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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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Fiddlerman
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February 28, 2017 - 11:06 am
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Very happy to hear it Demoiselle. 🙂

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

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Demoiselle
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Fiddlerman said
Very happy to hear it Demoiselle. 🙂  

On the whole it took me exactly 6 weeks to fully get back to my fluency of late December. At times I was desperate I have to admit--being held up and seemingly having to go back months was tough on my motivation. But after all it didn't take months, but just 6 weeks.

The positions of fingerboard hand and bow hand had to be changed radically, and I had to learn finger legato which was new to me. Now she wants not only my palm to lead the movement of my bow hand downwards, she also wants my fingers to do their part in this. Her bow hand looks flexible like a snake when she demonstrates it--as if her arm had countless little joints between elbow and fingertips. I came to the conclusion, if I can't do it perfectly like she does, this is no drama. But she really expects a lot!

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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March 2, 2017 - 8:40 pm
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Good luck on changing your bow hold and movement as effortlessly as possible.

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

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Demoiselle
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Fiddlerman said
Good luck on changing your bow hold and movement as effortlessly as possible.  

Regarding what the fingers of the bow hand do, it seems teachers aren't preaching all the same. What I've seen on YouTube partly differs a lot. Some lift the index finger when the bow is up, others move their knuckles up and down. I think nothing should be forced. If I technically try to put something on, this will not be naturally relaxed. I will constantly invite my fingers to be flexible and relaxed, but I patiently wait for them. I do not think they must—they may. The word "must" is negative vocabulary and never good remedy against clenching. In fact it is mental clenching in itself.

So my teacher absolutely hates to see my knuckles up and she wants them all flat. She even pressed on my knuckles to move them down. At home I started to play with knuckles down, but they soon come up again. My solution is, to practice the up and down change. The easier this transition works, the better. Then my fingers can find the ideal middle street.

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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March 8, 2017 - 12:15 pm
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It could be a problem when teachers want everyone to do exactly the same as they themselves do. I've studied with some great teachers and they differ from one another. The best is to do what she wants when you are with her and to take the things that work the best for you and keep them. The things that do not work are not necessarily best for you. 🙂
Good luck with this!

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

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Demoiselle
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Fiddlerman said
It could be a problem when teachers want everyone to do exactly the same as they themselves do. I've studied with some great teachers and they differ from one another. The best is to do what she wants when you are with her and to take the things that work the best for you and keep them. The things that do not work are not necessarily best for you. 🙂
Good luck with this!  

In a way my teacher is pedantic. I was supporting my violin on the ball of my hand while  resting and talking (like everybody does). She told me not to do it, in order to not teach a wrong fingerboard hold to my body. The last time I did this had been summer 2015--I do it just while resting! I won this debate and I had to because this was unacceptable. Which is easy in my case since I'm close to the 60 and she's in her mid-30s.

Mostly I avoid exercising my authority that way. She wanted me to have my wrist à 100 percent straight and I tried hard. It had been bent just a little bit towards the snail. I tried hard and after a couple days emailed her it was not right for me. My fingers have optimal mobility if the wrist is a bit bent, anything else is brutality to my body. She accepted that right away. Presently we have the same conflict concerning my knuckles she wants to see flat. It is comfortable for my hand if they are not, I have to use some force to make them flat and that's not relaxed at all. Now I've told her, my knuckles may be flat if they want to and it just happens, but it very much would look like they won't. Well, she's sweet as ever. 😉 I've radically changed the basic bow hold and the fingering technique on the fingerboard--as she had taught me. Which now boosts me a lot. Right now there's lots of progress and she's glad.

She's far from being bitchy. My theory is, she was tortured a lot herself, when she learned and later studied at a college at age 13 (!). But she's very caring and generous. When she taught me finger legato, she reminded me, to not just practice the scales, but also integrate it into improvisation, because "you MUST express yourself" (!!). That's her huge upside. She had studied classical music and afterwards again studied jazz and composition. I can give her chords and she will accompany my violin right away at the keyboard. She knows what I need to grow, what's really important to me. During the first lesson she accepted my 3/4 violin and even my self-made bow! She said she finds it very interesting that I play a right-hander violin left, because it's different. G and D string are close to my bow hand and this probably effects the sound.

So you see, she's open-minded and likes the unusual. If I by the way help her to find new ways to teach younger students more unconstrained it would be great.

