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Gratuitous sax and mindless violins - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
Gratuitous sax and mindless violins
Orchestra rehearsal was good, although I am very cross with my desk-partner. She took our music home two weeks ago to photocopy it all so that she could practise it, and when we came to look for our copy of the Guys and Dolls medley today we couldn't find it. At first she insisted that I must have it, but for once my lack-of-practice could be turned to my advantage as I knew I hadn't touched the music since she gave it back to me. :-} Eventually she admitted she'd probably left it in the photocopier or something, but she didn't even apologise for having lost it (not to mention having cost the orchestra money if she's really lost it). Stupid cow.

Went to the Carlton after orchestra to find a very depleted SGO quiz presence -- only ewx, beckyc, cjwatson and Peter Benie. Had interesting music-related conversations with the latter two and (once again) resolved to get some kind of music ensemble going. A string quartet would be good, but we are sadly lacking in violins/violas -- I can play either (though would prefer violin for the time being as I'm vastly more out-of-practice on viola) but I seem to be the only one in Cambridge who'll admit to being able to do so. On the other hand, we have three cellists (cjwatson, emperor and timeplease) so could probably manage something along the lines of Apocalyptica if I played viola and pretended to be the high end of the cello range. :-)

Call for musicians
Anyway: if anybody in Cambridge plays anything, frankly, and wants to get involved in a very amateurish play-random-music-for-fun collective, then shout here (or shout at me by email). At the moment I think the bias is likely to be towards classical and "light" music, but that's negotiable.

Current Mood: musical
Now playing: none, ironically (Sion's asleep & I don't want to wake him)

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From: kaet Date: October 8th, 2003 04:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have a lurg, :(.

As Martin Luther King might once have said.
j4 From: j4 Date: October 8th, 2003 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor you. :-( I hope it gets better soon.

I assume lnr's absence was lurg-related as well, since she's been lurgsome recently.

Mine's more or less gone -- just a chesty cough and a bit of a sniffle left -- and that's not going to stop me doing stuff. Kids of today, don't know they're born, etc. etc.

sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: October 8th, 2003 04:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was *trying* to get an early night due to an early start tomorrow. :(

I play the mezzo-soprano. But frankly musically I'm a bit shit really, and would probably hold everyone back even if there was call for a voice.
acronym From: acronym Date: October 8th, 2003 06:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I play guitar/bass guitar, but that's probably not what you're after...
(I used to play violin, but I didn't really enjoy it.)
ceb From: ceb Date: October 8th, 2003 06:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I play viola (sadly little these days) and tenor/descant recorder. Playing more would be nice... not sure it's entirely practical until after I've finished my PhD, but I could give it a go, see how the time goes.

(A string quartet would be nice if we could swap two cellists for a^W^W^W^W^Wfind another violinist.)
ceb From: ceb Date: October 8th, 2003 06:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, I've just remembered I *do* know another violinist... try simont (though I'm not sure he has a violin any more).
simont From: simont Date: October 9th, 2003 01:08 am (UTC) (Link)
'Fraid not. I was a violinist, but haven't played one since I was 15 (well, unless you count the one or two occasions when I've picked up someone else's out of curiosity and discovered I honestly have no idea how to make a nice noise on it any more). I'd have to practise for quite a while just to get back to "tolerable", let alone "worthwhile".

Also, my left wrist has never really forgiven me for bending it at a daft angle round the neck of a violin for seven or eight years of my childhood. I'm always suspicious that that might have been one of the root causes of my brush with RSI. I'd be unwilling to take up the violin again, just in case. These days when I have stringed-instrument urges I play the guitar instead, which I'm also useless at but at least it lets me keep my wrist at a halfway sensible angle.

Sorry :-/
j4 From: j4 Date: October 9th, 2003 02:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Also, my left wrist has never really forgiven me for bending it at a daft angle round the neck of a violin for seven or eight years of my childhood. I'm always suspicious that that might have been one of the root causes of my brush with RSI.

The whole RSI thing puzzles me, to be honest; I've been using computer keyboards since the age of 3, playing piano since the age of 6 or so, playing violin since the age of 9 (and later viola as well, which is heavier!) -- you'd think I'd be a prime candidate for crippling RSI by now, but the only hint of it I've ever had was a few twinges when I was in the sixth form. But at the time I was leading an orchestra, playing in two smaller string ensembles, and frantically practising piano for the performance bit of A-level music; so I suspect I might just have been overdoing it.

Maybe some people are just more susceptible to it than others, or maybe it's the combination of wrist-mangling things I've done that's meant my wrists haven't had a chance to get stuck in one position (I'm guessing now) ... I don't know.

As for the actual playing, though, I'm sure it'd come back to you if you took it up again -- my playing was dreadful when I started playing with the CCO (which is why I chose to hide at the back of the second violins and play very quietly) but now I'm producing something that sounds like music again, and playing a lot more confidently. But then I've always found it much easier and more fun to play as part of a group -- I don't play half as well solo (which of course means I'm crap at auditions, so I found it really hard to get into orchestras etc. when I was at Oxford -- fortunately the CCO doesn't require auditions!).
simont From: simont Date: October 9th, 2003 02:53 am (UTC) (Link)
*shrug* Yes, I'm not sure why your wrists haven't fallen apart from all that; I'm fairly sure mine would have! I started to have chronic pain in my left wrist when I was about sixteen (shortly after giving up the violin), usually when stressed or in cold weather but every so often simply because my wrist (apparently) remembered it hadn't tormented me for a couple of weeks. Because it was the left wrist only I assumed it was the violin; other people I've talked to since then seem to agree, and say that apparently tendonitis and related things are common among violinists. I suppose some people must just have more robust tendons (you jammy wossname ;-).

