Violin Super Powers, Do You Have Any?

September 2, 2011 at 08:33 PM ·

   As we mourn the end of summer I think back to this year's blockbusters many of which failed to live up to the hype. What most of them were missing of course...a violin playing hero! Where was Glissando Girl (Hero) or Too Much Rosin Man (definitely a villain)?!

   I've often noticed certain abilities that seem to be enhanced from years of violin playing. 

   Super Fast Hands and Reflexes-Able to catch music,pencils,even bows before they hit the ground without missing a beat

   Uncanny Peripheral Vision-From years of orchestral and chamber music playing  

   Super Hearing-The lights the exit sign, everything buzzes when you perform...and those darn candy wrappers!

   Inpenetrable Skin-Able to reject non-constructive and negative comments (I may downgrade this ability from "Inpenetrable" to "Highly Resistant").

   Telepathy/Empathy-Can sense the mood of the audience during a performance (sometimes)

   So what skills do you have that seem enhanced from being a violinist or musician in general? Were you bitten by the music bug later in life and developed your abilities or are you a musical mutant born with natural gifts?

To quote Stan Lee..."Excelsior!"              -M

 

 

 

 

Replies (49)

September 2, 2011 at 09:45 PM ·

OK - it's time to reveal my secret identity. I'm VIOLIN MAN!!  Yes Violin Man, who can leap many positions in a single bound, able to bend steel E strings with my bare hands, and can play scales faster than a locamotive. My superior bowing abilty allows me to effortlessly hit any microphone or stand light within reach, without having ever practiced this technique.

 Yes, Violin Man, strange visitor from another planet who, disgused as Raphael Klayman, a mild-mannered poster on a great international violin site, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice - and an end to further postings about shoulder rests!!!!

September 2, 2011 at 11:21 PM ·

Starting from your last question: The music bug bit me early.  I was an early starter in piano; then the violin bug bit me.  When a professional orchestra played at my elementary school, I knew violin was the instrument I wanted to play.

Regarding enhanced skills: So-called perfect pitch comes to mind.  Some of it, no doubt, is inborn, and I showed evidence of it before beginning violin; but constant reference to A-440 and early string-tuning to 5ths helped.  Fortunately, my pitch sense isn't so absolute that I can't play if the tuning is +/- 1-2 vibrations off 440.

Pitch sense carries over to other activities.  The garage fan hums a low E-flat.  The dial tone on my landline phone is an F with an overlay of A.  If I have the computer speakers on and the cell phone nearby, I can hear an occasional low A from the cellular network through the speakers.  Windows XP starts up and signs off in A-flat.

About "extraordinary individuals" -- well, I consider myself an ordinary individual, your typical Average Joe type; but I know from experience what hard work, persistence, and the combination of nature and nurture can do in ordinary lives.

September 2, 2011 at 11:42 PM ·

Hello,

in a look back I must say: my nerves and hands were "ok", nothing special, not slow but definetily not totally natural connected to my brain. My brain was/is also quite slow (!), wich makes me a bad sight reader and on the other hand forces me to prepare. BUT... I have good ears and listen a lot to music, so I can somehow get away when I make mistakes and I am easily into new music when I hear it first. Also I am very persistant, wich is my most worthy skill. But damn, I was lazy!!

September 2, 2011 at 11:53 PM ·

Sorry Raphael but we kinda already new you were Violin Man after you posted your Thais Meditation vid on another thread, there isn't a phone booth in NYC that could contain that sound hmmm perhaps a lead lined recording studio!

                                                         -M

September 3, 2011 at 12:45 AM ·

Yes, I have the ability to make any living being that is not deaf to stay away when I play! ;)

September 3, 2011 at 12:55 AM ·

Wow Joyce a musical forcefield that's quite impressive! And you obviously have the ability to make people laugh which is great for good health so you're a healer too.

                                              -M

September 3, 2011 at 01:18 AM ·

I have the ability to crush small students with a single glare...

