OK, so I skipped ahead 200 years and decided to play some modern music for a change-- I didn't want my vibrato and conventional bow arm to fade into distant memory, and I got tired of explaining to friends what a "baroque" violinist is, and wanted to be prepared for "real" gigs, not just early music stuff. I found Prokoffiev solo violin sonata, some Fritz Kreisler, late 19th and 20th cent salon music, even some fun etudes.
The results: a sore left shoulder, a strange tingling sensation down my neck and right arm, a stiff lower back with some pain. This was a keen reminder why I took to baroque performance in the first place. I was in serious discomfort after an hour of practice. Must we really suffer for our art? Did Heifetz just grin and bear it? Was Milstein in twisted agony when he practiced? Was this the cause of Menuhin's difficulties later in his career? It looks so easy when Oistrakh plays. Leonid Kogan practically looks like he's napping when playing Paganini!
I would love to be able to play modern repertoire without the suffering-- but is it possible? I cannot get the vibrato I want unless my chin is tightly clamped to the violin. I cannot downshift from higher positions unless the violin is held according to modern standards. OR... I can just relax and enjoy baroque and early music without the agony. I love playing early music, and don't miss the pain one bit, but there are times when I just want to live in the present (or at least the 20th century!)
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