Thursday, October 05, 2006


Another one of those days

This random image came in a spam today that had nothing to do with music. Cool, huh?

My d-string sounded so horrible, I couldn't finish my session today. I tried bowing more carefully, I used more rosin (when in doubt, more rosin!), I adjusted my bow tension, I worked on intonation... No matter what I tried all I could produce was a lot of yowling, screeching and groaning. Am I starting to find the wolf that supposedly lurks in all cellos?

I considered all sorts of mechanical causes. I thought about replacing the d-string and the a-string with the Crown strings I bought from Cellos-2-Go several months ago as backups. But I decided to hold off until after tomorrow's recital. It didn't seem like a good idea to go into something like that with new strings that hadn't been broken in yet.

Humidity hasn't changed lately, it has been raining a lot these last several weeks, but I did a close inspection of all the joints and seams. I did notice that the top of my bridge was leaning toward the fingerboard. As I was straightening it, I noticed that the "balls" at the end of the a-string and d-string were slightly cocked in their holders on their respective fine-tuners. So I loosened each string (one at a time), reset the balls in the holders and tightened everything back up again. Still no improvement.

For a while I tried just ignoring it and playing "through" it, but that wasn't easy. As I became more and more frustrated I finally realized that the harder I tried, the worse it got. So I finally just put it away.

I've had bad days like this before, and I know that whatever is haunting me and/or my cello will go away; so I'm not beating myself up with self-doubts or anything like that. As far as I can tell, it was just one of those days. What concerns me, though, is that this came up the day before our recital. Fortunately, it's a pizzicato piece... :)

Maybe it's just pre-recital jitters? You wouldn't want to have a great practice the night before anyway, right? Don't want to peak too soon.

I've never understood what a wolf tone is exactly. Someday I need to get the geniuses on ICS to explain it to me.

Best of luck with your concert.
Except that this morning's practice has been great! No howling or screeching at all...

All I know about wolf tones is that the cello itself (due to the fundamental design and type of wood, etc.) has an internal vibration that is triggered when the corresponding note is bowed. This apparently comes back to the string and messes up that particular bowed note(?) For sure one of the ICS pundits can explain it better.

Thanks for the support. I'm feeling pretty confident. My teacher told me to just think about making music and having fun. We'll see.
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