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Everything posted by con_ritmo

  1. the key is with your technique. efficient technique...and being utterly relaxed...you can go for those hours. in my university days one conductor once commented that i always looked "dead" when i was playing. i took that as a compliment, even if it wasn't meant to be one. in any case, your body will let you know where you are going wrong with your technique. listen to it...
  2. orchestral playing offers different techniques from solo playing. there are some things you can get away with which you wouldn't be able to as a soloist (and vice versa). and even with that said, take a look at the violin section in the Berlin Philharmonic. This is the first clip I pulled up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF9ZQpifOLQ Heads are mainly oriented as they would be in solo playing. There is a difference too between active and passive focus. In orchestral and studio work your eyes are on the music/conductor...but your tools (left hand/right hand) are in your peripheral vision. When playing as a soloist (which is what practice is primarily for...solo technique) ...active and passive focus again comes into play. In the Milstein clip over 90% of his head positioning is such that he can stare down to the scroll at will. Is it active all the time? No. But the passive check is there. It's the way it is normally done. If your head is facing away the passive check is gone. You lose your visual check. Your left ear becomes saturated and you lose your aural check too. Not good in my opinion. In regards to professional work, my comments derive precisely from that. You are paid to be consistent. You are not paid to enjoy your own playing. The checks and balances are there to ensure this consistency. "closing eyes" and "relying on instinct" works great when you have a good day. It's not so good when you have a bad day. This is why as a professional your job is to enjoy the absolute control and execution of your playing. Leave it to the audience to enjoy the MUSIC that is being played. On an aside, one technique that can be used when sitting in a chair is to drop the right knee down along the right side of the chair. This opens everything up as needed.
  3. yes, as the fingers move to the g-string, the elbow swings to the right. and as the fingers move to the e-string, the elbow drops back naturally underneath the violin. watch the base joint knuckles of the left hand. as the elbow swings to the right, the knuckles should then pivot...moving higher and OVER the fingerboard to the left. this allows all your fingers to reach the g-string as they do on the e-string. the higher the base-joint knuckles are...the more reach your fingers have. Oftentimes one can see some students with their base-joint knuckles underneath or barely reaching above the fingerboard (depending on the string). This drastically limits the finger's reach. Also, another thing often seen is that the fingers are moving from the middle knuckle of the finger...this cuts your finger's reach by almost half. instead, move the finger from only the base-joint knuckle. hopefully this helps somewhat...things such as this are better demonstrated in person. :I as far as holding the violin, that is up to personal preference, my initial point was to explain the importance of having the violin/head posiitioned so that one can: 1. look down the fingerboard and 2. hear primarily with the right ear.
  4. The short answer is: what Oldgeezer and Shirl said. How far to the right or left one holds the violin is often down to the player, and the player's anatomy. However, in my opinion, the closer you can comfortably hold it to the right the better* ...for two reasons: 1. Vision. 2. Hearing. I'd like to add 3. Angle of bow approach to the strings, but this is also dependent on the player's anatomy. However, its best to keep everything "right there". The violin, the left arm/hand, the head, the right arm/hand/bow. The farther left you go, the more the violin is "away" (especially the g string!) rather than "right there" and things must be done to compensate. Not ideal. *in the end, the violin will often generally still be pointing slightly to the left...my concern is that it doesn't point TOO FAR to the left. _______ 1. Vision. Being able to see down the entire violin is important. You can check the contact point of the bow to the strings (most important determinant of your sound). You can see your left hand form. You can use the technique of visual intonation (Bronstein) to help things out. You have your eyes, use them! Keep them open. 2. Hearing. The left ear is for enjoyment. The right ear is for objective analysis/criticism. The more you use the right ear the better...this means moving your head to balance the sound out of both ears. Now, the farther left you hold the violin, the farther left you must turn your head to achieve 1.Vision and 2. Hearing. Not so good. Heifetz stared straight