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Violin: Interview and demonstration with concertmaster David Kim

Video transcript
(violins tuning) - If you look at a violin it's very much like a human body. It has shoulders, and we call this the neck, and this is, it's not the head, but we call it the scroll, it's like a rolled piece of paper scroll. And these are the ribs, and the back, and a violin is made from kind of the same trees you might see in your back yard, spruce, and maple, this one was made in 1757 in Milan, Italy, by a man named Guadagnini. All the men in the Guadagnini family made violins, and so it's really a work of art. It's amazing that it's so old, and yet it's in really good condition, real healthy, and these things are all modern things that we put on here. This is called a tail piece that kind of holds the strings in place. This is, well, it looks like a bridge, and that's what we call it, it's a bridge. This is a board where we put our fingers so it's called a finger board. And this is where I rest my chin, so we call it a chin rest. (violins playing) In violin we have different positions. The one that's furthest away from me is first position. And then I have second position, third position, fourth position, fifth, sixth, seventh, I go up to about eighth position or so. Now, when I go from one position to the next, I like to think of it like I'm taking an elevator to a different floor. Like in first position, I'm going to the third position, I'll just kind of open the elevator door, and go up to the third floor, and close the door, and now I'm in the third floor, and then I do whatever I need to do there. Now, sometimes, going from the first to the third floor, I want to be very clean. (violin sounds) But sometimes, I want to give it a little style, and a little bit of something a little spicy, then I might do what's called a slide, in which case, I don't hide anything that's going on as my elevator is going from the first to the third floor. I actually show it to my audience. (playing sliding violin notes) And so the slide is a very personal thing that violinists can use to bring the music to life. (orchestra playing slowly) Concert master is basically the quarterback of the team. The head coach is the same thing as the conductor. They really control everything that's going on. But my job as concert master is to kind of read the mind of the conductor, what their wishes are musically, and try to transmit that to my colleagues through facial expressions, body motions, maybe the tilt of my head, maybe the way I move the bow. Having a momentary solo passage in a symphony is, well, let me put it to you this way, I read an article in the paper recently, where they put heart monitors on firemen. And, apparently, the time when there is no fire, when they're sitting around playing checkers at the firehouse, eating chili, their heart rate is very low. They're very healthy and strong people. But when they enter the burning house, their heart rate goes dangerously high, (imitating rapid heart beat sounds) and it says up there until they leave the danger. That's me, I feel that when I see it coming up, I usually circle the place it says solo, my solo, in red pencil. So we turn the page in the middle of the piece, and I can see it coming up, I can just feel my heart rate start to go faster, and faster. And, I basically say three words to myself, "Go for it, go for it, go for it, go for it!" And then at that moment when I start playing, I'm almost screaming it out, I'm screaming it out in my head, go for it! (melodious violin solo)