Wednesday Ramble

nexusWhen I bought my Google Nexus tablet, I knew I was buying a toy, something I really didn’t need, something I just had to have because all the other (big) (old) kids had one.   Even though it’s become my e-reader of choice (except when I’m in really bright light, where my old Kindle is better) and my preference for Googling on the move (except when I’m not near wi-fi), I’m still not lost when I momentarily can’t find it or leave it behind.   There’s always my smartphone or the computers distributed through our house.  But I really appreciate my Nexus in the morning when I set it up on the table so I can read the news during breakfast at the kitchen table instead of eating breakfast at my desk.  My computer keyboard is grateful, too, to be spared coffee spills and toast-crumbs.

A headline on caught my eye this morning: Can Technology Improve the Sound of 300-Year Old Violins?, it said.  I probably would have passed it by except that last Saturday Muri and I went to the beautifulchee-yun Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena to see Korean violinist Chee-Yun perform Tchikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35.  Somewhere in the program, it noted that she played a 300 year old Stradivarius on loan to her from Samsung, hence my interest in the article.   Was there actually technology that could actually make newer violins sound better than the old ones?  I’d describe the article as an interesting disappointment with a deceptive headline.  First line, second paragraph: The “technology” of violin making hasn’t changed all that much over the last 300 years.  Still, I learned a few things about the making of violins.  For example, David Segal, the violin maker featured in the article, puts around 200 hours of labor into building one violin. If the sound isn’t to his liking he rejects the instrument and tosses it in a fire.  Yikes.

I love the sound of a well-played violin but I realize it’s not everyone’s cup of music and that there’s a sizable portion of our population who think it’s highbrow to call a fiddle a violin.  I like Charlie Daniels’ The Devil Went Down to Georgia, too, by the way.  Eclectic, I am.  But it’s absolutely certain that no instrument sounds worse when poorly played.  And much as I love the violin, it’s virtually impossible for me to say the word without thinking of Gilda Radner’s brilliant creation, Emily Litella, asking on the Saturday Night Live Weekend Update, What’s all this fuss about violins on television lately?  Hysterical.  ……………..

Chee-Yun, by the way, was fabulous playing the Tchikovsky Concerto, which, according to Wikipedia is considered to be among the most technically difficult works for violin.  Apparently her Stradivarius felt the pressure, breaking a string a few minutes into the first movement.  Chee-Yun stopped playing abruptly and exited stage right, leaving the conductor, Jose Luis Gomez, to amuse the audience until she returned.   The rest of the performance went flawlessly and she received a very enthusiastic ovation.  For those of you who love the violin, here’s Chee-Yun performing Songs from A Secret Garden.

And for you fiddle lovers, here’s The Devil Went Down to Georgia.

If you don’t like either, I’m sorry.  Come back another day.  Things are always changing here on Bud’s Blog.

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7 Comments on “Wednesday Ramble”

  1. I enjoyed all three videos, thank you! 🙂

  2. cherperz Says:

    I love violin music whether it is in the form of classical music or fiddle playing.

    Wasn’t Gilda Radner just a cute and funny as a person can be?

  3. God, I love violin. I think it’s my favorite instrument. Whenever I’m singing with an ensemble of strings, be it a strings-only group, a chamber orchestra or a full orchestra, or anything in between, the strings are who I watch. And I bristle, viscerally, at the idea of “making a 300-year-old violin sound better.” I don’t know what that even means. Unless it’s badly out of tune, warped or played by the wrong person. Old is never bad when it comes to violins.

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