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Lesley
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Hi V-Labbers! Here is (what is verrrrry much) a work-in-progress. Perhaps if I play this another 50,000 times, I might get it. I did, like, about 25 takes of this video -- and oh, the mediocrity! (Tim, you are not alone!) I mean, don't get me wrong: I do actually enjoy these (sadistic little) exercises. But you think you've nailed it and then you watch yourself blow it onscreen... {8-\  Back to the drawing board -- or I suppose, the fingerboard, ha ha.

Oh! the exercise in question (which I omitted to specify in my mumbling intro) is Wolfhardt op. 45 no. 34. Hours of fun if you haven't already tried it.

PS. Constructive criticism welcome! You really won't hurt my feelings if you point out any shortcomings that jump out at you. Among my biggest stumbling blocks that I can see at present are: hitting other strings (grr!), keeping the bow off the fingerboard, and reading music while playing in tempo. And a weak fourth finger. (Intonation and shifting are maybe lifetime stumbling blocks.) One "new" issue I discovered in making this video is that my left elbow doesn't "swing" nearly enough: it tends to be lazy and want to stay in the same spot and this makes it much harder to get my hand positioned in such a way as to let my fingers "rain down" onto the fingerboard.


Lesley
20 Responses
Posted: May 6, 2019
Last Comment: May 9, 2019
Replies

Karen Egee
Posted: May 9, 2019
Beautiful Lesley, and you have really Fabulous intonation!!  

 Beth's comments re the bowing and hold, back and neck are very helpful for me too.  I'm in awe of people making videos and i will get up the courage one day as i can see how helpful it is to get the feedback! So thank you for doing it it helps all of us!!

Lesley
Posted: May 9, 2019
Interesting! Thank you, Beth -- I watched the video last night and am about to launch into my morning routine, so I'll try to connect with those muscles!

Beth Blackerby
Posted: May 8, 2019
Lesley, I recently remade my violin hold video and if you start at 3:45 I describe how we should use back muscles more than neck muscles when playing. Although I'm demonstrating with the left arm, do the same thing with the right arm. This concept is amazing when you feel it working in your bow arm. All of a sudden you have more tone and volume.

Elke Meier
Posted: May 7, 2019
Oh Lesley, you have NO idea how much you helped me just now with your comment! I am working on Suzuki 3 pieces. The Bach Minuet and the Bach Gavotte have both a heavy G-minor section. I have been struggling with intonation there and therefore looked for an etude to help me with G-minor. Guess what? I found Wohlfahrt op 45 #20! But I was struggling through on my own as I was not aware that Beth had done a video on that one. It was a hard struggle! Tonight I just came home from a trip and it is way too late (and I am way too exhausted) to touch the violin. But I sure look forward to looking at it again tomorrow this with Beth's video. I am curious what she will say about the three fingers so close together. It is just about impossible for me to have a consistent intonation there through the first few repeated figures. One finger always slips in some direction!

About the mute: 
Dianne, it is not so easy to see the bow tracking with the mute on. That is the same as with other mutes. I never put the WMute smack in the middle of the bridge though. With the mute I always have to retune. But if I place the mute around the G and D-strings there is very little tuning to adjust. 
I make sure that I get time without the mute because the tone really suffers with too much mute practice. It just does not make a difference whether you pull a full sound or not - it is always kind of thin. And that results in a "lazy" bow arm. So right arm practice always is without a mute. But I do a lot of scale practice and other intonation practice with the mute on. That works fine for me. Sure, the ringing is not the same as without the mute but the pitch is still clearly distinguishable. 

Vanessa: You add the picture in your profile (go to your home page and then to "update information").

Lesley
Posted: May 7, 2019
Thank you, people! :)

Beth, re. "heavy (or heavier) bow arm." I'm constantly wondering just how heavy the bow arm should be. Recently I seem to have decided that lighter pressure was where it's at. Now I can see that, while the violin sounds more flute-y right under my own ear, it seems that the tone has in fact suffered.

Re. muting, I played with a mute for so long that I think it has become counter-productive for me in terms of tone development. Fortunately these days I also have another place where I can practice at full blast. I need to take advantage of that!

I have to say, I'm actually really fired up about these Wohlfahrt études! At the same time they are highly technical, they are also very beautiful. (Even slow.) If anyone wants to join me in an extended "Wohlfahrt workout," I'd be very open to it. Actually, Beth has a gorgeous video of this one that I think I am going to tackle next.

