(note: the following is being written as a memorialization of the facts herein contained, no more, and no less; it is written in the manner of a debriefing, and is intended as such.)

I had agreed to meet with someone yesterday afternoon, af my office/studio.

I  just got back from forty-eight hours of travel and was very tired.

All I wanted to do was to get the wiring completed on the four syntehsizers, controller, and sound card and computer.

That is a pretty tall order, I must say.

So, the last thing I wanted was to have any visitors at this particular time (or most any other time, when I am working, as far as that goes).

And this visitor was a most unusual one indeed.

One of my daughters had returned from Costa Rica with her new found friend, who is staying with her while looking for work, here, in California.

She is from back east, and, as is so usual, fell in love with our part of the world, in a heartbeat, as it were.

Easy to do, I am thinking to myself.

But, now she is being forced to make a trip back to New York to pick up her violin, because she had not expected to be away for so long as she now was.

Upon finding out that this was going on, I asked my daughter to tell her that I have three violins, two violas, an electric violin, and three mandolins available for her use, if that could be of any help.

I DO NOT! loan out instruments to anyone at any time (except certain people who manage to hussle me).

The very thought of if is ANATHEMA to me.

A word I do not often get to use.

As in, NO WAY!!

So, I am not happy about this.

All I can think about is the instrument being damaged or destroyed (every single time I 've loaned?).

Well, get over it.


Uuuugggghhhh ---

What to do?
What to do?

Now I am in an even worse jam than I think, because who is to be the arbitrer, here?

Who is going to decide which instrument is going to leave the safety of it's little nest, to be destroyed by that wicked world out there?

If I do, it looks TERRIBLE!

I I don't, then I am playing the part of a sap.

Is RESIGNATION the ONLY thing which can possibly work, here?


Oh yeah, from the person who is the most attached, no less.

Now I am thinking in terms of replacement costs and hassles.

Finally, I just put it all out of my mind, as I now get back to my wiring problems.

Knock.  Knock.  Knock.

Oh, how I HATE! that sound.

I have the cell phone right next to me, while waiting to be told that my visitors are on there way.

And they know this.

Why then, knock, knock, knock?

I can only shudder to think, as I begin to move towrd the door, wondering whether I should be armed, or more armed, or not when answering.

I kid you not.

There is a NO SOLICITORS sign conpiculously posted and I expect no visitors and am already in contact with all with whom I should be.

Who then?

As I open the door and prepare for the inevitable assault upon me I am a little bit irritated to see that it is the two who I am expecting.

I point to the phone sitting next to me.

It never is.

I keep it away from me instead of near me.

She knows this.

I do not need to say any more although I couldn't help but briefly remark that I really like to get enough warning to make myself "presentable".

I could hear her thinking,
Like that's ever going to happen.

Kids can be so mean at times.

I had met K before, who was now standing back, unsure whether to enter the door or not, being quite unsure what these unusual communications exactly meant.

I wandered toward the back of the building as I signalled the two of them to come on in.

I'll be right back, I said, as I went to check to make sure the path on the floor was clear enough so that they would not trip over things laying all over the place for the moment.

I then returned and accompanied the two of them into the studio area and pointed to where the violins and violas stood on stands all together and then went about my work, wondering which violin she would pick, and how long it would take.

I apologized for the fact that they were all out of tune, even with some loose strings.

I actually just unburied them yesterday, I explained.

Usually I keep them in tune at pitch, but that is hard to do when they are buried.

And they have been for quite awhile.

Just got unburied yesterday.

Haven't had time to tune them up.

Now, tuning any string instrument correctly is nothing short of a nightmare.

It is easy to get it close.

But it is incredibly difficult to get it right.

And to do so with control, so that results are repeatable.

And often while under intense pressure, as in live performance, for example.

Exact and repeatable while under intense pressure with lots of noise around you.

This is where years of piano tuning come in handy, as it has for me.

Yes, it is good to actually KNOW what you are doing.

But those string instruments let you tune any of innumerable ways, none of which are correct.

What this means is that as one plays in what are known as "more remote keys" they will become more and more out of tune the more "remote" the key is.

So, while there are twelve major keys and twelve minor keys, one is now stuck with only being able to play in several of these before their instrument sounds horribly out of tune.

This is why Bach helped to popularize what came to be known as "equal temperament tuning".

Look at the fret board or a guitar and you are looking at that very thing.

There are twelve frets between octaves.

The octave is what happens when the length of the string is cut in half, or doubled in length.

This is done by placing the finger on the fretboard and pressing.

The one half of the string is now divided into twelve equal parts.

That is where the "equal" part of "equal termperament tuning" originates from.

