June 2014

Shifting by Muscle memory or by listening?

June 28, 2014 04:35

I've been building my 5th position right now, I've done 2nd to 4th but more or less my shift isn't accurate enough and I consider myself to have a high musical conscience so I want to ask everyone: Is shifting in-tune attainable though muscle memory alone or not?

I've seen violin superstars shift from 1st position and land their finger just few centimeters away from their sound point. Insane. This is madness.

If not, then simply shifting is about active listening and feeling?

What i mean by listening is "ghost notes" or utilizing the slide we do to give us a reference of where we are on the fingerboard.

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My pursuit of tone production perfection

June 27, 2014 18:37

You might be thinking of how again and again same messages about tone production might come up here but this is my diary of endless pursuit of bettering my tone production.

Day 1 and 2 were full of research and experiments however it is only at the day 3 that Bow shakes at slow downbows or even above moderate speed that my worst adversary shows up again and I though i should work smart on eliminating this eternal problem of mine, he's been going around for more than 5 years and has been the choke point of my real improvement.
I may play more difficult pieces but it doesn't mean I'm improving so here i am, I've written this to share my experience and maybe somebody might have the same discovery for the solution because I think I've just found the biggest variable for bow shakes. I've read it somewhere but I didn't fully believe or maybe it was a factor but it was only at this time that i felt it's effect.

Day 3 -

My first obstacle on tone production is shaking at the upper half at slow down bows.
My first suspect is sting vibration however I never found it to be the real reason.
I moved on with my right arm basic checklist. Everything seems fine though i feel some tension but even if there are no tension going on, I still have that bow shake.

Now for my solution, transition from bowing with the forearm then together with the upper arm. That is my solution. I feel the awkwardness at that point, I refuse to push my hand out fearing that it might lose the straightness of my bow but i know it's a real part of keeping the bow straight, i just fear i might overdo it. I decided to push my hand a little bit more and i lost the tension and bow shake that I've been having for 5 years and I'm still training myself to keep it permanent for every bow stroke that I will do.

I'll be editing this post from time to time when i find more problems and solution.

Day 4 - bow shaking not yet solve but somehow my discovered solution helped a bit but i have another question about sound point. It seems that what ever sound point you are playing, BS and BP doesn't matter as long as you keep them both balanced and the string seems to respond well.

Even if i bow fast at the bridge, so long as i keep my pressure appropriate for my speed, it sounds great.


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Attempt to de-mystify and simplify Tone Production

June 24, 2014 22:35

I've been thinking a lot about what is lacking in my playing, and I realize that I've practiced mostly repertoire and left-hand exercises. I think that what is lacking is right-hand skill, and so I should work on my right hand. Another reason why I'm not improving in my tone production is my cheap metal strings ($5), which are blocking the result I should be getting, therefore making me think and hear no improvement when I attempt to practice tone production.

I began reading articles about tone production, and I've always thought that good tone is something so difficult to attain that it would take a violinist a lifetime to reach the peak. But after reading an article, I realize that I have what the pros have, it's just that they can even out the components of weight and speed a lot longer on each stroke and use the appropriate mix of both on different parts of the string.

I think tone production has been OVER-MYSTIFIED.

Every famous violinist can create pressure and draw the bow faster on different sound points.
This is all that the best violinists have and all they need to make a GOOD TONE. I also have it, it's just that the best violinists have learned to mix those three ingredients well: the right balance of weight, speed and sound point.

I'd like to start a scientific discussion on this matter. To simplify tone production as much as possible. Correct me if I'm wrong, but everything I've written here is simply what I understand from my own studies.

From what I understand, speed and weight are the same, weight is a vertical force while speed is a horizontal force.

We violinists vibrate the string horizontally but with the involvement of the vertical force(weight). It pushes the string down, as a result, the string vibrates in a circular manner.

The speed of the bow determines the loudness of the string while the weight determines the Maximum loudness the string can attain and to achieve a good tone, one has to keep appropriate 100% speed and 100% weight on that certain point of the string. Any less or more of these 2 components will affect the tone.


ANALYSIS 1:
-Too much weight can decrease the maximum cycles of vibration because it's producing more "clicks but not followed bite-and-snap" thus producing a sound what we describe as crushed/stopped sound.

-Less weight can also decrease the maximum cycles of vibration because the string can go around in more cycles before being catched or bitten by the hair again thus producing softer/airy(skidding) sound. The following cycles of vibration is also weaker compared to the initial cycle of the string. I can imagine the string cycle of vibration goes like this:

Bitten - Snap - Vibrate widely - Less widely - moderately wide - narrow - Bitten - Snap (and repeat)
The weaker the vibration of the string, the more it is prone to get bitten again because it gives less resistance. Then we describe this sound as weak/not full/soft/not loud, etc.


ANALYSIS 2: (I think this is just a parallel depiction of the 1st analysis)
-Too much speed(less weight) without the appropriate weight can lessen the maximum vibration as well because the string goes into more cycles without being bitten ASAP by the hair because there is less weight.

-Less speed(too much weight) results into crushed tone because there isn't enough speed to make the string vibrate again. What is happening is there is a lot of dead air going on because the hair catches the string too soon and the speed is too slow resulting to a slow dragging of the string for a snapback. I could imagine this is what is happening:

Catch/Bitten - snap - Vibrate widely - Widely - Catch/Bitten - Dragging - Dragging - Snap - (and repeat)

Then again we describe the "too early catch" as crushed sound and the "slow dragging" part as not a full tone.

I don't know to explain it better than this.

The last component is the soundpoint.

I haven't fully understood the relation the soundpoint yet, all I know that that soundpoint can have increase the maximum volume but when it regards it the "COLOR", different "TASTE/SOUND/TONE" that that certain soundpoint can produce, I don't know.

What I believe now is that Soundpoint COLORS is a Myth, or maybe, it is the "uneven" balance of BS and BW that causes these colors. But I do hear a color on different sound point, I can't explain it and I think my mind is toying with what i hear and what i believe.

I hope somebody can connect this matter to the sound point side.

I also wanted to ask if this Helmholtz Motion is what makes the "good tone"

Here is the link to that article. Very Worthy of reading.
http://plus.maths.org/content/why-violin-so-hard-play

Thinking too hard,
Nico

7 replies

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