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American Surrealism

American Surrealism
Philip Curtis

The Red Priest

The Red Priest
Antonio Vivaldi

Performance Violin

Monday, June 7, 2010

Take your violin out of its case, rosin your bow, and begin to play along with Arizona Violin.

We are going to take a look at violin shops around the world, read books on the art of violin playing, discuss which witch to start practicing.

An open letter to Speedy Violin in answer to his solicitations that I use his method program for the sale price of $39.97.

Hi Speedy,

I have a few questions to ask:

1) Is the musical method course just about reading music or playing the violin also? You sent stuff on how to hold the violin and the bow, but you are now talking about JUST a course on reading music.

I can read music quite well but I have poor eyesight so I have difficulty seeing the music. It sounds like you have different parts of the speedy violin course that would require another fee.

2) Frankly, I would rather wait then rush into something which would disillusion me with your method. Here is my second question:

I liked your Intro on the computer with the music and rhythm which certainly is contagious. I keep hearing your music and your voice. Are you a hypnotist? That's all right because I don't want to read a mess of booklets with tiny print in them. I think the whole problem is that there has never been a good computer program for the violin or any other instrument because...?

And I don't mean a YouTube presentation. There is one by a Chinese American violinist, a very young man who does play well and does invite an audience interplay. I think his name is Chen, which is like Smith in English. But for me he really does not cut the mustard.

I'm looking for a computer program where I can transpose and write the notes on the computer, plus lots of other things which I know of because I saw my conducter of the Scottsdale Symphony use it to write his music for which he 20 years ago was getting $5,000 for an original score of background music for a stage play of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

Everytime I go to the only computer store in Phoenix, Best Buy, to buy a Keyboard and ask about these kinds of music computer programs they stare at me blankly and tell me to go to another store in the town of Tempe, instead of Phoenix.

Computer, computer, computer violin teaching course is what I am looking for, not just a bunch of booklets with tiny print for a guy that's going to be 79 in September.

You do not make it clear enough what kind of computer course you are offering. If you let me preview that course, I will advertise it for you for nothing.

Let me say a word about my blogging to clear up any ambiguities you may have about the need for a beginner's course for the violin.

As I said in my last letter I have played the violin to my satisfaction as an AMATEUR over the years to control my blood pressure and bowel movements. I have a life expectancy of about 5 years, and as I told my doctor who wants me to live to 100 there is probably less than a one in a million chance of that happening.

If time runs out on my buying your program at its present sale price, so be it.

On the other hand, if you let me preview the whole program two things may happen:

1) I might buy it.
2) I would let you advertise it free of charge on my website.

Right now I am more motivated to learn about blogging for money rather than as family news or the like. You were one of my google adsense advertisers and you must have paid a pretty penny for that ad, I'm sure more than $40.

That's my offer. Take it or leave it.

I would only give you the free ad space because I like your Texas connection.

In the music world today Arizona's name is mud.



  1. Editorial Reviews Of "The Art of Violin Playing."
    Product Description
    Originally published in 1924, this book is the result of many years' quiet thought and observation in connection with the authors own teaching. It focuses mainly on the essential skills of violin playing, rather than on the peculiarities that all players adopt to suit their own requirements. The book contains broad common-sense views, preferring not to concentrate on any particular "school" or "method". It is also written with some humour and in a very colloquial style. Complete with detailed diagrams and photographic plates. Contents Include: Part 1 Explanation Argument Tone Advice to Beginners The Left Side of the Body The Right Side of the Body, (The Bow Arm) Left Hand Technique Finger Action The Third Position The Second Position Higher Positions Sliding Fingering Bowing Sautille Ricochet or Elastic Staccato How to Practise Double Stopping Extensions Right Hand Pizzicato Left hand Pizzicato Harmonics The Shake Tremolo or Vibrato Sight Reading and Memorising Controlled Movement and Concentration How to Become a Musician Musical Development Conclusion, "Dont's"

  2. Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    49 of 50 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible of violin playing, December 23, 2005
    By Hilary Hahn - See all my reviews

    This review is from: Art of Violin Playing: Book One (Paperback)
    Many teachers say that the art of violin playing is the Bible on how to play violin. I have played violin for many years, and I find this book an invaluable tool. It contains so much detail that often it must be studied to understand all the minute details that Carl Flesch wishes to convey to the reader. If you are just a beginner, I would recommend a different book. The Art of Violin Playing uses somewhat technical descriptions on how to play, which are slightly confusing at times, but never impossible to grasp. I have found myself quoting this book when I teach my students. They will ask why I tell them to play a certain way, and I can show them what a master teacher says to do. I recommend this book very strongly. Help other customers find the most helpful

  3. Gasparo da Salò (May 20, 1540, Salò - April 14, 1609) is the name given to Gasparo di Bertolotti, one of the earliest violin makers of which many and very detailed historical records (about 90 documents and 60 instruments) exist.

  4. He was born in the town of Salò on Lake Garda, Italy. His father and uncle were clever violin players and involved in artistic works like restoration, appraisal and construction of instruments. His cousin was a very famous musician, violinist, trombonist and composer, working first in Ferrara for the Este family, in Mantua at the Gonzaga court and then in Rome in the papal chapel. Gasparo did not found the school of Brescia, which came into existence in the late XV century with an anonymous master who sold three fine viols to Isabella d'Este Gonzaga in 1495, and the Micheli family in the beginning of XVI century and, later, roughly contemporaneously with the opening in the sixties of the century, of the workshop of Andrea Amati in Cremona, but developed it to a very high level. It is possible that there was a little violin making school in Salò where he learned; the matter is debated. New researches show consistent connections of many lyra players from Salò with the highest venetian musical life, like the orchestra of strings in St. Mark cathedral, from almost 1540. In 1562 he transferred his business from Salò to Brescia, buying immediately a house with workshop, and from incoming tax documents (Polizze d'estimo) of 1568 we know that he had immediately a very good trade, buying rich houses and lands in Brescia and surroundings, and from that of 1588, that his trade was exported to France in the decades 1570 - 1580. Gasparo had five pupils, one from Marsiglia (south France).

