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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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I was trying to find a teacher a year ago, in early 2016, and contacted two teachers. The man was a teaching jazz and baroque professional, who did not answer my email. The woman was a baroque violinist I have on many CDs, but at the telephone was like she didn't know anything about improvisation. I told her I was sure she was nonetheless competent to technically help me. But after that she didn't answer my emails as well. So this week I started with the right teacher for me and it's never too late.

I do not see a big problem in changing to a correct technique. All the time I hear people talking like you were doomed with an incorrect technique and unlearning it would be so difficult. What I taught myself over 20 month is not lost and that improvisatory fluency is quickly coming back now. I'm just being held up for a couple days, that's all. What I did before was a alternative technique for a quick and easy start into improvisation. I do not regret it at all.

It would be a greater problem, if I was merely playing from sheets, because concentration on notes makes it harder to focus on technique. Which is the reason why I still think, notes are poison to beginners. They are very useful, but as I feel, a distraction in a time while trying hard to bond with a new instrument.

So if someone has to unlearn incorrect technique: maybe you ask your teacher to leave out sheets to just play scales and little melodies by ear. And then later go back to sheet music, when the new technique is firm. (Improvisation is only good for people who are ready to study chords.)

For myself still goes the rule, no distracting sheets before my eyes while playing, at least for another year. Because I think, there should be something of dead certain perfection in my technique before I will be ready to focus on sheets while playing. Right now I can study notes, close the book and play it by ear. Not being distracted from the instrument.

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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January 14, 2017 - 5:00 am
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Demoiselle said
..... So this week I started with the right teacher for me and it's never too late.

Excellent - you've found someone who is not only competent, but also aware of, and prepared to "bend or adapt" to your learning needs - that's what you WANT from a tutor !   Great news !

....It would be a greater problem, if I was merely playing from sheets, because concentration on notes makes it harder to focus on technique. Which is the reason why I still think, notes are poison to beginners. They are very useful, but as I feel, a distraction in a time while trying hard to bond with a new instrument.

LOL @"poison for beginners" !   I am largely in agreement with that - but like yourself - we both have a long background in making and improvising music.  It perhaps is different for total newcomers to music - I don't know - but certainly many of the "beginners" resources I have seen appear to incorporate sight-reading as an essential part of the learning process - and I've generally ignored it.   (Of course, like yourself, I largely understand sheet, and for a piece that I've never heard before, sure, I'll use it, slowly get it into my head, then put the sheet away and make the piece "my own").   Don't get me wrong - sheet is absolutely essential for conveying the intent of the arranger/composer - and of course totally required for lengthy orchestral pieces where it would be impossible to play the entire piece from memory.  But at the same time, certainly for beginners, it shouldn't distract us from focusing on technique.

For myself still goes the rule, no distracting sheets before my eyes while playing, at least for another year. Because I think, there should be something of dead certain perfection in my technique before I will be ready to focus on sheets while playing. Right now I can study notes, close the book and play it by ear. Not being distracted from the instrument.  

Yup - the same.   Each time I DO look at sheet for a new-to-me-piece I slowly become more familiar with "playing from sheet" (which is a Good Thing).   I also spend some of my "music time" composing, or perhaps better said - re-arranging existing works using MuseScore - which is great because I'm getting used to recognizing various chord structures on sheet - like immediately picking out the I,i,ii,iii,IV,V,vi,viio chords in their various inversions - so as a sort of background-activity it all adds (slowly) to the wealth of understanding - and one day - some day - I'll be able to "play-from-sheet" - I'm not in a hurry !

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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BillyG said

we both have a long background in making and improvising music.  It perhaps is different for total newcomers to music  

If I taught (and I won't--at least for years to come) I'd do the "listen and watch, then repeat the phrase I play" game. Scales, little melodies..... The sheet would be there, and we will have a look before and after playing. And I would give the advice, not to look at the sheet at home while playing. Because you learn to play nicer if you focus on the instrument and on your feeling. Sheet players too often fail to discover their heart. Not everybody is a multi-tasking genius.

BillyG said

Yup - the same.   Each time I DO look at sheet for a new-to-me-piece I slowly become more familiar with "playing from sheet" (which is a Good Thing).   I also spend some of my "music time" composing, or perhaps better said - re-arranging existing works using MuseScore - which is great because I'm getting used to recognizing various chord structures on sheet - like immediately picking out the I,i,ii,iii,IV,V,vi,viio chords in their various inversions - so as a sort of background-activity it all adds (slowly) to the wealth of understanding - and one day - some day - I'll be able to "play-from-sheet" - I'm not in a hurry !  

