About Stirling's technique

Edited: October 27, 2018, 7:32 AM · I've read here and in many other forums that Lindsey Stirling, a musician that seems to be as loved by the masses as she is disliked by violinits, that her playing is bad and shows poor technique. But rarely someone points out to something in particular, making all these comments vague and useless.

Watching her videos, I'm unable to see anything that I'd consider a mistake - but I know for a fact that my eyes are not keen enough to see something like that.

Most of the time she is playing an electric violin. It would be beter if here we consider a video of her playing acoustic. What kind of mistakes do you think she committed?

Replies (123)

October 27, 2018, 8:31 AM · It's her preening and posing that I can't stand. It's like "I'm a girl, see me dance. Wouldn't you like to have sex with me. Buy my CD."

Annoying Lindsey video

But there are much worse examples of women doing this same thing on YouTube, trying to get views by having sex with the camera as they play.

Kaitlin Deville is one, and if you just listen to the sound, don't watch the video, it is horrible.

I find the Celtic Women videos quite annoying too. Highly manufactured, cloying, though the playing might be done well. Annoying Celtic Women video

October 27, 2018, 8:52 AM · Welcome to the 21st century. This is what people want to see. You may not like it—I certainly can't stand it–but that's a fact.
Paganini died over 170 years ago.
October 27, 2018, 8:59 AM · Her right hand technique is, to put it kindly, primitive. There’s a lot more to it than that but my student is here.
October 27, 2018, 9:00 AM · I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to have sex with Paganini, then or now.
October 27, 2018, 9:05 AM · she's a pop musician and a dancer. she's not a virtuoso, but she makes catchy music that has actually gotten a lot of people interested in learning to play the violin. she's basically an electric fiddle player, so I don't think it's fair to compare her technique to that of a typical classical violinist, especially while she's doing acrobatics as she plays.
also I don't like the comment that she's "having sex with the camera" as she plays. she's just dancing. this is just as annoying as when I see comments of people critiquing what a female soloist is wearing. it's a dress, and she is just playing her instrument. it's gross that people believe there is something inherently sexual about that.
Edited: October 27, 2018, 9:19 AM · David, I don't see the "wouldn't you like to have sex with me" bit in the linked videos...although ive come across one or two who do use their sex appealon youtube. Prior to blaming them for it, I say better blame the producers and consumers who allow for it. I have non violinist examples in mind from my 'region of origin' where women with talent had to pander to the lowest denominator in able to make a living in the music world. But also in "western" countries.

I do not see that Lindsay Stirling is doing that. Its more like shes replicating in the violin world what happens in the pop music world and imagination.

Its not my cup of tea but if there are people who like this, fair enough.

Also the "annoying celtic women" fiddler looks like she's got the spirit of the music...it doesnt look like fake gyration and I personally dont find it annoying. Except im wondering if the blonde hair is real...

October 27, 2018, 9:22 AM · If you don't see what I'm talking about in these videos, then it is a lost cause:

Caitlin Deville

Caitlin 2

Edited: October 27, 2018, 9:31 AM · Her technique is obviously sufficient to serve the purpose to entertain her audience. The music is often based on a repetitive sequences and 3-4 chords, but who cares, if that makes people happy and even motivates some kids to ask for a violin lesson? I think that analyzing the technique of non-classical violinist is a moot point.
October 27, 2018, 10:25 AM · It is one of the glories of the violin that it is so adaptable to different genres and techniques all over the world and throughout its whole history. An amazing Acadian fiddler or a violinist playing Indian classical music might not be able to play Paganini, but who cares? I am just glad that many people enjoy the violin in all its forms....I should add that I've never seen a whole Lindsey Stirling video, but she seems to be doing ok in her niche, so carry on..
Edited: October 27, 2018, 11:08 AM · She has found a niche and occupies it well and fully. As for the sex sells theme, she is a Mormon and professes to not want to project that sort of image, although I can see how that might be inferred watching the videos.

Let us just hope that when her joints are too sore to leap and dance any longer that she doesn't go into teaching and conducting...

p.s. She has done for the violin what the 2 cellos have done for the cello. Young girls coming into my shop wanting to learn to play the violin. That can't be all bad in the end.

October 27, 2018, 11:08 AM · Never saw her before so everything I say is based entirely on this video. But she is what she is. There are celtic and blue-grass fiddlers, rockers and jazz. They have their own internal evaluation schemes. From outside, I think her intonation's occasionally a bit odd, she only uses the middle of the bow, dynamics are fairly flat, there's no way of knowing what her tone is actually like given the electronic "I'm singing in the shower" enhancement, her left-hand technique is limited, and her use of the different tonal colors by string and bow placement is limited to "I want a new color, so I'll simply play it at a higher pitch". Now, some of that is because of her material and there's no way I know to separate out limitations she imposes on limitations she's working under.
I suspect what would annoy me most is the "she's *wonderful*, "OMG, what a great talent" based on listener non-knowledge when she's an in-tune intermediate student that's marketed herself well. (That, of course, is a different talent, but one highly valued if compensation is a criterion.)
October 27, 2018, 11:10 AM · @tammuz, watch a whole show of Celtic Women. If it does not sink in, then you are their target audience.
October 27, 2018, 11:16 AM · sometimes her right elbow and right forearm is just weird, but sometimes it isn't weird.

this is just my opinion: people (me too) criticize anyway. even GOD got critics.

October 27, 2018, 11:29 AM · Caitlin no relation of Cruella, I take it?
October 27, 2018, 12:23 PM · I don’t listen to either of them, so I’m happy.
October 27, 2018, 1:23 PM · Lindsay Stirling is a mediocre violinist, a decent dancer, and an absolutely brilliant marketer. I don't dispute that her violin technique is not at the core of what she does, but the question asked was specifically about that.
October 27, 2018, 2:56 PM · This is alot like the old comments about Mario Lanza not being up to La Scala. He sold tons of albums and entertained millions. It’s called the music BUSINESS for a reason. SALES and smiling faces.
If it gets kids playing violin and taking lessons, so much the better. Beats Playstation and snapchat.
October 27, 2018, 3:08 PM · Marty, I wouldn't expect anyone to listen to Cruella more than once. Indeed, all I know about her is from hearsay and Wikipedia
October 27, 2018, 4:07 PM · Well, her technique is a lot better than it used to be.

In this particular video, she stays in 1st position almost exclusively when it would make way more tonal sense to shift to 3rd.

In addition, her bow hand is quite stiff, like it's rigidly attached to the stick.

However, as others have noted, it's good enough for what it needs to do.

Edited: October 28, 2018, 12:10 AM · We normally do not discuss fiddlers in terms of classical techques. Not sure why LS should be different. She is not a classical violinist.
Edited: October 27, 2018, 11:52 PM · I was rather intrigued by the comments here. I don't care for her music and I certainly don't follow Lindsey's career, but I was curious enough to type "Lindsey Stirling unplgged" on Youtube and came up with the following video:


I can see and hear the "flaws" people talk about, but as David above says, why are we ratung her in terms of classical technique standards.

What makes a violinist mediocre or even decent? Which standards do we use?

I've heard extremely high level classical players sound absolutely horrible playing other styles of music (when using the other styles' standards for quality). When Perlman recorded a jazz CD, Didier Lockwood wrote an open letter article ripping him apart (and that's putting it nicely). If you can read the article, it's kind of hard to read because he really rips him apart.