Interesting that you enjoy playing in orchestras; I never really felt I was contributing much to the music when I did that - when you're one of about ten people playing the same notes, it often feels as if you could just stop and nobody would notice all that much. (I even felt like that when I became the leader of my school orchestra, so it's not a sitting-at-the-back thing!) Small quartets and ensembles, where you're the only person playing your part, I found much more fun - more like teamwork and less like being a small cog in a large machine. Solo was fun too, but in a different way.
From: kaet Date: October 9th, 2003 03:07 am (UTC) (Link)
My brain's motor-program section is very weak, by that I mean the bit where the thinking part says "JFDI" and some automatic bit does all the microcoordination. I can be dexterous (like when doing crafts, which I'm often quite good at), but it involves intense concentration due to all the explicit scheduling. This is mainly bad (lack of dexterity and clumsiness in everyday life) but one good thing about it means that I don't seem to be succeptible to RSI, because I rarely do the same things exactly the same way twice in a row. It took me ages to learn to type, but now I do it's apparently a bit mad, like two riverdancing spiders involving movements in all kinds of odd directions. Really I guess, I get away with no I due to the lack of R, rather than the lack of S.
imc From: imc Date: October 9th, 2003 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
My hands have been glued to a computer keyboard of one sort or another (starting with a rubber-keyed Speccy) since 1983 (at which time I was considerably older than 3) and I've never had anything wrong with my hands or wrists that lasts more than about ten minutes (and this tends to happen when I rest them awkwardly on the desk).

I did once get tendonitis in my knees (first one, then a few months later the other one), which was odd. My doctor joked that I should stop going ski-ing until they got better.
sion_a From: sion_a Date: October 9th, 2003 06:11 am (UTC) (Link)
I play viola [ ... ] A string quartet would be nice

With j4 on viola and hoiho's double bass, you're there. Give or take some transposing.
j4 From: j4 Date: October 9th, 2003 12:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, if you play recorder, and so do I, and so does emperor.... I wonder if we can scratch together a small recorder consort? Actually, I've got plenty of pieces for two or three recorders so I'd be up for that too. (I play descant and treble; I've got a sopranino but playing that amounts to noise terrorism. I can play tenor but I don't have one.)

There's string quartets for cello, two violas and violin; and it looks like we've got at least two violins now anyway (Rachel and meirion and... did I miss anyone?) so string quartets are a definite possibility. Or even string quintets. Or sextets. Hurr hurr, I said "sex". :-)

nou From: nou Date: October 8th, 2003 07:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Three cellos and a viola could sound awfully good. Is one of you up for doing arrangements?
j4 From: j4 Date: October 9th, 2003 12:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm up for having a go if we get enough people and enough interest... long time since I've arranged anything more complicated than a vase of flowers though. :-)
From: angua Date: October 8th, 2003 11:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I play the clarinet so if you decide to do anything that isn't just strings I'd be up for it. I really miss playing music with other people actually.
j4 From: j4 Date: October 9th, 2003 12:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Not-just-strings would be good -- there just seems to be a bit of a glut of strings. On the other hand we have pianists, so how about a clarinet trio?
From: angua Date: October 9th, 2003 10:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Raaah, count me in then :)
From: rmc28 Date: October 9th, 2003 01:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I've got a violin and I'd be potentially interested but be warned: a) I only ever got to Grade V and then just failed it b) I haven't played for 7-8 years and c) the poor neglected instrument needs fixing.

I won't be offended if I'm not up to your standard, but I could work on b) and c) quite quickly, given a reason to bother ...
j4 From: j4 Date: October 9th, 2003 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I won't be offended if I'm not up to your standard

Eh, you think I have standards? ;-)

Seriously -- sounds fine to me. I'm not interested in getting together a group of elite musicians (for a start, I wouldn't be eligible to join such a thing!) -- I'm interested in getting together a loose affiliation of people who like playing music for fun, and who don't mind swapping parts and messing about and just picking up stuff and playing it because it looks interesting.

BTW what needs fixing on the fiddle? If we do get anything started before you get it fixed, you're welcome to borrow mine in the meantime if you want and I'll play viola or piano.
From: rmc28 Date: October 9th, 2003 03:14 am (UTC) (Link)
what needs fixing on the fiddle?
Bow needs new hair and it could probably do with new strings. I'll take it to a music shop and wait for the indrawn sucking noise ;)
meirion From: meirion Date: October 9th, 2003 04:33 am (UTC) (Link)
i play the violin and used to be quite good, but am hopelessly out-of-practice at the moment. i keep making feeble noises that i ought to get back into practice, but i doubt it's going to happen until i get somewhere a little less temporary to live and i doubt _that_'s going to happen any time soon :-|

j4 From: j4 Date: October 9th, 2003 12:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
used to be quite good

Well, I think that's the highest standard that anybody's admitted to so far :-) so I wouldn't worry too much about practising... if we do get anything going then it'll be more a case of "come along and hack through stuff for fun" rather than "you need to practise this stuff first". At least at first ... I suppose maybe if we get good we'll want to practise. I dunno, the whole practising thing is alien to me. ;-)
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