When I was 16 I felt like it would be the greatest honor to compose something at the piano. Today I feel different and find arranging way more interesting. Everybody can whistle a little melody and vary the notes. It probably isn't new anyhow, since people have been playing musical phrases over and over again for centuries. Even what famous composers publish cannot be totally new--it's nothing but make-believe. For arranging you really need a lot of knowledge. Besides, people don't applaud much for new compositions and rather listen to standards they already know. Most new compositions flop--it hardly matters whether they're good or not. That's how young musicians break their horns of passionate eagerness, learning how composing isn't all that honorable.

I compose whenever I have a funny idea. Like singing about Mr. Handel who's playing and sweating under his wig. Unless I use one of Handel's funny gavottes and put my lyrics on that one. Which I usually find the best solution. But then I need to work out chords which I can give to a guitar player, which will very likely differ a bit from Handel's concept. I cannot give a paper with figures to a guitar player these days. And I will not use Handel's changes which can happen under any note. Because Gavottes (and Menuets) follow a traditional European idea of harmonization which is not as clear as in Chaconnes. These changes would drive any guitar player crazy these days. But it's really an interesting challenge to figure out a clear colorful harmonic concept for a gavotte or Menuet.

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

She wanted me to put the thumb besides the neck and not under it.

Two things I should clarify, one, I had asked about reaching that D note on the G string because I was, and still am, dealing with a healing left elbow injury. The author of the ABC's of violin books had the same, or similar, injury when she was young, so I asked her how she managed to get that D note on the G string with an elbow that is still a bit stiff and sore. She had suggested putting the thumb under the neck of the violin and that would allow for easier reach to that D note. I believe she only meant to put the thumb under the neck for this issue, not for general playing.

And two, I found that I did not have to put my thumb all the way down under the neck of the violin. All I had to do was lower my thumb a little bit, and that made it much easier to get to that D note. It just takes a little shift in hand/thumb position to make playing that D note a lot easier, even with my still healing elbow.

My elbow is much better now, but it is one of those type of injuries that seems to take forever to completely heal. I injured it last spring while lifting weights and it is still not completely healed. although it has healed enough to lift weights again... as long as I am more careful about it now.  😉

MACJR

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MACJR said

Demoiselle said
She wanted me to put the thumb besides the neck and not under it.

Two things I should clarify, one, I had asked about reaching that D note on the G string because I was, and still am, dealing with a healing left elbow injury. The author of the ABC's of violin books had the same, or similar, injury when she was young, so I asked her how she managed to get that D note on the G string with an elbow that is still a bit stiff and sore. She had suggested putting the thumb under the neck of the violin and that would allow for easier reach to that D note. I believe she only meant to put the thumb under the neck for this issue, not for general playing.
And two, I found that I did not have to put my thumb all the way down under the neck of the violin. All I had to do was lower my thumb a little bit, and that made it much easier to get to that D note. It just takes a little shift in hand/thumb position to make playing that D note a lot easier, even with my still healing elbow.
My elbow is much better now, but it is one of those type of injuries that seems to take forever to completely heal. I injured it last spring while lifting weights and it is still not completely healed. although it has healed enough to lift weights again... as long as I am more careful about it now.  😉
MACJR  

Sorry, I do not understand that at all. You have an open D on the D string, so why torturing yourself with a G sting D? To me personally the G string D sounds even worse, but that's a matter of taste and music style.

What I do understand is, you're using my old pseudo-technique because it's not as tough on your fingers, which obviously also effects your elbow. To me this makes sense, because the hand's sinews are connected to the elbow area. At least you can read in my next report - below - how it's fairly easy to unlearn my pseudo-technique. But don't wonder if the sound is worse with that pseudo-technique. The instrument is not optimally supported and this shakiness did effect my bowing a lot. In fact the sound was worse than it is now.

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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My first lesson was Thursday, now, Sunday noon (German time) improvising on adagios (MusicPartner play-alongs) works fairly well. Once I accidentially started to play with my old pseudo-technique and wondered why suddenly the sound was weaker and all the notes came with an articulation which was less reliable. So now it shows, my sound already profits from the new technique and that I will profit more soon.

