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Fine Tuning

Posted by mudbug on Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stew made me think of this.  How right at first,  you're trying to juggle all  the details of getting a note to sound,  and your mind can't keep focused on them all,  so you kinda throw the spotlight around, like in those old movies about prison,  and you let some things slide cause you're trying to focus on the worst offender.  "Allright,  Mugsy,  we got you in our sights,  get back to your cell!"  Meanwhile,  the other offenders are hiding in the tall grass and ducking their heads when the light comes by and we don't catch them,  cause our mind is focusing on the really bad offenders.

This week,  when trying to find out about a bowing problem I've been having with the viola,  I watched in the mirror and was surprised to find that my perceptions were way off.  Not only wasn't I able to interpret the visual cues,  thinking I was bowing between the bridge and end of the fingerboard when I was over the fingerboard,  but my bowing was crooked.  Slanting,  when it should have been straight.  The viola's only 3 months old and I've been focusing on trying to get a good tone,  where the bow weight is different as is bow pressure needed (as oppossed to the fiddle),  and trying to read the alto clef.  I've put the sheet music away (for now) and my viola practice consists of long,  SLOWWWWWWWWWWWW bowing,  watching and checking in the mirror and trying to get visual instrument/body clues of what a straight bow look/'feels like.

Man,  for people who like to anylise things,  the fiddle is a dream come true.

5 comments on “Fine Tuning”

fiddlerjoebob Says:
Saturday, December 3, 2011 @4:17:04 PM

Who you callin Mugsy?

RossClan Says:
Saturday, December 3, 2011 @6:55:38 PM

boy- ain't that the truth! I altered my posture, to bring my fiddle more in front of my body and then decided my bow needed rehairing because it wasn't gripping right. I took it in for a rehair, and the guy said "This bow doesn't need rehairing." I practiced in front of a mirror and realized the stroke I used for so many years with the other posture, didn't work with this new posture... back to the drawing board... so many things to think about, all at the same time!

eerohero Says:
Thursday, December 8, 2011 @1:10:31 PM

"so many things to think about, all at the same time" thats it,I feld to that trap also , yet then discovering one thing at the time and then adding next, not ALL OF THEM ! lol, Ive been there also....

Mirror, yes, never lies, unvaluable partner in Musicianship, entertainer trainings, "are you talking to ME experience!" A Cruel thing....

Stevie, dont waste your time on analyzing, (so many others are doing it for You),just play it, as much as you can, you came this far without analyzing too much, didnt you ?

Andah1andah2 Says:
Thursday, December 8, 2011 @3:48:54 PM

Yes, the mirror tells the truth. You get to see exactly how flexible that wrist really is, and how straight your bow really is, etc.

I learned another positive thing about the mirror the other day. I have been practicing my vibrato up above third position where it is easier because the bottom of your palm can rest against the fiddle shoulder (I don't know why). When it get it going there, I try to pull it back to first position and the ability goes away. Now...I tried it looking in the mirror and when I pull my hand away from the fiddle and watch in the mirror, I'm able to get some vibrato motion. Like my brain allows me to perform that motion because I can see what I'm doing. Maybe I make no sense, but another mirror benefit.

mudbug Says:
Friday, December 9, 2011 @1:55:03 AM

Thanks, Eero, but actually, right from the beginning (maybe it's a personality thing), I've spent part of my practice being very anylitical, and experimenting.
Stew, yes, the first palce I got my vibrato was in third position, before I even played in third, and struggling to get it in first. In thid, the hand is kinda pancaked and then I was able to get the vibrato in first by pancaking, but now I'm working on getting it with a straight wrist which is a horse of a different color. Good luck, bro, and keep at it.

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