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Thread: I Just Bought A Violin

  1. #26

    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    I agree with the comments above.

    To them, I would add and emphasize the choice of violin is a big decision because you are really choosing the sound. My first mistake was buying to a budget. Later, better players persuaded me to change to another "student" violin (from Europe) which had better strings and bow. Immediately the sound was less "thin" and more "coherent".

    The other thing not mentioned is that there are many reputable violin books published 30-50 years ago, available secondhand, with clear instructions on technique if you are isolated, as I was when I began.

    The 2012 book by Gary Marcus "Guitar Zero" had a chapter on advice from various teachers. One was to be aware of the separate specific actions of arm, fingers etc etc (mindful in current parlance) and I benefited from applying that pointer when by myself. (But I do not recommend the book as it takes a long time to make a few points that good teachers would cover and expand upon)

    Good luck with persistance and frequency of application

  2. #27

    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    my first violin
    I pity your neighbors. But then, I pity my neighbors too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    To a degree, but you can only play two notes at a time on violin
    I once heard that this is a distinction between a violin and a fiddle: fiddles often have flatter bridges to make triple stops viable.

  3. #28
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    Jeff Learman, Post #27:

    "I once heard that this is a distinction between a violin and a fiddle: fiddles often have flatter bridges to make triple stops viable."

    -------------

    That depends on the fiddling tradition. I've never known or heard of a Canadian fiddler who uses or recommends a lower bridge, though I suspect there are may be a few out there, people being what they are. I first came across the distinction you make in Mile Krassen's book, Appalachian Fiddle (1973), but this practice is certainly not true of the many Canadian fiddlers that I've met, whether they play Canadian Old Time, Cape Breton, French-Canadian, Metis, or other styles. The distinction between a violin and a fiddle in most traditions is based on the music played on the instrument. I would add, if you have sheet music in front of you, you're not fiddling, you're playing the violin or learning a tune.

    And to quote a recent post from another thread: "Amazing how many of these threads started …and then the OP disappears."
    Last edited by Ranald; May-26-2022 at 2:24pm.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  4. #29
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    I agree, Ranald. Some of the southern style players may have a flatter bridge but I am not sure it would be so flat to allow for bowing three strings at once. And yes it is the music that is played on it that determines what it is called. However my friend who is a retired pro classical violinist refers to his colleagues as fiddlers so Igbo I the terms are at times and for some folks interchangeable.
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  6. #30
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I agree, Ranald. Some of the southern style players may have a flatter bridge but I am not sure it would be so flat to allow for bowing three strings at once. And yes it is the music that is played on it that determines what it is called. However my friend who is a retired pro classical violinist refers to his colleagues as fiddlers so Igbo I the terms are at times and for some folks interchangeable.
    Yeah, but when the classical folks refer affectionately to their "fiddle," they're kind of "slumming", as if they were calling their Lamborghini, "my jalopy" (young folks may have to look up that word) or their purebred dog, "the mutt.". If you look at the etymology of the word "fiddle," it originally meant a violin. My Oxford Canadian Dictionary says "Old English fithele from Germanic from a Romanic root related to VIOL." I would add to that: in Scottish Gaelic, which doesn't have a letter v, the word for violin or fiddle is fiol. Compare that with the Latinate viol, which refers to all the instruments of the violin family. Then consider that many people in Scotland, parts of England, Newfoundland, the American South, etc. put glottal stops in their words so that "fiddle" may be pronounced "fi'el." The three words "viol", "fiol" and "fiddle" aren't far apart then. Being brought up among fiddlers, in my culture, the word "fiddle" always referred to the violin when used for aural traditional dance or related music or country music. This is generally true in the contemporary English-speaking wold. In my experience, no one would be insulted if you called their fiddle a "violin" but some might be irritated if you called their violin a "fiddle." French doesn't make the same distinction. In French-Canadian speech, un violin can refer to either a fiddle for dances or an orchestral violin.
    Last edited by Ranald; May-26-2022 at 7:41pm.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  7. #31

    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    The distinction between a violin and a fiddle in most traditions is based on the music played on the instrument.
    Yeah, that's indisputable. I'd bet that most "fiddle" players use an instrument set up pretty much the same way as a classical violinist's. But I wouldn't be surprised if some (especially those playing triple stops, if that's really common) have a different setup. I think I recall hearing triple stops in a famous fiddle contest that I now can't remember the name of. One of the competitions was way-out stuff, where they'd do bird calls and make other sounds you'd never expect to hear from a stringed instrument.

    I wonder whether anyone makes "fiddles" with higher radius necks, to match a flatter bridge. I'd think that would be necessary. Just idle curiosity, since I'll never attempt violin or fiddle. I already suck bad enough on much easier instruments.