down the violin. The example of Milstein was used...and it TOO shows a violinist that stared straight down the violin! Hahn stares straight down the violin. Most of the "greats" ALL generally stared straight down the violin. One exception to this "rule" though is Stern. Still though, I recommend doing it the way most of the greats did it...and that is having your head in such a position so that you CAN comfortably stare down the fingerboard at will. The bottom line when performing AND practicing is to be as objective and critical as possible. Ears and Eyes open, playing with your head, with just a bit of the heart leaking through to make things interesting...all the checks and balances are in place to ensure nothing goes wrong...and to make the instantaneous correction when something does go wrong. When you're not practicing nor performing...every now and then...by all means close your eyes, swing the violin around, and enjoy your playing for enjoyment's sake. ...not too long or you might develop some bad habits though
  5. there is a problem using the vast majority of chromatic tuners: 1. they are using the equal-temperament system for tuning...where we normally tune in perfect fifths. for us, this means that the d and the e strings will be 2 cents off, the g will be roughly 4 cents off...and the c (if present) will be 6 cents off!!! 2. they have a margin of error in their tuning which i find to be unacceptable...namely +/- 1 cent. this means that in the worst case scenario, 2 strings can be off by as much as 2 cents and the tuner will read that it is perfectly in tune!!! here are some solutions: a. buy a peterson tuner like the one henrypeacham suggested. using the pythagorean (all models) or the violin (in the later models) temperaments, the petersons can tune perfect fifths and have an accuracy of +/- 0.1 cents! in the very least try to buy a tuner that offers the support of different temperaments. b. if you have a PDA or Smartphone running windowsmobile, go to here http://www.zeta.org.au/~dvolkmer/tuneit.html and purchase the software. it too offers different temperaments, and the author claims accuracy to +/- 0.1 cents PLUS it has the added bonus of showing you the tuning of of all the overtones present...so you can make sure everything is locked in tune. I believe that the author also offers a desktop pc version, but i've only used the PDA version. at only $25 this is very cost-effective... c. if you have a tuner that shows the cents offset, but does not offer different tuning temperaments...you simply tune your A spot-on...then make sure your: d registers 2 cents flat g registers 4 cents flat c (if present) registers 6 cents flat you're still working within the limitation that the tuner probably has a bad margin of error, but it's a start. now, whenever this discussion has come up in the past, someone invariably argues that you cannot hear the difference of a cent here or there. to a trained ear this is simply untrue. the difference of 2 cents is very audible...try it on a peterson tuner sometime by playing an open-e and using the fine-tuner. when all the strings are perfectly locked into each other the violin really opens up a lot more. another argument is that by using bowspeed alone you can adjust the pitch of a string by a few cents. this is true... it is important to use a consistent bowspeed when tuning...and you should always tune to softer levels. anyways, like troutabout says, it is a jungle out there. with a well-calibrated ear, everything simply becomes out of tune. pianos, guitars, etc.etc. (their tuning is flawed to begin with because of the equal-temperament). and that's the key, a well-calibrated ear. some people think they have a good ear, but really it hasn't been calibrated to WHAT a perfect fifth really is. and so they consistently tune out-of-tune.
  6. The bow should play itself. Down-bows fall naturally through gravity...by using gravity. If you truly let a bow fall naturally...it will fall in a straight line, and it won't hop or skip. Hopping and skipping is often caused by too much finger/hand/wrist/lower-arm into the bow. You will find that by physically doing less, and letting the bow do more...you will gain the control that you seek. The answer is to always direct the bow with the upper arm. The upper arm is what is active...everything below it...the lower-arm/wrist/hand/fingers are passive and follow the upper-arm. watch these videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFwgPTAE7j8 and compare the angle of the upper-arm and fore-arm across the entire bow length...to the angle of your upper-arm and fore-arm as you draw the bow. generally the angle remains fixed until the upper portions of the bow. when the forearm is active you will find that the angle opens and closes much more (not good)...then when the upper-arm is active the forearm is passive (good).
  7. the phrasing is different if you play it as 3 64ths vs. a triplet. fwiw szigeti phrases it as the triplet.
