Tenor Viol's musings

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tenorviol

tenorviol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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Time for a generic 'musings' post...

Anyone who sings in a choir or plays in an orchestra will know that as soon as you've performed the concert you've been rehearsing for over the last few months, next rehearsal it's back to square one. So it was with BGSO last weekend when we started our first rehearsal for our Summer Fiesta concert. This is a somewhat macaronic programme with a mature of straight classical repertoire such as Chabrier's Espāna and the suites from Bizet's Carmen, but also film music such as Dances with Wolves, then pieces like Tequila... That was a lot of sight-reading last Sunday.

The last ten days have been frustrating on the sax front though as I've had a nasty combination of bad throat, loss of voice, and a horrible head cold that won't go away. Spoke with the pharmacist yesterday and he gave me something which is finally drying it up. At least I can speak now, unlike Thursday/Friday... on Friday I sounded like a cross between Mickey Mouse and Kermit the Frog as I could only speak at all in head voice, no chest voice at all, and then only briefly.

Yesterday saw the start of a concerted attack on the final large scale groundworks on landscaping the back garden. Once the next few days are done, we'll be into a couple of months of hopefully 'finishing off'. Tomorrow two grab wagons are booked to haul away 15 - 20 tonnes of earth.
 

jbtsax

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The last ten days have been frustrating on the sax front though as I've had a nasty combination of bad throat, loss of voice, and a horrible head cold that won't go away. Spoke with the pharmacist yesterday and he gave me something which is finally drying it up. At least I can speak now, unlike Thursday/Friday... on Friday I sounded like a cross between Mickey Mouse and Kermit the Frog as I could only speak at all in head voice, no chest voice at all, and then only briefly.

Yesterday saw the start of a concerted attack on the final large scale groundworks on landscaping the back garden. Once the next few days are done, we'll be into a couple of months of hopefully 'finishing off'. Tomorrow two grab wagons are booked to haul away 15 - 20 tonnes of earth.
Hope you get well soon. I appreciate the lesson on British words and sayings. The ones I highlighted in red are new additions to my lexicon. I assume you are referring to what we call "dump trucks" over here, and we say "tons" instead of "tonnes".
 

Targa

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Hope you get well soon. I appreciate the lesson on British words and sayings. The ones I highlighted in red are new additions to my lexicon. I assume you are referring to what we call "dump trucks" over here, and we say "tons" instead of "tonnes".
It was always tons here as well with the rest of the Imperial units and lsd until it all got changed because of europe. Maybe we will get them back.
When metrication was imposed there were large 'hidden' price rises. such as the price for a ton becoming the price for a tonne.
 
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tenorviol

tenorviol

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Hi @jbtsax a tonne is a metric tonne of 1,000kg - even though I'm 59, all my maths/physics/chemistry at school after the age of about 10 was in SI (metric) units, not Imperial ( I use both stones/pounds/ounces vs grams / kilos, millimetres, centimetres, metres vs yards, feet, and inches, and kilometres vs miles).

A grab wagon is a lorry which 'grabs' loose material from the kerbside and loads it onto the wagon for carting away - I had 45 tonnes of earth to be hauled away. The alternative would be a 'skip' which I think you would call a 'dumpster'. Skips are very expensive to hire and I would have needed about 6 of the large ones

12745
 
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tenorviol

tenorviol

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Well, it's three solid weeks as of yesterday since this virus struck and it's still not entirely gone (albeit now just a minor annoyance). I have at least resumed running and going to the gym the last few days.

The top string (A string) on the cello has been 'whiney' for a while, so put a new one on last weekend - it's the same as the existing one a Larson. Hadn't realised but it was probably due to be changed as it had been on for 5 years! Cost £28 for a new one. Glad it wasn't the C string as it's a Spirocore Tungsten and they're about £105 each...

The Easter weekend I was out and about with the camera in Liverpool and Shrewsbury.

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12759
 
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tenorviol

tenorviol

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Mixed sort of weekend - the weather has been more 'normal' for a bank holiday weekend - mostly cool to cold and windy, but not that much rain here. Today has been around 8 - 10C - compared to low 20s over Easter weekend.