    The fiddle/mando player in my erstwhile duet had never heard of what I mentioned. But he's an all-round musician, equally good at sight reading or playing by ear and playing a wide variety of styles, so I wouldn't expect him to be interested in a special-purpose setup. (I felt privileged to play with him, and am sad that I'm moving too far away for us to play regularly!)

    I would add, if you have sheet music in front of you, you're not fiddling, you're playing the violin or learning a tune.
    And you're definitely not noodling! Oh wait, wrong thread, sorry.

    Thanks for the etymology! I love that stuff. I'll add one odd bit that I read from an etymologist: "If it makes sense, it's unlikely to be true." Evidently, etymology rarely "makes sense." But I bet you're right about fiddle!

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  9. #32

    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffLearman View Post
    Yeah, that's indisputable. I'd bet that most "fiddle" players use an instrument set up pretty much the same way as a classical violinist's. But I wouldn't be surprised if some (especially those playing triple stops, if that's really common) have a different setup. I think I recall hearing triple stops in a famous fiddle contest that I now can't remember the name of. One of the competitions was way-out stuff, where they'd do bird calls and make other sounds you'd never expect to hear from a stringed instrument.

    I wonder whether anyone makes "fiddles" with higher radius necks, to match a flatter bridge. I'd think that would be necessary.
    FYI, hardanger fiddle fingerboards typically have very little radius, or none at all, as well as corresponding flattened bridges - as multi-string playing is a standard technique in the idiom. The instruments themselves, deriving from medieval origins, bear more similarity to a baroque fiddle than a modern violin.
    Randal Scott

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  11. #33
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I agree, Ranald. Some of the southern style players may have a flatter bridge but I am not sure it would be so flat to allow for bowing three strings at once.
    I think you're right, Jim. I'm neither a luthier nor an engineer, but I am a fiddler, and I can tell you that a bridge low enough to play triple stops wouldn't allow the playing of most of the music created for violin in the last 500 years. A fiddle could easily be designed for playing four strings at once (the violin may have roots in such instruments see Post #32), but then you have the same problem with a musician being unable to play music created for the violin. Miles Krassen in the Appalachian Fiddle said the the purpose of the flatter bridge was to make it easier "playing two strings at once." I know nothing about Appalachian fiddling, so I'm not arguing with him. Still, playing two strings at once isn't difficult with a high bridge plus practice.


    Quote Originally Posted by JeffLearman View Post
    I think I recall hearing triple stops in a famous fiddle contest that I now can't remember the name of. One of the competitions was way-out stuff, where they'd do bird calls and make other sounds you'd never expect to hear from a stringed instrument.
    I've seen "novelty class" contests at fiddle contests, in which particularly athletic fiddlers with impeccable timing do all kinds of tricks such as playing behind the back, above the head, and even playing while rolling over. Some of these folks may be able to make a single note and a double stop sound like a "triple stop" (a chord?) with a quick flick of the wrist, but it's hard to imagine a fiddler actually playing triple stops. Many use the tune, "Listen to the Mockingbird" to make bird whistles. Here's an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7e6...GoldenAgeMedia
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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  13. #34

    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    I read elsewhere that flatter bridge makes double stops easier. I don't understand that a bit. Seems to me that with a classical bridge, double stops have a narrower angle of tolerance than single lines (which is what I think you'd want for classical playing.) With a flatter bridge, the angle of tolerance for single string bowing gets narrower but for double stops would stay the same.

    So, maybe it's not easier, it's just less "more difficult" than single stop. But I'm just guessing.

    A setup that allows triple stops would reduce the amount of juice you could put into a single stop; if you push too hard you'll get all three. Maybe there are no triple stops and it's all in my imagination!

    The contest I was remembering was something being discussed on the radio many years ago, and yeah, it involved a lot of shenanigans and a lot of laughs -- but with respect for the people who can do it. I suppose it's a bit like trick golf artists. I once saw a trick shot guy being interviewed, after a demonstration of some truly amazing feats with golf club and ball. The interviewer asked, if he could do such amazing things why didn't he just play the pro circuit. The answer was revealing and believable. He said that while tricks were fun and seemed difficult, the truly most difficult thing is to hit the ball straight and far and right where you want to put it, and to do that better than any of the other pros. In comparison, tricks were easy.

    One of the great things about music is, it's not a competition. Regardless, to be a good player, you gotta work hard at being a good player, and practicing tricks doesn't get you there.

    One of the things I love about being a musician is that it's so easy to be humble. There's always someone who can do it better, if even if you're the best at something, there are other things that others can do better. Then again, if you play like I do, it's REAL easy to be humble.

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  15. #35
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    I took up mandolin when I realized it was a convergence of my guitar and fiddle experience. Not to say I am great at any of this but there definitely is some overlap.

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