September 3, 2011 at 02:40 AM ·

Jim, you're a perfect  example of someone who was probably naturally gifted but you still pushed to develop and refine your skills. Even prodigies with unlimited natural ability may eventually hit a wall Yehudi Menuhin spoke of his distress when he actually had to think about what he was doing on the violin I can't recall how old he was when he hit his wall but he gave the impression that it was pretty devastating. Of course having to rethink everything made him an amazing musician as well not just another great fiddle player. 

                                   -M

September 3, 2011 at 03:20 AM ·

Maurice - lol, and thanks!

September 3, 2011 at 07:04 AM ·

Cat and dog repellant

September 3, 2011 at 01:04 PM ·

Fiddle me this ,Fiddle me that. Who is the one that breaks strings and makes the young girls scream? He's tall and thin with  fingers long. Denied in one ,but buried in three.

Will the riddle be solved? Does the violinist play in tune? Will the audience boo?

Stay tuned;same violin time ,same violin post.

September 3, 2011 at 02:09 PM ·

There was a young man from Salt Lake

Who bad sounds on the fiddle would make.

Whenever he played,

The people all prayed

For a string or something to break!

 

September 3, 2011 at 08:28 PM ·

 I love this thread!

I have super hearing.. the smallest sound can make me go OUCH!

and i can make rhythm musicians go WHAT! when i make them tune in the same Herz.

I wish my super hearing would develop into perfect pitch..that would solve a lot of problems (personal problems only) 

James city here i come!

I wonder what would be like Kryptonite for a violinist? something from our own planet that would take away all our strength..  thoughts, anyone?

September 3, 2011 at 09:02 PM ·

Double-harmonics are v-kryptonite for me!

September 3, 2011 at 09:22 PM ·

I can play so high its even out of the dogs audible range.

[For which my audience - mostly the neighbourhood dogs - are forever thankful :-\ ]

September 3, 2011 at 10:16 PM ·

"Violin Kryptonite" for me is anything not violin related that causes a distraction before a performance like showing up to the concert without a bow tie.

 Wardrobe malfunctions-One of those situations where I was changing at the hall instead of dressing at home I grabbed a great looking tux shirt out of the closet why don't I wear this one I thought it looks amazing I'm such a stylish guy! Oh yeah, this is the one that doesn't have a button where my belly button is because the dry cleaners melted it off! Lol yes I have a wardrobe malfunction credit eat your heart out Janet Jackson!

 The Deep Freeze-I can't stand an overly air conditioned hall.

                             -M

September 4, 2011 at 06:37 AM ·

 How about the relationship between violin and ping-pong (table tennis)? I've read a few times that many violinists like table tennis and are good at it. I play myself competitive table tennis (albeit on a modest level, as a hobby). I also happen to know that Henry Raudales (3rd in Queen Elisabeth in 1985) played competitive table tennis in Belgium for a while. When I have practiced a lot on the violin, I effectively feel a good result for my table tennis. Better coordination and finesse basically. Any other table tennis enthousiasts out there?

September 4, 2011 at 07:24 AM ·

Ping pong?  Used to love it as a teenager - but that was after i quit violin (or I suppose technically I should call that 'paused' now). 

Actually violin did give me a real superpower - it made me exceptionally good with my hands - which led to my career as a cellular scientist - 'back in the day' I could out dissect anyone :) .  I wonder if the new passion has restored that skill...

September 4, 2011 at 11:42 AM ·

Heifetz was a great ping pong enthusiast. Isaac Stern claimed that he played him once, felt he could beat him, but 'let' H. win. Who knows?

September 4, 2011 at 12:05 PM ·

I wonder if some of our heightened senses when we perform are related to what's called Fight or Flight Syndrome in stressful or high pressure scenarios do we revert to our cave dude/gal roots our hearing and alertness get turned up a notch? As musicians we face Fight or Flight everytime we take to the stage.