Saturday was a perambulation to Manchester and then Sunday was a peregrination to Birmingham for a rehearsal. Today was limited to mowing grass and a wander along the canal.

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tenorviol

tenorviol

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As some of you know, I've been complaining of problems with my left elbow and probable tendinitis (aka tennis elbow) for several months. I have had it before. It's been reluctant to go away this time even with trying exercises/stretches I've previously been recommended to use.
Last time it was a mix of use of PC mouse and over-gripping the neck of the cello.
I switched to an ergonomic vertical mouse etc and it all calmed down.
Now it's flared up again but rather more painful as I have been having trouble with grasping/gripping things and my right arm has shown signs of coming out in sympathy...
So it was an assessment from the physio (the gym at work has one and initial consultation is free). He confirmed the tendinitis, but added that given the bilateral nature, it might indicate neck issue (and yes, that has also been an issue recently).
So scheduling a course of treatments, but suggestion is I should lay off playing both cello and sax for a few weeks to aid recovery...
Problematical, I'm booked to do my grade 5 sax exam and I'm playing in a show... and a concert...
 
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tenorviol

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Friday is IDAHOBIT day. This photograph was taken at work using a drone - I'm in the pic (good luck working out which one is me...). The pic is going on the corporate web site tomorrow.... were holding up pruple cards - just for @Jeanette - to form a pruple ribbon

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tenorviol

tenorviol

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@trimmy - the only reason I knew is I was there.... :rolleyes:

In other news, today is the annual food fair in town, so that might mean buying pies to freeze for the next Café Septet meet-up... the chilli jam pork pies have proven popular in the past...

In other, other news... yesterday I had my first singing lesson in over 20 years. As many of you know my musical journey started in my 30s when I started having singing lessons - until then I hadn't sung a note apart from hymns etc in church. I had regular lessons for about 8 years until I moved too far away to keep them going with my teacher.

I became a very experienced choral singer, singing baritone / first bass. I have been fortunate to sing with several good choirs and I've had the opportunity to perform with some significant professional orchestras (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra) as well as ad-hoc professional orchestras fixed by my choirs.

For various reasons I've had several years off from singing, partly through a need to find new groups and directions.

I had become increasingly aware that voice needed more work on it - I have a lot of power in my upper register around middle C and above, but not much an octave below that. I had been thinking about finding a new teacher for a while.

A friend organised a weekend course for singers and music teachers on Kodály technique (she is one of the country's leading experts on this pedagogic technique). One of the tutors is an expert voice scientist (he is the voice director of one of the main French academies training opera and music theatre singers) . He gave talks on aspects of vocal technique. I had a private lesson with him. Although I had never met him, I knew that private lessons with him were usually expensive (£150 an hour) but a much reduced rate had been agreed for the course. I was surprised when he waived the fee for my (much) longer than planned lesson because he knew I had helped out his long-standing friend, the course organiser (and I didn't know they were friends).

Anyway, I spent an hour or so with him making all sorts of strange noises, blowing tuned raspberries (for transatlantic cousins - Bronx Cheers). The end result was interesting. He said that there were some checks and blocks in my voice production which were hindering the sound. I was trying to sing with too much weight in my voice and that the way I sang in the upper register said loudly that I was not a baritone but a tenor. That was a surprise.... but he had me singing top Cs without that much effort....

So, I have been on the hunt for a new singing teacher as popping over to Paris to have sessions with that guy was a tad logistically challenging... It's taken some weeks to sort out, but I finally found a tenor teacher. He's a professional opera singer who amongst other things performs with his wife on cruise ships as an operatic tenor/soprano duo. Interestingly he started as baritone but moved to being a tenor, for reasons similar to me.

So, yesterday I spent an hour and a half doing weird things like pretending to bowl a ten-pin bowling ball whilst singing an arpeggio. He picked up on the 'checks' in my voice and that I was trying to carry too much weight with my voice into upper registers.

It was obvious that when I adjusted, singing became easier with less effort... So a new musical journey has started - transition from a baritone to a tenor...
 
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