I get a kick out of this photo, because it reflects the equipment end of my current passion. The little violins are the girls', and then the full-sized violin is mine -- the big brother on the left is our teacher's kick-ass viola, which she generously let me borrow for a few weeks. It's got a gorgeous tone -- deeper than a violin -- not low like a cello, but fuller and warmer and one string lower than violins.
But the real purpose of this post is to reveal a sound-bite glimpse into my winter hobby. Why even record these fumbling attempts, never mind share them with the world? For the same reason I keep this blog -- I like having a record of the process of our lives, even if the product isn't always particularly interesting or pleasing. I already like seeing video clips of my playing a few months ago when it was even more awful, so even the small progressions are satisfying. Seeing this today after witnessing virtuoso James Ehnes in concert last night makes my attempts feel even more comically bad, but it was inspiring. Anyway, six months into the violin experiment, and this is what it sounds like (by special request from several loyal readers):
A couple of notes on these clips:
- The first one is a faster fiddle jig called "Gary Owen" that I'm just learning now...keeps the fingers moving.
- Another fiddle tune called Clare Jig that Ivy and I learned from Liz last week -- I'll have to get some video of Ivy whipping through it too.
- A little bit of a harmony part I developed to accompany Clare Jig. It led to one of my most fun recent musical moments when Liz played the regular melody and I got to try this second part out with her -- I was grinning like an idiot and had goosebumps because it sounded even better than I had hoped. Because it mostly uses the lower strings, it was one of the reasons Liz suggested lending me her viola, which has been super fun.
- A simple classical piece that my mom has generously been playing piano accompaniment for, along with a half-dozen other songs from the first Suzuki book. The few times we've tried, it's been a lot of fun for both of us. Violin duets with Ivy on the same songs have been fun too, so we're looking forward to trying trio versions at some point.
- And finally, the only viola bit, on a song I came up with and have been practicing this week -- Liz has a pickup on the instrument, so I was able to add some reverb and amplification for an even warmer, bigger sound. Now if only I could play in tune! Just takes time...