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How do you play this thing ?

May 23, 2009 at 10:18 PM

Some German friends taught me a wonderful expression-katzenjammer. I don't know if I'm spelling it correctly, but the concept (German has lots of these wonderfully specific words) is a sense of let-down after a successful or pleasant event. It may be endorphin withdrawal. I have noticed there is a performance version of katzenjammer, and a bizarre thing it is. You play a concert, all goes well, the next day you pick up your violin and can't find a single note. Anywhere. The music you played only yesterday seems impossible. You have a clear memory of the concert, the applause-has someone substituted an alien untalented being in your place during the night?

Posted on May 23, 2009 at 11:05 PM

You are a wonderful violinist   We should all have the problem of playing as badly as you do...:)

nopity.gif No Pity image by TGrosjean

From Laurie Niles
Posted on May 23, 2009 at 11:42 PM

What a great word! I always feel this strange malaise after a big event.

Another German word I like is " ohrwurm," ("ear worm") a song that gets stuck in your head. My head is rife with these "worms," I can hardly tell what's going on in real life for all the music in my head! ;)

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on May 24, 2009 at 2:01 AM

There must be something about Germans and cats . . . the muscle aches you get the next day after strenuous exercise are called "Muskelkater"  ("muscle tom cat").

From Royce Faina
Posted on May 24, 2009 at 3:04 AM

Oh I hate it when this happens!!!! Especialy when I practiced so hard and got what I needed to get for lessons and at lessons/gig FLOP!  I had a choir director who likened musicians to an EKG (Heart beat) peaks and valleys..... Each peak is folowed by a valley.  He would hold off sessions if we were about to 'peak' so that we would peak durring the performance.  He was a master of this! If we peaked durring a rehersel, from then on we crashed down into the valley!

ps: Can I have your audigraph?????

From Nigel Keay
Posted on May 24, 2009 at 8:24 AM

Happens too with writing music, but maybe lasts longer and is harder to get going again :)  

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on May 24, 2009 at 12:09 PM

Hi I am only an amateur and don't know this piece however I can talk about the weird after concert effect you experienced.  (in smaller soncerts of course :) In concerts, I usually play much better than in real life.  I make mistakes but the parts around these mistakes are much better than usually.  I am sure it is a kind of an "adrenaline" effect.  The next day, I am not able to play a single note without making some terrible noises.  I always feel that I am like two different players. I always wish that the good player will be there more often when I will have more experience!


However, I also wanted to tell that you are such a player!!! I love your playing since Laurie made me discover your playing!   Congratulations and I can tell it again, you don't sound "fake" you sound "real" and this is what impresses me in players.  Nowadays, we are in a showoff period but the best players don't showoff because they want to, they are so good that they don't have to "fake" this showoff ; it is naturally in them and you are one of these good ones!  Bravo!


From Tobias Seyb
Posted on May 24, 2009 at 12:19 PM

re: "Muskelkater" ;-)

I think this has nothing to do with cats (do they ever have this? - I doubt) but with the condition so nicely called "hangover". In german it is called "Kater" ("einen K. haben"), why  I don't know...

From Wiebke Nazareth
Posted on May 24, 2009 at 9:39 PM

Hi, there are lots of "cat-words" in German. Katzenwäsche ("cat wash") is if you just wash your face a little bit instead of taking a full shower, Katzenzungen ("cat tongues") are thin chocolates in the shape of ladyfingers, Katzenaugen ("cat eyes") are the reflectors on the bike, Katzenkonzert is when the concert really doesn't sound very nice... 

From Caroline Ewan
Posted on May 25, 2009 at 8:33 PM

this proves why one must take a day off after big performance to let the mind reset. I always take one day off per week to rest my muscles. They are more responsive after a day of rest and you are able to learn faster. I have never met a ballerina who dances seven days per week or football player who goes to practice 7 days per week. They need rest just like we do!

From Terez Mertes
Posted on May 27, 2009 at 1:54 PM

 Ooh, what a wonderful subject and blog - a comfort to know this happens on every level of playing.

And I just love hearing all these German idioms. Any more? (Katzenjammer - what a delicious word and concept.)

From Jim Fellows
Posted on May 27, 2009 at 10:54 PM

What about the Katzenjammer Twins? Does anyones newspaper carry this comic strip yet?

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