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IN REFERENCE TO "Intonia: Intonation Improving Software" I'm assuming you miked the violin? i see you have a webcam on the laptop, maybe that mike works?does it have to be a separate mechanism?


3 Responses
Posted: February 24, 2012

Ian Renshaw
Hello violin chums,

I just wanted to tell you about a wonderful day I had on Sunday. I attended a fiddle workshop in Camden (North London, UK) with a violinist friend of mine.

We had the privilege to meet -  and join in workshops run by - Chris Haigh. If you don't know his name do a quick Google - he's a top-notch fiddler player and has written quite a body of literature on the subject.

His focus on Sunday was 'rock violin' (interestingly he always calls it a violin, not a fiddle - which is a clue to his classical background..). He said if you get to the point where your audience are playing 'air violin' along with you then you've made it!

Just one day of intensive violin-ness has stiffened my resolve to get those flights to Austin booked. Four days..? Heaven! :o)


5 Responses
Posted: February 22, 2012


Hello fiddle-friends:

Is anyone out there going this summer to either Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, WA ( or to the Stanford Jazz Residency in Stanford, CA (


5 Responses
Posted: February 22, 2012



Ikaalinen Handicraft and Industrial Arts Institute
Elno Salmelaisen Katu 20
39500 IKAALINEN, Finland
Tel: +358-33-4501-346
Fax: +358-33-4501-330

2 - 4 year courses in string instrument making. 24 student to 2 teachers. School founded in 1984. Entrance by examination. Also short summer courses.

Hi Tomi,

Above you will find a violin making school with summer programs and longer if that is what you want.  Newark in England is good.

Places to buy tools, violins partly made, varnishes, books, dvds, would be: Atlantic Violin Supplies, International Violin Company, and Geo. Heinl & Co.

You may want to buy a violin in the white from China from ebay and then finish and set up the violin yourself. Some good quality violins are coming out of China.  Like everything, you have to be careful.

If you build your violin from scratch tool alone could run you $700 plus and then books and materials; whether you are building an average violin or something  of some quality.

Oh, a good source for varnishes and ground system is Old Wood 1700. I like their system and their colours.   

Hope this of some help.


0 Responses
Posted: February 22, 2012

Where can the score be found?


1 Responses
Posted: February 22, 2012

J. David
First Recital: the longest, scariest 3:41 of my musical journey.

While rummaging through my hard disk recently, I came across this clip and thought I should share.  At the time, I had returned to lessons after about a 16 year "break" and had just finished 5 months of weekly instruction culminating in this annual recital with about 80 people in attendance (fiddle students and families).

For me, it was the one of the most heart pounding, adrenaline pumping activities that I can recall. Fortunately I had practiced quite a bit, which was a good thing because I was completely on "auto-pilot" throughout the performance.  The only things I can recall while playing are thoughts like:
  •     why is my bow bouncing like this, that shouldn't be happening;
  •     this sure is taking a long time, and I'm not even half way through;
  •     now, how does the next tune start;
  •     don't look at the audience or you'll surely crash and burn;
  •     oh, that didn't sound good;
  •     hmm, I wonder why my vision is getting a little blurry;
  •     wow, she's (my fiddle teacher) really picking up the tempo,  hope I can keep up.
How the notes managed to come out at all in that turmoil is beyond me.

Looking back at it from an adult perspective, I can only say that the emotional anxiety that builds up leading to a recital is exceeded by your feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction once it's complete.  I've since started doing the annual recital as a solo with my teacher providing piano accompaniment - yes, all those feelings remain although they do seem to get a bit more manageable each time.

Hope you enjoy!
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15 Responses
Posted: February 20, 2012

Book Review of "12 Etude-Caprices in the Styles of the Great Composers"

After many weeks on back order, I just received "12 Etude-Caprices in the Styles of the Great Composers" written by Amy Barlowe, a Juilliard trained violinist/composer.

