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Attaching Small Level to Fiddle and/or bow

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Sep 15, 2020 - 1:52:06 PM
1287 posts since 7/26/2015

What are your thoughts on the idea of attaching a small level to the fiddle and/or bow to make sure that the player is keeping them steady and straight?

Sep 15, 2020 - 1:56:16 PM

2534 posts since 7/12/2013

I don't really see it working. The fiddle doesn't sit completely flat on you so what would the level be measuring against? And then the bow changes angles when it changes strings and is in motion, so the level would be all over the place.

Sep 15, 2020 - 2:00:56 PM

1655 posts since 12/11/2008

I can't think of a single strategy to do what you're thinking about. There isn't a single flat surface on either of them. A level would not help, either, as your motions while fiddling or even holding the things under your chin/in your fingers would...and must...constantly alter the levels. Another problem is being able to actually keep an eye on the two levels.

In other words, probably your best if imperfect strategy for looking at the levels is to watch yourself in a mirror.

Edited by - Lonesome Fiddler on 09/15/2020 14:02:30

Sep 15, 2020 - 2:15:40 PM

4834 posts since 9/26/2008

Anything you attach to the bow, no matter where or how tiny, will change/upset the balance of the bow.

Sep 15, 2020 - 3:50:29 PM
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1791 posts since 8/27/2008

Seems crazy. I don't even think 'level' means anything about playing. It's the relationship between the bow and fiddle that counts.

Sep 15, 2020 - 4:22:42 PM
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193 posts since 3/1/2020

There would be no advantage to putting a level on the bow, as the bow arm should change position for each string. The balance point of the bow would be thrown off.

Some teachers will train students to hold their violins up by putting tape on a music stand and telling the students to keep the scroll pointed at the mark. It’s good for the violin to be roughly parallel to the ground, but it is generally tilted a bit naturally. That makes it hard to use a level as a tool to check posture.

The best tool for assessing and improving posture is a mirror.

Sep 15, 2020 - 5:37:28 PM

541 posts since 8/10/2017

I've been taking lessons and I'm supposed to watch myself in the mirror. But I do a lot better if I just watch the bow against a straight line such as the end of the fingerboard or the bridge.

Sep 15, 2020 - 8:28:47 PM

11240 posts since 9/23/2009

Me personally...I just go by the sound...sounds ok, doin' it right. Sounds yucky, doin' somethin' wrong...try changing this way or that to see if it sounds better, etc.

Sep 15, 2020 - 11:23 PM
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2616 posts since 9/13/2009

Level aside, not sure if good idea ergonomically that the fiddle has to be held in any perfectly fixed locked position.

 

They do make contraptions for keeping the bow straight, parallel to bridge...  but most folks advise against using such contraptions.

Sep 15, 2020 - 11:27:48 PM
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buckhenry

Australia

2209 posts since 8/23/2008
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This guy should have a level on his fiddle, he's making me dizzy just watching him...

youtube.com/watch?v=CtkRlRISwSE

Sep 16, 2020 - 9:59:09 AM

38 posts since 3/29/2020

I read about a prominent texas/contest fiddler who would practice in a dark room with a lit cigarette taped to the button. A more modern solution would be a small laser pointer. I'm not sure what the goal was, but she is one hell of a fiddler and educator, so it seems to have worked.

Edited by - The Body Electric on 09/16/2020 09:59:49

Sep 16, 2020 - 11:29:46 AM

Swing

USA

1966 posts since 6/26/2007

I disagree with everyone.... I think that he should put a levels on both his bow and his fiddle...there is no harm done other than it might not achieve what he was thinking.... it is really no different than any which way bowing. the part that I don't understand is how to watch the level while playing, especially if you are doing any circular bowing....

Play HAPPY

Swing

Sep 16, 2020 - 12:57:54 PM

2616 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by buckhenry

This guy should have a level on his fiddle, he's making me dizzy just watching him...

youtube.com/watch?v=CtkRlRISwSE


well he is changing his concept of ups and downs to his bowing, that might qualify as anywhichway bowing?

Sep 16, 2020 - 1:02:24 PM
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2616 posts since 9/13/2009

a lit cigarette taped to the button.

I have no idea how that would help level and sounds dangerous.

FWIW - if wanting to pursue "level" and given the fiddle odd angles... I would think just construct a basic water level with a piece of clear tubing.

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 09/16/2020 13:04:18

Sep 16, 2020 - 1:54:52 PM

11240 posts since 9/23/2009

Oh I guess I misunderstood the purpose...I thought the OP meant he wanted a level to see if he was holding his instrument and bow straight. I didn't know it was about bowing. But, I don't see how watching a level would affect a person's bowing...lol...I think i just don't understand the discussion.

Sep 16, 2020 - 3:14:31 PM
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Players Union Member

boxbow

USA

2564 posts since 2/3/2011

Given the choice of watching a gauge, dial, or other read-out and watching the bow itself, I'll watch the bow. A regular bubble in a tube only tells you if you're perpendicular to gravity and the fluid will just slosh back and forth, anyway. I assume your concern is not that the bow operate parallel to the ground but that it operate in a true linear fashion and stays lined up until you change strings.

Sep 17, 2020 - 3:51:04 PM

1287 posts since 7/26/2015

No, you didn't midunderstand. You are right.
quote:
Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

Oh I guess I misunderstood the purpose...I thought the OP meant he wanted a level to see if he was holding his instrument and bow straight.


Edited by - soppinthegravy on 09/17/2020 15:54:10

Sep 18, 2020 - 4:44:06 AM
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Hector

UK

17 posts since 11/1/2018

I started off trying to hold the fiddle "level" like the classical players do but found it too uncomfortable, especially when sitting down. Nowadays it's not so level but still sounds the same.

Sep 18, 2020 - 6:03:55 AM
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2042 posts since 10/22/2007

The bow kinda is the level. If you play by pinching the frog with thumb and index. The bow will skate downhill. Now the question, does it do any good? Maybe for posture. Not for your proper grip. If your chin is 12 o'clock, and your shoulder tip is 3 o'clock. I found it important to park the fiddle in exactly the same place every time. You can't control the length of your bowing arm. So I don't put the bow on the fiddle. I put the fiddle under the bow, where it engages the best.

Sep 18, 2020 - 8:50:08 PM

38 posts since 3/29/2020

quote:
Originally posted by alaskafiddler

a lit cigarette taped to the button.

I have no idea how that would help level and sounds dangerous.

FWIW - if wanting to pursue "level" and given the fiddle odd angles... I would think just construct a basic water level with a piece of clear tubing.


As a lifelong carpenter, I can confidently say I don't think you're really grasping the concept of a water level. 

Just stand in front of a mirror for goodness's sake. 

Edited by - The Body Electric on 09/18/2020 20:50:27

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