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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damfino
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Sounds like you have a nice teacher 🙂 

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Demoiselle
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damfino said
Sounds like you have a nice teacher 🙂   

...who also perfectly matches my needs with her skills and experiences. I've been looking for a teacher for a whole year--when I read her bio I knew at once : she's it.

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

I do now practice in higher positions. Not that I changed my opinion and and now would like them, it's just to make the fingers stronger. I had a bit response problems especially on D-string G, which didn't respond as well as for example D-string E. The G# on the fourth finger was even more a problem, which was the main reason why I gave in to my teacher and started practicing 4th finger D and A. If I can play those notes, G and G# or D and D# will respond easier. My teacher doesn't know yet, but I'm now practicing over all positions: This improves respond issues on the 4th finger and the better those respond, the better G and D will respond. I think it's the right time now after my fingers got stronger already, to give them more of a challenge and make them stronger still. Violin playing might sound gentle but I learn it's really about muscular strength. The stronger and tougher hands evolve the better.

I guess my teacher will be glad after I first said no to higher positions and vibrato. Vibrato will probably be the very last step.

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

I do now practice in higher positions. Not that I changed my opinion and and now would like them, it's just to make the fingers stronger. I had a bit response problems especially on D-string G, which didn't respond as well as for example D-string E. The G# on the fourth finger was even more a problem, which was the main reason why I gave in to my teacher and started practicing 4th finger D and A. If I can play those notes, G and G# or D and D# will respond easier. My teacher doesn't know yet, but I'm now practicing over all positions: This improves respond issues on the 4th finger and the better those respond, the better G and D will respond. I think it's the right time now after my fingers got stronger already, to give them more of a challenge and make them stronger still. Violin playing might sound gentle but I learn it's really about muscular strength. The stronger and tougher hands evolve the better.

I guess my teacher will be glad after I first said no to higher positions and vibrato. Vibrato will probably be the very last step.  

Sorry I did not get to this post earlier, I had several things going on that put me in another emotional place for a while. I also needed to do emergency computer maintenance after one of my better PC's died. I had to build a replacement for it (an even better PC). And now I am working on my family history project (this eats up a lot of time, all by itself).

Also, I had taken a bit more than a month off from playing after my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and then died soon after that, but I have been working to get back up to speed lately.

I am almost back to full speed, and playing skill, from where I left off. I am still working to smooth out the bowing again, but I am also moving forward into harder lessons from the book. Some of those more advanced lessons require higher position notes. So I hear you about needing to build up strength, although my hands are not weak. Although my hands are strong, they also need to be limber in the right ways to reach those notes. I will require more practice to get better at those higher notes.

I am now a bit more than a month behind where I wanted to be by now, but at least I am working to build my playing skills again.

I hope your lessons are still going well for you.

MACJR

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Demoiselle
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To me it looks like strong hands can lack the ability to have the very special quality of strength you need for the violin. Hands, arms, muscles etc. have to adapt  to what is required for that and this takes time.

In the meantime I have electrified my 79.00 € first violin to have an distorted guitar. I bought a BOSS DS1 pedal for it. I feel like stuffing that old violin with cotton swabs to kill the acoustic sound. Maybe it's a good idea to cut down the sound post too? I want plain guitar sound but what I hear directly from the instrument must stop.

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
To me it looks like strong hands can lack the ability to have the very special quality of strength you need for the violin. Hands, arms, muscles etc. have to adapt  to what is required for that and this takes time.

In the meantime I have electrified my 79.00 € first violin to have an distorted guitar. I bought a BOSS DS1 pedal for it. I feel like stuffing that old violin with cotton swabs to kill the acoustic sound. Maybe it's a good idea to cut down the sound post too? I want plain guitar sound but what I hear directly from the instrument must stop.  

I use my hands a lot, and am fairly dexterous, but it is taking some work to get my hands trained for playing the violin. Lately, I have been putting intense focus on training my hands to get those notes right, both for fingering, and bowing. That extra focus is starting to pay off, but of course, I still need to keep working at it, to improve more.

I have been working more with scales, freestyle mostly, to nail down the right places for my fingers on the neck, and bow angles that get me the cleanest notes, without rubbing up against one or the other neighboring strings. The D string is still my biggest challenge, but I have made good progress in cleaning that up some.

I have also been more focused on using four finger scales, rather than the beginner three finger scales I started out with.

MACJR

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Charles
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Demoiselle said

In the meantime I have electrified my 79.00 € first violin to have an distorted guitar. I bought a BOSS DS1 pedal for it. I feel like stuffing that old violin with cotton swabs to kill the acoustic sound. Maybe it's a good idea to cut down the sound post too? I want plain guitar sound but what I hear directly from the instrument must stop.  

