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May 2007

Hora Staccato

May 30, 2007 14:38

I just listened to this composition by three different artists: Menuhin, Zoltan and Heifetz.

In my opinion, one screwed it up, one added to it, and one did O.K. - I listened to such a selection at Rhapsody by typing the song name in under search and then filtered it with "track" to bring up about 15 different artists all playing the same song, some I found out later, with their own re-write.

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Old Strings

May 29, 2007 05:51

At the ball end of your four strings two inches back, fold. Use something like a plastic/wire bread wrapper and at the 1/3 distance from one end of the tie, double wrap this area of the tie extremely tight around the strings and twist twice.

Now, tie around your rear view mirror post with tassels coming down behind the mirror and the bent end pointing towards you. Adjust as necessary to fit your vehicle and tastes.

See my Blogg Picture.

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Finale NotePad2

May 26, 2007 12:31

After two eye surgeries I can't read my own notes so I down loaded Finale NotePad2 and started writing violin music as I remember it from the Cox Family's "Will there be any stars in my Crown."

There are no shoe spoons to make it fit Vista so I am winging it without directions, win32hlp.exe won't load but with the graphic interface I'm getting by. It is really pretty easy.

I guessed it as 3/4 but now I think it is 4/4 with the longer notes and I don't know how to correct it yet. I had to go re-write it which was good practice and then hit play and you find out real quick if your timing is correct.

Just got into a real shootout with teach over my wrist not leading my fingers to the strings up top. I told her it wouldn't work. She is short from the wrist to the elbow and I'm not. I do the mirror thing and the only way to keep in the sweet spot is to allow your fingers to lead, or to my thinking. I stare at the end of the bow and try and make a straight line back and forth and if the fingers go first, well, the fingers go first.

At 70 and multiple horse wrecks my wrists don't function like they use to.

All the bouncing I was doing on the strings was caused by not changing strings and moving my elbow into position fast enough to be perfectly still when I started my bow stroke - bounce bounce bounce. Well, I got that one nailed.

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Researching the finishing touch on a violin

May 25, 2007 13:22

Being curious about what was in Joint Grass (local term) used by Prier Violin School - sand or silicon - I mentioned it to my mechanic while checking when he could repair my hay baler.

He said it wasn't sand in joint grass that was putting a beautiful final finish on violins but probably silicon brought up by the root system. He said that the difference between a baler that just baled hay and one that baled straw was significant. Wheat straw contains silicon in a high enough ratio to wear out a steel baler.

So, at Google I typed "wheat straw silicon" and came up with ( It turns out that our highly refined wheat etc. is thought by some to be killing us with MS, Atherosclerosis and wrecking normal artery and cell development in young children.

Italy and Africa do not have these silicon related diseases as they eat more unrefined natural fiber. Read the article if you know someone with the above diseases.

I hand grind my flour. Did you know that 95% of our wheat is hard red winter wheat for long shelf life? by national tests, the best tasting flour is soft white spring. I cook with soft white spring and do my final roll of the dough in hard white flour for the crust taste.

I also pick through dent or field corn and roast it at 350 until it smells good (10 - 15 min) cool and grind for the greatest cornbread ever; and higher silicon levels.

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San Francisco Early 1960's

May 25, 2007 09:09

"You'd better come go with us tonight", said Elana. There's going to be a happening at "the Alley". A rising singer will be there and the Alley isn't usually wrong.

For the cover charge of $7.50 Nancy and I got in (North Beach). Steve and Elana were there also. There were two other couples there that night, four in all and "not" on stage but walking between our tables, ... Barbara Streisand sang for an hour.

Over on California Street - Segovia.

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Lessons from my Dell Tech

May 23, 2007 17:31

My DVD drive was acting up and not reading my disks and as the tech walked in he saw the music stand and asked who played.

We got into a discussion. His Mom started him on the violin at age three when he expressed an interest from watching her play. At age six his fingers were too fat or so he thought and he switched to a cello. He has since seen Itzack Perlman's hands while talking to him at a Boise concert and he has hands which my Dell tech said were thirty percent larger than his.

The tech told me he has a 1690 cello that is worth more than his house.

Anyway, he looked at my violin and plucked the strings and said, "Your A string is flat; get them to replace it." I had told him I had just put them on the day before (Evahs).

He told me the A string had a halo of sound, not just one solid note when plucked. He said it could mean my sound bar or my post is coming loose or having problems but I should mic (mike) the A string and see if it was a medium.

He told me he takes a micrometer into the shop whenever he buys strings for his cello (one string can cost well over $100) and sometimes has to go through 15 strings to get one string correct. When he played in the Boise orchestra he had to take a full set in with him in case he broke one. They wouldn't let him leave the stage if he broke a string.

So, I will try and get a micrometer and check it out. He is right because I was playing some this morning and kept hearing the A was off but my tuner said it was on, but sometimes the tuner had to hunt around before settling down and giving me a reading.

