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Jerald Archer

Applying Practical Experience in Violin Playing

August 17, 2008 at 4:39 AM

Applying Practical Experience in Violin Playing

In my experience, I have never had the privilege to study with major name violinists, although one can learn by listening, but nothing can replace the real deal. Personally, my interest lies in authentic Baroque and Classical performance practices, but made most of my living playing popular music (Classic Country, Bluegrass, Rock, Fusion and Jazz!)
This practice and the improvisational skills required mirrors exactly what the Baroque performers were required to do. Things changed after 1850, and due to the public demands in taste, musical styles, etc, it would make common sense to accept these changes as necessary.
When I was performing with popular bands,( for over 17 years!) I used a ZETA JAZZ model electric violin and digital effects (mostly medium reverb, but sometimes wild rock distortion, flang, etc). Sometimes the music would be ear splitting or beautifully delicate. In rendering pieces, I was able to use both my Baroque and Modern technique, with effective results. A Violin, whether it is Baroque or Modern requires the same learning process. It is how the violinist perceives how the music, whatever the style, should be interpreted (which produced many arguments wit my teachers in the past!) Take the Bach Unaccompanied Sonatas and Partitas, some would prefer hear it them performed in an “Authentic “style” or A “Modern” style. It all boils down to personal preference, and as for the violin itself, the future holds many mysteries and possibilities.
Currently, I’ve returned to playing an acoustic 5 String, utilizing a Baroque Bow, performing some Authentic Baroque and Classical music for weddings, Massed and other events and Bluegrass and Jazz under much more controlled and professional conditions.

Jerald Franklin Archer (Tartini)

From Lincoln Haury
Posted on August 17, 2008 at 11:46 AM
Jerald,
As as "semi-professional" violinist myself I enjoyed reading your post. I agree with you about the importance of being able to both improvise, and to play to the tastes of the audience. Personally I have found when playing for people that oftentimes passion carries more weight than technical ability alone. I've noticed that even though I can play Vivaldi "as it was written," audience response is much more enthusiastic when I put more emotion into the phrasing and timing of the piece. This goes for most "Baroque" pieces that are in my repertoire, as well as when playing modern music (rock, jazz, country, hip-hop, etc.). I would be interested on hearing more about your professional experience with playing modern music and electric violins, as this sounds like the direction I will be taking with my musical career.

Thanks,
Lincoln

From Terry Hsu
Posted on August 17, 2008 at 1:34 PM
Catering to the audience too much can be a very slippery slope. For many audiences what interests them is an electric violin with a wah wah pedal. If you're scantily clothed, can dance a little, and can play tunes like the Flintstones that can help too. In fact, you might really get paid well if you can take what few clothes you have off.

Where you draw the line defines what you consider artistic.

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