June 2007

When Air is truly Air.

June 30, 2007 21:27

Tonight, I furthered something it feels I've been working on forever, though not really I guess. Taking "Air On a G String" and lightly playing the notes continuously tip to tip, dividing the note per logical maximum number of notes instead of bow returns for expressiveness I continue my quest for: Mr. Legatomeister!

Currently I'm working on a level of actually levelness I think, that still has some logical bow changes based on phrasing, but only at the end of a phrase. Limiting vibrato severely and listening only for pure tone in my mind, gives the piece a fluidity that is a level of it's own. Personally, I find it awesome and maybe even satisfying done with this lightness

Beginning the second theme, I normally use a little weight and dig in for some juice. But tonight, I started learning how to get juice with minimum amount of weight instead.

The inspiration for this little exercise actually came from watching someone on television playing in such a way as to seemingly be doing the same thing I'm doing with the song quite some time back. So irregardless if this is a good exercise or not, I feel like it's getting me close to knowing my bow somehow I'm not qualified to describe really. It's like Sans bowing realtime or something?

So I added a couple insights tonight. One is related to the actual process here, and one not. The one not related is that my back seems to be getting tired, so I relinquished myself to playing sitting some.

The insight that is related continues with my recent themes of lightness and involves phrase shaping in at least some instances by being competent on the entire bow as much as possible. But, it's how that competence is related to the pinky that I ingrained somehow tonight--another adaptation since ditching my shoulder rest and having to refind my sounding points(SP).

While f3/f4 have alot to do with tracking the SP, I discovered that a completely lazy pinky somehow effects confident SP:f3/f4 control; and, also seems more important to me than in the past in both feeding weight from the forearm as well as helping with seemless bow changes.

It seemed that I became able to subtly feed weight and reduce weight both in bow changes and phrasing if not deluded. For months now I've been working towards this lightness in everything and as my bow hand continues to learn this, these subtle at least to me things, seem to be evolving.

An aside to all this is how I also started working tonight on a 'phrased approach' to learning lightness of southpaw grip, as well as overall. Because I play 'SO' much at times, it is completely out of the question to remedial heavily. I 'shall' play this thing one day.

Anyway, beyond the soapbox, I started taking major phrases and re-doing them as I get ready to start using etudes for the same purposes in achieving various levels of fluidity. The detache runs in Lully, the first measures of Boccherini, God have mercy Witch's Dance--though I didn't get to work that much on it in this respect, and so forth. Also started sketching Suzuki 3/5-7. Anyway, it was a good and light beautiful mountain airy night.

Mr. Legatomeister

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In the Raw: Day 5

June 28, 2007 12:01

The only better thing than Ms. Paris Hilton getting out of the slammer yesterday, was my receiving my new strings today! I see us as both being temporary underdogs. She received a celeb slap on the hand, and I received a punch from the Good Lord for letting myself run out of 'A' strings--having to wait 6 days to practice my self proclaimed nekked lady without her makeup (shoulder rest).

Nonetheless, today, having replaced my strings, I faced the dreary darkness of knowing that tonight I'm going to over-do it if I don't get a handle on myself. So while waiting on the humidity to decrease and maybe do a few chores, I read Raphael's site again to review the basics of playing without a shoulder rest.

Not being able to exactly decide where this formed table is he describes, it is critical that I go slowly and get this right. And having cannibalized one chair headrest cover protector (yes it's much shorter now) for some leathery material I will meditate on why blondes should let me cook them supper instead of partying with Hollywood as I prepare for tonight's practice, along with patience.

The sound of new strings is so nice on my instrument, and of course I've played for half an hour in forming the above remonstrances to my lack patience. Lord, it just ain't fair. I want to play this thing!.

Afterthought
Having finished my first formal hour--with all four strings!, I'm loving this--alot. I'm discovering the table above, and the lightness of everything is awesome. I'm not sure how much of this is because I'm focusing much better on zero tension, including gripping or what, but the sound is clearer, brighter, beyond new strings--I've changed them many times.

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In the Raw: Day 3

June 26, 2007 19:12

Having brought together Raphael's three areas important to playing without a shoulder rest relatively well, I'm pleased with the results.
http://rkviolin.com/writ_fund_one.html

Though as it turns out, I'm going to have to follow Yixi's path clothwise, I've hijacked the leather like chair arm protectors for the time being. (I thought there was material left over--not)

Whether or not I'm just maturing with the instrument, I'm not really sure. But the lightness of hold I mentioned previously is spreading like a well done sun tan--Remarkable. I think it's Raphael's image of the instrument resting lightly like a board on two blocks is most important here, along with the jawline angled ending at the chinrest; and, the instrument level along with supported by the southpaw really do as he said in other words, create a perpetual plane upon which to work.

Though I'm only in day three of this new approach, I'm certain that at least it will break me out of those bad habits formed early leaning into the chin rest, and free me from the machine like dependence on the added centered line drawn across one's body through the shoulder rest at 45 degrees. Sorry-I loved trig.

Time will tell. I hope my new strings arrive tomorrow, so I can throw down a little. But if they don't, it will not hurt my hyper self to review and remedial Raphael's approach some more.

Wish me luck!.

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Getting Next to My Girl

June 25, 2007 21:25

I've decided to get naked beside my violin. After visiting Raphael's website, I decided to take the leap and ditch the shoulder rest. Having a lot of muscularity in my upper body, I've been wanting to do this for some time.

I read the three levels or areas Raphael described, and in earlier experiments, really liked the lightness of feel. I also think this will help me pay better attention to keeping my left (everything) light and relaxed.

