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Shelly ~ South Carolina
Ok, I'm really bummed!  I was playing my violin this morning and I noticed it has a kind of "ringing/whistling" sound (and not in a good way).  It has a crack that was repaired at some point on the G string side.  It feels rough to me - like it is opening up maybe?

There are no local luthiers around here - the closest one that I know of is 2 hours away.  I am going to have my teacher look at it on Monday and see what she thinks.  I hope it's nothing serious but for the past couple of days my violin just hasn't sounded "right".  Not sure how else to explain it. :-( 

I really don't want to go back to my Chinese violin... <sigh>.  I've already gotten comfortable with this one!

Sorry - just venting! Thanks for listening. :-)

17 Responses
Posted: September 30, 2011

Steven Roberts
Hello Violin Lab,

I am somewhat of a beginner at violin (have been playing for about 4 months) and want to buy a book with easy pieces to help me practice. "Marry Had A Little Lamb" and similar songs are too easy for me at this point (I have been involved in music my whole entire life and pick up on learning new instruments fairly fast). I have learned to play "Sad Romance" and "Songs of A Secret Garden," although there is always room for improvement :D. My question is, what book would you recommend me to buy? I have been working on my vibrato since day one (huge thanks to you for your AMAZING vibrato videos) and feel like I am about 75% of the way there. I absolutely LOVE the sound of super high pitches with the violin but I am much more comfortable playing in 1st and 2nd positions. Anyways, thanks for lending us fellow violin players your very knowledgeable practice tips!

Greetings from Montana,

3 Responses
Posted: October 3, 2011

Hello again Violin Lab, 
What are your favourite pieces? Because I'm gonna share a couple things because I feel like it :)

So, I would probably call these my favourite violin pieces as I love listening to them and they are in fact my biggest motivations to learn and continue to develop and improve my violin playing.
Oh yeah, and if possible, TELL ME WHERE I COULD FIND THE SHEETS!!!
Don't worry about the second and fourth videos, as I already have those ones. But I would love to have the others as I never have had much luck finding them... :(

Frédéric Chopin - Nocturne in C sharp minor (arranged for violin by Milstein)

Well, this is hands down my favourite piece for violin. No doubt about it.
I've watched several performances on YouTube, and I found that this one (performed on the violin by Anna Tifu) was the on that REALLY stuck out to me; my favourite.
I remember originally hearing this in the newer version of the film, "Karate Kid" and I loved it as soon as I heard it. It was only within the last week or so that I've looked for it again and I think that it was this time that it became my favourite.

Doesn't help that I'm a sucker for pieces in minor keys lol.

Yann Tiersen - Sur le fil

Well this is my "old favourite violin piece" lol, but I still really enjoy it. Even though I only know three of his piano pieces and this one violin piece, Yann Tiersen has probably become one of my favourite composers (along with Debussy and Chopin for piano reasons).
At first I was "on the wire" about liking it lol. Too be honest, I wasn't a huge fan of this violin piece (because it sounds quite different from the piano version!) but after a few times listens, I really really liked it. It's almost as if I felt some sort of connection with it (as I do with the other two pieces Im posting). It's also pretty intense lol.

John Williams - The Chairman's Waltz

I don't remember when I first heard this piece, but it's one I've known for several years now. Before I started playing instruments, it was one of the only instrumental songs I liked.
Now that I play instruments, listening to music without a voice, and even music in general, has completely changed. I appreciate it so much more now. And when I heard this piece after all that time, I couldn't help but fall in love with it. 
I don't remember anything from the movie, I just know that I like this song lol.
And to top it off, it doesn't sound that difficult. This is one I would probably play right now if I had the notes. Or I suppose I could try by ear which wouldn't be too hard if I sat down and tried. But I think I still prefer sheets.
Anyways, it's another one of my favourites.

Swallow Tail Jig - I don't know lol

Well, this is another one of my favourites - I love playing it in our school's fiddle class! Although, we don't play the whole intro and other parts, we mainly just play the chorus, but still. 
One I've always like since I've heard, and as you may have guessed, its in a minor key lol so I think that has a lot to do with it.
I just find that this is one song that will always make me happy and is just so amazing to me - everything about it.

