Friday, July 29, 2016


This is certainly the hardest instrument I've tried yet. The worst part is that the learning curve is unusually steep right at the beginning.

With a piano or a recorder (or even a crumhorn) you can play a recognizable melody within an hour. And (depending on the instrument) your articulation may be horrible, there may be extra noises, whatever, but the point is you start from a position of playing something and then with practice play more complex things and play them more cleanly.

The violin may consume weeks just to get a sound -- let alone a melody. And to put all the basics together...when you can hold, bow, articulate, find the notes, shift and/or cross strings, and add a little vibrato...that's between three to six months.

It is in short a lot harder to fake it. It is possible to sound pretty playing with one finger on the piano. It is possible to sing along to two chords on a ukulele. There exists little equivalent on the violin; instead, you face day after day of doing decidedly un-musical exercises in hopes of one day being able to actually pick out a tune.

(Well, actually, it is only as dire as the above because the violin makes such unbearable sounds. Chopsticks on the piano may sound clumsy and trite but the student violin batters you with painful noises against which whatever melody may be there is all inaudible).

I've started experimenting with shifting (aka moving from first position to third, and back again). Which turned out to be impossible with my still insecure grip on the thing. So today I hung a shoulder rest on it and now I'm trying to get used to the way that changes everything else I'd hoped I'd already learned; the hand position is different now, the bow position is different, etc. I am confident I can dump the shoulder rest later, when I have a better overall command of the total, but for now it is going to speed up my learning process.

It is all slowly coming together. I'm really shifts and vibrato away from being able to fake a solo...well, if you don't care about being particularly on pitch! That will take, my current estimation is, forever. I don't think you ever quite stop finding places you can clean up your intonation. That said, in another month I'll be able to stop wincing all the time, in three months it might fool me, and in a year someone else might agree with me.

For now, the shoulder is still awkward. So I try to get my hand back to where it should be, and try to get the violin (and my posture) comfortable and stable, and that all takes so much concentration my bowing goes to hell. There's just too much going on at the same time here.

Speaking of which.

Finally got back to editing the laser files on the Holocron. And Inkscape demanded I update Xquartz, so I waited around for that to happen. And picked up a new wider-nib pen to make the new artwork go a little faster. But I'm still not going to get the lasering done this weekend; not with a clan get-together and ongoing recovery from a bug that had me lagging all last week (and then some).

Planning the next fanfic chapter. First scene is POV from a CRM archaeologist in Roswell, New Mexico. I'm still picking the archaeological site in question but I'm getting more and more intrigued by prehistoric. Very prehistoric -- try 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, with the first migrations of humans into the New World.

The next guest POV I do might go a little Jean Auel, is what I'm saying.

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