Posted by Duckinacup on Monday, October 3, 2016
My name isn't really Duck. It's Mike, but I chose Duck to match my photo here which is a snapshot a mug of hot tea brewing using a tea strainer my daughter bought me as a birthday gift a number of years ago.
Well, here it is, October 3, 2016, and sometime this month I'll pass another milestone. I picked up my fiddle, just last Monday, for the first time in over a year. Or is it more than two years? Either way it wasn't easy.
My first attempt at learning to fiddle was a struggle. An enjoyable struggle, but a contest between me and the instrument no matter how it was sliced and diced. I worked at it for about a year and, due to finger and joint pain and just plain lack of confidence, packed my fiddle (I named her Molly, by the way) intending to sell her off or drop her in the trash if I couldn't. Now I'm glad I didn't accomplish either of those tasks, but I came closer to the latter more times than I care to admit.
I bought Molly after two months of private lesson using a rental violin. I think I got a good deal, or at least a fair shake, from the shop owner who rented me the first and sold me the second. He applied the two month's rental fees to the purchase price, so the cost was under $200.00 for fiddle, bow, and hard case. I had to supply tuner and rosin, but I already had those.
My wife doesn't often repeat herself, but on this topic she commented at least once a month wondering why I quit and telling me, or anyone else in the room, that I had talent. She never quite told me I should try again, but the hints were there and I missed them. So, for my bride of 36 + years I am trying again.
Molly is a 20 - 25 year old Knilling Stradivarius copy, number 42670 made in Germany. Because the label doesn't identify the country of origin as West German (Federal Republic of Germany) the safe conclusion is that it was made after October 3, 1990. Over the course of the year we played with each other her tone warmed and improved to the point that I believed she was worth two, maybe even three times what I paid for her services. No surprise, though, that after a year or two of being locked away in a dark case, Molly reverted to her former scratchy and shrill voice. My goal, now, is to coax her back to what I consider her old sweet self.
This first week of practice has been difficult. I have all the sheet music and books I collected during the first go-round, but my fingers don't want to find the notes, now. The old stiffness and pains are back, too, but I'm manageing those by better managing my practice time. And a couple good OTC NSAIDs. This past week I've worked on intonation, D major scale, one old tune and one new one. I think the week has been successful because I believe I'm hitting close to 50% of the notes right or so close I can't tell they're wrong. I've memorized a new tune, Nearer, my God, to Thee, almost memorized an old tune, Soldier's Joy, I had almost memorized two years ago, and now remember with certainty that D major has 2 sharps.
This week I'm going to work over another trio:
If I can figure out how to upload mp3's and make available just here I'll do that.
Edit 10/3/16: Linked the tune titles to the site's audio player.
Thursday, November 9, 2017 @6:01:41 AM
So.. Duck (mike).. it has been a year.. Still Playing? (Lee from battleground)
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'5-strings' 11 hrs
'Squeaks and scratches' 2 days
'Pre WW2 Fiddle' 2 days
'Flash jams?' 2 days