So indeed, which standard are we supposed to measure her by? I would think that anyone who could carry a tune from beginning to end, with "acceptable" intonation , "acceptable" tone (not beginner scratchy), fairly in time, has already achieved something on the violin that is worthy of some minimum level of respect. This is a brutally difficult instrument where people who have been playing for 30 years still can't play in tune, can't do a proper vibrato, and have horrible tone.

I would say that based on the video that I posted above, Lindsey didn't make a sound that made me want to cover my ears. Tuning wasn't always perfect but it wasn't the kind of tuning that made me run away either. Just my 2 cents.... So which standard do we use to determine one's skills as a violinist?

I know accomplished violinists going to study with specialists of other genres (Hungarian Csardas, Balkan music, Greek music, etc...) whose classical techniques are nowhere near their students' , but in their respective genres their technique far surpasses their students'.

Here's a video demonstrating my point:


October 28, 2018, 1:53 AM · Whether we like her style or not, her technique or not, I think Lindsey Stirling has been a huge benefit for the whole violin and fiddle world.
It has added a new ingredient of inspiration - modern and playful- that was missing. Those who were already inspired by classical music or traditional folk, would miss or even loath this new ingredient. But it has attracted many students and kept them studying when the other styles wouldn't.
October 28, 2018, 6:30 PM · Maybe the questions should be what is it that gives Lindsay Stirling 2 billion views and millions of dollars when a lot of classical violinists are not reaching audiences? Perhaps it's that we put too much emphasis on consummate technique rather than energy, attitude, capturing the audiences imagination/excitement and generally connecting to an audience?
I'm actually much more offended when a very proficient classical player attempts to cross over into other styles and proceeds to shoehorn their wide vibrato'd, square rhythmic phrasing generic classical style into a genre where it is not appropriate. Even if they do try and look like Curt Kobain!
October 28, 2018, 8:35 PM · Thanks for the link to that video. It's the first time I heard Lindsay Stirling play and I enjoyed it very much. It was easily better then anything I heard on the radio in the car this afternoon, driving around the Boston area, listening to a local pop station. She's obviously a very talented musician. I'm a fan.
October 28, 2018, 9:05 PM · Stirling shouldn't be judged by the standards of classical violinists any more than we judge fiddlers by those standards.

She's clearly a first-rate entertainer, and presumably the arrangements of music that she played in her early YouTube-fame days were done herself rather than being written for her by professionals, which indicates her talent goes beyond performance. (Does she still write her own arrangements?)

October 28, 2018, 9:33 PM · Raymond, Here in Boston I recommend 99.5, WCRB classical radio.
October 28, 2018, 9:36 PM · Christopher Payne, why do say "square rhythmic phrasing generic classical style"? Wouldn't square rhythmic playing be a mark of poor classical music performance?
Edited: October 29, 2018, 3:01 AM · Gabriel,

I'm assuming it's a reference to 'square' phrases - for example a 2, 4, 6, 8 bar phrase.


I don't see why we are making a big deal about her skill level - some of the chatter here sounds like ego stroking and putting someone down who is more successful to feel better about one's own place in life. It's been said in this thread before, but the cliché quote applies here: 'Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.' Let's enjoy and rejoice for her success and not put her down because we don't agree with her musical tastes. She's successful and inspiring to many people. There is no reason she needs to be a Julliard graduate who has won 3 international violin competitions and plays the Messiah Strad all before she is 19 years old to find success.

How often do you compare rock guitarists to classical guitarists?

Personally I like her music. I enjoyed it before I played a string instrument and I enjoy it now. It's relatable, and many of my friends who don't like classical music appreciate the violin because of the publicity she's given to it.

October 29, 2018, 5:27 AM · I used to listen to her even before I started studying violin. Her music is very good for running because she uses very constant and very well marked Beats Per Minute along her songs.
As I run with a constant 180 steps per minute, it's easy to adjust her music and get a 1 hour musical metronome :-P

Another very reviled player is Vanessa Mae. I have run full Ultramarathons listening to her "Bach Street Prelude" in loop for hours. Great beats per minute for a long run. But that artist I like for another reason... Many people by the street think that my wife is actually her. And me carrying the violin doesn't help in the confussion...

Edited: October 29, 2018, 8:22 AM · As for "sex sells," remember some of that is in the performer's intentions, and some of it is in the eye of the beholder. Stirling is young and pretty, and she has the physique of the dancer (because she is one). These are not crimes, and they shouldn't be liabilities either. I don't think she's "selling it" any more than Janine Jansen or Yuja Wang. Certainly not more than Taylor Swift. Would we be talking about Stirling's "technique" if there were no twirling or closely tailored outfits in her videos? What if, in one of her videos, she turned up in one of Anne-Sophie Mutter's sleeveless mermaid gowns? What would y'all be saying then? Either you enjoy Stirling's schtick or you don't. And if you find yourself staring at her derriere or her decolletage, maybe that's your problem.
October 29, 2018, 8:07 AM · "Wouldn't square rhythmic playing be a mark of poor classical music performance?"

It would to some - to others it might sound precise.
What I'm referring to is how classical phrasing sounds square in many other genres whereas it may sound correct in classical music. Also, sometimes I'm clearly hearing that somebody has read the rhythm rather than learning the tune by ear from a vocal version. This coming from musicians that typically honor the intentions of composers. Some music genres demand a different emphasis according to where the beat is stronger in that style or according to an underlying pattern such as in latin music for example. Another 'crime' is holding on to notes too long. Basically un-vocal phrasing in song based music.
I don't really hear Lindsay doing any of these things. If anything, I find her vibrato a bit too classical but that's really just my taste.

To the original point: first, I think most people here get the LS thing even if it's not their thing. She hasn't succumbed to the usual pressure of narrowly heading full force for a career as a classical soloist/orchestral player but has taken control and has made her own path. Obviously she has found an audience and is doing very well. Who are we to say what people should or should not like? However, it's my guess that some feel 2 billion views rightly belongs to somebody at the top of the classical game like Hillary Hahn or someone. Well, you can judge for yourself how Hillary Hahn sounds in a different context:


You don't have to be perfect in your skills to reach or move people. Just like you don't need to have a consummate command of the English language to tell somebody, 'I love you'. The Beatles couldn't play Paganini Caprices but they got through to plenty of people!

October 29, 2018, 8:44 AM · I shamelessly admit to a love for the crossover classical violinists. I enjoy David Garrett, too -- he's quite a good classical player but I like him much more in his crossover work. And there are some circumstances under which I really love Vanessa Mae. (My toddler is totally fascinated by her Four Seasons.)

