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Michael Rabin's Sarasate fingering?


stephen maloney
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There are any # of fingerings. The 12121212 is the best option because the intervals between the 2 and 1 are not constant (major third, major second, augmented second) while the interval between 1&2 stays the same with this fingering (half step). At the speed necessary, you want to think as little as possible and this fingering, for many, is the best option.

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There are any # of fingerings. The 12121212 is the best option because the intervals between the 2 and 1 are not constant (major third, major second, augmented second) while the interval between 1&2 stays the same with this fingering (half step). At the speed necessary, you want to think as little as possible and this fingering, for many, is the best option.

Is that what I see Chee Yun doing in the video? Also bow change on the shift right?

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That is the fingering she teaches. Can't watch the video, but a bow change is customary as well at one of the shifts or at the string change when you get to the E string.

I see. Now I realize this is controversial, but what about doing ricochet on the E string all the way up,

using 2nd finger up to the c natural, then 3rd finger for the e flat (so-called 1 finger scale) ?

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I see. Now I realize this is controversial, but what about doing ricochet on the E string all the way up,

using 2nd finger up to the c natural, then 3rd finger for the e flat (so-called 1 finger scale) ?

In a piece like this, you can pretty much do anything you want. It's gypsy music. It's supposed to be improvisatory. When I teach this piece, I give the music to the student and let them figure it out by themselves. I always get fresh ideas from what they bring to the first lesson.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't like the 1212... on E, IMHO, it never sounds articulated enough. This is the fingering I use and teach, and it works for many of my pupils:

G023 D0123 A1234 E1212312312.3 G1. or you can go start shifting up on A, so the fingering would be: G023 D0123 A123123 E12312312.3 G1. Just make sure you can hear every note and you are even, then it will sound impressive. Don't play it fast and messy, that is never impressive.

I hope this helps you, good luck.

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I don't like the 1212... on E, IMHO, it never sounds articulated enough. This is the fingering I use and teach, and it works for many of my pupils:

G023 D0123 A1234 E1212312312.3 G1. or you can go start shifting up on A, so the fingering would be: G023 D0123 A123123 E12312312.3 G1. Just make sure you can hear every note and you are even, then it will sound impressive. Don't play it fast and messy, that is never impressive.

I hope this helps you, good luck.

Now that's good fingering and advice! Thank you for that. Perhaps this is indeed what Rabin uses. He plays it so seamlessly, as usual, that's it's not easy to tell what he's doing without slow-down software, which I don't currently have. I had heard, possibly from Sally Thomas, that he used some combo of 123 123 123 in this situation.

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Just for completeness, there's another fingering that also works well but I don't normally suggest it for people with smaller hands:

G023 D0123 A1234 E1212341234.4 G1. You will end up with the 4th finger on the last note of the run. Provided you are comfortable with your 4th finger strength, then that's another good alternative.

All the best.

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No need to defend Perlman here; Perlman is the reason I started studying violin :) - he certainly was something great (maybe still is, haven't heard much recently) and I have heard him do this piece live and it was much better (meaning more exciting) than studio. My point was more to illustrate the fingering pattern and I am delighted to now have the fingerings posted by Maestro, one of which i believe rabin uses, the other perlman (due to large hands).

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just a few thoughts. The piece starts with this huge lick. It's also an encore piece at the end of a concerto or a recital. It's kinda heroic for anyone to want to play this piece at that particular point.

The difficulty for many is that it's easy to run out of bow. The shifts can be beastly because of the speed. There are a few points to consider when learning this piece. This is method is for adults, not so much for children, because they may not understand the process. I'll try to be clear. If one applies this to children, besure to check for tension. If they are constantly missing a specific pitch, it is likely the stretch is too big.