Vanessa Furukawa
Posted: May 7, 2019
You sound lovely! <3

Barbara: There's this piece of music (La Folia) that I have to do string crossing and your comment "When you play in the middle of the bow this will both be easier" is a great reminder for me, too so thank you!

and thank you Elke for mentioning WMute. I'm in need of a better mute because the appartment I live at doesn't really have a good isolation.

PS: I don't know how you people could have a picture above your names.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: May 7, 2019
Excellent, job Lesley! I don't think you realize how amazing your intonation is. While maybe a few notes were a little out of tune, you're basic perception of intonation is quite advanced! Same goes for your musicality. Your control of pulse and your musical phrasings here and there show us what a musician you are. I agree with the others that overcoming your fear of making an unpleasant noise may be preempting your developing a deep and powerful tone. While this pieces is not crying out for that, it's still an aspect that we should develop. From my perspective as "the teacher", I know how important a heavy arm is to the feeling of relaxation. It's hard to control the delicate, lighter tone qualities of there's tension in the arm. And to get rid of tension it's helpful to play BIG. That means allowing the arm and shoulder to be heavy, adding pressure into the string, keeping the bow closer to the bridge. Establishing this approach to tone production as a baseline will give you the flexibility to then lighten all those parameters to give you an enormous range of tone colors. You are so musical and I would love to see that happen in your playing. 

Go ahead and try muting if you're self conscious. If you have an interior room like a bathroom, I doubt you would be heard by neighbors if you practice there. Hang lots of towels on the shower bar though to absorb sound :)

Timothy Smith
Posted: May 7, 2019
I couldn't tell you had to make multiple takes on this. Your playing doesn't look overly tense. I was actually relaxed listening to the music. I've been too lazy to look this song up. I like it and should see what it's all about.

I think the new violin is helping you a lot. I reiterate what others said about the bow. I would not be ashamed of this video at all. Nice work.

Great doggie shirt too! Those dogs are so ugly they are cute!

Lee Gordon Seebach
Posted: May 7, 2019
Hi Lesley,
That's quite a challenge, that etude!  Way beyond my reach for now (I looked at the music).  I'm still working through the easier Wohlfahrt ones and haven't really started working on the 3rd position yet. You're doing great!  (I'm a Gliga owner, too, BTW.  I have a Maestro Vasile.)

Dianne
Posted: May 7, 2019
Hi Elke, may I ask, can you still see the fingerboard with the WMute practice mute, so that you can see your bow tracking? Also, does it seem to work as well as the heavy Artino mute? I think of getting one, but I'm not sure. I find that even though it seems unbearably loud at times depending on what it is that I am working on (double stops/open strings with long bows), my family says they can hardly hear me through the closed door, or else they hear me but don't pay a lot of attention to it, as they are concentrating on other things. When they say that it seems hard to believe because it seems so loud. I actually thought of using a mute for my own ears, because of the WMute sounding so good, except hearing intonation would be hard. I really need to hear for instance a b-natural, c-natural or f-natural ring. This has taken me years to be able to do, and it's still not easy. So I have backed off from the excellent looking/sounding Wmute practice mute so far, but it looks nice.

Lesley
Posted: May 7, 2019
WMute, that's quite the beast! Looks like a good buy -- seems as though it would hold on, and fine-looking too! I had a clunky metal one at one point but it just kept falling off and denting my floor. Right now I have a rubber one which is not bad, but it makes a wolf tone.

Elke Meier
Posted: May 7, 2019
Here is my solution to the fear of disturbing neighbors: Use a heavy practice mute. I used to work with the Artino mute, which is VERY heavy and I was always a bit concerned. Then I switched to the WMute, which is very expensive - but I am very happy with it!

Lesley
Posted: May 7, 2019
Thank you thank you thank you everyone, these are great observations and very useful! [happy dance] Really appreciate the feedback.

Sounding point is going to be the immediate focus. There seems to be some sort of deep-rooted "fear of making noise" (no doubt from living in apartment blocks) that unconsciously pushes my bow into the spot where it makes only a tiny, thin little sound... I guess the solution will be to practice much slower and keep the eyes glued to the bow.