           -M

September 4, 2011 at 05:46 PM ·

I love ping-pong and consider myself to be pretty good but never played competitively. When you play, the sound  is like ping-pong backwards.........gnip...gnop.......gnip.....gnop........     :)

September 4, 2011 at 09:21 PM ·

I too seem to have VERY good hearing and pitch. This is all the more surprising since, I've worked around heavy turbo-prop aircraft for the last 12 years! I have only been playing the violin for about 15 months, but right from the beginning, I've had nearly perfect intonation. I know what you're thinking........man, you're SO lucky. Well yes and no. Yes because my fingers typically go exactly where they are needed. But no since, my hearing is acute enough that I know when I am even the slightest bit off the note. Perfect hearing and pitch is both a blessing and a curse!!!

September 5, 2011 at 05:58 PM ·

Renaud Capuçon: bow throwing legend!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkihf40vfic

September 5, 2011 at 09:21 PM ·

I am RHYTHM GIRL!!!  Ever since I was younger (even before I started playing violin, although my father is a professional musician) I have been counting my steps.  To this day I count my steps when I run on pavement.  I try to always have an equal number of steps in each block of concrete.  I also try to decide what "tempo" I am running.

When I was seven, my father taught me the rhythm created by 2 against 3.  I sometimes find myself walking in three and either snapping my fingers or breathing in two. 

I am a major rhythm nerd!

September 5, 2011 at 11:16 PM ·

Christina-A great secret identity for Rhythm Girl would be a world class conductor ever think about becoming one?

             -M

September 6, 2011 at 03:07 AM ·

I am the supervillian called NERVES. You all play like little girls because of me. enjoy.

September 6, 2011 at 03:24 AM ·

Sarah, Leila, Midori, Dylana, these ladies played quite splendidly when they were little girls actually and still do today! But yeah Nerves are quite a nefarious villain indeed!

                                           -M

September 6, 2011 at 11:34 AM ·

Hi,

I don't know about violin superpowers, but I do think that over time my awareness has increased tremendously. I think curiously that as that is heightened many of the elements including probably telepathy does have to do something with it; knowing where someone will move, being aware of colleagues in making a musical fusion with them so that the music becomes the only thing around.  As for the public, I think that they react to our inner goals and intentions and that those one some subconscious level gets communicated through the music.

Cheers!

September 6, 2011 at 12:30 PM ·

I am the DOUBLER.  I can cause violin notes to morph into viola notes for the briefest second, then back again at the blink of an eye. 

So after you've hit the wrong note and your instructor or stand partner looks at you quizically, and you wonder what just happened, I am doing my villainous MWAHHH, HAA HAA HAA HAA!

---Ann Marie

September 6, 2011 at 01:39 PM ·

But Ann Marie we all thought you were so "Cordial" never pegged you for a villain!

                        -M

September 6, 2011 at 02:20 PM ·

That's the best part of my disguise!

---Ann Marie

September 6, 2011 at 03:00 PM ·

And I said never "pegged" you for a villain a truly cringe worthy pun and I wasn't even trying...sigh.   

    -M

September 6, 2011 at 04:26 PM ·

I have a pretty good left pinkie trill, which is a nice perk of being left handed.

But I would give it all up for a Left Pinkie Super Power Vibrato, able to make Lush Left Pinkie Super Power Vibrato On Command.

Does anyone want to trade?

September 6, 2011 at 05:04 PM ·

 My super human skill is that I can now play a piece I once played with all four fingers and play it without my first finger!  It took a year to retrain my brain.  My other not-so-well-known super human skill is to play so high that my shih tzu joins in and sings :)  (sometimes she doesn't even pick her head up and is in the "I'm-napping" position).

September 6, 2011 at 05:52 PM ·

Anne: I have a pretty good left pinkie trill, which is a nice perk of being left handed.

But I would give it all up for a Left Pinkie Super Power Vibrato, able to make Lush Left Pinkie Super Power Vibrato On Command.

Does anyone want to trade?

Fraid I have a Left pinkie that is lousy at trills and only average at vibrato.  However, it is super powered in that it KNOWS where high (E) G is from any angle of attack.  Since my third finger seems to also have that knowledge and there is only space for one figer on the high-G at a time, I could trade for your triller and when I hit the lotto perhaps I can purchase a used Stern pinkie to get the whole shebang...

