced who until we get to stone age, but this is not making my playing any better. I need to listen to people who play better than me and I better do it daily.

MACJR said

....Sorry for the late reply, the last few days have been a bit busy. I did not have time to see the new videos until today. I have not even had time to practice playing for the last four days. I should be able to get a practice session in today though. That pleases me.  🙂
MACJR  

Practicing is probably more helpful than seeing videos. Listening to music is too. If time is rare I cut it down to playing and listening. Listening should be no problem, it can be done while eating, driving, brushing teeth....

The difficult thing is to find exactly the kind of violin music which pleases me most and learn to distinguish it from standard stuff. You easily find Handel's Water Music, Messiah, and Concerti Grossi, but you need an experienced nose to find his sonatas for violin. Very few people buy them--they don't even know there also are those sonatas for just violin and basso continuo. Even many amateur violin players who like baroque music don't know that, which is a little sad. It isn't helping much to listen to a whole orchestra. Of course people can watch professional violin players on YouTube, which is a good thing. But CD is more effective, I can listen to it for hours. I have ripped all my CDs and have their wave tracks on the microSDs for MP3-players and Smartphones, which makes listening even easier.

DSC00093.JPG

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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MACJR
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Demoiselle said
There are also good men certainly! Maybe this is better for you.

For me women work best because I can feel closer to them. In Tanyia's videos it's her female body language which helps me to also comprehend her violinistic expression.

Oddly enough, I prefer to watch women violin players too.  😉

But then, I notice that I did pay better attention to fingering and bow movements when watching men play.

MACJR

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MACJR said

Demoiselle said
There are also good men certainly! Maybe this is better for you.

For me women work best because I can feel closer to them. In Tanyia's videos it's her female body language which helps me to also comprehend her violinistic expression.

Oddly enough, I prefer to watch women violin players too.  😉
But then, I notice that I did pay better attention to fingering and bow movements when watching men play.
MACJR  

Men differ in motor skills. I'm not saying women are better, they look just different. Yesterday I watched Tanya and came to the result, she must also be dancing--and she must be a very good dancer.

The action of her legs looks like she's dancing while playing. My mind can read that kind of body language easily, which hands me the key to her violin technique.

By the way, I found a man who often plays with Tanya, but then he's the lead voice. And he's really amazing!

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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I've found the right teacher. She started to study violin at a music college at age 13 and she studied twice: first classical music, then jazz and composition. She's not just a musician, she's a genius. Next Thursday I go to her studio and I know it's gonna be incredible....

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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Charles
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Congrats on a successful search.   A good teacher than you can get along with can make a huge difference.

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Charles said
Congrats on a successful search.   A good teacher than you can get along with can make a huge difference.  

Well, the main work will remain on my side. Her job is correction, which certainly will help a lot. For the first lesson my idea is, that she improvises a piano accompaniment and carefully watches my improvisation. As soon as she feels like interrupting she will and this is going to be about blockades in my body posture, as possibly on my mind. She has carefully studied these things. I will then mind her critic during my daily work. The point is, I know, if she plays piano, this will inspire me like nothing before! I will not unlikely improvise better than ever before. In other words, I will feel like in heaven, because she's a highly professional artist and I never had such great accompanist before. I will be very relaxed, but guess she will nonetheless find points where I could relax more. I'm very optimistic.

Another option will be, she improvising a phrase and me having to repeat it. Then we can analyze why she sounds better than me. The point is, hearing her before I play, will certainly influence the quality of my tone. She will give me ideas how to sound differently and what ways to get there.

Another point will be the quality of violin and bow. Where would she invest first? I would invest in a new bridge if she told me the violin was great, because I want a bridge for left-handed people. I do play a right-handed violin left-handed, so the bridge is not curved in an ideal way: I have to reach from above over the curve to reach the E string. Which works great, but I would prefer the E string to come up a couple millimeters nonetheless. Which still shouldn't be too much headaches. There have been people doing artistic things even with their feet who have no arms at all! Reaching a bit from above for the E strings should be no to big obstacle. People cleave too much to old theory and old practice. There are many alternatives. But I'd like to change that bridge curve for I'd like that better.

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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At some point, I would like to try a left hand violin. I like using my left hand for things that are often reserved for the right hand, for most people.

The only things I cannot do well with my left hand are things I do not practice doing with my left hand. Otherwise, I can use my left hand just as well as my right, or close to as well.

More often than not, my mouse is on the left side of my keyboards. Much of my art, made over the last ten years, was done using the mouse with my left hand.

In a timed game, my right hand is only slightly faster... very slightly, and that could just be the luck part of the game rather than my right hand being slightly better.

And my left hand writing is more legible, although I can still write faster with my right hand. I tend to still write more often with my right hand, just out of habit, so my left hand is still a little slow at writing, but not too slow, and not shaky.

So, yeah, I would love to try playing the violin left handed.

MACJR

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MACJR said
At some point, I would like to try a left hand violin. ............