  8. the 64ths are a triplet. good enough for auer, good enough for me.
  9. depending on how much you play every day...4 months is a LONNNNGGG time. if strings were free, i'd change mine once a month....even more than that depending on the situation. yes, strings are pricey....switching back and forth between different brands...that's even pricier. if visions work for you, stick with them.
  10. one added point...to me it sounds as if your new student is approaching intonation by a note-to-note/finger-to-finger basis...which simply does not work. here's something i wrote awhile back on another site: "scales are for building and securing your left hand frame. 1. the frame is built upon the distance between the 1st and 4th finger. you build your entire left hand shape and finger placement based on this distance. for galamian it was the 1st and 4th finger in octave position (like a->a) but it applies equally to the 1st and 4th finger on the same string...like a->d on the g-string. the middle fingers will fall into place naturally within this 1st-4th finger frame. galamian talks about the middle fingers being square or extended in shape...but for me, once you have the frame set it's either fingers together (half step) or fingers apart (whole step). 2. in every position you should have the first->fourth finger frame measured and set so that all the fingers are already covering their notes. The fingers can then be dropped immediately onto their assigned notes without any movement/search by the fingers. If the note is out of tune, then you haven't set your frame correctly. 3. then when you shift to another position, you set the correct frame and all the fingers should drop accordingly. conclusion: so in scales you're really focusing and practicing on position-to-position. frame-to-frame. for every position and every frame, all the fingers should already have their respective notes covered. you aren't thinking as much note-to-note... if you were analyzing microscopically it would be note-to-note within the context of your frame. application hypothetically, here's a scale thought-process. set frame for 1st position. play/drop all the fingers that are in the 1st position. shift and set frame for 3rd position. play/drop all the fingers that are in the 3rd position. shift and set frame for 5th postion. play/drop all the fingers that are in the 5th position. etc.etc.etc.etc. _________________ so scales help in building your frame...because you're practicing in all positions, all keys, all strings, all "standard" possibilities... disclaimer: of course scales can build up other things...like subdivisions of the beat...or right-hand bowing technique...but there are good etudes for practicing bowing technique. the frame is really the thing you're setting. of course depending on which string you're on, a finger might have to pull out of the frame position temporarily...but you'll always have a mental picture of where the frame is set. some people like to focus on the frame w/different fingers besides 1-4...especially if you're doing backward stretches with the 1st finger like in 10ths or for different applications like arpeggios. so be it. the key is that for every position, you have your fingers already covering their respective notes so that they can be dropped immediately onto them. _____________________ all the fingers should be kept down...on the string or just hovering a hair above the string....whether they are being used or not. as you're working your way up a scale, keep the previous fingers down and on the string when possible. so in a 1-2-3-4 fingering...all the fingers will be touching the string by the time you play the 4th finger. you're aiming for the bare minimum of finger motion. the movement should be almost imperceptible. generally move them with only the big base knuckles of the hand...as always keep everything loose and relaxed. in the end, your fingers will be covering their respective notes like you were playing the keys of a piano, or typing on a keyboard. it'll establish great security. other then that it'll take...dedicated practice and time...as always!"
  11. the best thumb position is no thumb position. the thumb should go where it wants NATURALLY. it should never be "fixed" to a specific location. the best way to facilitate this is to adopt a left-hand form where the thumb goes up and along the left side of the neck (vs. being fixed underneath the neck). from there the thumb will move all over the place (on its own) as vlngeek correctly described. in my experience, this translates to the thumb pointing back (in the direction of the scroll) when there is a stretch (such as playing 10ths)... the thumb moving more underneath the neck depending on the string/position...as vlngeek described...and the thumb sometimes moving more underneath the neck during certain chord passages where more "reach" is needed. in terms of specific positions and reference points...as it relates to tuning....it is the distance of the 1st to the 4th finger that is the constant "reference point"...and the practice of scales is to get that distance firmly implanted into muscle memory. would i keep the thumb fixed opposite the second finger such as your student is doing? no. would i use the *thumb* as a reference point? no.
