venerdì 28 luglio 2017

Tone is everything.

Well, almost everything.
Robert has a very good violin tone.
I've noticed that I have a tendency to play with too much pressure, especially when I get a bit excited.

I spent two hours practising violin yesterday and also watched some stuff on Youtube about producing a good tone. It's not really rocket science.

This is more like rocket science.

It's really just a matter of not getting too excited and holding back a bit when I play.
Most of us know the three things about the bow:
  • placement
  • pressure
  • speed.
As a general rule - play halfway between the bridge and the fingerboard and don't press to hard.
Okay, this is a huge over simplification, but thinking about this will improve your tone almost straight away.
A nice vibrato helps and, of course, playing in tune.

I added a tune to the Testore Trio repertoire that I haven't reall played before - A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square.
It's a lovely tune. I always remember seeing and hearing Stephane Grappelli playing it.
It has a slightly unusual form in that the A Section is ten bars long. The B Section is eight bars long, as you would expect. I love the modulation up a major third to the B Section.

Well, that's it from me this morning. Another busy day of practice lays ahead - unless the bloody phone rings in the next twenty minutes or so.
Fingers firmly crossed.

giovedì 27 luglio 2017

Testore Trio.

24 charts ready to go.

Suonerò il violino. Ora è il momento di praticare. Tra il dire e il fare c'è di mezzo il mare.

mercoledì 26 luglio 2017

24 Charts and speaking Italian.

I want the Riccardo Testore Trio to be a really slick band.

A great player, but a poor chooser of shirts.
This is not his worst shirt picture.
I'll be pushing the Italian theme with this band and the on stage presence. I'll also be memorising all the charts so that my head is not stuck in the music. I might even go for a band shirt - very 1980s.

But nothing this extreme.
I do have an Italian shirt that I really love - I think I'll wear that.

This Italian trio has been almost twenty years in the planning. I had this shirt decorated many years ago and it's perfect, though Shelley thinks that it makes me look like a Nazi. I don't know why.

martedì 25 luglio 2017

The waiting game.

For those wondering, this is not
a picture of Richard (of RBB).
I have my name at a few schools making myself available for daily relief. Often one receives a telephone call between 7 and about 7.45am.
To be ready I have to be up by at least 7am.
Two things can happen:
  • You get a call and you get ready and head off or
  • You don't get a call and you are free for the day.
No call yesterday and, so far, no call this morning.
This isn't something to be concerned about because it is only the second day of term. 
In fact it is very nice to be home. Yesterday I started organising a book of charts for the Riccardo Testore Trio. Twenty four charts to start with. Ten Italian tunes, ten jazz tunes and four of my own. 
I'll be playing violin and my plan is to memorise all of the tunes - I'm about half way through doing this. I'll sort out more charts (written out tunes and chords) today if that phone doesn't ring. I want this trio to be slick and well rehearsed. George (of RBB) said he was keen to play double bass and hopefully Wade (of RBB) will be available for guitar though, with a band like this, there will be clashes with other gigs - hence the necessity of accurate charts if you have to pull in a sub.

7.47am and no call. That probably means I'm safe for today.

I hope you're all getting on and writing your charts.
Poor old The Curmudgeon had a nasty accident over the weekend and broke two fingers. I guess, since those fingers are on his right hand, he won't be writing any charts in the near future. He said that he tried playing the piano yesterday and it wasn't really possible. Probably he wasn't helped by the fact that he couldn't play the piano before the accident, but his right hand is certainly not up to the task at present.

All of us at Richard's Bass Bag* wish him a speedy recovery.

Take care old friend.

* the original bass bagging site

domenica 23 luglio 2017

The quiet world of blogging.

Where have all the bloggers gone?
Long time passing.
Where have all the bloggers gone?
Long time ago.
Where have all the bloggers gone?
Watching TV I suppose.
When will they ever leard?
When will they ever learn?

School's back tomorrow. Not for me though. Unless, and there's only a tiny chance, I get asked to relieve somewhere. Chances are very small as I say.

I might write another blog post tomorrow. Bin Hire says he will get his blog back in action. That's good because it has been very quiet around here.

Robert seems to have closed up shop, like a shop in the Homedale Village.

There was a hairdresser salon in Homedale optimistically called Hair to Stay.
They went.
Some might remember The Childrens' Bookshop (note the possessive apostrophe in the wrong place - not a good look for a bookshop).
They went.

Will Robert return now that the PBs' Hutt Tour is over and he will have more time?
The Curmudgeon has a lot of time to blog. Okay, some of his posts are a little uninspiring, but he generally gets good marks for effort.

I guess, as has happened many times in the past, it'll be up to Richard's Bass Bag* to save the day.
We are planning a series called Know Your Double Bass and Violin Strings.
This could be just the boost that our little blogging community needs. The intention is to look at many brands of string, explain how to identify them by their colours and give a description of how they sound.
Watch this site take off into the stratosphere!

No need to thank us, local bloggers. We at Richard's Bass Bag* are just doing what we do best.

* the original bass bagging site

venerdì 21 luglio 2017

Second Test.

Heavy rain in the Hutt means it'll be wet under foot for the PBs at the Wellington Bluegrass Society in Petone this evening. The PBs will be attempting to take out the series 2 - nil. Robert will start again after a strong return to the team in Upper Hutt and the plan will no doubt be to keep him fresh for the Ashokan Farewell in the final few minutes of the concert. This is when the PBs may need to score some quick points using Robert's sweet violin tone. Warm sentimental violin playing might be different from hard forward bass playing but it can give you points when you need them. PBs captain Chris has gone for light amplification for this encounter, a wise move considering the smaller venue.  However, the singers will have to be constantly aware of their mic technique which let them down a bit in Upper Hutt. Chris said, "We're not expecting talkers so the boys are pretty confident that we can generate enough sound. We'll just bring the vocals up a bit to compensate for the wet conditions." Again Daryl will play a pivotal role on accordion and expect to see Richard coming off the bench again with his violin. Reports are that Rod's mandolin has recovered well from the broken string it suffered in Upper Hutt. The PBs will again be fielding two bass players. This tactic worked well for them in Upper Hutt because it gave them more options for solos with flute, clarinet and violin being available. Both boys are prepared to do the hard yards on bass and this should allow the team to play more expansive melodies over the top.
Chris is warning not to write off the audience. "These people are very experienced listeners, so we will not be taking them lightly. There will be a lot of experienced musicians among them and they are quite capable of spotting any mistakes and punishing us for them."
The concert kicks off at 8pm at the Wellington Bluegrass Society in Petone and will not be broadcasted live on Sky Sport.

giovedì 20 luglio 2017

A tale of two bows.

These are my two double bass bows.
The one 'on top' is my trusty old bow that I changed from French to German and then back to French. The one 'underneath' is my newer German bow.

For those of you who might be wondering, the French bow is more like a violin bow and the German bow is played with a different grip. Look at those black bits where the hair comes out near the top of the stick. That black bit is called the frog. The German frog is wider.
I played French for many years but changed to German because it was easier on my then aging and slightly injured hand. I was tempted recently to try French again, but the reality is that German works better for me.

My mission is to get my German frog put back on my old bow.