One octave EQUALLY DIVIDED into twelve steps.

While on a guitar this is intuitive, such is not the case on a violin.

One is not stuck with only twelve divisions between the octaves.

One can divide it in as many places as one would like to.

So now we have the problem of "sweetening".

By tuning just slightly differently one can make certain combinations of notes sound more pleasing to the ear.

It is only natural, when playing, to play these notes.

But, equal temperament tuning has made compromises in order to make it so that one can play in the remote keys and still sound "in tune".

Everything is just slightly "out of tune" so that no single key or set of keys will sound "way out of tune".

So that we can play all twelve major and all twelve minor keys without having to retune the instrument every time.

The violinist doesn't really have much of a concern here.

But what about keyboard players.

Lots more strings there.

Believe it or not that is exactly what would be done.

Must either switch instruments or retune on the spot.

Now, the point of all of this dissertation is about to become apparent as I can listen and know exactly what level of knowledge the player has by how they tune the instrument.

And I am listening for this as K doesn't waste one second or even try any of the instruments, but picks out the best instrument without even batting an eye.

Impressive, I am thinking to myself.

My ears are now become extremely highly attuned as I am listening intently to the way out of tune strings to see how much difficulty she has bringing the instrument to pitch.

It is rather difficult to do, and no one can do it even remotely competently, in my experience, without having done it numerous times, previously.

She is whipping that thing right into line faster than I can even keep up with as I hear her start to use perfect fifths for tuning.

I am wondering what she is using for a reference "A440".

Would you like a "referenece A" I called across the room.

Sure, she answered as I pushed A440 on one of the synthesizers.

She was very close to spot on.

Within several more seconds bow was hitting strings as she was now fine tuning the instrument.

I am now much less fearful than I was before.

I am listening very closely for any hint of styles which have been played, which will come across, without her realizing it, while tuning.

I can swear that I hear just a hint of Irish fiddle tune, mayble a little bit of country.

You know I have a lot of really great violin sheet music right there alongside you, don't you?

Can you read?

As I asked this she walked across the room and looked at the piano music which was on the music stand on the synthesizer.

Oh, I now that song, she said.

But that is a piano arrangement, I explained as I looked at it and realized that the melody was separate enough that one could read a violin part off of the piano arrangement.

O.K., I said, as I began playing Sicilienne, from Pelleas and Meandras, by Gabriel Faure, on keyboard with it blasting out of tiny little speakers which I was using while all of the big ones are disconnected due to rewiring.

She jumped right in and picked it up, with no effort whatsoever.

The bowing was exquisite.

The intonation and phrasing was excellent.

I pointed out different fine points and stress points and turning points as K kept right up with me.

Seems way too good for her age, I thought to myself.

Now, that my interest is captured, I said, you know, it really should probably be played faster for violin and more lightly than I am playing it on keyboard.

So we went through a second time in a faster and more lighthearted version of the same piece.

As I was playing and listening, with the instrument literally right next to my ear, I remembered that I had been wondering if I could find anyone who could play Rachmaninoff's Vocalise worth a darn.

After finishing Faure I asked whether she was familiar with the Vocalise.

I think so, she answered as I went to the shelf to find it.

Here it is, I told K as I handed her the violin part.

I don't need that, she said, I'll just read over your shoulder, if you don't mind.

Fine with me, I said as I began the count in.

One, two, three, four, One.

Off an running.

This song is a really tough song.

It has been badly hacked far too many times to even begin to try to count.

It is musically a very advanced song and incredibly difficult of interpretation.

Easy to wreck, and hard to get right.

What's that I am hearing?

Unbridled passion.

Yeeeeessss ----, that's the stuff of life.

K has left this world altogether and has become the music.

Excellent, I am thinking to myself, and wondering how we can get ten or fifteen like-minded persons together in one room, without nonsense.

O.K., so you can rip up Rachmaninoff, let's see how you do with a little bit of hardcore Baroque, I am thinking to myself as I now suggest Bach's Ariosa in G which is so good for long bowing.

And hard as can be to play well because of this very thing.

She's ripping this up, just like the others.

You're tone is exquisite, I said with honesty.

I have been bowing for about six years now, and am just now beginning to feel like I am getting some degree of control.

I cannot believe how hard it is to do.

But your tone is just beautiful.

Go, play the instrument some more and come back if you would like to get several songs nailed down.

I especially recomment Correlli, and the old Italian string masters who preceded Bach and Handel, and from whom they learned their own craft.

I just happen to have their incredible manuscripts right here, I explained as I pulled several out off of the shelf.

There is just nothing like the love of the art and of the craft.

What more can I really say?


1:39 p.m.
Ventura, California, USA