November 2015

Full Steam Ahead

November 16, 2015 10:06

In my last entry I whined about frustration related to my bad habits. It should be well established by now that my deepest, darkest string playing hours are the precursor to a breakthrough; yet it surprises me every time. I am happy to report that things are moving forward again. One day I simply woke up and could do the thing that I couldn’t do. What a maddening cycle!

The viola hunt has come to an end. Not wanting to spend much on a side-interest, and having limited options in a 14” viola, made the search pretty easy. As much as I hated the concept of a full size violin strung as a viola, that is ultimately what I ended up with. I tried a decent number of 14” violas, and had nearly settled on a pretty nice Tertis model. However, my local shop sourced a regraduated Jurgen Klier violin from Weavers that had been set up as a viola and I changed my mind.

I’m not entirely certain whether my selection was based on being a violinist at heart, or if it really does sound better. My experience with the true 14” violas I tried was that they all had a somewhat nasal quality. It was as if they were just violins with a cold. The Klier had a clearer sound (pardon the pun). I had a number of people (most of them violists) play my selections, and most of them agreed that the restrung violin sounded the best; but not necessarily as good as a larger viola. Certainly if this was going to be my primary instrument, I would have continued the search for a true viola in a more expensive price range that would suit; but for a string fling, this one works nicely.

As a side note, purchasing the compromise violin/viola solved the ugly 14” viola case problem. There’s plenty of selection in full-sized violin cases. One can always find a silver lining.

I've turned my focus to new repertoire and signing up for camps. I'm signed up for a chamber music camp in March, and my teacher has suggested a fiddle camp for this summer. I don't know anything about fiddle, but it should be fun, right?

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