It really is no wonder. While supporting the neck much better, my bowing profits too--whereas before it had been really shaky. The only reason why I didn't choose this correct position before, was because it feels extremely uncomfortable at the start and downright hurts. So without teacher, who confirms, this is correct and explains why and that it will soon feel easier, I chose a pseudo-technique which was comfortable right away.

But I regret nothing. I tried to contact teachers exactly a year ago, then was asked to do a concert, so I focussed on preparing that and profited a lot. And what I've learned in 2016 is not lost--it all comes back now with the better technique from my new teacher.

I do not see one is doomed after having learned a wrong technique. To me it seems very easy to change that. People think too negative and sound so awfully fearful. Fear is what prevents people most from having success. Forget fear and negative ideas. Wrong technique can work, correct technique works better und changing to correct technique is an improvement which should make people happy.

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 

Sorry, I do not understand that at all. You have an open D on the D string, so why torturing yourself with a G sting D? To me personally the G string D sounds even worse, but that's a matter of taste and music style.

What I do understand is, you're using my old pseudo-technique because it's not as tough on your fingers, which obviously also effects your elbow. To me this makes sense, because the hand's sinews are connected to the elbow area. At least you can read in my next report - below - how it's fairly easy to unlearn my pseudo-technique. But don't wonder if the sound is worse with that pseudo-technique. The instrument is not optimally supported and this shakiness did effect my bowing a lot. In fact the sound was worse than it is now.  

Two reasons to torture myself playing D on the G string:

One, it is part of the lesson plan in the book. I want to master the traditional basics before I consider improvising.

Two: Working the sore area is actually good physical therapy. I believe taking up playing the violin when I did, with the elbow still healing but no longer a fresh injury, was the ideal time for helping me work that area in a beneficial way. It may have sped up my recovery time, although that type of injury takes a very long time to heal, and is still not fully healed yet. I am able to use my left arm fully now. There is still some tenderness for certain activities, like squeezing a small ball with an outreached arm, but nothing like before.

With my elbow injury, getting the D note on the G string was a bit awkward. It was hard to get my little finger in the right position to get a clean D note. Yes, I could have cheated and just played the open D string, but that did me no good. It did not teach me how to use my little finger to get a clean D note, and it did not work that injured area that needed worked.

I do agree though, it is hard to get a good sounding D note on the G string. Even with more practice, it is still not easy for me.

MACJR

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Demoiselle
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The D on the G string will always sound weird, as I feel, because it makes the open D string resonate too. So then I have two strings ring at the same time, which is sort of unison effect, like two violins playing the D. But anyhow I love the tone of open strings, that's why I will always use open strings as much as I can.

Traditional books would only hold me up with stuff I do not need. I don't believe in following the herd, as I don't believe in tradition at all. To me the word tradition sounds kinda old-fashioned. I do perform in a late-1600s dress, but I sewed it because I like it and not because of tradition. I decide for what makes sense to me or what I like. Or I decide for people who need help.

In the last lesson my teacher confronted me with old Greek scales. Which don't match my system at all. I rather call it the D minor scale, or the G major scale. What chord calls for what scale? That's what I need to know. I just made a list and wrote them all down. Which is much more to know than a couple strange Greek names which already alienated me in school. It is traditional burden from the middle ages, but not useful any longer. It's like an old prayer people refuse to forget. Nobody can explain what it means, but they all cling to it.

To me the word "tradition" means actually, "Following without thinking independently." But all these items will get a chance, I will ask my teacher what those Greek scales are good for and maybe she will convince me. And I will ask her why I should possibly profit from the G string D (and whether perhaps to stop the open D string from ringing too using another finger as damper....which would be quite cumbersome.....).

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 agree to a large extent about tradition holding people back, encouraging a herd mentality, and sticking people into a past way of thinking. I rebel at many social traditions that people do without thought, question, or understanding.

For example, I rarely participate in holiday activities. I just go about doing my own things. After learning a bit about the early history of Western Civilization, and how ugly it was back then, and what the original meaning of many of those holidays, and holiday rituals, were about, that many people practiced and celebrate, I want less and less a part of them all the time.

