Octave strings came. :-)

I didn’t get a student-grade violin yet, but I have the necessary strings. I’m trying not to fudge them onto my viola; besides, they’re too short. I admit to being curious, though.

I’ll keep an eye on the Gliga website and see if a $200 student lefty doesn’t show up. (The ones there are listed as out of stock.) In the meantime, it’s viola this weekend more than piano, I think. I’m still in the mood to take a bit of a break from the piano. Eventually, something else will build up in the pipes, and I’ve got several projects I want to get back to. I do want to return to “Son nata a lagrimar,” but I’m also anxious to finish a good collection of piano-only works that I can then practice and work on myself and build up a nice rep of my own material that I can play at any time. I think that as much as I love the viola/violin+piano things, they will have to take a distant second place in terms of priority.

I want to build up a personal rep, and then I want to begin working on the theme+variations on the Haendel aria intros. The string+piano arrangements will need to be relegating to filling in the cracks.

And I still need to get my viola down to the luthier so he can get that damned center-mount chinrest sorted out. It’s still touching the tailpiece, and I can still hear it sometimes. And the left side is still up off the wood and needs some boost from a bit of cork.


Just ended a rather exhausting work conference and got home from the airport last night, collapsed in bed after finally using a good broadband connection to watch Briere’s drought-snapper. I am looking forward to an entire weekend of being a lazy slob, knitting, and scraping away on the viola. And I still want to get an octavgeige; I’ll snag a cheapie from Gliga and get some octave strings from JSI, then bring it down to the luthier to get the bridge and nut recut.

Ooh, I just looked at the octavgeige strings … Super-Sensitive sells an octave C. *googly eyes* Oh, that might be nice …

I need a center chin rest.

A nice, low center chin rest. I think that will help with the whole “aiming over the crest of a hill” feeling that I get on my A string.

Update: Just ordered it from JSI, along with a set of replacement strings, what has become my standard set of Corelli Crystals for the A and D, and Obligatos for the G and C. Blends nicely. A full set of Obligatos almost results in two different instruments when going from the G to the D.

Getting home tonight and playing

I’ve been in a more viola frame of mind lately than a piano one; I guess things go in cycles. But right now, I cannot wait to get home tonight and see how those Corellis have stretched. I can’t wait until they stabilize. I’m going to play the daylights out of them this weekend.

I also did some stuff last night where I played everything with as little pressure as needed to get a decent sound. Sometimes I really have to press down, but most times it’s not nearly as firmly as I think. I need to go slower when I do that, but it’s helpful to get my scroll hand to relax. It’s also important to make sure that my jaw/shoulder business is as stable and low-tension as possible, too. Playing with little tension in the scroll hand seems strongly connected to keeping the instrument solidly placed. And if I don’t learn to increase or decrease the tension in my scroll hand at will, I’m never going to be well set to learn vibrato.

Ooooooh, nice!

The Corellis got here. They’re great. I’ve got only the top two on; the G blends much better with the D now. And the D has a nice warm wound! The A sounds warmER, but I’ll never be entirely happy with my A string, I think.

ETA: What the hell is it with me and Fnat? It’s like that note doesn’t exist in my auditory universe.

I hope those Corellis show up today.

I’m really looking forward to trying them out. I’ll keep the ones that are on there now though, just for a backup or whatever. But if I like them, then I’m going all the way with these things. I at least want to replace the A and the D with them, and let them play in for a bit to see how I like them.

Lots going on at work. Looking forward to just getting home and making long, slow noises on him, or sitting at the piano without sheet music and plunking out anything that comes to mind. It’s amazing the difference that makes to a brain.

I want Dominants again.

I really should just buy a set of Doms (two sets, probably) and stick the stupid things on Stevie. I just do not like this Obligato/Larsen nonsense. Maybe it’s because I heard Doms on my viola first, maybe it’s because they are more beginner-friendly, whatever. I want Doms back again. I’ll play these out because I’m cheap, but from now on, it’s Doms unless … well, unless I am convinced otherwise. With a crowbar.

Finally changed my strings.

Argh. The C, G, and D sound cleaner, but the A (a Larsen) is going through my head like a nail. I just do not like high-pitched sounds. I need to find a nice, dusky A string or else just stop getting steel As to go with other sets and use full sets of Obligatos or Doms next time. I might get an Obligato A to go along with the C, G, and D and just chuck this damned Larsen.

I’m the person who cringes when I can see the principal flute reach under his chair to get the piccolo out. I hate high-pitched sounds. If I liked being shrieked at right under my ear by Alvin and the Chipmunks, I’d be playing a violin. I’ll let it settle for a bit, but I suspect that that Larsen A is coming off as soon as I can get my hands on the A that goes with the rest of the set.

Tuning was “fun”; I hadn’t done that for as while since my strings settled in some time ago. I anticipate a lot of tweaking and fussing for the upcoming week or two until the things settle out, and then more so when I get my hand on an Obligato A. I suspect I am just not detail-oriented enough to make a truly gifted string player, but I’ll have to see. I’m still not used to the idea of tuning my own instrument. I tweak and fuss until it sounds good, but I don’t have any quantifiable way of saying, “Ah, the beats are in this direction, so that means I must gain another 0.87Hz on my D string,” or anything like that. I just tweak until I stop cringing and it sounds nice to me. I hate it when it sounds off, so when the EEEK! reaction goes away, I assume I’m in tune.

New strings

So I need to change my strings. I’ve had the set I’m using now on the viola since I bought it, and I should change them.

I really should.

I need to change my strings.

I don’t want to. The Dominants sound fine, I’m worried about screwing it up, and Stevie is going to sound like Tiny Tim for the next few days until the Obligato/Larsen set I bought works itself in.


Just change them.

In other news, I think I made it through the writer’s block in the Fm thing, which is nice. I definitely arrived at something worth writing down and tweaking, at least. It’s delightful the things that vacation can loosen up.