I'm mildly curious why you don't use a used electric guitar (used cheap ones can be had for a lot less than around 80 €), but...  If you want to kill the acoustic properties of a violin as much as possible, yes, take out the sound post. I'd recommend cloth rags over cotton swabs, but anything flexible that will absorb sound should work.

I don't know what you want this for, but colored rags would give you some options for visual aesthetics, as well as auditory ones.

You'll hear the strings, and that's about all. That will still be louder than an electric guitar, because the the strings are under higher tension. Electric guitar strings are thinner, and tuned to lower notes, so they're under noticeably less tension than violin strings.

Flip side, since it's a fretless instrument, the notes will die out much much faster than they would on an actual guitar except when you're playing open strings. (Your fingertips will act as dampers.)  (I'm assuming you're planning to pluck or strum it, if you're calling it a guitar.)

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Demoiselle
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Charles said

I'm mildly curious why you don't use a used electric guitar (used cheap ones can be had for a lot less than around 80 €), but...  If you want to kill the acoustic properties of a violin as much as possible, yes, take out the sound post. I'd recommend cloth rags over cotton swabs, but anything flexible that will absorb sound should work.

I don't know what you want this for, but colored rags would give you some options for visual aesthetics, as well as auditory ones.

You'll hear the strings, and that's about all. That will still be louder than an electric guitar, because the the strings are under higher tension. Electric guitar strings are thinner, and tuned to lower notes, so they're under noticeably less tension than violin strings.

Flip side, since it's a fretless instrument, the notes will die out much much faster than they would on an actual guitar except when you're playing open strings. (Your fingertips will act as dampers.)  (I'm assuming you're planning to pluck or strum it, if you're calling it a guitar.)  

I usually play my distorted guitar via bowing, which then sounds like a sustained guitar. But today I liked the muted picking sound very much, so maybe I'm gonna do that as well.

I'm not gonna learn to play the guitar--no way! I'm already playing several instruments and it would be crazy to add one more. The guitar would just keep me from practicing on the violin, at a time I'm paying for violin lessons. I find the guitaring on a violin funny, which already is a reason to try it.

My main style still is baroque. But I still have an old show from the 90s with my own soul pop compositions. I have decided to perform that again in our club. Plus I decided to use an electric guitar sound instead of trombone.

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 got my mixer out and put a 60s delay+reverb on top of the distortion. I'm generally not much of a picker but this was great fun to pick. What a crazy 60s guitar!

It is sort of musical prank. Or lets call it a jokey 60s guitar parody. And I know the audience will find it funny too if I get crazy such sound out of a violin. Who would carry the guitar for me if I bought a real one? I cannot transport so much junk, it's already almost too 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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MACJR
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Unfortunately, you live a bit too far away for me to be able to help you carry your musical instruments around.  😉

I would also have a problem understanding German. Although some of my ancestors spoke German, I never learned the language myself.

MACJR

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BillyG
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June 13, 2017 - 6:09 am
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Sounding fine there !  Well done !

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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Thanks!

This was the 'honest' version, but I just uploaded the wet version on Soundcloud:

Last night I listened over and over to both versions and I couldn't decide what sounds better. Wet seems nice, dry too.

An old buddy of the 90s who once was the film director of an amateur movie we made had asked for music for a new film. But frankly, his ideas have become so fascist, that I cannot work for him. It isn't peaceful and all the time he raves over Odin and Germanic heroes. So I better present it here. 😉

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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June 13, 2017 - 8:48 am
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As always Demoiselle, sounds like you are having fun. Another thing I like is that you know what you like. You have your genre and your style.

Thanks for sharing. I definitely believe that you have improved. What about you?

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

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Demoiselle
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Yes, thanks—and now I have to praise my teacher! I sent her the mp3s of both, the dry and the wet version and she said she finds it beautiful and she's looking forward to the next lesson. I would have stagnated without her, that's why I looked for a teacher. After the December concert there was no other option for it was overdue. What would I do without martelé for example? I couldn't teach that to myself. And last year I was unable to play real legato. Between martelé and legato there are more ways to express myself and all the weeks she was like, "How about this? You can also do this." And then there's again something to enrich my style and find more ways to really express myself.

The point is, before those lessons my phrasing tended to sound all the same. That lack of variety often made me sleepy.

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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