My first serious efforts began yesterday, and I read his remarks more this evening about how to accomplish good hold, balance and posture. It also turns out I have the perfect material to create a handkerchief for the chinrest.

I just have this feeling, I'm really going to like my girl without all the makeup.

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That's What I Get!

June 22, 2007 21:14

Now that my Aing has officially unwound, with at least a week of waiting ahead, I hope to not let this happen again. How could I do this! My left wrist secretly laughs, but it's earned the privilege of doing so. So here I am running over to Johnson Strings online grabbing strings; and, literally screaming because I didn't think ahead.

I played around the pings in 3rd position for posterity's sake, but that didn't last too long. I played songs on G/D using shifts--which was pretty fun, but didn't last long either. Then, I played with sounding point exercises for a few minutes. This sucks!.

Today as it turns out, my dad and I just finished installing an outdoor stainless sink for our cannery, so I'll at least have alot to keep me busy. While I could get into the Hrimaly I've been avoiding since I took a break a couple months ago, I also need to integrate what Kimberlee, Buri and others have shared about sounding points and shifting. Should be interesting.

I shall nevah, nevah, nevah be without extra strings again--nevah!

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My Daily Epiphany and General Progress

June 20, 2007 20:23

Tonight I had two neat moments. One was when I started feeding better weight into the first measure of Bocherinni based on my recent explorations with arching and arching for note shaping. This led also to better balance and force on the D string notes and better balance across the board. It seems I've waited forever for this song to start 'singing'. But in my defense, I've been working on other stuff along the way.

The other epiphany came when applying the subtle pendulum effect to Wohlfahrt #4--a very nice improvement. Having not looked at it since the break about two months ago now, I also had to sight read to get through it at 126. But the neatest part was that I'm using better forearm dynamics and heard the difference--uh, finally.

The recent break and following basics festival have also left my bowing straighter, stick angled consistently, and Now I'm getting to where I can glide between at least 3 sounding points at will, with my hair remaining flat and subtly--thanks to Laurie's sharing actually...

I've also been trying to make myself just play in 15-20 minute spurts, and this is helping me keep my wrist healthy. This had the added effect of keeping the music crisp and focused also. Now, back to work.


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Persistence--the nuts and bolts.

June 10, 2007 21:13

Two measure down two notes to go. Over the past several months I transposed Suite in C Minor for Lute (BWV997) Sarabande from guitar to violin (e-m) on the fly.

Finally finding the written music about a week ago, I 'FINALLY' got the last two measures minus two notes structurally and consistently. It feels like I've been on a long long journey with this, and I really only have the second theme approaching basic competency as of this moment.

The last two notes in tune will be minor details, but the piece is so cool that it will take another year to add some double stops, and begin to truly make the thing my own. And the last couple measures just have so much potential in terms of what they will do for my bowing eventually, I think that will be a study of it's own because of the powerful martele like string crossings suggested--at least suggested in my treatment.

I'm finding the freedom to make something I play on guitar a similar but different creature on violin fascinating, and very very gratifying. But it came to mind, that I became so frustrated a couple months ago because of a mental block on the last two measures before my self-imposed break, that I hope it's good for me.

This hard-headed persistence thing is what got me in trouble with my southpaw to some extent, causing a 3-week hiatus recently. Like Karen's daughter a little I guess, I began again renewed and refreshed and a little more grounded in what to really focus on in my basic skills. And of course the last two measures finally became mine also.

There's a little sweet poetic justice in the fact that I'm still messing up the last two notes though, because it makes me reflect on the perspective I gained when I 'had' to make myself rest. How does one really benefit from this self-knowledge of ruts and routines, and still hope to move forward? Well, though it's still somewhat half-formed thoughts, I at least now have the experience to fall back on.

So as level one of probably four of this journey comes to conclusion, I've gained both a Sarabande, and some perspective on persistence.

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When in Doubt, get the music

June 5, 2007 22:38

Over the past couple months the darndest thing has been happening. I learned all but the last measure and a half of a song learned first by TAB by ear, and had a mental block. So, I do the math during a break, and actually had it extremely close a couple times.

Then when I came back to it after break (3 wks+), whalah--zone two once again. So I start doing the math again. And then, then I find the music in standard note v. TAB. Feeling that I exercised my brain enough on the virtual transcription, I now hold in my hands the lute standard music.

This matters because this song is really cool with me, and has bunches of potential. When in Doubt, get the music.

Cheezzzzussss...

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Whoaaaahhh there!

June 3, 2007 08:54

I broke my first bow hair today while playing, and it was like getting a tattoo or something. I've broken a few before for other reasons but this one was the result of throwing into Witche's Dance with full newly improved arching though in elementary ways, motion.

It was so cool. I do a double coda back to about a third way through and play around with different bowing techniques. Today, I was exploring applied bow arching and note shaping in an intensified way; and, applying something I read somewhere--I'm thinking here--about using more bow speed for tone production.

So about the third time back to the DC, whala--it snapped; and, I learned to just keep playing. I'm back to where my wrist handles 30-40 minutes well, because of refocusing on posture intently, and I just had all the elements working pretty well together and went into Emil mode! ;).

While I think one of the first pieces of advice I heard was that one never really masters bowing is somewhat true, I used a mirror to help with trying to bring it all together--Mimi Zweig was hangin out too. Anyway, for about 40 minutes in between excellent showers (I am not worthy) in this dry spell, I was hittin a couple extra cylinders.

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