Edited: October 29, 2018, 9:47 AM · I find it very funny and cute when people claim that sexy dresses don't matter, or better, the whole look of a musician. Every single thing a musicians does or wears is expressing something, specially for soloists. There's a dress code for a reason, you can't be in an orchestra, playing a concert, wearing trousers, half opened Hawaiian t-shirt and crocks. The looks are very important, even if you act like you're above them, which you're not. There is a pianist, Yuja Wang, that caused a lot of "media trouble" when she performed wearing a dress that was so short almost her whole leg was shown, from toe to down back. You, everyone, can play the naive card and say "it's just a dress, I don't see any sexual intention here". Well, yes and no, how you look tells a lot about you, doesn't matter if you believe it or not.
If you're very sad in the funeral of your mother and you see a lot of people wearing party dresses, very short red leather skirts, men wearing sexual clothes, etc... you would find it very disrespectful. Same "naive card" can be played, but this time it's you then one that would not buy it. Black dresses express seriousness, elegance, respect, it's not time to wear happy coloured dresses in a funeral. Same in a concert, I think it's totally out of place to wear provocative dresses, huge cleveages or swimming clothes. It's not necessary, out of place and also distracting. These dresses are used by women at parties or events to attract, to look attractive, to be the centre of attention. There are infinite elegant and wonderful dresses to choose, simply know where you are. I haven't ever commented or talked about the dress of a soloist after a concert (I only refer to women because it's very, very rare, if not impossible, to find a men wearing sexual out of place clothes in a concert, not even in parties). If Yuja played wonderful I would admire her so much, but I still would think that she totally failed to wear the proper clothes at the event. Normally, these "side" stuff is used to cover lack of level. Basically, you wear something sexually provocative to focus the attention more in the looks and less in the quality of your performance. This "technique" is used everyday, by everyone. Banks giving you things for free, which means you're focusing your attention in the free stuff you don't even need so the bank can "get you", buy 3 pay 2, while you could only need 1, etc...
To sum up, simply know how to wear proper clothes, it's not that difficult.

About this girl of the topic, to analyze her technique you must provide a link to classical pieces. Anyways, it's quite obvious why she gets "hate" from classical violinists: she mixes computer noise with the violin, she doesn't perform normally classical repertoire, she plays very basic and normally easy pieces (and for many, very bad as well), she plays electric violin (instrument that is not very respected due to obvious reasons)... yet she's acclaimed and very famous. It's not difficult to understand.

Ever heard a luthier bashing factory violins, which they even call violin shaped objects?
These VSO sell like lollipops and they are nothing compared to what luthiers do. Translate the example.

Edited: October 29, 2018, 5:22 PM · If it is true that "Music soothes the save breast," then I favor anything that brings people to such music. After all, music should be just that, not a sport or contest, despite Paganini, Ysaye and the proliferation of music competitions.

I have noticed, the once or twice I watched Vanessa Mae that the really tough bits seemed to be played by the professionals in her backup orchestra. I thought that was pretty clever of her. After all, music is for listening.

My own first exposure to this sort of popular violining occured about 17 years ago while sitting in the car with my wife waiting for our granddaughter to get out of middle-school. The local classical FM station played Andre Rieu's violin version of "Song to the Moon" from Dvorak's opera Rusalka (even moderately talented males can play that game). We had never heard him or it before and and we both thought it was glorious. I found the only copy of the vocal solo sheet music at our local music store (a time-worn version for soprano solo) and negotiated the $20 price down to $10. The 6 flats were kind of intimidating so I transposed it a tiny bit. A few years later my community orchestra performed it with a soprano soloist (and 6 flats). But - this led me to watch Rieu whenever one of his TV shows appeared on PBS and to purchase some of his DVDs over the next decade or so.

I think Rieu may be a version of a similar level of violin technique but with some old-world elegance for a different audience. I find it encouraging that I can play everything he does - a kind of "feel good" experience.

Edited: October 29, 2018, 12:00 PM · Tim, she's not exactly playing funeral music. And I agree with Paul Deck...there's an element of "in the eye of the beholder". But I don't think that the object of sight need be blamed for the eye's imagination:)

Also, on the issue of showing respect towards the music and audience via attire, the topic of male attire once came up here. Some were for formal wear. Personally I think these are conventions for those who adhere to a belief in them. Once you suspend disbelief, they (formal wear at least for men) are just fabric arranged in a particular and non comfortable way.

But that is not related to Stirlings technique.

October 29, 2018, 12:26 PM · It ain't no funeral!
Edited: October 29, 2018, 12:38 PM · My point, and I made it very clear, is that you got to know what to wear, when and where, and those dresses she wears sometimes are totally out of place. There's a thing called dress code, and you must follow it. In college, in school, in work, in restaurants and in music.

You know, this topic of dresses is something you discuss with 16-20 years old, teenagers. Once you are young but not a teenager, you realize you can't go in your swimwear to work, even if it's the most comfortable thing in the world.

That thing of "in the eye of the beholder" is another way of saying "I play my naive card and that dress is not sexual at all". Ah, ah, it doesn't work.

You can play to be almost nude and say "it's the way the dress was designed, it's you who sexualize it", but come on, that's for teenagers, not adults.

Would you be OK with Obama or Trump representing USA in a world congress looking like a hippie?
How about the teacher of your 8 years old son wearing t-shirts with graphic content (nudes)? Selfies of himself because he's a nudist? You alright with that?
Because if you go to talk to him angry because he's mental and you don't want your son to see that, he can play the naive card and say he's all natural, you're close minded and there's nothing wrong about nudity. How about he doesn't wear clothes?

There is a dress code for a reason, it's very easy to follow, specially for women that have literally millions of dresses to choose.

October 29, 2018, 12:33 PM · I think popular music has its own dress codes too. It's not black dresses and suits!
Edited: October 29, 2018, 12:50 PM · I never said in classical music only black dresses, neither in pop.

Have you watched any video clip from the trending music videos in YouTube the last 5 years?
Almost every single one have exactly the same, ultra over sexualized content. Look at it. Sex sells, that's a fact, so proved it hurts.
Guess what some of those women have said?
"Well, I don't think it's sexual, I wear whatever I want and it's the viewer who finds it sexual"
I'm talking about hundreds of videos where literally you only see her ass moving up and down, from beginning to end.
In other words, I choose to play my "I don't know nothing about that, it's your fault" card.

What's next, it's you, viewer, that make adult films sexual?

October 29, 2018, 12:53 PM · First, a big part of Stirling's performance is dance, and she wears very ballerina-esque clothing. I have no idea what Tim is talking about with his nude comments. It's not a rational comparison. She's not standing still in a concert hall, she's dancing on a youtube video while playing a violin. She is dressed appropriately for the medium she's in. Frankly, I wouldn't work in one of those 19th Century ballgowns Andre Rieu has the women wear. But that's my opinion, and I have a very live and let live attitude toward those who are fine with it. If you don't like it, don't watch it. But stop being the police of how women should dress!

My beginner students really love watching her videos, and my more advanced students really like feeling superior to her. That moment they realize they're better than she is really boosts their confidence! I think pop violin can serve as a gateway drug for many people, leading them to more serious works.

*also, if you don't think men trade on their sexuality (cough cough David Garret), than accept my derisive snort.

Edited: October 29, 2018, 2:17 PM · Mention has been made of Andre Rieu. The following may be of interest. Andre Rieu has a good familial musical background (his father was a professional symphony conductor). He studied violin at conservatories in Holland and Belgium, his teachers including Hermann Krebbers, finally gaining the Grand Prix at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. I think we may conclude that Andre Rieu's violin technique was taken to the highest level.

It's just that Andre Rieu evidently chose not to go along the professional symphony/classical soloist route but to pursue and enjoy the waltz form with his own orchestra and to pass on his enjoyment very successfully to the rest of the world. Who would gainsay him that?