This same tuner was strange for the first week. I had to tune my violin and then use the fine tuners up and down to seek a solid note when tuning with it. What the tuner called tuned sounded "tinny".

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The Two Worlds of Molly Curtis

May 20, 2007 21:11

Her father was an Army Scout named Dick Curtis and her mother was a Cheyenne woman whom he had married. At age six she was "lost" in a poker game at Ft. Sill and a civilian employee Hauser said he would wait till she was eighteen to marry her and sent her to the finest boarding school which included music lessons. In 1872 she came back to Ft. Sill to be married but after the marriage she took off, her obligation completed.

She later married an Indian named Big Nose and dropped out of sight and surfaced years later in Ft. Yates Dakota Territory as a maid for an Army Officer wife who brought her into her house and told her what to do and went upstairs.

A little while later she heard some of her most difficult Piano pieces being played flawlessly and ran down stairs to see what guest had come to see her. What she saw was Molly Curtis sitting at the piano playing music she could not play.

Molly left a short time later and no one ever saw her again. "Child of the fighting Tenth - Birdie Hooker"

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My Top Three Women's Books - Adventure

May 18, 2007 13:46

No Life for a Lady - Agnes Morley Cleaveland. As a young girl she was the first to ride into the cliff dwelling area of the ancient ones in N.M.

Louisiana Voyages - Martha R. Field. "there sat opposite me a gentle faced woman who's tired eyes made one think they were the homes of unanswered prayers ...

Child of the Fighting Tenth - Forrestine C. (Birdie) Hooker. An unequaled army brat who was raised in Indian Territory (OK), Texas and Arizona. Her officer evening riding companion at Ft. Davis West Texas became a Congressional Medal Of Honor recipient. Rolling in tar and a busted feather pillow, at age two, she got her name "birdie"
which stayed with her the rest of her life.

I got mine from "my used Net bookstore" for very little. I look for condition, price; usually 3-8 dollars and an arid state.

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Composit Bow Tension

May 16, 2007 13:44

When I first start out in the morning with violin practice, my bow flutters (gets the shakes up and down). So, I tighten it and that seems to help. But, I wonder what tension am I supposed to keep (Glasser)?

Also, I hate the string hiss and stutters I get with a flat bow stroke in first position, which is all I am supposed to be practicing for now. I get flustered and rock my bow usually over on the right edge looking down on it. Is that a good practice?

My Dominant strings came with the violin and I believe they are quite old. This is a Gotz violin from Germany with deep lows and ho-hum highs. What strings should I choose; I am thinking Obligato.

My note reading is coming along very well and I have brought new material to a halt and just practice the first six to eight lessons and have slowed down to a crawl and now I'm starting speed up a little and work on timing, phrasing and getting good intonation (week eight).

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Enya's Magic Kingdom

May 14, 2007 07:30

At when the picture loads, run your mouse from left to right over the top edge of it and see what happens.

I have just discovered her music at rhapsody. I really like their feature of looking at what you select to listen to and then suggesting albums. That's how I found her. I "canned" Sirius two months ago and I am so much happier at rhapsody. No satellite signal to get lost every couple of hours (here in Idaho). All programming slanted towards me, not some young screwball D.J.

Rhapsody only works if you do. I try and spend thirty minutes a week looking up old friends and saving them to my "play list" and then running through their suggested albums. Most records I only listen five seconds to and pretty much know if it deserves further listening.

When I was in college I use to check out seven books a week on subjects other than my major. Here also, I skim read them and returned 80% as being uninteresting. The 20% I read, was at great cost, but was the basis of the difference between a pretty good education and a great education.

And then there are the brownie points. I was at sea on the USS Locator AGR-6 when I got a letter from Mom telling me she had selected Sul Ross my college to get her master's. She said the Librarian stopped her when she saw her last name and asked if she was the mother of Bob. She then told my Mom I had read more books than any other student in the history of the college.

When I walked into Celestial Navigation at Newport, R.I. I was with graduates from every huge University in America. I knew all my constellations and the navigational stars there in. They didn't. On bridge watch I made all lookouts tell me a constellation and navigational star before I let them rotate and come into the warm bridge. Every deck hand knew all the major constellations and the navigational stars and were darn proud of it.

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Prier Violin Making School

May 10, 2007 08:29

I put in a thirteen hour day Monday and took a violin in for an appraisal at Prier (Preer) violin making school in down town Salt Lake City, Utah. It is a four hour drive from here to Salt Lake.

While I was there, I went through the school. There were young men and women, about 2/3 to 1/3, and they were in all stages of building cellos and violins. I can tell you real quick I would rather build a violin than a cello. Cellos are huge and take about fifty clamps to clamp the plates to the ribs. One mother told me the starting price for cello's in S.L. - $4,000 and I can see why. Even the scroll work is huge. You see several students with pip-squeak chisels working on violins and this one little gal with this huge thing gouging away on her cello scroll.