First, learn the lowest octave really really well. I can't stress this enough. It well help in establishing what the player may want in the upper octaves. It's the easiest and the best to practic, before venturing to the baby octaves to follow. The hand position is relaxed if the open D-string is used. The one note "out of place" in relation to a G scale is the Eb (lowered 1st finger), G-scale being one of the easist to play on the violin. The run is based off c minor scale, that starts on a G note. In the free "gypsy" sense of the piece the B natural (second finger on the B string - and i believe virtually everyone agrees on this fingering except for the tiniest of students being forced to play on a 4/4 instrument because of the increased volume/tone) can be slightly higher in pitch as it is the leading tone to the C note (3rd finger). Also the lowering of the Eb and raising of the F# can make for a more expressive and exotic reading/playing of the melody.

When practicing this, try to bring the left elbow under the instrument a little bit more than usual to get on the finger tips. This will also allow for better access to the upper octaves. Use the least amount of pressure possible on the finger tips (and the bow arm) to get the desired pitches, when practicing this at first. There's plenty of time and opportunity to get tight. This is dynamic, of equalizing muscle tension on both sides of the body, is very important for most players to balance out the control over the right or left halves of the body. It's easier to add tension to, rather than relax, one half of the body.

The hope is to develop enough speed and clarity with the least amount of bow to have a dynamic finish in the upper most 3rd octave of the run. By starting with the least amount of pressure in both hands/arms, try to develop a more secure/focused tone over many repetitions by slowly decreaseing bow velocity, but applying a slightly greater degree of pressure at the string. If one is unsure, make sure the contact point is right in the middle, between the bridge and the fingerboard.

The note distribution is 4 notes on the G-string and 4 on the D-string. Develop a smooth bow change over those two strings. Think of all the joints working in unison to pull the bow to the next string (as you will continue on to the e-string. The longer term goal is to have a "countinuous" bow change to the E-string. Do not go beyond this octave at first. Be sure during the practice to get most of the tension out of the upper body as possible. Up and Down should be practiced - maybe even with the full bow. I think i've seen Perlman play this entire opening run in half a bow. We will most likely need most of the bow.

Once the first octave is reasonably secure, continue by analyzing what works for the individual. Everyone is different so i hesitate to offer specific fingerings. With smaller (and lighter hands) the 1212 fingering can work. This takes immense pre-practice to nail. Remember that there is a big Eb - F# gap in the run.

Generally, depending on the players flexibility 123 fingerings can be used, but the large Eb - F# gap between the 2 and 3rd finger may cause complications. Also shifting this gap, except for practiced players can be a cause of frustration. If we any room to "fudge" the note, remember that the B natural and F# can be on the higher side and the Eb a little lower.

A good player will tweak the tunings a little bit in every octave in preparation for a performance, though the performance, anything goes. Reminders that every octave be practiced with the least amount of stress in the fingertips, and reasonably slowly. Part of this pracitce is developing muscle memory as there are few of us who can actually concetrate on each note at high speeds. The goal is, to develop the left hand so the right arm/hand can do what it needs to create a secure sound. As the right arm develops, so will the clarity of the left hand.

Just a thought, during the development of the left hand, make any correction to the movement of the bow arm. Ultimately, i'd like to spend less than a 1/3 of the bow for the first two octaves if a singing tone is desired in the highest octave. The contact point on the G-string will be different than on the E-string, as that point will be far closer to the bridge at the end of the musical run. In theory, the pressure tends to decrease in every octave replaced by bow velocity. Some players really love to "hammer" the highest the notes, and in that situation, added pressure will add more drama. I personally love to hear players really make some thing out of the high notes because the piece is just starting.

Relaxation helps with clarity in the highest octave, which in turn helps players develop a more secure sense of pitch, both in listening and in playing.

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Just a few thoughts. The piece starts with this huge lick. It's also an encore piece at the end of a concerto or a recital. It's kinda heroic for anyone to want to play this piece at that particular point.

The difficulty for many is that it's easy to run out of bow. The shifts can be beastly because of the speed. There are a few points to consider when learning this piece. This is method is for adults, not so much for children, because they may not understand the process. I'll try to be clear. If one applies this to children, besure to check for tension. If they are constantly missing a specific pitch, it is likely the stretch is too big.