Still, when learning to play the violin, my choice is to learn by tried and true methods. However, I do not look down on you for going your own way though. Picking your own path is admirable, in my mind. For me, though, I want to learn how to play some of the old classics the traditional way, and this means learning to how to play by learning to play the traditional way... or at least something close to it. Since I am teaching myself to play without the advantage of an instructor, I have ended up picking and choosing what I want to learn, how I want to learn it, and in what order I want to learn it, so I am not doing this in a 100% traditional way either. Just something kind of close to tradition, but I am free to do things at my own speed and in my own way.

Also, I do not feel that I have to be restricted by tradition for how I play. I will do my best to learn how it is said it should be done, and then decide for myself if that is how I want to do it, or not.

And no, I am not, as of yet, fond of playing the D note on the G string either. The open D sounds better to me too. But for now, I will follow the lesson books.  😉

My playing skills are approaching a level now that it may not be too much longer before I feel ready to try more improvisation. I am not there just yet though.

MACJR

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Demoiselle
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MACJR said
.......................
Still, when learning to play the violin, my choice is to learn by tried and true methods. However, I do not look down on you for going your own way though. Picking your own path is admirable, in my mind. For me, though, I want to learn how to play some of the old classics the traditional way, and this means learning to how to play by learning to play the traditional way... or at least something close to it. Since I am teaching myself to play without the advantage of an instructor, I have ended up picking and choosing what I want to learn, how I want to learn it, and in what order I want to learn it, so I am not doing this in a 100% traditional way either. Just something kind of close to tradition, but I am free to do things at my own speed and in my own way.

Also, I do not feel that I have to be restricted by tradition for how I play. I will do my best to learn how it is said it should be done, and then decide for myself if that is how I want to do it, or not.
And no, I am not, as of yet, fond of playing the D note on the G string either. The open D sounds better to me too. But for now, I will follow the lesson books.  😉
My playing skills are approaching a level now that it may not be too much longer before I feel ready to try more improvisation. I am not there just yet though.
MACJR  

I do understand. I use my long experience in jazz and I think for me it is the best and fastest way to my actual goal. You still have to develop the experience to hear chords in a way which enables you to hum scales which match the chords. Which is a keyboard job. I first made records of slow and easy chord sequences at an electronic keyboard. Weeks later I was lucky to find that cheap used spinet, but the keyboard did as well.

But I also profit from listening experience. My stepmother used to ask me, "Must you hear music all day?" I wouldn't have performed with my swing combo without having listened so much to swing music in those days. I wouldn't even have found musicians for a band because I hardly would have been able to play jazz. Today it's not listening to jazz, but violin sonatas instead. But it works the same. 

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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Everything I had reached, like speed, crescendo, expression ect. is now coming back with the improved technique. I was struggling with the bowing until yesterday, when I suddenly was able to relax again. So I guess I will soon be able to go beyond my achievements of early January, because better technique should lead to better progress.....

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 said

Two reasons to torture myself playing D on the G string:
One, it is part of the lesson plan in the book. I want to master the traditional basics before I consider improvising.
Two: Working the sore area is actually good physical therapy. I believe taking up playing the violin when I did, with the elbow still healing but no longer a fresh injury, was the ideal time for helping me work that area in a beneficial way. It may have sped up my recovery time, although that type of injury takes a very long time to heal, and is still not fully healed yet. I am able to use my left arm fully now. There is still some tenderness for certain activities, like squeezing a small ball with an outreached arm, but nothing like before.
With my elbow injury, getting the D note on the G string was a bit awkward. It was hard to get my little finger in the right position to get a clean D note. Yes, I could have cheated and just played the open D string, but that did me no good. It did not teach me how to use my little finger to get a clean D note, and it did not work that injured area that needed worked.
I do agree though, it is hard to get a good sounding D note on the G string. Even with more practice, it is still not easy for me.
MACJR  

So, here we go : my new teacher made me play those alternative notes via fourth finger which I rather play as open strings. Okay, in a way it sort of has kinda the beauty of a French horn to it, but I rather have the fresh trumpet on open strings. But I have to admit, this opens another option to trill. I also have to admit, finger legato is very new to me and my rule had always been: "Every finger is supposed to get up again as soon as possible to be ready." Well, that was total nonsense of course and prevented real legato which cannot be done with just the bow. And obviously in some cases, the fourth finger can end a legato phrase on that G string D, in case I will afterwards not go on to the D string. Right now leaving all four fingers on the fingerboard, while ending such legato scale, is holding me back again. I have to go back to very-very slow. But on longer term, this will lead to faster progress. Raising ALL fingers at any time was wasting energy and probably led to exhaustion soon. How did I manage that 2 hours concert? I really wonder about that now.

