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Zlata Brouwer

Oh No, Kittens are Killed for Violin Strings! - the Truth about Catgut

October 16, 2014 09:16

Some say that violin strings are made out of catgut...

In this video I will show you the truth about catgut.

Just to reassure you... violin strings are not made out of the guts of cats. Sissi (starring in the video) is still alive and kicking and I’ve got vegetarian strings on my violin.

Why do a lot of people think that violin strings are made from cat intestines?

The name catgut is confusing. There are two explanations for the mix up.

Catgut is an abbreviation of the word cattle gut. Gut strings are made from sheep or goat intestines, in the past even from horse, mule or donkey intestines.

Otherwise it could be from the word kitgut or kitstring. Kit meant fiddle, not kitten.

Find more information and how to make gut strings on Wikipedia (click here),

These gut strings are still used today by players specialized in authentic performance of baroque music and music from the classical era. They use catgut strings to imitate the sound from the era as good as possible. Some people just use gut strings, because they prefer the sound of gut strings to other type of strings.

You might be wondering... What are modern strings made of?

At the moment there are roughly three types of strings in the market:

  • gut strings (mostly used in authentic performance practice)

  • steel strings (very durable, clear and thin sounding, mostly used in the folk scene on fiddles)

  • synthetic core strings (most popular strings at the moment)

The type of strings depends on the violinist and the violin, so it’s hard to say what strings will suit you best.

Are you relieved by this video? What type of strings do you use? Please let me know in the comments below!



PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to info@violinlounge.com and I might dedicate a Violin Lounge TV episode to answering your question!

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Ma Vlast - Vltava theme - Smetana - Violin duo - FREE Sheet music

October 9, 2014 01:26

1920px-Vltava_in_PragueWith a friend I had a gig to play Czech music by two violins. I couldn’t find a violin duo version of the Vltava (Moldau) main theme, so I arranged it myself. I hope I can please you with the sheet music. Download it for free here: Vltava Main Theme.

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New World Symphony theme - Largo - Dvorak - Violin duo - FREE Sheet music

October 9, 2014 01:23

new world symphony theme DvorakWith a friend I had a gig to play Czech music by two violins. I couldn’t find a violin duo version of the New World Symphony Largo theme, so I arranged it myself. I hope I can please you with the sheet music. Download it for free here: New World Symphony theme - Largo - Dvorak - Violin duo

PS: I have no idea to make the proper punctuation mark for Dvorak on my Mac... if you know how to do this, please share it in the comments below and I am very thankful to you.

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Interview with Paul Reynolds, Violist, Teacher and Inventor of the Wrist Rascal

October 1, 2014 01:08

Do you know what a Wrist Rascal is and how it can help you to improve your intonation, vibrato and position play?

In this episode of Violin Lounge TV I interview Paul Reynolds, violist and inventor of the Wrist Rascal. He couldn’t stand the collapsed left wrists of his students anymore, so he invented this tool to help him and them. 

A collapsed wrist is very natural for beginning violinists and violists, as students are afraid to drop the violin or viola.

Lots of violin teachers start their students with exercises with the hand against the soundboard, which is roughly the third position. Beginning students have support on the violin and don’t collapse their wrist. A great solution, but we have to switch to the first position for our first songs.

When learning vibrato, most students start in the third position. That’s why vibrato is learned relatively late, after learning the third position.

The Wrist Rascal brings the third position to the first position and is a reminder for students.

Most tools shape your hand or arm in a certain position and make you dependent of this ‘aid’.

The Wrist Rascal shouldn’t be used all the time, but from time to time. Your hand shouldn’t lean against it: touching the Wrist Rascal is a reminder that your wrist is collapsing. This means that you develop your muscles and gain independence. 

In this interview Paul Reynolds and I talk about:

  • why the Wrist Rascal is made,

  • how one should use the Wrist Rascal,

  • what the results are of using it,

  • what makes it different from other tools.

We also talk about the advantages in group lessons, where teachers have to split their attention. The Wrist Rascal can prevent students from developing bad habits.

Often lots of technical habits need to be corrected when a student switches from group lessons or orchestra lessons to private lessons.

We talk about the wish of lots of students to learn vibrato early and about how it’s possible with this new tool.

Would you like to order your own Wrist Rascal or just read some more information about it? Go to www.wristrascal.com. Please e-mail Paul directly if you have questions.

Is this useful to you? Please let me know in the comments below!



PS: Have you invented a product or service that violin and viola players can benefit from? Have you invented an accessory (mute, chinrest, case, teaching tool, whatever), written a book, recorded a CD or made something beautiful that serves violinists and violists? Just e-mail me at info@violinlounge.com.

If I think your product or service is interesting for Violin Lounge TV audience, I might invite you for an interview. Being interviewed on Violin Lounge TV will get you visibility and sales. In this way I hope to support innovation in the area of violin and viola playing.

PS2: Take a look at more interviews I did here!

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Previous entries: September 2014

Galamian's Principles

Galamian's Principles of the Violin

Long one of the standards for violin teachers and students, Ivan Galamian's Principles of Violin Playing and Teaching offers both principles and practice exercises to help develop violinists of all ages and abilities. This new edition includes a foreword by Sally Thomas.

Get it now! In Paperback | For Kindle

About Zlata

Zlata Brouwer is from Hilversum, Netherlands. Biography

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