A couple weeks ago, the strings were digging into my bridge and I wanted to get my violin all fixed up before I went to Augustana (since I plan on playing in the orchestra and possibly lessons at some point, so I will be playing quite a bit), so I took it into the shop to get it checked out. They sanded down the wood on the fingerboard, and then got a higher bridge (from France, it's apparently a Despiau bridge!), which they had to custom-fit onto my violin. For the week I played with a rental that had a muted yet ringing sound, kind of like the right pedal on a piano. I'll play with my violin more this afternoon, and I'm sure I'll grow attached to the ringing sound it seems to make from when I tried it out a little in the shop. I also took off all three fine tuners, and I've been learning to tune with the pegs. It's great to have my personal violin back to enjoy playing.
Lately, I've been watching a lot of videos on the construction of a violin, from the trees to picking out the perfect pieces of wood to bending long strips and cutting the violin shape outline into those pieces to put together this fantastic object. I'm not really sure why, but wooden things make me very happy inside, like a winter fireplace, and going into a shop and seeing all the violins on the walls makes me feel very at home. Taking a block of wood and building such a marvelous object, one that can enlighten, amaze, and is used on hundreds amongst thousands of different pieces of music, amongst four centuries, is just a really happy thought, almost as if this object is crafted by Mother Nature herself and all her trees. It almost makes me want to learn the craft of violin-making... Almost.
I have also spent all summer writing! I have finished my string quartet and have been editing it, but I am also beginning a short piece for viola and piano, one for my friend for her Solo and Ensemble contest next year if she wants, and also just because I really want to spend some time digging into the deeper viola tones, as I had discovered a little of with the quartet whenever the viola part was prominent. We are going on vacation next week to Niagara Falls and some other parks, and I'm really looking forward to composing there whilst inspired by nature.
I'll leave you with some videos that I enjoyed watching during the past week before I head off to play with my violin for a while. Also, it's Harry Potter's birthday! A violin is so similar to a wand... It's filled with magical qualities, and each one is so unique to the next, due to the different varnish or woods or sound or even craftsmanship. There are just so many aspects to this one thing you could study... performance, composition, building, even science! Anyways. I'll also put up some fun Harry Potter quotes, cause I know you all want them. :)
Violin Making - a String Quartet - from the first shaving of wood to the inaugural gala concerts.
The Violin: Common Woods
Modern Masters: Sam Zygmuntowicz, Violin Maker
“Ah, music,” [Dumbledore] said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here!" [PS 12]
“I’d want some peace and quiet, if it were me,” [Luna] said. [DH 36] (That's where you get the most inspiration to practice, for me at least. Also, Luna's always been my favorite character.)
Over the past couple days, I've taken my orchestra teacher's advice for film score practicing and have been working on a little score to the very last scene in classic Doctor Who, where the Seventh Doctor and Ace are walking to the TARDIS to have more (albeit unseen on-screen) adventures together. This was such a fun little piece to put together, as I think this era of Doctor Who is one I hope to actually watch one day and I somewhat enjoy, but also because it was such good practice for orchestration, writing an effective melody, and even with figuring out quick fingerings for when I played the violin solo at the end of the piece. In any case, hope you enjoy!
More entries: June 2015
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