Jump to content
Maestronet Forums


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by FromBassToViola

  1. By the way John_London, just wondering why you don't use a practice mute so you don't have to worry about annoying your neighbours? I mean, I know they don't sound good but surely practising on a quiet/non-resonant violin is better than watching television? I've got one made by Artino and it really reduces the sound a lot, so I can play at midnight (and I frequently do!) without annoying anyone - and I live in a flat where neighbours let you know if you're too noisy.
  2. totally agree folks - I arrived at the same conclusion today...enough studying videos and instead just get down and practise, practise practise! And as you say, play however is comfortable. Also, I liked what Andrew Victor said "let your own body parts instruct you! " Nevertheless, I enjoyed this thread of posts anyway, so thanks for your input!
  3. thanks for the reference to Rosand, I actually wasn't familiar with him, so that was good to learn. Although your YouTube link is for my previous video on Menuhin, did you perhaps mean this Rosand video where he is teaching how to hold the violin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAfbBuWb0io
  4. ha ha, apologies John_London for getting you into this addictive mystery! Look at this old video of Menuhin, during the closeups I was wondering whether I could see a shoulder rest or not (for example, at around 5:00) and then at 7:40 he tightens his bow and his violin sticks out all by itself like he's definitely got a shoulder rest! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNNp85Fk3Dg What does this mean? .....don't do as I do...do as i say?
  5. John_London & thirteenthsteph: I found your conversation very interesting indeed and I could relate to a lot of what you said, pity I couldn't join in but I'm in a different time zone than you (Australia). I spent all this week practising using the Yehudi Menuhin method (i.e. ONLY using the thumb for support - rather than base of the index finger AND the thumb) and I found (as you said thirteenthsteph) it is uncomfortable and my thumb & cup of the hand definitely got tense and stiff. The tension in my hand started to put me off practising (normally I really enjoy practising). Annoyingly though, my fingers did seem more agile and dexterous! But in spite of that, I don't think I'll stick with the Menuhin technique, the tradeoff with the hand tension was just not worth it.
  6. wow that's very interesting, thanks for that! I wasn't aware that the 1st finger could be used to help the downward shifts, I only knew of the chin. Here's something interesting, at 5:45 in the following video on posture, Hadelich says "These days I don't hold the violin very much with my left hand. Sometimes I sustain it a little bit, but most of it happens here" (while gesturing to the collarbone and chin). So because he said "These days..." I guess that he is saying he has changed his technique a bit over the years.
  7. John_London and Crazy Jane: totally agree, the violin is supported by the left hand (and the collarbone of course). What I noticed when looking at YT videos of famous rest-less violinists was that most of them seemed to be using a combination of the thumb AND the base of the index finger to support the violin, rather than ONLY the thumb However, I found this old video of Yehudi Menuhin demonstrating how to hold a glass violin (!!!) without a shoulder rest, and in it he is definitely only using the thumb by itself - it is not in combination with the base of his index finger. You can see this at 4:45 in the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvV4A6lz-0w
  8. Cathode Ray: I looked at some Hadelich videos, yes sometimes his thumb is right under the neck but I did notice it also on the side (the "low side thumb position") Violinewb: I take your point about Mutter's thumb position, and in fact I think it is quite similar to Hadelich's. The reason I was interested to see any videos of the "thumb-under" position was that I was actually doubting whether it really exists. I suspected that perhaps there were really only 2 positions, high and low thumb, but not "thumb under", and the thumb-under was only a temporary thing for particular passages. However, having said that....I've finally found a genuine, thumb-under violinist!!!! His name is Filip Pogady, and if you look at his video from about 6:00 to 6:45, there is no mistaking, he really does play that way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsKju_W1K0U&t=190s Andrew Victor: thanks for your input. That's interesting about your concert master, especially as I imagined that if anyone did actually play with their thumb under the neck then most probably they would have small hands, because that position does seem to increase the reach of the hand. Although the strange thing is if you watch a bit of that video I mentioned above you'll see that Pagody does not have small hands at all, and yet he still favors that thumb-under position. I totally agree with you about a non-parochial teacher, just haven't found one yet. But I don't really mind because I really do like trying different techniques and observing the differences. And we are lucky because there are so many variations on violin/viola technique to experiment with....bow holds, left hand thumb positions, vibratos, instrument positions, shoulder rests or not...etc. etc.
  9. Thank you GoPractice for your comprehensive post. Apologies, I don't think I was very clear in describing what I was looking for. Basically it was a request for famous violinists who play with "Thumb Position II: The Thumb Under The Neck" as described in the following web page: https://murphymusicacademy.org/violin-101-lesson1 And this was just to satisfy my curiosity, as I have seen plenty of YouTube videos of famous violinists who play with "Thumb Position I: The Low Side-Thumb" and also "Thumb Position III: The High-Thumb or “Old School” Position", but not many with "Thumb Position II: The Thumb Under The Neck" I know these are perhaps not conventional names for the thumb positions, but there are photos on that web page, which hopefully reduces the amount of misunderstanding. However, I now realize my initial request mightn't be an easy one, because I have been searching through YouTube and sometimes I think I've found someone who is playing with their thumb right under the neck as their default position...but then the camera angle changes and then I see that I was wrong, or they change the position of their thumb according to the needs of the music.
