Technology

On How to Play the Baroque Cello: the Baroque Bow, or What Your Ear Imagines Your Bow Should Do (Part 2) — by Guy Fishman

For the continuation of my brief discussion of the baroque bow, I’d like to begin by listing several descriptions that I believe only faintly hide a prejudice towards it as a primitive tool. “The baroque bow is for speaking, while the modern bow is for singing.” “The baroque bow articulates while the modern bow sustains.” “The baroque bow makes a lean, silvery tone, while the modern bow creates a round, lush sound.” And my favorite, “the baroque bow naturally weakens as it is pulled towards the tip.” Before I continue, a quick reminder of two things I mentioned in my previous post: first, what your ear imagines, your bow should be able to do. That last description is usually left where it ends because in this case, the comparison to [...]

By | 2017-10-05T04:13:28+00:00 October 20th, 2014|Categories: Artistic Vision, Baroque, CelloBlog, Technology|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

On How to Play the Baroque Cello: the Baroque Bow, or What Your Ear Imagines Your Bow Should Do (Part 1) — by Guy Fishman

  What Your Ear Imagines, Your Bow Should Do. Remember this as you read the following. Here’s another Hallmark-worthy, embroiderable line: The Bow is the Soul of the Violin. By extension, the description applies to the cello, as well. Writer upon writer of numerous treatises from the 1540s to the 1920s describes the bow in exactly these terms. When, in 1924, Carl Flesch declared that the bow was responsible for clearly-defined intellectual tasks, while the left hand (meaning a constantly vibrating left hand) awakened the “deep feelings which subconsciously slumber in our souls,” he was performing a 180-degree turn away from over 450 years of string-playing tradition. He was describing a trend popular with himself and many others, where constant vibrato and a purely instrumental sort of “singing” was displacing [...]

By | 2017-10-05T04:08:58+00:00 October 15th, 2014|Categories: Artistic Vision, Baroque, CelloBlog, Technology|Tags: , , , , |

On How to Play a Baroque Cello: Gut Strings (Part 1) — by Guy Fishman

I will now attempt to shift the focus of my series on baroque cello from attempting to define what a baroque cellist is to getting to it and actually playing a baroque cello. Before I do, I would like to point out to the reader that for the vast majority of those of us who play period instruments came to them after we had gained experience on standard ones. Holding the cello between one’s legs, using a baroque bow, minimizing vibrato, and other elements that seem, in the minds of many, to be trademarks only of the period instrument movement therefore often feel as though they are diminishing something we’re used to, almost to the point of deprivation. It’s similar to dieting, in the sense that one often limits what [...]

By | 2017-10-05T04:44:45+00:00 September 22nd, 2014|Categories: Baroque, Self Discovery, CelloBlog, Technology|Tags: , , , , |

A String Player’s Guide to the Ivory Ban

If you plan to travel abroad this summer, you may need a passport… for your bow. Horror stories have been circulating about the confiscation of string players’ bows at international borders due to the recent “ivory ban.” On Saturday, May 31st, seven bows belonging to members of the Budapest Festival Orchestra were seized at JFK Airport (these did not have proper documentation, and have since been released). More alarming – a bow owned by a double-bassist in the Bavarian Radio Orchestra has been held at JFK since the orchestra passed through in mid-May, as it was found to contain a piece of bone from […]

Reprint: Two Articles from The Violin Channel — Ivory Bows and US Customs

Below are two recent articles from The Violin Channel regarding traveling players' issues with US Customs over bows containing ivory. Trio Violinists Denied Access to Carry Violins On US Airways Flight [VIDEO] Posted May 27, 2014 in NEWS Violinists Zach de Pue and Nick Kendall, from the string trio Time for Three have today released a fly-on-the-wall YouTube video – after being stopped on the tarmac of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, by ill-informed US Airways crew members – claiming their violins were impermissible within the cabin. En route to the Artosphere Arts and Nature Festival in Arkansas, the Captain asked both men to exit the plane and wait on the tarmac, so the frustrated musicians took to twitter and their phones: TIME FOR THREE | VIOLINISTS DENIED US AIRWAYS FLIGHT “We were stopped as we entered the plane by the [...]

Hare Krishna, KickStarter and Fundraising in the 21st Century — by Jeffrey Zeigler

Last November, I was driving in my car listening to NPR. I became fascinated by a story by Alix Spiegel regarding the Rule of Reciprocation. Citing the work of Robert Cialdini, an emeritus psychologist at Arizona State University, Spiegel writes that, in a nutshell, the rule of reciprocation is: “If someone passes you in the hall and says hello, you feel compelled to return their greeting. When you don't, you notice it. It makes you uncomfortable, out of balance. That's the rule of reciprocation.” Spiegel goes on to write: “Cialdini noticed a similar phenomenon when he studied Hare Krishnas. In airports, they would…give…people passing by what they described as a gift: a flower, a book, a magazine. Then, after the person had the gift in…hand, they would ask for a [...]

About Those New Year’s Bow Resolutions…. — by Wayne Burak

New Year’s resolutions get significant attention right about now! Whether the subject is your living space, personal finance, diet, or exercise, every topic seems to be on the table. But what about the personal needs of your favorite bow—you know, the one that plays beside you in all of your performances and rehearsals? The one you have promised your eternal love and gratitude to, if it helps you get through the nearly impossible piece or gig? Hmm, did I think that, you ask? Bows have long memories, and yes at some point, you did promise. That is why your bow demands attention now!  Think of it like dinner, a movie, and a new outfit for your bow. But before we talk more of bows, let’s assume that you have already handled [...]

Tak-Sîm (Pt. 2) — by Jeffrey Zeigler

Here in Part Two of my discussion on Tak-Sîm by Alireza Farhang, I am going to focus on his application on various extended cello techniques. On this topic, I found his approach to be quite fascinating and one that I am especially excited to share with everyone here in the cello community. The piece begins with an audio trigger that I execute by pressing on a foot pedal. The trigger is a low, ambient sound that is sonically enhanced when I play a tremolo on the stick of the bow thus creating an almost a breathless quality. Although a relatively simple technique, for this technique I would suggest using what I call a "guilt free" bow. The reason is because there is a large crescendo at the tail end of [...]

Tak-Sîm (Pt. 1) — by Jeffrey Zeigler

In my next few blog posts I am going to take a temporary detour from our discussion regarding the K-Bow in order to talk about a new work that my quartet recently premiered in Paris at the Cité de la Musique. The piece is by Alireza Farhang, an Iranian composer currently residing in Paris. The work, entitled Tak-Sîm, was commissioned by IRCAM (the Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics and Music).   In past blogs I have spent a fair amount of time talking about the integration of technology and extended cello techniques into performance. My desire to discuss this piece comes from the fact that in my opinion this particular composition successfully integrates both concepts. In his own words, the composer's objective was to transmit the intonation of [...]

Do you need a new angle on your playing?

One of the most tricky cello setup issues to self diagnose is the presentation of neck angle fatigue. Symptoms: You have to adjust your bow stroke to avoid hitting c bout edges.. The cello sound core is lost because your neck angle has dropped over time and is creating marginally successful practice days and challenging performances.. Nasal sounds are finding a home inside your cello..Real clarity and power are only a misty concept.. A single note repeatedly refuses to cooperate.. A major attack simply evaporates without an actual sound.. Your friends start to avoid you.. You have thoughts of switching to viola.. Help: Seeing things from a different perspective can help your playing turn a corner.  If your instrument was made recently, say in the last decade or two, (or maybe even three [...]