There was a steady stream of instruments coming into the shop for strings one third off , an upside down violin and a bow thing on the door was the door chime and kids just loved that arrangement. People in for new bows, etc. Mr. Prier has operated the shop for 41 years and the love and affection for him from the public was quite noticeable. There are more Baldwin pianos in the Salt Lake Area than in any other place in America.

The Mormons are "into" music and start their children out young and one mother told me once a week she comes to public school and takes her daughter out for part of a P.E. class and part of a science class to take lessons from the #1 violin teacher in the city.

I have flown a Cessna once in my life when my good friend that teaches flight training took me up to go to Salt Lake. He turned the craft over to me and went to sleep. I had never flown in my life and it was bumpy over the mountains to S.L.

I say all of this to say this: in the spring time, there is no other place on this earth as pretty as coming (flying) into the S.L. basin with the Wasatch covered with snow and the valley lush green with flocks of different species of birds in great swells down on the marshes.

I have been spraying and fighting joint weed on my irrigation ditches for five years. Guess what Prier uses for the finishing sanding for all their instruments? Dried joint weed/grass with the ends cut off and that makes a tube and you breathe out through it about three times to just barely get some moisture in the inside to hold it together for making a scrub pad with just the right amount of dirt in there to polish and the fiber carries off the wood chips.

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A Song in Itself

May 5, 2007 05:16

How many of us could write songs about our ancestors? Let me give you what I could write about, but can't because, so far, the music hasn't come.

The Civil War: a Northern Great Grandfather and a Southern Great Grandfather.

Seven brothers ages 17 to 27 went to war. Their Dad was a circuit riding preacher in the wilds of PA. with 20 churches. His Dad was a German Soldier hired by the British to fight the Americans in 1776 at Long Island, but he went to the other side after landing. All seven of his sons volunteered from Ohio and Illinois, none were killed or seriously hurt. They fought in all the major battles in the ditches and on horse back.

One brother was visiting his sister in Tennessee when the war broke out and had to walk home at night to escape capture.

My Northern grandfather fought within yards of my Southern grandfather at Missionary Ridge.

My Southern grand father was at the fall of Vicksburg and Appomattox and had to walk home barefooted and without food from each.

My Southern grandfather also had a grand father caught in the war of 1776. This father was Irish. His clan in England refused to pay taxes and were pardoned by the King. They did it again and in 1720 a boy of eight was playing over at his friends house when the British came and rounded up the Fitzpatricks, burned their entrails before their eyes, beheaded them and hung them on spikes on London Bridge. William was put on a boat to America with his name changed to Barron. During the war of 1776 he was Captain William Barron and was killed near Savannah, GA.

Many of us have survived cancer, shipwrecks, truck wrecks and a few upside down horses. It is hard to sing about some of the "things" in our lives, but sing we must; we survived and that is a song in itself.

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Parabolic bass bar

May 3, 2007 20:56

I have been to a site on the Net that sells a $1,500 bass bar retrofit for violins, patented.

I have rolled that around in my head for a day and at practice, teach asked me when I was going to get started on my first violin. I have the spruce and flamed maple wood sitting on an end table in the living room airing out and getting acclimated to Idaho. It weighs 4 pounds and 15 1/2 oz's. It is four year old dried Canadian wood. I am going to weigh it again in a couple of months and see how much water it has lost and that will tell me if it is ready and stable for construction to begin.

Well, I use to grind parabolic mirrors for a reflecting telescope and thought, why not do parabolic sides to the base bar with parabolic wooden reflectors under the two f holes. There are so many things that will be tried in the future as we run out of trees and certain woods. I saw an Idaho fiddle made out of Poplar wood today at the Arizona Violin Makers site under pictures.

I have a pottery nut neighbor who sold me a vase with a rich medium brown in it. The brown came from adding Ash ashes (slurry)to the surface before firing. She was just goofing around when she discovered the process last fall.

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Music in a Box

May 2, 2007 06:33

Yesterday, Rhapsody.Com had a selection of albums for me to listen to based on the selection of songs I had rated. So, I listened and one album drove me nuts.

On the face of the album was a woman dressed in Black Leather (Big Clue). Her music wasn't mean but spoke a lot about HER personality at this stage of her life; boring. All the songs sounded the same and all were flat and dreary. If I ever had a Dr. Phil moment, this was it.

I remember a conversation I had with my Boss's daughter several years ago. She had just returned from NY were she had been trying to be accepted as an Oboe-est and she had asked me "if I liked classical." I said yes, if it was coming from somewhere and going someplace. She replied, "Well, then you wouldn't like what I play."

Chamber music is music in a box. Why would anyone that is leading a boring life get the idea to be a composer?

Music must come from the soul! From people that really live life.

Are you stuck in a box? What are you going to do about it?

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