Well, that's all I'm gonna share today. Hope you guys enjoyed these (awesome/amazing/wonderful/spectacular, etc.) pieces as much as I do.

Don't be scared to share your favourites - I feel it's important to hear different kinds of music out there as to broaden our own interests. See ya!


12 Responses
Posted: September 26, 2011

I'm experiencing a bit of stress this will last in to next week, but I'm hoping it will be over by late next week...please don't let it go on through the Columbus Day weekend.  Yikes!!!

I sent my violin to the luthier's for a check up....and I'm going stir crazy without it.  It arrived at his shop by mail on Friday afternoon, he hopes to be able to check it and tweak it on Monday or Tuesday, and then ship it back to me.  Please, please let it arrive back home (safely) before I have to face another weekend without it.....p-l-e-a-s-e-e-e-e-e.

I bought Simon Fischer's book a couple weeks ago, I'm doing every exercise I can that doesn't need a violin.....but I am experiencing massive withdrawal symptoms. 

I think I need to start introducing myself as "hello, my name is Vicky, and I'm a violin addict".  Who knew a later-in-life hobby could be so addictive?

7 Responses
Posted: October 1, 2011


Has anyone heard of Embassy strings?  They used to or still do make steel strings in the U.S.A..  I picked up a few old parts with this package in the pile.  There's no other way to date the parts.



4 Responses
Posted: September 30, 2011

richard barwell

I've been working through a few videos, teaching myself some of the basics of violin, and I thought (as my left hand is fairly relaxed, and my first finger's base knuckle stays away from the fingerboard) that this would be a good time to begin learning vibrato.

I'm not sure quite where the strings should contact the fingers during a nice wide vibrato; in view of this, I have a strange request... would anyone mind maybe putting a dab of something (like chalk maybe, or even white board marker?) on their violin strings, performing a bit of vibrato, on all 4 fingers if possible, and then photographing and posting the resultant finger marks here on this forum? It might help me to understand whether my fingers are moving in the same way as more experienced players; something I can't grasp from watching videos.

Obviously if this request sounds like violin heresy then I apologise; I don't want anyone messing up their fingerboards or fingers to do this, and maybe there's a better way, but if anyone could oblige I'd be grateful...

And thanks to Beth for such a superb site, by the way, I feel like I'm in safe hands here!


4 Responses
Posted: September 28, 2011

Sue D.
Beth, thank you for the note by note video on the G harmonic scale round. It will help very much !

1 Responses
Posted: September 30, 2011

Beth Blackerby
Hi all,

Here is a video message from Diane Allen, who has recently authored the Fingerboard Workbook series. We are holding a live streaming event October 8th to help all those needing help with learning where all those notes are on the violin. It will be an interactive event.  You can just observe, type in questions, or even activate your webcam and ask questions in person. I can't wait to see how this is done, because it might be something we use in the future here at Violin Lab.

The details are on the home page on the news reel. Registration for the event is accessible through the video "Violin Fingerboard Workshop: Oct. 8th 10:00 am central" posted as a lesson under "Recently Added"

Hope you'll join us! Even is you're comfortable with the topic, please join the event to see how this marvelous technology works.
This discussion includes members-only video content

13 Responses
Posted: September 29, 2011

Beth Blackerby
No obligation to listen, but I wanted to share this beautiful Bach piece with you. I play with this wonderful group of musicians on occasion. We call ourselves "Austin Bach Ensemble". We performed this last fall, and I'm only now getting around to posting it. We sure look like a serious bunch, but we were having fun.
This discussion includes members-only video content

7 Responses
Posted: January 30, 2011


Hoping there is history buff amongst us.  I bought parts of violin and would like to try and age the parts or at least get in the ball park.  The best clue would a string package which reads|: finest Embassy Steel Strings-violin 1st plain, made in U.S.A.. Not much to go on but has anyone heard of these strings before?



0 Responses
Posted: September 29, 2011

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