Sunday, February 11, 2007


Aural notes

I only reluctantly put away my cello after three hours playing today. Z was hovering around hinting that he wanted to use the computer. Usually he's at school or sleeping when I practice, but I started late and ran a lot later... With numb fingertips, I relented.

It could be the bow(s); it could be the new c-string and g-string; it could be the new wolf eliminator; it could be the adjustments to the tailpiece and soundpost. Whatever, Friday's trip to the luthier sure has made a difference.

The new c-string sounds really warm and mellow. Not as loud, but nowhere near as harsh and gravelly as the Pirastro Flexocore (nor the Evah Pirastri before that). I spent a lot of time today working with these new clean low tones.

The new wolf eliminator is clipped between the g-string and the d-string, but it was a little loose on the g-string, making it buzz a little. A slight adjustment to the clip with pliers took care of that. The wolf appears to be completely tamed. I looked all over for it but couldn't find it anywhere. The Bice eliminator I'd been using had just moved it around, depending where I adjusted the eliminator.

The new g-string, after I resolved the buzzing, is nice. I'm still not 100% happy with the open G, but that twanging effect I'd been fussing over is now much muted.

I noticed a big improvement with the Larsen d-string (which was not changed out). The weird booming effect on the open D is gone, as are the scratchy notes just above it. The Larsen a-string is about the same. All in all the strings seem well balanced.

As I played scales and did some shifting drills for the first two hours today, I swapped back and forth between the two trial bows every few minutes, repeating the same actions so I could listen for any differences. I made sure to set the same tension on each bow. Both bows sound so much cleaner than my old one. They are slightly lighter too - just a gram or so. String crossings seem to be easier and cleaner - I was able to flick the bow to the adjacent string with less drag on the string I was leaving. I found I liked the wooden bow a little better than the carbon-fiber bow (yesterday's brief practice left me favoring the carbon-fiber over the wood). It seems to draw the sounds more smoothly from the strings. But there really only a slight difference between the two.

I spent another hour working on my latest pieces and my orchestra pieces. Initially I found myself rushing through the Gavotte by Gossec, making a lot of errors. I stopped, took a break, slowed down the metronome a bit, and then slowly started over, playing each eighth note as a whole beat, working through the piece section by section. Progress. Now if only I do it this way again tomorrow.

All of this is so subjective... Tomorrow, I'm going to try to see if there is any actual measurable difference. I'll use Audacity to record each bow on the same pieces and then examine the waveforms to see if there is any difference.

I found two more cellist bloggers, Yarr. Lisar and Today, I saw my very last parrot, through links from other blogging cellists. My sidebar total now is 51 cello-playing bloggers.

Thanks Guanaco, I'd like to take a look at the LeClerc duet, though it might be a bit beyond us! Something to look forward to if we can't manage it for this concert.
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