Edited: October 29, 2018, 1:40 PM · I don't listen to her music, so I could be wrong, but I respect that Lindsey Stirling seems to stay in her lane, and doesn't bother with classical music. Vanessa Mae did some sort of weird crossover stuff which is just unlistenable - that stuff is perverse.

I was just looking up Anna Karkowska, but apparently she died earlier this year, so I will leave it at that.

Stirling is pretty cute, but I don't think she's doing anything that has her on the outs with the Mormon Church - I don't think the pearl-clutching is warranted.

October 29, 2018, 2:44 PM · Are we talking about Lindsay Stirling or Nicki Minaj?! :)
Edited: October 29, 2018, 4:29 PM · I was not talking about Lindsey, please, before you go nuts, learn to read correctly. I'm not a policeman of dresses, I was just talking about a particular situation of Yuja Wang. And yes, many of my comments were referring to today's trending music videoclips.

By the way, Garrett wears casual clothing in his shows, what are you talking about?
I haven't watched many of his shows, I'm interested mostly in his classical side, but I've never ever seen him play in his shows or classical concert wearing out of place clothes. It would be incorrect for Garrett to wear the jeans and T-shirt he wears in his shows during a classical concert, but there's a huge difference between casual clothing vs provocative out of place dresses.
I hope you're not talking about his model career, because that has nothing to do with my point. If you're a model you will of course wear underwear, pose sexy and provocative and all that kind of stuff. Here I was talking about playing a classical concert with proper clothes.

Edited: October 29, 2018, 10:18 PM · Tim, about "eye of the beholder," please remember that I said, "some of that is in the performer's intentions, and some of it is in the eye of the beholder." I don't think that reflects naivete. The fact is, a lot of women's professional attire is closely tailored too (e.g., suits). When women walk around wearing yoga pants (i.e., tights), are they trying to be sexy? Or just comfortable?

Let's also remember that Stirling is in her early 30s. I think part of what bothers people is that she looks very young, like a teenager. But she was already in her early 20s when she got her first youtube channel and went on "America's Got Talent."

October 30, 2018, 2:45 AM · I just saw Lindsey Stirling in a video dressed as Galadriel from LOTR. And another one dressed as Link from Zelda.

Didn't get tittilated, but I find it completely shameful the way that she is doing Cultural Appropriation of the Elvish Traditions!

... At the rate we are saying absurdities, above it's mine...

Edited: October 30, 2018, 4:16 AM · Ok, to clear that up, the dresses of Stirling are fine, she's like a rockstar, and you can wear that kind of stuff, just like Garrett wears casual clothes in his shows. The "problem" would be if they go like that to play a classical concert, then those clothes would be incorrect. Now, Yuja Wang is not only incorrect, but totally out of place when she wears those dresses.

Come on, this is not the red carpet neither a party, that's not the proper dress to give a classical concert, it's distracting and unnecessary. It's not a big deal, as I said this is something I would expect to discuss with a rebel 16 years old. Stirling does not wear like that at all.

October 30, 2018, 7:05 AM · I'll trust you have done your research!
Edited: October 30, 2018, 8:01 AM · Prancercise in the snow? No thanks!

Mediocre sounds + mediocre visuals = entertainment package for people with no critical faculty in either sensory organ.

October 30, 2018, 8:48 AM · Forget the dress... If she can play piano with those shoes, I'm impressed.
October 30, 2018, 10:57 AM · Jesus, Tim. Close your eyes if it bothers you. Most classical musicians have a face for radio to match their music-making, so if someone has nice legs in a addition to playing well, where is the distraction if you listen with your ears?

I heard Leonidas Kavakos and Yuja Wang live a few years ago, and he covered all of his skin and played boring, and she wore a short dress and played great, and I came in waiting to hear Kavakos and skeptical of Wang. I think she's the real deal.

Edited: October 30, 2018, 11:11 AM · Yeah, what one thing has to do with the other one?
Yuja can be the most amazing pianist in the world, yet still wear inappropriate clothes. One thing doesn't cancel the other or vice versa. I don't want to discuss anymore about dresses, hahaha, I find it very stupid. It's so simple, wear proper clothes, not red carpet dresses and high heels. This is a classical concert, the orchestra is looking a certain way, the conductor as well, don't break the rules, you're the soloist, you're the centre of attention already, not necessary to play these games. Easy.
October 30, 2018, 11:29 AM · Women cannot win: either they are deemed “too sexy” or “not sexy enough”, told to smile or they look angry, are too skinny, too fat, too much makeup, too little makeup, have to fit everyone else’s vision of what they should look like - nevermind their own vision of what they want to look like in whichever setting they choose. God forbid a woman dresses as she wants to dress, else she be deemed a rebel...

Yes, there are dress codes - but there is individuality to be found therein. Yuja is a soloist, the rules are different for her than an orchcestra member. While I would not choose to wear those heels, ever, or that dress, it’s up to her if she wants to perform in them. It’s up to me to support her clothing choices or not by going to her concerts or buying her CDs.

I imagine that whoever hires her for perfomances knows what they are getting, and if they don’t like it they will not ask her to come and perform. Simple as that.

We don’t critique the fit of a man’s suit, or equate it with their ability to play, why would we continue to do this with a woman’s dress? That is essentially what you are saying, even if you claim otherwise. If you don’t like how Yuja dresses, don’t look at her. Don’t support her.

The classical world, in my opinion, could be made more accessible to more people - and if that means by dressing more modernly, I’m happy for it. The classical music world is NOT a pure, virginal place and we’d be wise to remember that and move with the times.

As for Lindsey, I don’t care for her music or playing so I cannot comment on her technique.

October 30, 2018, 11:33 AM · I can condemn the artist formally known as "Kennedy" if you like, but I usually get condemned for doing it.
October 30, 2018, 11:55 AM · There are no strict, hard and fast rules. Male violin soloists often not even wear tuxedos/ties (like the orchestra members do) to play anymore.

Ms. Wang is a great artist, "proper concert attire" or otherwise. She is not "evil" for doing things her way. In my view, there are plenty of famous "pretty faces" in the music world that are not musically inspiring, and at least she's not one of those.

That said, I have no problems with people preferring "standard" concert attire, and also do understand the point: "it's about the music". Things, however, are often not so black or white, as some would like us to believe.

Edited: October 30, 2018, 12:42 PM · No, you don't get it Pamela. I would never stop supporting (going to concerts or buying CD) a musician, female or male, because he or she wears inappropriate attire. Nevertheless, I can say out loud and clear that sometimes she wears dresses that are not proper at all, that's all, not a big deal. It's an unnecessary way to gain unnecessary attention, because she's the centre of attention when she's on stage.
I know she's a soloist, I know she doesn't follow orchestra dress codes, she has even more millions of dresses to choose. If you want to talk about sexy, I don't find Yuja "sexy" at all in those dresses, I find those dresses really ugly, touching vulgarity if you want.

We don't critique men becase men don't fall into these childish-teenager topics. Men wear suits, smokings, tuxedos... they wear what they are supposed to wear, no crazy suits showing 6 packs. I have never seen a male soloist wearing inappropriate clothings in a classical concert. Most female soloist know where they are, are smart to wear proper clothes and that's it, not a big deal.

Are you of the opinion that one can wear whatever he or she wants, wherever he or she wants?

October 30, 2018, 1:23 PM · Live and let live.