  12. chords are more than just 2+2. 1+3, 2+2, 3+1, 1+1+1+1, 1+1+2, 4... some are played bottom->top, others top->bottom in bach you need to find the note in the chord that represents the predominant melody and bring it out. now correctly judging which note that would be...that's the real trick. this often is not the top note. so you'll play the entire chord and then go back to a different note in the chord...before finishing the chord. bach is best played vertically to bring out the voicings. after you achieve this vertical separation of the voicings...you can add the horizontal melodic movement in your playing. as far as technical challenges of playing chords go...there is nothing strenuous about playing them. the harder you work, the more counteractive the effort becomes... learn the proper frame positions, keep your fingers down always...and chords will end up being straightforward.
  13. classical improvisation actually isn't a contradiction. there was a time when improvisation was actually part of the recital program. chopin. beethoven. etc. etc. etc.
  14. Mommag and Rutherford...you both have a new private message!
  15. Yes! While there are many schools over many aspects of violin playing...there really aren't that many in regards to the left hand. The thumb does go alongside the left side of the neck...with the thumb pointing straight up vertically. The difference is simply where the thumb contacts the neck...and how high the thumb sticks up over the fingerboard. The thumb-on-the-left-side of the neck offers several benefits: 1. It is a very ergonomic hold (as opposed to the thumb underneath). Make a shape of a relaxed fist in violin-playing position...and look where the thumb is....it's on the left pointing straight up. 2. It frees up the hand for vibrato purposes... 3. It helps to relax and minimize the pressure of the left hand fingers. With the thumb underneath the fingers have something to pound against. With the thumb along the side, the fingers have nothing to pound against...which helps to eliminate all unnecessary tension and effort. The key thing is that the thumb should be free to move on its own as is necessary. So it may be stretched back...and it may occasionally rotate underneath the fingerboard. However, its base position should be along the left side of the neck.
  16. quote: Originally posted by: DR. S quote: Originally posted by: con_ritmo By the way, the state of the art high performance automatic transmissions have proven themselves better performers than manual transimissions even with the best drivers in almost all conditions. High speed electronic processors coupled with well designed sensors and mature algorithms are superior to human reflexes and skill. But I admit, they aren't nearly as much fun. This is not to be confused with some automatic-tiptronic-gear-selector thing that you find cropping up in many of today's vehicles...those are inferior automatic trannies. One day this may change...but for now just about all forms of motorsport use manual transmissions. Ok threadjack over. i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif' alt='face-icon-small-smile.gif'>
  17. quote: Originally posted by: nickia If I'm correct, why would anyone practice double-stops third as broken-third since the finger position is slightly different? It's like practicing spiccato/sautille slowl You can use it for the basics...but when you get right down to it...it will need to be practiced as you're going to perform it. quote: I have another question: Why can't violinist follow the equal-temperament tuning of the piano where the piano sounds pretty in-tune. Is it because of some special characteristic of violin that makes it more out-of-tune with equal-temperament? Equal-Temperament is out of tune. IMHO it's especially exposed on the violin because you can maintain the overtones at the same volume...for as long as you draw the bow. A lot of our sense of pitch comes from the overtones. That's why when strings go bad, or when one is playing on a really poor violin...intonation can be a lot more tricky...because you don' t hear the overtones as much... edit: and similarly, that's why you sometimes hear people saying how a certain violin helps them to play in tune...the violin is rich in overtone content. With other instruments such as the piano/guitar...the sound (and the overtones with it) decays after the initial attack... Also, it could be possible that the doubled/tripled strings per single note on the piano could allow the tuning to be that tiny bit "fuzzy"...as the strings could be just that minute fraction off from one other...kind of like the teeny fuzzy unison-tuning in an orchestral string section...except to a lesser degree. I'm just thinking hypothetically on this specific point. Anyways, when the ear is turned "on"...the piano and the guitar can sound pretty out-of-tune...so at times it's best to try and ignore it for casual listening...otherwise one could go crazy... Remember, sound is relative. Anything can sound good by itself...it's when you have a side-by-side comparison that deficiencies become apparent. So equal-temperament sounds good...until you hear spot-on Pythagorean/Just intonation (or slightly tweaked for coloring purposes) ...of the same musical passage.