  10. Hi folks, if anyone could suggest the names of any famous violinists who play with their thumb right under the neck I'd be most grateful, because I want to study them on YouTube. The only one I know of at the moment is Anne-Sophie Mutter. thanks!
  11. Theghostis I think I know what you mean, and in fact, there is some advice that I can't really make much sense of, for example: (and to be fair, I'm not sure if this is from Karen or one of her students) "feel the viola resonating through your spine"...well I can certainly feel vibrations in the tips of my fingers of both hands, and also through my collar bone and jaw....but through my spine? It's beyond me, so I guess my body is not a very sensitive/resonant one.
  12. it's certainly a great situation to be in - to have all those choices and opportunities at hand! I would love to be in that position, if I were, I think I'd record Haydn/Mozart string quartets all by myself on multi-track. I hope that the ensemble playing starts getting back to its pre-pandemic proportions again.
  13. ha ha: "signed the Covenant of the True Russian School in your own blood" very funny thanks for the advice and the laugh!
  14. thanks Andrew, good advice as always! And I've been doing research on the subject matter and apparently the name "russian" bow hold is incorrect anyway...which of course further emphasizes what you said about who cares what names they have. Speaking of names, I must say I'm impressed with your possible pseudonym of "FromViolinToCelloToViola", and also with the number of years of experience you've got. If I can get anywhere near that I'll be very happy indeed! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- and thanks ctanzio for your thoughts, yes I've started researching about the "Hungarian" bow hold on the internet and of course there are lots of very different opinions about it...although I did notice that one opinion did seem to keep popping up, and that was that apparently spiccato is easier to do with the Franco-Belgian hold. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- L.Colburn that was very interesting to hear how the "Russian" hold saved you from giving up, a few months ago I also felt like giving up because my 4th finger was always flat (in pitch), but thankfully I got some great advice from this forum and thus my enthusiasm for the viola was rejuvenated! And who knows, this so-called "Russian/Hungarian" hold might further inflame my viola passion.
  15. I was just mucking around and for fun I tried the "russian" bow hold and found that it seemed to make bowing easier and felt more natural and comfortable! So now I'm curious as to what others think about it, i.e. the pros & the cons. I figure there must be more cons that pros because from what I've observed, most violinists seem to use the franco-belgium hold.
  16. thanks Andrew, I had forgotten about the possibility of moving the bridge, but now that you mention it I do remember a bass playing colleague of mine shortened his string length by moving his bridge one inch closer to the fingerboard, and after that he swore that his bass sounded better!
  17. Thanks Zeissica, very interesting to hear what Julian Rachlan's ideas on the subject matter are. (I subsequently watched a video of him playing Beethoven's Spring sonata - beautiful playing and interpretation) The context I had in mind was when going from low 2 or low 3 to 4 (not going from 1 to 4, or high 2 or 3 to 4). I'm going to stick with it for a while and see what I think in a week or so. I actually really like experimenting with different techniques and ideas about string playing, for me it's definitely part of the fun. And from what Rachlan says about arriving at individual solutions, it sounds like he'd definitely encourage such experimentation. I've been doing further internet research on the matter and found this interesting quote from a violist named Kim Kashkashian in a book called the "Karen Tuttle Legacy". It seems to be recommending lifting the lower fingers for any combination of going from a lower finger to a higher finger: "The vertical release happens before transferring to any new finger as if jumping from one foot to the other. This jumping analogy describes the strength of your initial motion into the fingerboard, and also the consequent immediate release of weight. This happens naturally when going from a higher to a lower finger, but we must think about the timing of this release when moving from a lower to a higher finger! If you succeed in creating this timing, it gives a great articulation and breathing feeling between each pitch".
  18. not yet but it's still a goal. By the way, there was one another thing that helped a bit with the 4th finger, I found that releasing the 1st, 2nd & 3rd fingers when using the 4th helps to free it up. Previously I'd been keeping them down just in case they were needed again, but I think they were kind of acting as an anchor to the poor little pinky! Just wondering if anyone else does this?
  19. yes indeed, fine interpretation and playing! As an aside, did you notice what happened when the camera zoomed in a little close at 49:05?
  20. Just following up from my original post 4 months ago....I've been working hard on things and I would say that THANKS to all the people who answered my initial question on this forum my 4th finger problem is now "cured".....and I didn't have to buy a smaller viola! The main thing that helped me was the advice to place my thumb opposite my 2nd finger rather than the 1st. And to keep the palm more parallel to the FB. And to consider the 4th finger my home base and then reach back with the other fingers. Also I found that moving the position of the viola from 11 PM back to about 10 PM helped a little, and also tilting a little more towards the ground (I mean so that A-string is closer to the ground) to about 45 degrees off the horizontal.
  21. 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.
  22. 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!
  23. 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!
  24. 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.
  • Create New...