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FromBassToViola

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  1. don't worry vioinnewb - I didn't take offence....in fact...quite the opposite, I found it reassuring that someone else out there has a similar hand shape and can play a 16" viola! And I certainly will persevere with practicing the viola, I love it, I've always thought that the greatest musical activity would be to play in a string quartet, so that is my ultimate goal.
  2. a great summary of the left hand frame and how to practice, thanks once again Hempel. You have a very analytical mind, I imagine you are a good violist and teacher!
  3. Hi Hempel, yes you are correct about my musical standards, even though I am not practicing the viola with the aim of playing professionally (like I did when I practiced the double bass almost 40 years ago), I find that I still have the same high standards. And I understand what you are saying about the correct hand frame and arched fingers, because one day I tried an experiment and flattened my 4th finger and even though I found I could actually reach the E better than when arched I wasn't at all pleased with that approach because once my 4th finger was flat I felt "flat-footed" and less agile and thus decided I didn't want to pursue that approach. So I am definitely going to stick with the approach you (and others) suggested, and work on the hand frame with arched fingers, in particular stretching backwards from the 4th finger rather than forwards from the 2nd. Thank you very much for you considerable input, I very much appreciate it!
  4. Hi GTone, good to hear that you were taught the same way as Hempel (with regards the stretching exercise), I have been trying it and I like it, and I can see the benefit of it. Previously I had been stretching my 4th finger upwards from my 2nd, but I can see that stretching the 2nd backwards from the 4th is better. And I am most impressed that a violist knows the different schools of Simandl and Rabbath. Yes I learned the Simandl way, although I am familiar with the Rabbath method but never practiced it enough so that it comes naturally to me.
  5. Thank you everyone again for your input, and I am pleased to say that I notice that none of the suggestions are mutually exclusive! They can all work together, for example, on a smaller viola (or more to the point, a shorter necked viola) I can change my hand position to favor the pinkie, and also do stretching exercises, and also think of ways to walk around the problem if need be. Incidentally, the funny thing is that I used to be a professional double bass player - and many people might think that to play the largest string instrument requires the most stretching....but it seems to me it's in fact the opposite. I certainly know that cellists have to stretch more that bassists (bassists only have to cover 1 tone in a position), and now I have learned that violists too have to stretch more than bassists when in 1st position, and who knows, maybe violinists when doing tenths have to stretch more!
  6. thank you everyone for your replies and many ideas (what a great forum!). To "Arbos", here's a picture of my left hand To "chiaroscuro_violins": The bridge to nut length is 373 mm give or take 1 mm To "monian": thanks for that tip, I tried it and it did help a bit, although still not a nice in-tune E unfortunately. To: "MANFIO": I am 6 feet tall. To "Andrew Victor": That's a practical solution indeed, yes if there is a particular passage that is causing a problem then any fingering that helps is the way to go, whether it is a bit unorthodox or not doesn't matter. And to everyone: I think I've thought of a clearer way of stating the problem: When I play a C# with my 2nd finger in 1st position on the A-string then my 4th finger is easily directly above a nice in-tune E. However, when my 2nd finger is playing the C natural then this inhibits the stretch to the 4th and the E is too flat. So I was wondering whether I just have to improve the stretch from 2nd to 4th finger better (maybe like Andrew was saying, "finger dancing"), or whether a 15 " inch viola would do the trick. But then again, maybe, along the lines of "chiaroscuro_violins" I should just accept the situation as it is and not expect it to be easier.
  7. Hi folks, On viola in 1st position when I'm playing a C on the A-string with my 2nd finger and then want to play an E with my 4th finger, I have to slide a tiny bit up on my 4th finger to play the E. I would have thought that I should just be able to plonk down my 4th finger (with the 2nd still on the C) and the E would be right there without having to move. So I suspect my viola is too big, it is 16". I have a large hand, however a relatively short 4th finger. All opinions gratefully received!
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