Explore the life, career and iconic recordings of violinist Isaac Stern

Issac Stern – one of the greatest violinists

Explore the life, career and iconic recordings of violinist Isaac Stern

Famous for cracking so-so jokes, Stern often told the one about “Two men are walking by Carnegie Hall and one says to the other, ‘have you heard Isaac Stern recently?’ The other responds, ‘no, what did he say?’” The implication being that Stern was as famous for his powers of speech and persuasion as his fiddle playing.

Read more here on our ABC Classics https://www.abc.net.au/classic/programs/legends/legends/12460074link….

PODCAST: World-renowned fiddle player and artistic director of the Masters of Tradition Festival, Martin Hayes

PODCAST: World-renowned fiddle player and artistic director of the Masters of Tradition Festival, Martin Hayes

PODCAST: World-renowned fiddle player and artistic director of the Masters of Tradition Festival, Martin Hayes
PODCAST: World-renowned fiddle player and artistic director of the Masters of Tradition Festival, Martin Hayes\
Martin Hayes

Martin Hayes (born 4 July 1962) is an Irish fiddler from County Clare. He is a member of the Irish-American supergroup The Gloaming.

This is a wonderful podcast featuring this incredible fiddler.

Check it out here…. from the Southern Star in West Cork UK

10 interesting facts about the violin

10 interesting facts about the violin

10 interesting facts about the fiddle or violin
10 interesting facts about the fiddle or violin

Here are some facts about the fiddle you might find interesting:

  1. The modern violin has been around for roughly 500 years. It was said to have been designed in the 1500’s by Andrea Amati.
  2. Playing the violin burns approximately 170 calories per hour. Forget about your workout and start practicing harder!
  3. Violins are typically comprised of spruce or maple wood.
  4. Violins come in many different sizes. Typically, students will start learning violin at a young age with a 1/32 or 1/16 size violin. As the student ages they will graduate up to a full sized violin.
  5. Violins are very complex. Over 70 different pieces of wood are put together to form the modern violin.
  6. The word violin comes from the Medieval Latin word vitula, meaning stringed instrument;
  7. The world record in cycling backwards playing a violin is 60.45 kilometres in 5 hours 8 seconds.
  8. The most expensive violin in the world was made by Giuseppe Guarneri in 1741. This extravagant violin was appraised with a value of $18 million.
  9. Violin bows typically contain 150 to 200 hairs. They can be made up of  a variety of materials including nylon and horse hair.
  10. Violin strings were first made of sheep gut (commonly known as catgut), which was stretched, dried, and twisted. Other materials violin strings have been made out of include: solid steel, stranded steel, or various synthetic materials, wound with various metals, and sometimes plated with silver.

New technology turns violinists into digital music creators

New technology turns violinists into digital music creators

New technology turns violinists into digital music creators

The ‘Digitaize’ system allows users to control virtual sounds from their fingerboard; to shape digital samples; and to visualise the movements of their instrument on a computer screen.

Read more here….

Update on the bow

The Soundpost in the Violin:
an update

Violin or fiddle bows...
Violin or fiddle bows…

It was thought that a “support” post was first fitted in a central position and a connection made with the “pin hole” found in the back of some instruments but this does not seem to be valid.

It is not known when the soundpost was moved to its present position behind the treble foot of the bridge but musicians were very innovative at the time as indicated by the varying positions of the bridge.

This is a highly scientific article from UNSW and is tough going but a great read about a tiny piece of dowel and how important it is to stringed instruments….

Read more here…..

Andrea Amati

Andrea Amati - Violin maker
(c. 1505 – 1577)
Andrea Amati – Violin maker
(c. 1505 – 1577)

Andrea Amati

Andrea Amati – Violin maker
(c. 1505 – 1577)

Known as the founding father of the violin, Andrea Amati appears to have been responsible for creating the definitive modern form of the instrument. His basic design was refined by later makers, particularly Stradivari, but in essence it remains unchanged today.

Details about Amati are scanty and largely derived from his instruments, of which few survive. He was sufficiently famous during his lifetime to be commissioned to make a set of decorated instruments for Charles IX of France. These included two sizes of violin, tenor violas and large cellos. His earliest instrument is thought to be from 1546, though that instrument has been lost. The earliest existing instrument from Andrea is dated 1564.

Amati’s two sons, Antonio and Girolamo, inherited the family workshop after his death in 1577, refining their father’s models and further establishing the great Cremonese tradition of violin making.

History of the Violin Bow

History of the Violin Bow

Early bows were just discarded even after a single use on a violin or fiddle...
Early bows were just discarded even after a single use on a violin or fiddle…

Throughout the years the violin bow has changed a lot and was subject to many developments. This eventually led to the bow you’ll likely have in your house right now

Unfortunately, few bows from the early days of violin making and playing were kept. It was much more usual to throw away a worn bow and replace it with a new one.

Read more about the history of the bow here…

How the violin got its shape.

How the violin got its shape.

Let's hi-light the shape of the violin.  How did it happen?
Let’s hi-light the shape of the violin. How did it happen?

The elegant shape of the violin evolved over a period of 400 years, largely due to the influence of four prominent families of instrument makers, a new study finds.

The first violins were made in Italy in the 16th century. Stradivari, one of history’s most respected violin makers, lived in Cremona, in northern Italy, from 1644 to 1737. He crafted roughly 1,000 violins, including about 650 that have survived to this day. [In Images: Recreating a Legendary Stradivarius Violin]

Read more about this here…

NEW TEACHERS DB

WANT TO LEARN THE VIOLIN or FIDDLE

We have started a database of string teachers. For the moment only Brisbane but soon extending state wide and then nationally.

Our new GOLDEN FIDDLE AWARDS TEACHERS DATABASE

We need your help! If you know of teacher that would like a free listing here, let them know our email [email protected]. That way they can contact us and give us their details to add to our growing list.

Heifetz Institute launches first ever Virtual Institute on June 25

Heifetz Institute launches first ever Virtual Institute

Heifetz Institute's summer student Kitty Amaral plays the violin during the Heifetz Hootenanny concert on Mary Baldwin University's campus on Saturday, July 20, 2019. (Photo: Holly Marcus/Special to The News Leader)
Heifetz Institute’s summer student Kitty Amaral plays the violin during the Heifetz Hootenanny concert on Mary Baldwin University’s campus on Saturday, July 20, 2019. (Photo: Holly Marcus/Special to The News Leader)

 The Heifetz International Music Institute has taken the bold step to innovate a Virtual Institute for Summer 2020, the first such action taken by a premier music program nationwide, the Institute announced in a news release. 

In addition to creating a new paradigm in online training, the Institute will continue to connect students with its community of music lovers, supporters, and patrons both locally and worldwide, through Heifetz Rubato: The Virtual Concert Hall.

Read more…..