  5. Gasparo developed an instrument of modern character, very powerful in tone. The violins at that time had to play with cornettos and trombones in open air places during processions. They therefore needed to be heard over the din of the horns. The acoustic term that is used is "response,"

    That feature of the Brescian makers was later studied by Stradivari between 1690 and 1700.

  6. I had the pleasure of playing on a Gasparo da Salo in 1964 at the Walnut Street shop in downtown Philadelphia near Rittenhouse Square of Adolph Primavera. Adolph was a descendant of a long line of Italian violin makers reaching back to the 16th century. Both he and his son (later) studied violin making at a school in Cremona.

    Adolph inherited many violins from the family business, one of which was a Gasparo da Salo. "Here," he said to me, "Try this out. It was owned and played on for many years by Carl Flesch. It was his favorite violin."

    He said the New York City Metropolitan Art Museum had offered him $85,000 for it and he could not resist the offer.

  7. I would like to call this section "Rosin Dust Tales." If you have any stories about old violins (or new ones) and violin dealers who usually are also makers and repairers, Let's hear them.

    Just send them to and I will post them on Arizona Violin.

  8. Hi,

    Do you ever feel misunderstood when it comes to music and your violin? I know I do occassionally...

    Sometimes when I talk to friends or even family, they see music as a "hobby". As just a way I like to spend my time or something...

    They just don't think they get it! Violin is a passion. Music is a passion. When you truly love music it flows through your veins and your heart in a way that it's hard for other people to understand. People like you and I don't have the choice of not spending time, effort, and sometimes even money on listening to music, becoming better musicians and feeding our passion for music because it's part of what makes us who we are...

    Thanks for being a passionate music lover, violinist and musician. Let's get better as musicians today! Have a great week.

    To Becoming the Violinist You Always Knew You Could Be,

    Ray Stanley
    -The Play Violin Now Expert-

    This message was sent from Ray Stanley to It was sent from: David Neuenschwander, 3422 Hickory Hollow, Spring, TX 77380.

  9. Frm Ray: How to hold the bow:

    Wed, 23 June, 2010 20:57:53

    Become a Violin Prodigy
    From: Ray Stanley View Contact
    To: jordanrichman
    In learning how to play the violin, perhaps the most important thing you can focus on is how to properly hold the violin and the bow. Here's a great tip to help with that...

    Correctly hold the bow by gently laying your index finger on the grip. Make sure to have the tips of your fingers on the top of the grip. For help, a tennis ball should fit between the space of the palm of your hand and the bow. The other fingers are placed at equal distances from each other on the same edge, while the pinky is placed on the edge that is lower, and is curled slightly.

    Your ring finger should be covering the pearl circle on the side of the bow. It is crucial to not grip the bow too tightly, because then you will not be able to bow effectively. Your hand should be relaxed and loose, and while this can be difficult at first, because you don't want to drop the bow, it just takes practice.

    Hope this helps! Talk to you soon.

    To Becoming the Violinist You Always Knew You Could Be,

    Ray Stanley
    -The Play Violin Now Expert-

    P.S. - Learn How to Play the Violin Quickly & Easily with Speedy Violin Lessons:

    This message was sent from Ray Stanley from: David Neuenschwander, 3422 Hickory Hollow, Spring, TX 77380.

  10. Hi Ray,

    Ray--Thanks for the tip on holding the bow. I tried it and it did make for a nicer tone with more control of the bow.

    In Book 1 of the Suzuki method, the master advises the beginner to place the thumb below the frog to help with the initial problem of stability.

  11. This message was sent from Ray Stanley to It was sent from: David Neuenschwander, 3422 Hickory Hollow, Spring, TX 77380. You can modify/update your subscription via the link below.
    Did you know that for centuries the world's greatest violinists have had a secret weapon that few others knew about? And even more astounding is the fact that every single person has this same ability lying undiscovered inside!
    This special ability is pitch recognition, more commonly known as absolute pitch and relative pitch. These two skills have been the guiding force behind some of music's biggest names, and now you can master the same skill.

  12. Ray and I are battling it out over the role of memorization in music.

    It sounds like he has some really good ideas on that subject.

    What I would like to see happen is a whole lot of people buy his book off of Arizona Violin for which I will not receive a red cent and then get messages from you folks who buy his program saying, "Thank you Arizona Violin for putting us on the right track with Ray Stanley."

  13. Dear friends,

    My name is Holly Jean. I am writing in hopes that somehow someway you will be able to help me find my grandads grandads grandads old violin.

    This violin was given to me years ago by my grandfather. It was one of his most cherished things. His grandfathers grandfather had made it himself, out of cherrywood from an old outhouse. He's always told the story about that old violin, and he always asks me to make sure it is ok. I've been leaving it with my mother because of my nomadic nature in these recent years. She sold it at a garage sale in Gold Canyon 3 weeks ago. She just didnt know what she was doing. She feels terrible about it too. But she didnt realize what she had.

    I know this may sound dramatic but I feel like my heart has been broken into a million billion pieces. I am so sad that I was so careless with this precious piece of my family history. I am upset that I could be so careless with something that my grandfather loved so much. It truly breaks my heart.

    I know you're all strangers out there, but maybe you can help me put the word out. Thank you for listening.

    Holly Jean