I do wear whatever I want, wherever I want, for what it's worth-when I was younger, I was more like Mr. Ripond, careful to wear "the right thing". Then I grew older, and saw how pointless it all was.

Only at certain jobs it's a requirement to wear the "appropriate" attire. Do not get fired just for wearing "whatever" (or do not get those sort of jobs, if you rather wear whatever.)

Worth mentioning that some personality types tend to be more traditional than others, so it's OK for someone to prefer "proper", and for another, "whatever". I am definitely more in the "whatever" works for me" bias, but I admit Classical is full of old and hard to give up traditions-it's even a miracle Ms. Wang has been able to have musical success at all.

October 30, 2018, 1:33 PM · I could care less what Yuja wears because she can PLAY. Really play. She could be naked for all I care. She's earned her place on the stage. I feel like others, like Lindsey Stirling and heck, even Nigel Kennedy, have to play up the other stuff to compensate for their not-so-stellar playing.
October 30, 2018, 1:59 PM · That's it! I'm going to cut of the midsections of all my dress shirts to show off my si...eight pack.

Off to the gym to practice violin!

Kennedy dresses like a homeless person. Vengerov dresses like a used-car salesman. I saw Josefowicz live wearing a cape, and she's not even a lawyer!

Edited: October 30, 2018, 3:46 PM · Sure, it's all permitted, I'm a free man. Do you argue with orchestra members and conductors when they tell you you gotta wear black suits or dresses?
Do you go in your swimming wear? "Running" comfortable sport wear? Why not?
October 30, 2018, 4:06 PM · I maybe wouldn't worry too much about what other people wear. I think the live and let live comment above is where I fall, but really it's none of my business nor is it any of yours. Maybe let this go? I don't know why you're so fired up about other peoples' clothing choices. Lindsay's attire is wholly appropriate for music video's and the venues and events that she plays. Yuxa is a soloist and wears dresses that she likes and is comfortable in. That should be enough.
Edited: October 30, 2018, 4:30 PM · For example, this video, Stirling plays live without effects:

You can clearly see she has nothing to do if you compare her with any advanced classical student.

October 30, 2018, 4:25 PM · I'm sorry I'm not talking about the original topic. I'm not fired up, I just wanted to point out that not everything is permitted, as some have suggested here. Now I should stick to the topic, sorry again.

I asked for some links of classical pieces played by Stirling.

October 30, 2018, 4:41 PM · I enjoyed the video you posted and I like Lindsey Stirling. I heard her speak at Google a couple of years ago and she came across as a very genuine, sweet, and nice person.

She has struggled with mental health and eating disorders and is open about that and about wanting to lift up people who share the same struggles. I'm not a Christian like she is but I saw this video of hers last Christmas and I found it moving nonetheless. I think her art is an expression of her faith and her personal philosophy.

I have also tried to dance while playing my violin or viola a couple of times and that gave me a lot of appreciation for the physical difficulty of what she does. I think her explanation in this video of how/why she dances when she plays is quite charming. I understand it's not everyone's cup of tea, but what is?


In all of these videos, her intonation, tone, and phrasing are all good enough for me to enjoy in and of themselves and to not get in the way of my enjoying the overall multisensory experience. I don't really understand all the criticism.

October 30, 2018, 4:45 PM · Yuja Wang is very clever. Look how much discussion her hemline generates. That's one way to become a household name, I guess. If you think it's hard for violin soloists to demonstrate individuality, and if you are among those who mourn the loss of the individuality purportedly demonstrated by the stars of yore, believe me, it's ten times as hard for pianists, it's a limitation of the instrument itself. Wang sells orchestra tickets. But not to me.
Edited: October 30, 2018, 5:27 PM · Wait, are you saying all "professional" pianists play almost the same? That is very hard to play one piece different form another performer, that there is almost no individuality in pianists?
In other words, you will like all of them or none of them, in general terms?

That is not true, at all. Tempo, dynamics of sound, how you play each note, how long, how hard... I mean, there are thousands of ways to play a passage in a piano. It's a very expressive instrument; it simply lacks vibrato, hahahaha, shame on them, that's the weapon I use to bash my pianist friends.

I give up on the dress discussion, it's really something you don't discuss with adults. I guess not many of you know:

October 30, 2018, 6:08 PM · Why all this obsession with technique for someone who stays in her lane? Consider who Lindsey Stirling is actually competing with: pop violinists and maybe a few crossover artists. Her technique is better than average by those standards -- not that it's exemplary, but have you seen some of the others?!

It's also quite possible that some of what appear to be technical limitations are deliberate compromises. For example: I noticed at some point that she shifts only when (at least momentarily) standing still, which may be why she sometimes plays in 1st position when 3rd would be easier.

Even knowing that I'm a better player than Lindsey Stirling, I still admire her because of the way she uses her platform to talk about mental health and eating disorders. My own story as a violist is tied into mental health struggles in similar ways.

Edited: October 30, 2018, 9:39 PM · In any case, Tim, I am going to disagree with you regarding your picture of Yuja Wang. Just to highlight that it is a matter of tastes.

I am quite snob about dressing and ask from my team neat appearance. I criticize people who go to opera and concerts as if they are going to the supermarket. Dirty running shoes and baggy jeans, etc. I have refused to attend visitors and potential "clients" when I thought they were dressed disrespectfully. So for me, as for you, dressing code matters.
In the case of an event, moreso when you are soloist, I would expect that the soloist dresses in a way to mark it. It's a special occasion and they express respect marking it so with the attire. Tuxedo or anything that it's not the everyday clothes. Sexiness it's one ingredient to be used during dressing and you use it as you like it. Like Pamela said above, no matter how much you try to balance that ingredient, for many it's too much and for others too little. Yuja Wang decided to put a lot of it, because she wanted an spicy effect. You may disagree with the chef, but that doesn't make the chef wrong.

On the other hand, and talking about respect, I have been seeing lately another famous musician who plays as soloist dressing as if she is on the way to Wallmarts. You may like that because it's deprived of any sexuality or attractiveness. But for me, to play soloist as if you are going downstairs to buy milk, it's the real disrespect for the audience who have paid good money and travelled to see you.

So, as I said, it's a matter of tastes. The feeling of being disrespected is subjective unless there's proof that the person wanted to disrespect you. In neither Yuja Wang or the "Walmarts girl" I mentioned, I think they intended so...

And there's a final point to take into account. Something I found when I arrived to Asia. There are cultural differences between regions in the world about what's elegant. Here I have found to my surprise that the borders between elegant and sexy are very unclear. And I talk in experience from several official and important events.
Yuja Wang is Chinese and the way she dresses it's not unusual in these parts for "elegance".

October 31, 2018, 6:05 AM · It's a subjective topic, I know, she can wear porn star clothes and you could still play the "for me she's beautiful and nice" card. I said it's not that big of a deal, I simply say that's inappropriate for a classical concert, that's all. I don't feel disrespected or offended in any way, I feel a little sad for her because that was unnecessary, but I would still go to her concerts if I like her. Those dresses are not elegant or sexy for me, by the way. I also said thay if Garrett goes with his casual clothing, that would be also incorrect.

By the way, if you want to play cultural games, just as an example, in the highest valued most important rituals in some tribes of Africa, the elegant events, they go almost nude with bones and all type of earrings passing through body parts. In other words, when you're living in a country, you must follow the basic rules, one of them is know what to wear. Anyways, these dresses are everything but traditional or cultural chinese dresses. These dresses are what teenagers or young adults wear when they party at discos, raves, etc... come on.

