my search for a comfortable chin/neck/shoulder rest is over - i think; a folded piece of soft cotton cloth just might save the day. i tried an old, cheapie, wire and fabric shoulder rest and two of the more expensive wooden ones, plus a variety of hard wood chin supports in different shapes - also flirted with an idea i picked up here called a "happynex" (soft fabric scarf, thread under the tail piece, around the shoulder and knotted under my right arm-pit) - but what's really done it so far is a simple piece of soft, turban-sized, black colored cotton. i folded it into a square - more or less - that offers padding for my bruised collar bone; protects my neck from tell-tale hickeys and with a corner of it tucked over the bottom of the end piece and button, lifts my "glowing" jowls off the violin's sound board - win-win-win.
also gleaned from here was mention of a scarf and padding support devised by monica hugget. not having seen it, i folded a thick, square sized polishing pad into one end of the turban, knotted it above and below and wrapped the remaining length of cloth around my neck. this also works - especially good when playing in medieval costume.
i hope this is finally settled - i'm one of those who can go right off the deep end, obsessing over peripherals.
something else i discovered while looking for the most comfortable chin/neck/shoulder position is a preferred angle for facing the strings. with chest and shoulders aligned at 180° and my face and neck turned slightly to the left at 135°, the strings are right in front me, eyes looking down and straight ahead. with the other shoulder rests i tried i was obliged to glance even further to the left to see the strings - at a dog's leg angle, so to speak, instead of seeing them as a nice, straight, open run-way, right before my nose.
... or in my case, odd adult beginner.
i came to the violin by way of the mandolin and came to the mandolin after a lifetime of string instruments tuned in 4ths: ukulele, guitar, oud, charango ...
at one time or another i was probably enthusiastic about them all but the lights really went on when i discovered tuning in 5ths - the logic of it gave me some understanding of music theory. up until then it was a few chords here and there and endless repetition.
i'm still illiterate, in terms of reading music but the wonderful thing about the fiddle - i'm afraid it's more "fiddle" than "violin" for me - is its closeness to the human voice. being able to hear something and play it in the same way that i might sing it is wonderful - so much easier than having to translate it into guitar-eze, or whatever.
my preference is for early european music. i sing and play with a small group of medieval minded people in the area where i live in italy - happy-clappy, march-along-type pilgrim music mostly, from the 12th and 13th cent.. we're starting to introduce more renaissance dance music into the repertoire, which is great for me as i feel very uncomfortable singing anything churchy.
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