Archive for June, 2021

Log link index

Sunday, June 13th, 2021

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Thimbronion's Violin

Sunday, June 13th, 2021

I picked up my violin again after several years of neglect. I hadn't really played since I put together a quartet to perform (actually I can't remember what we played) at a small recital back in 2007 or 2008. I think one reason I stopped playing was because my soon to be ex-wife strongly disliked the instrument.

I started to play again for purely incidental reasons. One is that a girl I've been seeing saw my violin and asked to hear me play. Sadly at the time I couldn't due to having severly injured my wrists in a completely avoidable electric unicycle accident. As time has passed and my wrists have healed, I have indeed begun to be able to pick up my violin and play again. The accident has definitely given me a new found appreciation for my wrists, which, even though they are of the utmost importance to me because of my profession I have perhaps taken for granted. In any case I'm glad she asked because I'm enjoying it again after really having given up on it. Another reason is that I met some musicians in Costa Rica and I think it would be a blast to give some performances with them.

I never really had a good violin before now. I had played on student violins, and if you asked me before, I couldn't tell you how to tell the difference between a good violin and a bad one. As I started to play again this last time, I was forced between choosing to repair my low quality student violin and purchaing a different instrument. I chose to purchase a new (well, used) instrument of higher quality. It indeed sounds better. Anything played on the E-string in particular just sounds ... brighter.

I am now working on playing the 4th part of Romanian Folk Dances, by Bartok. I don't have any particular reason to play it other than that I still have the sheet music, and I love playing it. In a way, the distance between now and the last time I practiced anything is a gift. I can hear myself critically now, from a distance, including all of the flaws in my technique. I don't know why I couldn't hear or didn't care to hear the problems before but I believe I now have a chance to improve, whereas if I'd continued as before, I might never have improved. In particular my bowing is problematic. The bow bounces in the middle of a long stroke. It touches adjacent strings when it shouldn't. It starts strokes roughly, and change between upstrokes and down strokes is not smooth. My intonation also is not great, and my 4th finger vibrato is non-existant. There are a lot more resources available now than before that I can use to improve, including, yes, even youtube. There are hours of videos to watch on vibrato alone.

I've already been able to improve my technique by memorizing the piece so I can concentrate on and literally observe my bow, rather than the music on the page.

I am happy to be getting this part of my life back and looking forward to continued advancements and playing more with others.