  18. I will throw out one more bit of information. When a shoulder rest is improperly used, the violin will be resting HIGHER off the body than it would otherwise (when played without a shoulder rest). This can have some severe consequences in regards to the natural weight transfer of the upper arm->lower arm->wrist->hand...into the bow->string. A higher violin means the right arm should be held that much higher to achieve the same amount of weight transfer. This is NOT a good thing...especially considering that weight transfer is one of the most important aspects of a violinist's sound. When used improperly in this manner, the shoulder rest becomes an absolute detriment...not a "technological advancement". Maybe a good comparison could be driving a car with a manual transmission vs. driving one with an automatic transmission. Both types can take you where you want to go...except the manual transmission gives one much greater control over the car's power and handling characteristics. On the other hand, some people see it as an absolute nuisance and would much rather just use the "technologically-advanced" automatic. Heh.
  19. Actually, I know cellists that can play the cello perfectly fine without an endpin...a skill that is good to know in cases of emergency or questionable surfaces... One even demonstrated to me on how to play the cello while standing up *and* walking around. So yes, "if you are in tune with your body and cello movements..." I don't know where this whole "no chinrest" idea is coming from. We're (or at least I am) talking no shoulder rest here. There are actually a few performance techniques that are readily done when one plays without a shoulder rest. One very famous picture of Oistrakh comes to mind... No excuses.
  20. Quick reply Transitioning to no shoulder rest took me a very long time to get used to...and then even longer to get fully comfortable without it. I don't quite remember...but maybe the time table was a month or two to be able to play my repertoire without one...and then half a year to get fully used to...and then years before I got 100% fully comfortable with my posture as a whole. Although like intonation...that journey may have no end. I will say that a good chunk of my technique and repertoire was already in place before starting the journey so it may be a bit more challenging for someone who is currently learning all aspects of the violin. My teacher at the time gave me his reasons for not using one...I agreed, and that was that. And like my teacher, once the transition was done...to me...playing a violin with a shoulder rest is really like walking with crutches. I'm not trying to put down playing with a shoulder rest...but that's how it now feels like...to me and others. edit: and to go further, if you've learned to walk with crutches your whole life...suddenly walking without them may feel physically impossible...when it may well be very much possible. Whether the journey is worth undertaking is up to the player. So yes, the journey can be easy for some...and difficult for others...and perhaps next to impossible without the right teacher guiding the process. The only time I ever encountered someone that to me physically would not be able to hold a violin without a shoulder rest....he was an elderly gentleman with absolutely no collarbone. No sense in going through the journey there. In regards to Menuhin, he was all about 100% relaxation and 100% playing longetivity...and he was correct. The way he describes is the way many of us do it...the left hand giving that slightest (almost nothing) amount of support. The method I was describing to achieve a straight violin without a shoudler rest/hand for support is merely a tool that is used when the appropriate occasion arrives. While one could use it all the time (Kogan or a student engaged in the learning process) ...I wouldn't use it all the time...and someone like Menuhin wouldn't use it at all. Because yes, it can add that 1% of strain (again almost nothing but every little bit adds up)... To describe it a bit differently, it's like those soloists that go from looking down the scroll to looking straight ahead as a slight change of position during a concert. I'll go from the hand balance support to the head-pulled-back just as a change. Something to do when you're working those long hours a day. Finally, I am in no means a sans shoulder-rest hardliner. There are great players on both sides. There are (to me) also a lot of misconceptions about playing without a shoulder rest...and hopefully this thread can help clear some of them up. My litmus test is this: Many colleagues have gone from playing with a shoulder rest to playing without. I don't know of a single top-level professional that has gone from playing without to playing with. As Xdmitrix stated...if you feel the need to fill up the gap, get a higher chinrest. That's my advice too. I know a young violinist that went to Perlman camp and was invited back several times. Fabulous player...tall...and he plays without a shoulder rest. Perlman's advice to him...get a higher chinrest.