First off, I think Ms. Barlowe should change her tag line from violinist/composer, to: violinist/composer, researcher, historian, philosopher, pedagogue, writer, and speed-skater (ok that last bit was just wishful thinking). I say this after reading the preface 4 times and knowing that I am going to read it again and again because it brings me great comfort to know that there is living/breathing composer and pedagogue out there championing a more holistic approach to learning an instrument. 

The Barlowe approach is one that develops technical skills in tandem with musical expression. It invites the imagination to be a full partner in the journey toward self-expression. In fact, the preface concludes by coaxing the curious player to learn more about the composer/period in order to transform one of her pieces from etude-standard to concert-standard. WOW! Not that I don't already take some liberties within my reach with pieces that I study, but here we have an author/composer who designed a set of studies with that as one of end goals in mind. So before I touch on the hard-core aspects of the book, I urge you to read the preface and tell me -- Should (or should not) Ms. Barlowe change her tag line ? ;-)

The "12 Etude-Caprices" is a progressive set of studies that address not only the technical but also the musical challenges of an intermediate player. There is no shortage of hints on how to overcome these challenges.

Even if one puts the amazing feat of composing a book of etudes in 12 different styles aside, this book is in a league of its own with respect to how skill-building books should be designed, developed and delivered. For each piece, the technical and musical elements are stated upfront, and then followed through with an extraordinary practice guide that prescribes section by section, measure by measure a variety of ways to to approach the piece structurally, technically and artistically. Add to this opus, 8 meritable appendices: general practice hints, tips on improving intonation using the "stop-bow method", sounding point principles and application, rhythmic development, double stop strategies, advice on playing chords; AND A bibliography?.?.?..How wonderful is that? … I'm in an altered state of scholarly bliss.

And did I mention the biographical details, relevant historical info, and the art du jour woven into each period/composer/piece?

Now, there is no CD with this package which may disappoint some. I am prone to thinking the absence of it is by clever design …something the inner pedagogue nixed in favour of coaxing out genuine self-expression. 

As an intermediate player without a personal teacher for most of the year, I am very thankful to have stumbled across this tome of delight.

Ms. Barlowe has made a free sample of the book available on her web site:

…be sure to linger on the home page, and enjoy the inspiring virtuosic performance in the background before entering this Wonderland. The background piece, Hebraique Elegie (composed by Amy, and played by Amy and her husband Alan) is a stunningly inspiring composition that goes right to the heart - filled with pain, strength, defiance and hope.

7 Responses
Posted: February 20, 2012

Jim Gross
I have a question That is bothering me at this time.  It refers to the fact that I am rather tall, and long in the arm.  To make the characteristic box when bowing, in order for my forearm to be parallel with the strings, I end up with only about six inches of bow to the tip.  This makes it an awfully long way to the frog, consequently I am not using all the bow.  Your thoughts?

9 Responses
Posted: February 20, 2012

Jennifer Nankey
FYI - Anyone wanting to buy a Bon Musica shoulder rest, the type Beth uses, can be found the cheapest (I think) on Ebay. I've compared many sites for prices. Brand new and genuine. $41.89 and free shipping. Here is the link:

20 Responses
Posted: February 10, 2012

Nick Thorpe
Dear All. Forgive me if I am stating the blindingly obvious here but it might help someone - especially those left hand grippers and squeezers out there.

I have recently been practicing G major scale which necessitates using all four strings and stopping them down. I was fine on the lower G & D strings but as I moved up to A & E, I could feel my left hand pulling the violin neck to the left and downwards. I tried rejigging my hold to get a vice like grip with my chin but to no avail.

But then I remembered one of Beth's videos (it's a slow process this end),  where she talked about how little pressure is required to stop a string down. I tried lightening my left hand finger pressure when stopping a note and bing - it worked - perfectly. That really was one of those Homer Simpson doh! moments. Best wishes. Nick.

See 05mins:58secs at Beth's VIDEO

8 Responses
Posted: February 11, 2012

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