October 31, 2018, 9:54 AM · Tim, I don't think that Stirling performs any classical.

Her bio on Wikipedia says that her parents could only afford to provide her with 15 minute violin lessons once a week. One of her interviews notes that she studied via Suzuki, and that her dyslexia prevents her from easily reading or writing music.

I think it's much more fair to judge her by the standards of fiddlers, not classical violinists. (Note that many fiddlers also have some classical training, just like Stirling does.)

October 31, 2018, 12:24 PM · Yeah, I know. I've tried to watch some classical pieces played by her, but couldn't find it.

Is it true that she has never performed classical pieces?

By the way, I don't "hate" her at all, she's at least a musician, and today, pop culture and pop "music" is full of people that are everything but musicians, or if they are, they are mediocre at best.

Edited: October 31, 2018, 1:11 PM · The OP says, "her playing is bad and shows poor technique. But rarely someone points out to something in particular".
I suspect that it's rather the case that people gush over her and invent stories like "she used to be a concert violinist" or "she was a child prodigy but preferred pop". We got the same crap with Kate Bush: - "she trained as an opera singer" (my a**e), or even James Joyce: - "he was fluent in Norwegian". No he wasn't - he asked a passing sailor what the Norwegian was for "pencil" and wrote it down before he was too drunk to see straight. My brother once told me Charlotte Church was the new Maria Callas. When I heard her 5 years later, I thought she sounded like a school girl. Where do people get this stuff from? Partly the media hyping everything up and partly plebs having such low standards.
October 31, 2018, 2:43 PM · So I think it would be possible to sum up the problems of Lindsey Stirling as not being Lindsey Stirling, but her audience being overzealously uninformed..
October 31, 2018, 4:17 PM · I don't think Lindsey Stirling is benefiting from people inventing stories. She doesn't claim to have ever been a concert violinist, and quite openly says she was not a very good violinist or dancer in her teens. If anything, she plays up the late-bloomer aspect of her biography.

The main thing is that pop artists and crossover artists appeal to people who haven't developed the attention span to listen to a whole concerto.

Edited: October 31, 2018, 7:21 PM · What I was saying was fans invent fanfic. And fanfic is usually junk.
Edited: November 1, 2018, 7:33 AM · Cynthia, you're talking senseless. First, I haven't heard ever that Lindsay is not a violinist. Never heard either that one that doesn't enjoy or play classical is not a violinist.

Second, there's a technique that has been developed over more than 300 years, so when a classical violinist says that "Lindsey is doing this wrong and that wrong and his hand is weird", she or he is probably right. Violin playing is an art and a tradition, the violin itself has not changed in more than 300 years, 300 YEARS!!!

There's respect for the tradition, even we respect the way of playing of baroque era and we differentiate between baroque repertoire and the rest of violin repertoire, they are understood differently, played differently with different bows, technique and everything. That's how traditional we are.

Finally, because Lindsay is "very" famous, there have been probably thousands of times where one fanatic of her says "OMG, she's one of the best violinists in the world! No one has done what she has done, she's the most famous violinists ever". These comments are read by classical violinists or students and they react by laughing or by saying she's mediocre at best. Then these fanatics react asking "why so much hate". Well, it's not hate, it's the truth, you make them talk with your hyped ignorant comment about Lindsey.

I think no "evil classical" violinist gives a fly about Lindsey, they don't care what she does, they don't hate her, but they can react when they hear or read ignorant comments made by fans.

November 1, 2018, 8:05 AM · I live near Nashville, so none of this is new to me. My teacher earns most of her living from playing in various country and rock-ish ensembles, but she has a classical background, as, I assume, most of these folks do. Considering how much time this forum devotes to warning young musicians that they may end up poverty-stricken if they pursue a music career, it seems a little disingenuous to criticize those who have found a way to earn money doing what they love, even if it's not 100% "pure." :-)
November 1, 2018, 8:40 AM · For what it's worth, I think the general warning about pursuing a music career is reinforced, not contradicted, by Lindsay Stirling. She is no less a genius than a winner of the Menuhin Competition; it's just that her genius lies elsewhere than in playing the violin per se. She is an absolutely brilliant marketer, and if she was doing her own early arrangements, those too represent a very high level of ability. Very very few mediocre violinists if any could hope to replicate a Lindsay Stirling career.
November 1, 2018, 8:51 AM · Agree with Mary Ellen, but would add, very few violinists could hope to replicate her career, great or mediocre.
November 1, 2018, 12:40 PM · Sure. But then there are people like my teacher. She is not of that calibre, and while pretty, isn't going to be doing videos like that. But she has a decent career, albeit almost entirely at this point dedicated to playing in honky tonks and teaching lessons. She seems fulfulled. :-)
November 1, 2018, 12:55 PM · Tim yes there's individuality among solo piano performances. You're kind of like a politician -- you read half of something at best and then you twist it into pretzel knots until it's something else entirely. I only said that it's harder for pianists to realize that individuality than it is for violinists because the violin is, intrinsically, a more expressive medium. Hopefully you don't need that mansplained.
Edited: November 1, 2018, 3:51 PM · Sorry, you said "it's ten times harder", not just "harder" (which is softer). That's a way to say it's much more complicated, in other words, pianists play much more the same than violinists, which I totally disagree. The piano is so expressive and the interpretations, specially of complex pieces, are so different from each other that I couldn't disagree more. May be you're the one reading halfs.
November 1, 2018, 4:09 PM · Paul, when you wrestle with the pig, you get dirty and the pig likes it.
November 1, 2018, 4:24 PM · Christian - here's Ivry Gitlis wrestling with transience


November 1, 2018, 5:13 PM · Better wrestling with transience than wrestling with transients - they have enough problems as it is.

Gitlis has never been my cup 'o tea even in his recordings done as a young man, but I gotta give him props for inspiring a lot of violinists and for really doing his own conceptions of pieces. In this context, I even dug the music.

Edited: November 1, 2018, 5:35 PM · Damn. Just came back to the forum and there are a lot of replies. It's going to take a while to go through them all

>I find it very funny and cute when people claim that sexy dresses don't matter, or better, the whole look of a musician.
>There is a pianist, Yuja Wang, that caused a lot of "media trouble" when she performed wearing a dress that was so short almost her whole leg was shown, from toe to down back.

I agree that sex sells that is often a fair criticism, but I'm not sure if it applies to Stirling. The reason for this is simply that she's dancing. Dancers use that kind of clothes, because the wouldn't be able to dance like they do for extended periods of time otherwise. I don't think it is comparable to Yuja, who only has to sit on the piano.

(By the way, I think Yuja looked FANTASTIC)

>Second, there's a technique that has been developed over more than 300 years, so when a classical violinist says that "Lindsey is doing this wrong and that wrong and his hand is weird", she or he is probably right. Violin playing is an art and a tradition, the violin itself has not changed in more than 300 years, 300 YEARS!!!
I disagree here. I don't think technique should be an end in itself, but a mean to achieve something (a performance, an interpretation). As a mean to an end, it makes little sense to point out technical mistakes that would be noticeable only if playing complex pieces beyond her niche. I've seen plenty of folk violinists that would make anyone here throw a tantrum (collapsed wrist, inexistent vibrato, holding the bow pretty much wherever and however they want) yet their sound was still very good. They wouldn't be able to play "traditional" pieces with that technique, but does it matter? They're folk violinists, they have no interest in classical, and their technique is enough for their purposes.