Maybe I will use the 4th finger D only for trills....I'll see.

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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In one of the lesson books I am following, the 4th finger D note on the G string seems to come into play mostly in French tunes. The author seems to have a fondness for French violin music.

Maybe the French part of my mix is happy about playing some French songs.  😉

I probably have as much, or more, Swiss and German in my mix though. And then there is the English, Scottish, Irish, Spanish, and Native American blood in there too. One day, I may get a DNA test done to find out just what percentages of each of these nationalities are within me. The top four are probably English, Irish, Scottish, and German speaking Swiss.

Perhaps I should learn music for each of my nationalities.

MACJR

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But then again, one of my sisters looks very French.

MACJR

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MACJR said
But then again, one of my sisters looks very French.
MACJR  

Wait, there's someone doing kinda wah-wah effect, altering the two As!

Here's my commenting it:

Ah, you're using the 4th finger kinda like in a Mexican hat dance, where the trombonists mute their horns with their hats whenever your 4th finger hits the A on the D string! Tomorrow I will try that wah-wah effect, maybe it will make me like that darkish 4th finger A a little better. My new teacher couldn't make me like it yet. :'(

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 did the wah-wah thing, altering open A with A on the G string in an Aebersold jazz play-along and there it's very interesting. It was a very slow jazz waltz. In baroque, which I mostly play, I cannot use those dark sounds, unless I want to trill on A as higher note. For example trilling with A and G on the D string: There that D string A is very welcome. Same goes for D on G string and E on A string. That E is not all that bad, but nobody will talk me out of preferring that wonderfully silvery open E. Right now legato is no counter-argument until I possibly manage to play a plain legato phrase which I like better then involving open E. I can tie that open E to a phrase which started on the A string, it just has a different character.

Baroque was a period tending upwards, like middle-age gothic style. And both, gothic and baroque music tend to light and clear sounds. Very different from the music of the romantic era, which tended to earthy dark. Baroque is tending upwards to the light. In the 20th century they mostly played baroque music with orchestras which were equipped and manned for music of the late 1800s. Part of it was sustained vibrato too.

I tested the same A even on the G string. There it's darker still and reminds me of a honking car. So yesterday I was honking on that G string A and found it very funny. Maybe with a vibrato it sounds okay in music of the late romantic period? Like people don't drink coke non-carbonated.

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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February 3, 2017 - 4:15 am
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A couple days ago Fiddlerman reminded somebody to lean a little forward while performing. At the same time ENSEMBLE CLEMATIS "loved" my slanted comment from 8 months ago:

I got to know Legrenzi just a couple weeks ago, when I bought the CD VERSO VENETIA, by Pallade Musica. I found it very exciting, there's no vibrato at all to hear! Here it seems to be the same case: I didn't hear or see any vibrato. It means a lot to me, because I hate vibrato and I don't want to do it on the violin.

Watching the same video again the forward leaning relaxation of the players struck me like an epiphany.

How could I "hate" 8 months ago, just after watching this video? But then I recalled, that in the meantime I have managed to rid myself from vocal vibrato while preparing for my December concert.

Thank you for "loving" my terribly slanted comment from 8 months ago. 🙂 That's how I found this video again, which is very important to me right now! At the same time they warn me to more relax and lean a little forward. And it's really that a little forward leaning relaxation which is characterizing the mood of this recording. That's how beautiful music is being created--there's soooo much to learn here and I'm supposed to watch this every day.... Being slanted and hating was obviously part of my stylistic struggle 8 months ago. I'm not just playing the violin, but also sing, but my teacher was an opera singer and vibrato was a big part of what he taught. Then I made some money as trombonist and crooner of a swing combo for many years. After all that it is very hard to rid yourself from vibrato. In the meantime I had a little concert in early December and during preparation managed to avoid vibrato way better (just sometimes I mess up in this matter), so I'm not all that slanted anymore. Improvisation is very easy to me, but this does not help while struggling with undoing old habits in music. But you don't look like people who would hate in any way in your peacefully forward leaning relaxation. This kind of forward leaning peace shall influence my mind too. Hopefully taking the "hate" from 8 months ago back. Demoiselle

I had to work on my style to free myself of hate. But maybe there was no other way but hating 8 months ago, because it gave me the necessary energy to rid myself of vibrato. Changing how to hold the instrument and finger technique is way easier than these subtle stylistic questions.