Playing at tip vs. middle of bow: going to aim for more "middle' today. For some reason, I had decided the way to play fast was at the tip... don't know where that notion came from.

Good point on the emphasis, Barbara! When I look at my "aspirational" videos, that is exactly what they do and it is, as you say, the cherry on the top -- pulls it all together.

Hmmm, SO much to think about... does all of this ever become internalized?! I hope so! In the meantime, I heartily encourage anyone with a Wohlfahrt lying around to plop it onto their music stand. Excellent exercises -- if maddening!

Barbara Habel
Posted: May 7, 2019
Dear Lesley

You made me realise that I need to practice those etudes too!!!

You are playing in the upper part of the bow which makes string crossings more difficult and faster playing is harder.

When you play in the middle of the bow this will both be easier.

And yes: as Elke said on sounding point. Best in the middle between fingerboard and bridge.

And it would be nice as the cherry on top if you put more emphasis on the first note in each measure and a second, not quite as strong emphasis on the first note of the second set of three.

In a 4/4 time piece that would be on the 1st and the 3rd beat. Since this is a 6/8 piece it is on the 1st and 4th note (in this particular piece).

On shifting: it looks and sounds to me as if you do your shifting by travelling through the air with your fingers instead of keeping in light conntact with the string. If you keep in contact with the string your hand will find it much easier to gauge the right distances. If you do this light and fast there should be no sound or only minimal sound for the shifting.

I still do this wrong myself that is why I know about it because my teacher made me aware of it. I still regress back to the travelling through the air. It is so hard to get rid of ingrained practices. Best to do it right straight away.

Thank you for your lovely playing and making me aware of the 3rd position pieces in Wohlfahrt. I only played in the first part so far. But I am yearning for material to practice shifting. I had it in front of my nose all this time!!!

God bless you Lesley and happy practicing!!!


Elke Meier
Posted: May 7, 2019
Wow, Lesley, this IS a beautiful and melodious etude! I am travelling right now, but I will definitely try this once I get home! It will help with intonation in third position on the E-string. Somehow I find that much harder than intonatin on D- and A-strings. 

And it was well played! And from what it looked like even by memory! I am impressed! My only observation was that the sounding point you used consistently was very much (I think TOO much) toward the finger board. That would make your sound rather thin. Playing this close to the fingerboard should be a deliberate measure to add color to some notes, but in general a conctact point a between fingerboard and bridge would give you a clearer tone. 

Lesley
Posted: May 6, 2019
Dianne, that is so perceptive! Especially since my bow hand hardly appears (I meant to stand far back enough but kind of forgot). Hand riding up the bow is definitely another issue... sooooo frustrating. I always start out with my third finger on that little mother-of-pearl dot at the frog, and it always creeps up toward the tip! As for Floating Bow, I think this may come from over-attention to sound/3rd position panic -- playing in 3rd still isn't natural. I will maybe try this exercise slower, even if it initially sounds terrible, with more pressure and (as you say) in the middle lane :)

Dianne
Posted: May 6, 2019
Hi Lesley, You have a gorgeous, floating, flute like tone. Nice, clear sounding violin with lots of colors! Your posture looks great and I thought your string crossings sounded good. I'm not sure you can do this w/o an ear plug (I use one when I do this), maybe try holding the bow deeper into the hand as your fingers look a little high on the bow stick, moving to the middle lane as you said, and getting a stronger sound on your détaché bow stroke with this etude. I get the feeling you are floating your bow versus having more of a dynamic range. BTW, this is fast and well done with good control. Hope this helps.

Lesley
Posted: May 6, 2019
Maria-Gliga-sister, you are very kind! (This is my new violin BTW!) Just for comparison: here is the "aspirational" video. I would love to get there!

Maria
Posted: May 6, 2019
It almost ____ my mind that we are Gliga sisters


What beautiful sweet tone your new violin has, I remember you said this is your Gama Elite model. You did very well on selecting this violin Lesley, congratulations once again and _____[mental block, I need to sleep soon], now I remember you have Evah P strings on your violin?


Oh,  that  was a faster variation, I can't play that fast yet! I love and enjoyed the slower version that you did.

Maria
Posted: May 6, 2019

It was actually lovely and very pleasant to listen to...Such sweet tone you have.

Your fingers looks relax, I have nothing negative to add.

Let's wait for Beth and other experts here.

TFS