Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Another blog gadget

Snap is a web-based service that you can put in your blog or webpage, which opens a Preview thumbnail window for all your blog links when you hover your cursor over the link. I ran across it on OhMyTrill (David has lots of interesting posts as a cello student at Rice). This new feature slows down the page-loading time somewhat, and once in a while there is a delay in Snap's thumbnail window before the preview actually comes up. These lags can be minimized by flagging out certain links, etc., but another way is to cut back on the number of posts loaded when the blog is opened, which I've recently done.

[If anybody actually reads this and finds that this blog takes way too much time to load, leave a comment and I'll see about adding more links to the "off" list.]

Today's cello practice was exceptional. It sounded so nice! The new strings really do bring out a mellow, dark-chocolate sound. I've wondered about this before, but why do descriptions of musical sounds seem to rely on flavors and colors (and sometimes the sense of touch)? Is the aural vocabulary that limited? Maybe this richer sound motivated my intonation. I've been trying to think about my bow hold and how I'm using the bow. Maybe that is why the sound seemed better, too.

Whatever. I played through all my pieces with hardly any trouble - even my newer ones. That feels so good. Especially when it comes after several frustrating days. I'd been blaming the humidity (an easy patsy), and I've been wondering if my bow needs rehaired... With all that confidence, I jumped into the "Gavotte" and easily worked through several of the practice points. I'm about halfway through it, but it is the easy half.

We had a full contingent at rehearsal last night. I had more trouble with our new repertoire (mostly with rhythm, tempo and counting the rests) than I did two weeks ago when a small group of us sight-read our way through them. Today, I took an extra half-hour practice time so I could work on them. My earlier good results carried on through and I felt pretty successful with these pieces as well.

If only this happened more often... I seem to have one "good" day for every three or four "eh" days. But my definition of "good" seems to stay just ahead of my capabilities. Oh well, these good days do come often enough to keep me motivated.

I'm going to the city in a few weeks and I hope to take my cello to the luthier for a checkup. We're coming up on our first anniversary, and it seemed like a good chance to go over the setup and see if there are any possible adjustments. Not that there's really anything wrong, although maybe he can help with the wolf. I also want him to look at my bow - maybe it's time for a rehair?

So, does anybody take their cello to their luthier for a routine checkup? If so, what do you ask them to do with it? My teacher said I should just show him what I'm concerned about, let him make an adjustment, and then try it out to see if it improved. Trouble is I'm way too intimidated by the thought of playing my cello in the middle of their busy shop for that to work.

I like the idea of taking the cello to the shop, but I'm generally terrified of string shops. Mine hasn't been back in since I bought my bow.
I've had my cello for 4 years, so I guess it's due to go in to the shop. And I know my bow needs work, since the hair seems too streteched out now. I've been putting it off, for the same reasons that you've mentioned, but intend to bring it in within the next month or so.

I too have trouble with the "sound quality" vocabulary. But then, I'm a little "iffy" on wine jargon as well (though well versed on consuming it!)
Are you going to Petr's Violin Shop? That's who I'd recommend. My dad gets his violin checked pretty often, has his soundpost adjusted, and has the bridge checked for alignment. Petr (or someone at the shop) will probably play your cello for you if you want.
You'd think string shops would be more sensitive to our plight... At least have a room somewhere for us away from the main sales floor to scratch away. I understand some of the bigger ones do.

I will be taking it to Petr's Violin Shop. I am hoping he'll try it out and easily hear the same issues I do. If not, I suppose I will tough it out and play a few bars to demonstrate them.
Yes, I have the same self-conscious tendancy. However, when I took Jacob back for an adjustment I said airily that I needed to take him home to try him in familiar surroundings. Anything other than that would not be a true test. I was congratulated by my luthier who said he wished more customers were as meticulous and discerning!!
Thanks for commenting and adding me to your blogs list =) I will definitely utilize your list to check out other blogs!
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