November 1, 2018, 6:43 PM · And we wonder why 'classical' music has the "snob"
stereotype....perhaps we (myself included) like feeling a little
better than other musicians,even if we dont know it...
November 1, 2018, 7:03 PM · I am not a classical violinist, and tbh my playing is worse than Lindsey's. But it is the misconception that she is the greatest living contemporary violinist that I take issue with. Technique-wise, she isn't, and somehow it's unfair for the classical folks being considered lesser just because they are less well-known or they wouldn't dance when they play.

Since my correction of such misconception would be likely to lead to talking about the inadequacies in her technique, compared to that of a classical violinist, people start thinking I am disparaging her in some way, when in fact I don't.

November 1, 2018, 9:00 PM · Christian -- yes, I see what you mean.
November 1, 2018, 11:16 PM · I honestly wanted to give her a chance before I heard that video. I thought "ok, here she is with an acoustic violin"...oh but she just can't bear to go without all that excessive reverb and electric frippery, can she? It all just comes across as fake. Also, she doesn't seem to play anything except for really basic pop covers. To me that's boring. I like to be impressed and that doesn't impress me.
Edited: November 2, 2018, 7:32 AM · Either some of you guys don't read or can't read or are overly dramatic. Yuja can wear those dresses (which I think are terrible) when she parties, but not in a classical concert. Not a big deal, it's inappropriate, wardrobe fail, on purpose of course. High heels on piano, come on. Next topic.

For the last time, Stirling fanatics, no one is attacking Stirling. For most classical students and professionals, if not all, we don't care about her, it's nice she's doing that. The problem is, as I've said and others as well, when a fanatic starts to talk about her as if she was one of the best violinists in the world. That's when you will hear criticism.

November 2, 2018, 7:53 AM · What the world really needs is another version of Hallelujah.
Edited: November 2, 2018, 10:15 AM · Stirling is not a violin virtuous player , but she is a virtous performer in what she is doing. She would not be able to make those kind of performances if she spent time on learning violin technique at the level of top virtuous players.

But she do need to have a violin technique that is sufficient in order to do what she is doing, and she has that. There are a lot of other things she need to practice in order to make her performances. Try out to dance with big body movements in an elegant way while playing the violin and you will find out it takes a lot before someone would consider your dance to be elegant.

She does not at all pretend to be a top violin virtuous player, that is not the point of her shows. But as I wrote above she is a virtuous performer in what she is doing.

You might know ThoSetViolin, the Australian duo Brett Yang and Eddy Chen, they have made two fun videos on Lindsey Stirling:

This short one which is hilarious:

And another amazing one:

November 2, 2018, 11:32 AM · I enjoy attending concerts in one of the big concert halls not too far away. Usually my daughter is one of the only youngsters around. Four month ago we enjoyed a concert featuring Yuja Wang. What a pleasure. And what a surprise. The concert hall was filled with young people.
Edited: November 3, 2018, 10:20 AM · Is it that classically trained violinists have too many gatekeepers? I'm thinking that the life of an aspiring violinist is one of teachers, examiners, audition panels for competitions, audition panels for college, audition panels for orchestras, conductors, critics and so on. All of these saying you can only play the violin a certain narrow way, you can only do this, you can't do that... Along comes Youtube and now there are no gatekeepers between players, such as Lindsey Stirling, and the audience itself. They can now play however they want and find their audience. Audiences are also free to enjoy what they want. To be a gatekeeper to some other person's enjoyment is pure arrogance.
Edited: November 2, 2018, 11:44 PM · To put it simply, her violin technique is flawed even when not judging on a classical standard. Yes I know it is still sufficient for what she does.

I don't think it is wrong to correct people who thinks she has the best technique, although her skill set goes beyond the sheer playing.

She inspires many teenagers to study the violin and that is fantastic. There are, however, pedagogical values in separating good technique to them, from the bad ones.

Edited: November 2, 2018, 7:42 PM · Matt Lawrence wrote:
To put it simply, her violin technique is flawed even when not judging on a classical standard. Yes I know it is still sufficient for what she does.

There is no flaw if her technique is sufficient for what she does, because then she has the adequate technique required.

You can probably always learn more technique, I don't think there is a limit. And you can learn different techniques for different genres or different techniques within the same genre. There is a lot to explore. But that doesn't mean that you are not skilled at what you are doing right now if you are succeeding with that.

November 2, 2018, 8:33 PM · "There is no flaw if her technique is sufficient for what she does".

While I disagree, I respect your opinion. I think people can still engage in many sports or play many instruments even when their techniques are not perfect. Some obvious imperfection of techniques, however, will prevent them progress further should they want to.

Lindsey Stirling obviously neither plays classical nor claims her techniques are good, and I think she is a kind and humble artist who has done a lot more than just playing.

That said I think it is still necessary to separate good and bad techniques, as this has some pedagogical implications for the teenagers or learners who may possibly emulate her playing. So long as they are aware of her limits, to play like her or not like her is up to them.

P/S I think she has progressed a lot in recent years. Who knows, maybe in 10 years she will surprise us with impeccable technique.

November 3, 2018, 12:45 AM · There are always potential injury concerns. However, given Stirling's style of music, she'll probably be comfortably retired from the stage long before her technique causes her medical issues.
November 3, 2018, 9:44 AM · I don't remember anyone questioning Máiréad Nesbitt's technique. But then her bio suggests she got to a fairly high level as a teenager.
November 3, 2018, 10:13 AM · Doesn't Itzhak Perlman do weird things with his thumb in high positions?
Edited: November 3, 2018, 10:41 AM · Hi,
Having watched and listened to Lindsays video,I recognised that
the piece is basically a 'theme and variations' kind of arrangement,necessitated by the fact that there are no sung lyrics.
A singer can sing the same melody twice,but what makes it interesting are the different words (hopefully).When someone does an instrumental
doing variations (or maybe using fancy effects)it keeps the tune interesting.Maybe Lindsay spends some time not on technique,but doing arrangements,too.

On clothing,the well known pianist Lola astanova,who is
highly accomplished,wears what some might say are 'inappropriate' dresses when she performs....does she get
criticised for this?

November 3, 2018, 9:17 PM · Probably.
Edited: November 4, 2018, 3:49 AM · Speaking of 'overly-sexualized' performance attire ... We have been blaming women all along, so check out this male violinist (viewer discretion advised - only watch if you are fine with some homoerotica)


I'm impressed that he can plays the violin in that merman outfit sitting on that rock. Perhaps he's better looking than Paganini, David.

Popular music pardons sexualization greatly. Look at how Madonna, Britney Spears, Beyonce etc. successfully utilize their sexual appeals without inviting too much criticism.

Lindsey Stirling is a pop artist, so she honestly can be a lot more provocative with her clothes, compared to how she dresses now. So is the male performer quoted. Yuja Wang's dress in the picture above, on the other hand, seems a bit inappropriate to me as she wasn't in a pop performance. Just my opinion, no offense to anyone.

Classical music tends to be less accepting of deviations because too much deviations will eventually make the music non-classical. Provocative dressing invites criticism perhaps because it is a deviation from the norm.