  21. quote: Originally posted by: xdmitrix420 that pullback of the head thing sounds very uncomfortable. i doubt kogan would use such a method. the technique things i've been talking about are universal, i use them for violin and viola. Even if the pullback of the head thing worked on violin, it certainly wouldn't hold the viola, which is why i wouldn't recommend it. Just thinking about holding the instrument that way makes me cringe. I. xdmitrix420, from reading your posts i know we agree on matters more or less. I don't play viola so I can't comment on that. Uncomfortable is not a good a thing. The pullback method is not uncomfortable nor should it be excessive. It's more about "standing straight up" vs. "standing with the head slouched forward and over the violin." It's *not* a "let's pull our head back as far as we can" technique. Plus the principles you learn from it help violinists understand the concept of balance and leverage with holding the violin without a shoulder rest. Because of this, it's an excellent way to teach a student how to hold a violin without a shoulder rest. Of course, it is a technique that is shown rather than described with words. In regards to Kogan, he used the head pullback method to the *extreme*...perhaps even abused it. I wouldnt' ever advise someone to use it to the degree that he did...*but* through Kogan you can get a clear understanding over the principles behind it. II. In regards to the examples of Menuhin holding the violin drooped. I have to rewatch the Menuhin videos...but...an important concept that Menuhin was trying to show...was that completely relaxed...you will not drop the violin. It's something that Havas teaches as well. And so, the excercise goes... Set your head weight on the violin (no shoulder rest)...you can let the violin completely drop, and then you can even bend forward at your waist as if you were trying to touch your feet with your hands. No hands, no shoulder rest...the violin will droop, but it will not fall...and you won't be using any effort whatsoever. When the violinist realizes this...it will go a long ways towards eliminating all tension and muscular effort of holding the violin. (The sources of which often come from a violinist's inner fear that they're going to drop the violin unless they do X, Y, and Z.) III. Andrew Victor. One can make an argument over Function trumping Form...and perhaps it should. That said, when it comes to playing...Form and Function are intertwined together. I believe it was Casals that said... "If it looks good, it is good." And he was right. Looking at a video of someone playing...one can get a good idea over how well someone plays...with the sound turned COMPLETELY OFF. With the proper understanding of different violin technique(s)...one can even imagine how that person SOUNDS just by looking at them. And why is that? It's because one can tell how good someone is...and how they might sound...simply by seeing their form. Galamian occasionally went into fits over Perlman...I won't go into the details...but think of how pedantic Galamian was. And look at Perlman's younger years vs. his later years...many making the argument that his playing was more textbook (and thus more beneficial to students) in his younger years. edit: adding one more section: IV. Finally, I will state that if one has a collarbone, then one can hold the violin without a shoulder rest. I have a very, very long neck and I can hold a violin perfectly straight and relaxed with no shoulder rest and no hands. I demonstrate this on full size violins, 1/8th size violins, etc.etc. In regards to the top-tier soloists...you have people who are short with short necks...like Isaac Stern. And then you have the TALL soloists...6 feet and above...like Ysaye and Szigeti...no shoulder rest. That said, these days, properly implemented one can play technically correct and relaxed with a shoulder rest....Hilary Hahn for example. But every day, I see so many violinists holding the violin incorrectly with a shoulder rest.