That makes a big difference for left-handed people. My left hand is way stronger, faster and more sensitive than my right hand. I was fencing years ago and tried to train my right hand to get as good as my left hand. It did not work! Of course fingering on the fingerboard would be easier if done by my left hand, but the quality of sound and expression comes from the bow hand and the far more handier left side of my body is bound to do that job.

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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I had wondered if everyone was able to train their other hand to do the same things as their dominate hand, like I did. I had thought that since I did it, anyone could. It just takes practice, I thought. But perhaps it really is not that simple. Maybe not everyone can become ambidextrous, as I was able to do. Perhaps there must be some sort of potential for that kind of thing to be able to do so.

All I know is that for me, it was a simple matter of training the left hand to do the same things that the right can do. Yeah, it was awkward at first, but it did not take long to train my left had to become fully functional. It would not take much effort for me to switch to making my left hand as my dominate hand, although I would feel handicapped if I did, just as I would now feel handicapped if I had to stop using my left hand as an equal to my right.

Since I did live most of my life as right handed, though, my left and right hands, and arms are more specialized in some regards, to certain functions. For example, as a teen and young adult, I used my left arm to do a lot of the heavy lifting, so it is more massive than my right in some areas, while my right was more for fine control and guidance, so other muscles were stronger in that arm. I can still do some things better with my left hand, and other things better with my right, but most things I can do at about the same level. I would probably have a better left bowing arm, and better right fingering skills, if I chose to develop those skills.

MACJR

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Today it is undisputed that the quality of script is much better if left-handers write with their left hand. They did teach me to write with my right hands in the 60s, but it doesn't look good. And that's exactly what they found out: training left-handers on right means lower quality in hand writing. I certainly use the stronger hand for bowing. I could improve my right hand, but this is not just a technical matter and after all a question of artistic quality of expression. No compromising there. I can fix screws with my right hand, but not gonna waste my time on trying bowing there. I will always use the side which has the better potentials. That way I get better results sooner. Anything else would mean slowing down progress and loosing time. Plus never getting to the optimum I can reach while using my left hand. It really seems waste of time to me.

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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  • I was balancing the violin on that place of the thumb which they make fingerprints with. So  the four other fingers weren't placed directly over the strings and reaching out with ring finger and pinkie was hard. Which made trills via pinkie almost impossible.
  • The elbow on the bow side pointed down and I supported the end of my bow via heel of the hand. Which made the wrist too inflexible. I am also supposed to turn the back of my hand more towards my face.

Here's what my new teacher gave me a pass for and I'm very happy about that:

My violin sounds good and my self-made bow is okay. She did not even criticize the fact that it's a 3/4 violin and explained this would actually match baroque music. Which had been the point I had been most afraid of, since in certain daydreams she had explained I would have to change to a full violin. I was really afraid like hell I would start to cry in this moment. But she never said that and I  think she's the best teacher I could get. Although it is probably not true and totally ridiculous, I feel like she's the greatest teacher in this world. 😉

She gives me 11 days to change my mistakes. The new position on the fingerboard first hurt - especially my index finger who has to bend harder. But it already got much better tonight. Finally I was improvising again on a very slow Bach adagio. I want her to be proud of me in 11 days. 🙂

By the way, she played a Bach piece on my 3/4 violin, which gave me pretty much the chills of my life! I really feel like my violin is awesome and I was right when choosing her in October 2015.

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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For me, I was informed that I should lower my thumb, at least when reaching for that 4th finger note on the G string. I had mentioned that I was having a hard time with the D note on the G string, and the solution was to lower the thumb.

The person who told me did not have to see, she just knew, from my e-mailed description, what was probably the problem, and she gave me the correct solution. This was just some free advice from the author of The ABC's of Violin for the Absolute Beginner. It turns out that Janice is a nice person.

I still need to practice with that 4th finger note on the G string, but it is not as much of an issue as it was.

I am glad your instructor is working out for you.  🙂

MACJR

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What my new teacher teaches is basic technique and works for everyone. I looked up all my idols from ancient music and recognized right away what she had told me. And I just looked up a Fiddlerman video where it clearly is to see:

She wanted me to put the thumb besides the neck and not under it. I then protested, my violin would fall if I wouldn't support her via thumb. Then she informed my about the little edge where the index finger joins the palm. The violin neck practically rests on that bony edge, while the thumb gently pushes the instrument towards index finger. That way the violin rests much safer, whereas balancing the neck on the thumb was much riskier.

The consequence is, that the fingers are directly above and closer to the fingerboard, so you have to bend them pretty hard. At first it hurts especially the index finger, but it gets used to it. Yesterday it was really painful, today it works much easier. The ability to improvise already comes back and with this correct technique it will soon work better than before. I really wonder how I could manage to do a concert of 2 hours with my old terrible technique because it tires you out pretty soon?

She wanted me to simultaneously change my bow technique, but I'm very bad in things multi-tasking. I first change my fingerboard technique and then start working on bowing. She will be happy with me, because in the next lesson there will be a stark change. 🙂

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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