September 7, 2011 at 02:06 AM ·

I was told that I have the fasted trill on the face of the planet once.  Other than that, I have the viola super-power of being able to strike the same place more than twice in a row.  

September 7, 2011 at 02:47 AM ·

As for myself, I am the assistant to a sidekick who's looking for a superhero, because his last superhero got run over running after an ice cream truck.

I can actually sound OK. Trills, yes.  Good tone, yes.  But Super?  Naw.  I am definitely not The Flash.

September 7, 2011 at 03:46 AM ·

 I have the power to play Scarlotti's entire Four Seasons while completely and utterly intoxicated.  By myself.  It's magical.

September 7, 2011 at 03:05 PM ·

Not necessarily super hero powers.....

I can drive up to the bank machine and masterfully use my left hand for the entire transaction. How 'bout that for a righty!

Intense powers of concentration - I dare you - try and distract me!

Smiles! Diane

September 7, 2011 at 03:08 PM ·

!!FIRE ALARM WOMAN!!

Yup, I can clear any large building in minutes....

September 7, 2011 at 03:35 PM ·

Diane-I think we fiddle players are so used to adapting it's second nature for us.

I was labeling boxes with someone once in quite tight quarters, without room to maneuver around him I started writing the best way I could. I noticed him looking at me like he'd seen a ghost I'm like "Yeah what's up?" He says "How do you do that?" I'm like "What ,write? Um, it's something I picked up in school"  He goes "Yeah but did they teach you to write upside down and backwards too?!"

I didn't make a conscious decision to write that way and if someone had asked me to I might not have been able to. I think circumstances sometimes force us to do extraordinary things. I think musicians think sort of screwy anyway (in the good way). 

                                       -M

September 7, 2011 at 03:44 PM ·

I can leap tall violins in a single bound.

I can make violins fly (if I throw them hard enough)

I can make violins explode ( by packing them with firecrackers) .

I have made a remote control violin which zoomed across the floor at a  high rate of  speed.

I can liberate the violin which already exists, but is trapped within a log, by cutting away the surrounding wood.  (is that last part corny or what?) LOL

September 7, 2011 at 03:56 PM ·

Aw, c'mon. We're all supposed to be serious artists here! You never catch me being silly, do you?

Super powers either created or enhanced by learning the violin:
- Finger independence (good for typing and showing off).
- Listening for minute auditory details (e.g., the subtle emotions in peoples' voices).
- The ability to twist your arms and hands into peculiar positions that no one else can imitate.
- Being able to tell who the violinist is after only a couple of measures.
- Public speaking (i.e., if you can do something as ridiculously complicated as playing a violin in public, then public speaking is a gimme').
- Understanding viola jokes.
- Using your super-strength and hand dexterity to open stuck jars.
- Using your x-ray vision to see through conductors.
- Working for a newspaper.
- Able to leap tall intervals in a single bound.

As I've said to my wife many times, "I just want you to think of me as an ordinary person." And she replies, "Oh, don't worry about that."

Cheers,
Sandy

September 7, 2011 at 04:50 PM ·

David-Every super team has that member that creates and repairs all the cool stuff! You luthiers are our heroes!

Was the last part of your message corny? No more so than the original post!  :c)  

   -M

September 7, 2011 at 04:54 PM ·

Sander-You, silly?! Never! Actually I think my silliness is starting to bleed into other threads...luckily Laurie hasn't tapped me on the shoulder yet.

                                   -M

September 7, 2011 at 05:03 PM ·

David-Luthiers are heroes, except for that Lex Luthier I don't like him one bit!!!  :c)

September 8, 2011 at 12:19 AM ·

The violin world is like so many others. Heroes and anti-heroes.

Lex-Luthier probably has his followers, and his greed has the potential to bring down the whole city.

September 8, 2011 at 11:32 AM ·

"Lex Luthier" - good one! And though he may be a villian, more effective than Ex-Luthier!

September 8, 2011 at 12:58 PM ·

Yes but the dark favorite is the Luthier who played the Sax.... oh, never mind.

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