  22. To answer Nickia's question... NO. To be an adequete teacher one would at least have to know how to play the violin correctly. That doesn't mean that one has to perform as a top-tier soloist...but one should possess the practical knowledge. Take Galamian for example. or DeLay. That said, this guy has several critical flaws when it comes to classical violin technique. Right Hand: He moves the bow from the elbow joint and not the shoulder...and he suffers from an active "floppy wrist" syndrome. As a result his bowing is small and labored....the bow wavers from bridge to fingerboard with no regard to sounding point...and it tilts back and forth (due to floppy wrist-itis). He has no clue in regards to proper weight-transfer into the bow. As a result his elbow is fixed in one location for all the strings. No weight transfer means he then has to actively PRESS with his hand into the string...which results in the squeezed sound. Left Hand: Now where he needs the delicate action of the smaller joints...he instead uses his entire stiff arm for vibrato. So it sounds funny in a bad way. And it's only used on a note every so often. Plus the wrist often bends OUTWARDS which further locks the entire arm. There is so much pressure in the fingers that even if he caught his intonation errors, there's no chance in correcting them because there is no suppleness to adjust the fingers ever so slightly. And there is very little usage of a left hand frame position...which causes further intonation errors.... And I'm only getting started after watching the first couple seconds... Bah.
  23. quote: if i take my thumb away i can't support my instrument, simple as that, and you shouldn't try to support it by levitation either actually it is possible to FULLY support the violin without a thumb/shoulder rest/etc... it involves placing the chin on the chinrest, and pulling back with the head. in this manner the violin will retain its normal position. all without a thumb, nor a shoulder rest, nor any head clamping. again its a balance/leverage type of a thing. to see an *extreme* version of the "head pulled back" posture, take a look at leonid kogan. that said, i don't do this unless it's required... because the act of pulling the head back is doing something, when we should be doing nothing. so yes the default is having the thumb used as a very slight balance support. however it isn't needed.
  24. quote: The reason why I asked the question, is that in the video, he claims that a shoulder rest would impede the free movement of the left shoulder. Any comment on that? In my experience this is correct. When supporting the violin without a shoulder rest...the point of contact is the collarbone...which leaves the shoulder free. The usage of a shoulder rest can often block free shoulder movement. quote: Also, is the ability to hold up a violin without a shoulder rest a product of anatomy, or is something that can be learned? It is most definitely a *learned* ability. Many point to the great violinists of the past and some of their short necks and lack of shoulder rests. I have a very long neck and have no problems holding the violin without a shoulder rest. An alternative just to fill up the gap between chin and collarbone is to use a raised chinrest (instead of a shoulder rest). quote: It must be a product of the anatomy, justforfun. I just watched the videos and tried to hold my fiddle like he said. The best hold I get ends up with the fiddle almost flat - parallel to the ground - and not tilted towards the treble side at nearly a 70° angle like his. The skin pinched between the rim of the fiddle and the collarbone hurts like heck and there's virtually no strength to the grip. The fiddle will slip out of the grip very easily. This coupled to the fact that I have virtually no chin makes my physical geometry very different from his. quote: I don't know how to explain it, but this way of supporting the violin is not the same as how many people use shoulder rest. If you are trying to squeeze it between your collarbone and chin, then you are still trying to "hold" it as though there were a shoulder rest, except without a shoulder rest. It is a matter of balancing the violin, and what happens between violin and jaw (not chin) is not what you're imagining. For one thing, Menuhin speaks of the free movement of the violin itself, so if you tried to clamp it that way, it would not have that movement. You are not built anatomically incorrectly, it's just a different and trickier thing to learn to do. Stillnew is correct with this assessment. Actually, holding the violin at slightly higher angles, aside from the benefits to tone...also allows one to balance the violin easier. This is because the violin then falls TOWARDS you and with the right balance, you need to expend little-to-no energy in supporting it. On the other hand without this concept of balance...and without the slightly raised scroll...the violin then wants to fall AWAY from you and thus begins the wicked cycle of expending energy to keep the violin from dropping away. The dead weight of the head is enough to balance the violin over the collarbone when no chinrest is used. No active muscular effort from the neck/head is needed. No pinching, nothing. Yehudi Menuhin was a great ambassador to the violin...and we would do well to heed his wise words. What his violin playing may have lacked (after his formative years) his intellect more than made up for. And his approach to relaxation on the violin is utterly correct.
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