The chin rest and the frog of the bow. I’m still convinced that I’ve got neck problems from playing an instrument like that. It definitely makes you lopsided in the neck muscles. When you first start, especially as a child, the instrument feels incredibly heavy to hold there with the tension between your neck and your chin. Six months later and you don’t even notice.
At student sizes the viola and violin can be hard to distinguish from one another. The main difference to the untrained eye/ear is the sound. Violins have a higher, clear sound with a high E string (then an A, D, and G) while violas have the same stringing as a cello (A, D, G, C). A soprano to an alto, if you will.
The bridge broke almost a decade ago because I stupidly did not loosen the strings. The bridges are made out of wood and are part of the delicate shaping of the instrument to make the most vibrations come out of the sound box. Those curly S shapes help the sound travel in and out of the box. You can see the two lighter spots between the fingerboard and the screws, that’s where the bridge would sit.
The first glimpse of the instrument itself in it’s minor glory.
I haven’t really picked up the instrument and played it since 1984 or so, but muscle memory is an amazing thing. My fingers went into exactly the right position the minute I picked the bow up.
When I was in elementary school we had a first year orchestra you could join in 5th grade. I wanted to play cello but I compromised with my parents and learned viola instead. I still have the instrument tucked away in the back of my closet. It’s definitely student quality and very small for a viola.
Detail of the frog of the bow. As you can see after close to twenty five years most of the horsehair has broken off, even with the tension loosened.
My maturely aged (a lady never tells her age) orange cat.
This particular lantern hit a note for me when I was photographing it. Out of the dozen or so on the string the delicate art of the little birds and the arts-and-crafts feel of the dangling ‘Family’ really worked. The whole installation was about San Francisco and what did it mean to the artist. I like the idea that it can be self-defined as well as the more obvious joke of ‘birds of a feather flock together’.
Intersection for the Arts is located at 925 Mission, in the heart of the mission district of San Francisco. This lantern’s bright colors were a standout on the string. It was tougher to photograph than the others in the low-light conditions to really make the paper lantern effect shine through. It also wasn’t as well constructed as the others but I think that adds to its charm.
Sean was mentally warming up and getting ready for the show that was starting in about an hour after this shot was taken. I’ve seen a lot of actors warm up in my four years working for non-profit theater. Each one is a little bit different in the nuances. Some want to be in the space they are going to perform in right until you run them off stage to let the audience in. Others will do their vocal warm ups on stage then vanish back into the green room to finish getting dressed. Still others don’t want to do a warm up at all and will sit and chat and eat and dream and do everything but think about what is coming next.
More of the bottles with a different treatment. These were on an upright and far more legible for the audience to read. I don’t recall seeing any explanations to this audience about the connection to the earlier piece. I think I like the mystery of the words being added to the work without the audience adding the weight of the context to them. Then again, maybe they really didn’t notice them at all in the midst of the rest of the art installation with the brightly colored lanterns (more on that soon), video displays and interactive pieces that surrounded them.