First, learn the lowest octave really really well. I can't stress this enough. It well help in establishing what the player may want in the upper octaves. It's the easiest and the best to practic, before venturing to the baby octaves to follow. The hand position is relaxed if the open D-string is used. The one note "out of place" in relation to a G scale is the Eb (lowered 1st finger), G-scale being one of the easist to play on the violin. The run is based off c minor scale, that starts on a G note. In the free "gypsy" sense of the piece the B natural (second finger on the B string - and i believe virtually everyone agrees on this fingering except for the tiniest of students being forced to play on a 4/4 instrument because of the increased volume/tone) can be slightly higher in pitch as it is the leading tone to the C note (3rd finger). Also the lowering of the Eb and raising of the F# can make for a more expressive and exotic reading/playing of the melody.

When practicing this, try to bring the left elbow under the instrument a little bit more than usual to get on the finger tips. This will also allow for better access to the upper octaves. Use the least amount of pressure possible on the finger tips (and the bow arm) to get the desired pitches, when practicing this at first. There's plenty of time and opportunity to get tight. This is dynamic, of equalizing muscle tension on both sides of the body, is very important for most players to balance out the control over the right or left halves of the body. It's easier to add tension to, rather than relax, one half of the body.

The hope is to develop enough speed and clarity with the least amount of bow to have a dynamic finish in the upper most 3rd octave of the run. By starting with the least amount of pressure in both hands/arms, try to develop a more secure/focused tone over many repetitions by slowly decreaseing bow velocity, but applying a slightly greater degree of pressure at the string. If one is unsure, make sure the contact point is right in the middle, between the bridge and the fingerboard.

The note distribution is 4 notes on the G-string and 4 on the D-string. Develop a smooth bow change over those two strings. Think of all the joints working in unison to pull the bow to the next string (as you will continue on to the e-string. The longer term goal is to have a "countinuous" bow change to the E-string. Do not go beyond this octave at first. Be sure during the practice to get most of the tension out of the upper body as possible. Up and Down should be practiced - maybe even with the full bow. I think i've seen Perlman play this entire opening run in half a bow. We will most likely need most of the bow.

Once the first octave is reasonably secure, continue by analyzing what works for the individual. Everyone is different so i hesitate to offer specific fingerings. With smaller (and lighter hands) the 1212 fingering can work. This takes immense pre-practice to nail. Remember that there is a big Eb - F# gap in the run.

Generally, depending on the players flexibility 123 fingerings can be used, but the large Eb - F# gap between the 2 and 3rd finger may cause complications. Also shifting this gap, except for practiced players can be a cause of frustration. If we any room to "fudge" the note, remember that the B natural and F# can be on the higher side and the Eb a little lower.

A good player will tweak the tunings a little bit in every octave in preparation for a performance, though the performance, anything goes. Reminders that every octave be practiced with the least amount of stress in the fingertips, and reasonably slowly. Part of this pracitce is developing muscle memory as there are few of us who can actually concetrate on each note at high speeds. The goal is, to develop the left hand so the right arm/hand can do what it needs to create a secure sound. As the right arm develops, so will the clarity of the left hand.

Just a thought, during the development of the left hand, make any correction to the movement of the bow arm. Ultimately, i'd like to spend less than a 1/3 of the bow for the first two octaves if a singing tone is desired in the highest octave. The contact point on the G-string will be different than on the E-string, as that point will be far closer to the bridge at the end of the musical run. In theory, the pressure tends to decrease in every octave replaced by bow velocity. Some players really love to "hammer" the highest the notes, and in that situation, added pressure will add more drama. I personally love to hear players really make some thing out of the high notes because the piece is just starting.

Relaxation helps with clarity in the highest octave, which in turn helps players develop a more secure sense of pitch, both in listening and in playing.

:lol: :lol: :lol:

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Just a few thoughts. The piece starts with this huge lick. It's also an encore piece at the end of a concerto or a recital. It's kinda heroic for anyone to want to play this piece at that particular point.