To each their own, but raunchy, suggestive costume is one thing that I don't hope to see in a classical music setting. Though I'm fine with sexiness and elegance, I think there is a fine line between sexiness and oversexualization. This fine line is important in classical music.

Edited: November 4, 2018, 4:01 AM · Matt, I already came across this guy, but this merman thing... Holy s***!
Since the discussion already drifted away from violin technique towards sexualisation in showbusiness, let me throw in the name of another male - Frank Yang. Again, check out his YouTube Chanel only if you are fine with some explicit content. And this time it's definitely about a classical trained violinist! (No judging from my side... He definitely achieved something, and the stuff he's doing is pretty individual... And he doesn't deny his diagnosis...)
November 4, 2018, 9:42 AM · What's sad is when a young person says to himself or herself, "I'll never be soloist because it's not in my genes to look like so-and-so." That doesn't mean anyone has any specific obligation to be a "role model" but it would still be a negative outcome if young people were deterred from their life's dream because they've got the wrong body type.
November 4, 2018, 9:47 AM · Christopher, Perlman's hands and fingers are huge. That means his physical placements are somewhat different than the typical player, but it's all still conventional technique.
Edited: November 4, 2018, 10:18 AM · Matt: "To put it simply, her violin technique is flawed even when not judging on a classical standard. Yes I know it is still sufficient for what she does"

This is something I've read quite a bit, as I said at the start. However, I'm still waiting for someone to point out her technical flaws.

Simply saying she's is a "mediocre violin" and has "flawed technique" is vague, and it rather sounds like someone complaning for no reason rather than an objective/professional opinion.

Edited: November 4, 2018, 3:48 PM · Demian, I abstained from discussing her techniques in details so as not to enrage her fans further, and to not invite trouble to myself ;). Doing so invariably cause some people to think I am belittling her in some way, while in fact I don't. I highly appreciate her for what she has done outside of techniques.

I could have stopped here. But let me be a bit more brave:

- Her right hand is stiff.
- Her knuckles are stiff when doing vibratos. Her left wrist movement does not transform fully to her vibrato due to her knuckle not flexible enough. In her earlier videos it looked like she only moved her wrist while fixing the fingers.
- Very often her left hand palm touches the neck.

I am an adult amateur who picked up the violin 4 years ago, and during the first two years I went through exactly the same habits. After all they are very popular beginner habits which have been corrected a lot by violin instructors and pedagogues, in and out of this forum. The correction of each of these have significantly improved my playing.

Experienced instructors may have more to say about her techniques (Erik, for example, commented about her shifting). And since I'm just an amateur, I may be considered arrogant for pointing out her imperfections, but I also note that even an amateur (whether it's me or someone else) could still spot out her limits despite being an amateur.

Discussion of good and bad techniques is also context-dependent. Stirling had been playing for more than 20 years before her first big year on YouTube. If she was only picking up the violin for a couple of years I would have said she had great technique and quick progress.

I noted that my word choice of 'flawed' is problematic to some. Given that it is sufficient for what she does, I revise it to 'limited', as in 'Her technique is limited even when not judging on a classical standard'.

Even Stirling herself admits she is not a good violinist technique-wise. And a production team member once defended her 'you don't need to be really good to start doing something'. So it's really not a yes/no but rather a why/how discussion, as Demian initiated.

November 4, 2018, 4:48 PM · @Nuuska quite amusing isn't it!

If you are feminist enough, subscribe to these channels as men deserve to be objectified too! :-D))

Another one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFeIUNkN1J8

@Christopher Payne Perlman had to work out what worked for him to play at that level despite his physical difficulties. He deserves even more praise for that.

November 4, 2018, 5:52 PM · Yes, I get that absolutely. If he wasn't Perlman though there would be some commentators complaining that he didn't have proper technique!

I must say though, a lot of this forum focusses on technique and seldom mentions expression. You could have the best technique in the world, but without expression you could not be called an artist.

Edited: November 4, 2018, 6:10 PM · OMG, Matt... that´s a serious amount of undercuts and shaved bodies, indeed. My favourite scene is at 0:20 when that "drunk" blonde guy "awakens" on the bar! And uuh, I´m sure they´re play´n that fiddle hard! :-) Well, we´re living in the 21st century.

Only thing I don´t get is, there doesn´t seem to be a market for male naked skin apart from homoerotics, no matter if in folk or classical music. Dave Garett´s silky hair floating in the wind machine seems to be the maximum, but anything beyond that is usually girls or gay. (Except Mr. Yang, but... ehm… let´s skip that, he´s trying to stay sober now. At least he tells us so.) Is it because women prefer the more subtle pleasures? Or because heterosexual men do not want to feel doubted in their sexual orientation and tend to avoid any misleading behaviour?

Edited: November 5, 2018, 10:04 AM · Malcolm, I doubt Lola Astanova is taken very seriously in the classical world. She's like a 13 year old boy's pubertal idea of...something, I'm not sure what. I think she would be a little more comfortable if she moved the piano bench closer to the piano, but the vamping self-seriousness of her videos are good for a laugh. I, of course, would never stoop to ogling!

She seems to be in a sort of slightly heightened Garrett vein of corniness, but apparently Donald Trump is a big patron of her arts endowment.

November 5, 2018, 4:35 PM · @Nuuska I don't really know :-)

@Christopher I can't see how Perlman's thump could materially affect his sound, but correct me if I'm wrong. For millions of reasons, I would avoid using him to make some other artist look better.

Perlman's career is exemplary despite his physical difficulties and health issues. In any situation, if any healthy person could play in the same repertoire as he did while sounding half as good, they would get my utmost respect no matter how weird or contrarian their techniques are.

November 5, 2018, 9:16 PM · No no, I think Perlman is great and his technique flawless for him. Was just a passing flippant comment to show that we can't always judge a player by how they are living up the rule book on technique. You can't say something like 'that violinist is useless because they have a collapsed wrist'. Of course we tell a student to use the very best technique they can but ultimately it's not everything.

Check out this guy:


I'm not saying this guy is the best or anything but his playing doesn't lack soul, despite having the most bizarre technique on earth!

Edited: November 8, 2018, 5:34 AM · Now that is a really interesting and ergonomic approach to playing the violin! Technically fine playing and musical, too. Note how, like a cellist, he uses his thumb as an extra stop. Also, he bows left-handed on a standard setup violin, with a chin rest in the usual place - not sure why.

[Edit added Nov 8, '18: Perhaps he is a cellist? - thus wonders a former cellist]

November 6, 2018, 9:49 AM · Guess a chin rest key wasn't the most urgent topic in his investment plans.
Edited: November 6, 2018, 6:14 PM · I wonder what kind of BR he uses? (Belly Rest)
November 6, 2018, 6:29 PM · I wonder if these last few posts will generate an after-market for BR's or similar devices for holding the violin in that position?
Edited: November 6, 2018, 6:45 PM · In the first few pages of the Nov. 12 issue of The New Yorker there is a Rolex ad that features a picture of Yuja Wang (and four famous opera singers). The copy reads, "when your passion is world-renowned, you've made history." Note that she is wearing a floor-length gown in her photo.
November 7, 2018, 4:54 PM · I'm dead sure a slightly modified Korfker Cradle would make a great BR!

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