On another YouTube page I had a fierce fight and it also was about vibrato. Somebody lamented:

"I been playing 5 years and still dont know how to do a vibrato :(("

I then tried to explain, that vibrato is not necessarily a need in music, again expressing that I don't like vibrato. Suddenly a young guy chimed in with "what the fuck" etc., trying to state that vibrato is supposed to be a big part of music in general. Of course I returned the fire right away and he had to give up his position. My last comment then was balanced and did the history of vibrato in music some justice. The message is like: Let's give vibrato a little chance, it is not all that bad.

I did not say "vibrato is outdated" in the first place! I was just returning the fire. 😉 Bossing me usually gets very difficult for any kind of a tyrant. I love to be tolerant, but I can fake being intolerant.... Actually I could say as well: "Declaring vibrato outdated is outdated." Since we live in post-modern time and modern jazz isn't really modern anymore. Charlie Parker died already in the 50s! 70s jazz would be funk jazz, like Freddy Hubbard. In the late 70s I liked and played old-fashioned 20s jazz, in the 80s it was swing with lots of whiny, mushy Hollywood clishes. I was a stupid chick then and shed tears over old sappy films. But actually it's ALL okay--everybody should do what they love, which includes vibrato. Many people vibrate on their violin, dreaming of true love and happiness. Reality is different, but let them play the old game, enjoying being young. Being young is also lots of pain as I remember and older people don't want that any more. Have fun vibrating your violin!

I was afterwards thinking some more of our post-modern era. It is a blessing to live in this rich time, where anything is accepted. People can vibrate o non-vibrate and there are so my musical styles to choose. Nobody can comprehend all that in just one human lifetime, but it's good to see, there's so much richness out there.

Another aspect I've been thinking about was the weepiness of the romantic generation of the 1800s in Germany. In nicer words it was melancholia, which also was part of love matters between men and women. I think in this sense of time (it was downright fashion) sustained vibrato came up. And it became general standard in the early 1900s. What Gershwin, Porter, Kern etc. created was a romantic revival, which is a big part of Hollywood movies from the 30s and 40s. This Hollywood music style indeed cannot exist without vibrato.

In the meantime I know, vibrato not even belongs into Mozart's music--that's very clear. But I still have to find out, where exactly sustained vibrato started in the 1800s. I have some theories, but no certainty. I roughly assume it was after 1850. Another impression I have is, that there probably have always been some interprets who were tending to overdo vibrato--possibly especially in France. There are quite some hints, this was (partly!) even part of Lully's operas already in the 1600s.

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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February 5, 2017 - 12:12 pm
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During the last lesson my teacher pressed on my middle-knuckle, warning my bow hold wasn't relaxed. It probably was not, but how can one press down it while the joint is bent? This weekend I'm focusing on a Wet Towel Bow Hold, which sounds very crazy. There are people who have a handshake like a wet towel and I am trying to adapt to the stage of being relaxed while holding the bow. BUT: nonetheless you cannot move the knuckle down--it's physically just not possible! So I guess I have a teacher who is very pedantic who at times expects too much. But she's worth it to deal with that--maybe she will learn a bit too....

The technique she taught me is basically correct. I now look like all the other violin players on YouTube who learned it properly in the first place. If I now watch Fidderman's videos it looks like something I'm familiar with. Before, all the violin players looked alien to me. But if I now watch videos from my last year's open stage performances (I don't load those up, they just zoom too close on my face and I don't want that in public) I can't help laughing. To me it now looks like I'm moving a huge cooking spoon in a huge field kitchen. 😀

I mean, the sound on my December concert wasn't too bad. How in the world did I do that for 2 hours with my weird old technique? I'm really wondering now. I guess it was just concentrated willpower which managed to overcome the technically impossible obstacle.I guess me and my teacher really fit, for I'm also painstakingly meticulous.

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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February 20, 2017 - 12:03 pm
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Today was the fourth violin lesson and I'm very impressed. She's simply a wonderful teacher and I'm very happy. 🙂

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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February 21, 2017 - 10:47 pm
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One day, I may see about budgeting in a few lessons. It will be a while yet though.

At least my bowing is getting better. Playing is starting to get easier for me now.

MACJR

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