The difficulty for many is that it's easy to run out of bow. The shifts can be beastly because of the speed. There are a few points to consider when learning this piece. This is method is for adults, not so much for children, because they may not understand the process. I'll try to be clear. If one applies this to children, besure to check for tension. If they are constantly missing a specific pitch, it is likely the stretch is too big.

First, learn the lowest octave really really well. I can't stress this enough. It well help in establishing what the player may want in the upper octaves. It's the easiest and the best to practic, before venturing to the baby octaves to follow. The hand position is relaxed if the open D-string is used. The one note "out of place" in relation to a G scale is the Eb (lowered 1st finger), G-scale being one of the easist to play on the violin. The run is based off c minor scale, that starts on a G note. In the free "gypsy" sense of the piece the B natural (second finger on the B string - and i believe virtually everyone agrees on this fingering except for the tiniest of students being forced to play on a 4/4 instrument because of the increased volume/tone) can be slightly higher in pitch as it is the leading tone to the C note (3rd finger). Also the lowering of the Eb and raising of the F# can make for a more expressive and exotic reading/playing of the melody.

When practicing this, try to bring the left elbow under the instrument a little bit more than usual to get on the finger tips. This will also allow for better access to the upper octaves. Use the least amount of pressure possible on the finger tips (and the bow arm) to get the desired pitches, when practicing this at first. There's plenty of time and opportunity to get tight. This is dynamic, of equalizing muscle tension on both sides of the body, is very important for most players to balance out the control over the right or left halves of the body. It's easier to add tension to, rather than relax, one half of the body.

The hope is to develop enough speed and clarity with the least amount of bow to have a dynamic finish in the upper most 3rd octave of the run. By starting with the least amount of pressure in both hands/arms, try to develop a more secure/focused tone over many repetitions by slowly decreaseing bow velocity, but applying a slightly greater degree of pressure at the string. If one is unsure, make sure the contact point is right in the middle, between the bridge and the fingerboard.

The note distribution is 4 notes on the G-string and 4 on the D-string. Develop a smooth bow change over those two strings. Think of all the joints working in unison to pull the bow to the next string (as you will continue on to the e-string. The longer term goal is to have a "countinuous" bow change to the E-string. Do not go beyond this octave at first. Be sure during the practice to get most of the tension out of the upper body as possible. Up and Down should be practiced - maybe even with the full bow. I think i've seen Perlman play this entire opening run in half a bow. We will most likely need most of the bow.

Once the first octave is reasonably secure, continue by analyzing what works for the individual. Everyone is different so i hesitate to offer specific fingerings. With smaller (and lighter hands) the 1212 fingering can work. This takes immense pre-practice to nail. Remember that there is a big Eb - F# gap in the run.

Generally, depending on the players flexibility 123 fingerings can be used, but the large Eb - F# gap between the 2 and 3rd finger may cause complications. Also shifting this gap, except for practiced players can be a cause of frustration. If we any room to "fudge" the note, remember that the B natural and F# can be on the higher side and the Eb a little lower.

A good player will tweak the tunings a little bit in every octave in preparation for a performance, though the performance, anything goes. Reminders that every octave be practiced with the least amount of stress in the fingertips, and reasonably slowly. Part of this pracitce is developing muscle memory as there are few of us who can actually concetrate on each note at high speeds. The goal is, to develop the left hand so the right arm/hand can do what it needs to create a secure sound. As the right arm develops, so will the clarity of the left hand.

Just a thought, during the development of the left hand, make any correction to the movement of the bow arm. Ultimately, i'd like to spend less than a 1/3 of the bow for the first two octaves if a singing tone is desired in the highest octave. The contact point on the G-string will be different than on the E-string, as that point will be far closer to the bridge at the end of the musical run. In theory, the pressure tends to decrease in every octave replaced by bow velocity. Some players really love to "hammer" the highest the notes, and in that situation, added pressure will add more drama. I personally love to hear players really make some thing out of the high notes because the piece is just starting.

Relaxation helps with clarity in the highest octave, which in turn helps players develop a more secure sense of pitch, both in listening and in playing.

Thank you very much, a most interesting and unexpected dissertation!

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