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Russian vs Belgian vs Galamian bow grip


VicM
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I could ask which member you mean, since there have been various participants "talking" in this thread.  But I assume you mean me. How can you possibly know how "little" or how much I practice?   Or the practising of anyone else in this forum?  Answer - you can't.  Let's stay on topic rather than getting personal, please.

 

Good idea. Do you remember what the topic was ?

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Good idea. Do you remember what the topic was ?

Not the one you diverted it to twice.  But since you did create those other topics, I decided second time round to address one of your ideas. The topic of pain and practising was brought up by you.  Nothing anybody wrote involved pain and practising, but for some reason you did bring it up.  To me this is serious enough to ask the opinion of teachers about, and so I did.  If our fellow members are willing to discuss that, then it is up to them.  That is a different thing than getting personal, which is what I addressed in what you have highlighted in red.

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Where ? Can't find it. 

Here you are:

 

. ......Like practicing 10ths. It's going to hurt. So what - that's what violin is about. I'm not going to stop and write an essay on "How to learn 10ths with no pain" or debate it on MN. ...............

 

You brought up the topic of practising and pain, it comes from your post.

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Pain while playing is something I have not had to experience yet.  I read about others but cannot relate what they may be going through.  I'm thinking now it could possibly apply to me soon one day but have no idea what will start hurting first or the worst pain.  What is the most common? Wrist, elbow,......... I could imagine neck or shoulder pain but for the time being all I can do is just wonder about it. 

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Tendinitis (or tendonitis or tennis elbow), carpal tunnel, and bursitis are among the most common RSIs that players experience. Tendinitis can be a career-ender.

 

http://www.peabody.jhu.edu/past_issues/fall09/musician_heal_thyself.html

 

"Consider that a recent survey of 330 incoming freshman students at a Midwestern school of music showed 79 percent with a history of “playing-related pain.”"

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  • 2 weeks later...

A google search of "violin / musician + injury"  will produce a host of articles.  Sometimes it's caused by awkward postures or habits the violinist has had for years, and this is also why a good teacher in the beginning is important.  That teacher should be watching for those kinds of things, guiding the student.  A tune sounding right isn't enough, plus those are the things that help you sound better.

 

To clarify an old question: Students work with teachers, and those teachers will identify things.  "You are gripping the neck with your thumb.  During your practice this week, make sure you don't do that.  Here's a way that might help you."  If the student continues to grip the neck, then other secondary problems will happen.  I mean, this is standard, normal stuff.  If you ask the student "What goals do you have in your practice?" the student might answer "To make the Minuet in G sound good." or "To not grip the neck with my thumb."  Both are correct answers, but addressing different angles of the same thing.

To this day I cannot understand post 64.  It refers to problems that I have not stated and other things.  Maybe there is a major longstanding misunderstanding.

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Pain while playing is something I have not had to experience yet.  I read about others but cannot relate what they may be going through.  I'm thinking now it could possibly apply to me soon one day but have no idea what will start hurting first or the worst pain.  What is the most common? Wrist, elbow,......... I could imagine neck or shoulder pain but for the time being all I can do is just wonder about it. 

Pain or exhaustion? After playing longer and longer programs, I tend to get really sore in the back and in the shoulders. No matter what you do I don't believe there's a way it can be avoided... unless you're Nathan Milstein and your violin simply floats on your shoulder.

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Pain or exhaustion? After playing longer and longer programs, I tend to get really sore in the back and in the shoulders. No matter what you do I don't believe there's a way it can be avoided... unless you're Nathan Milstein and your violin simply floats on your shoulder.

For the time being pain would be the issue.  The only exhaustion I'd experience these days woulds be a left ear that has had enough for the day.

  One or a few reasons I have not the pain problems is that I play violin at home.  That leaves me to play while in my comfort zone.  I don't belong to an orchestra of any kind and I don't go elsewhere to play violin.  

  Now if I join an orchestra or play elsewhere that would put me in unfamiliar chairs to set in, different parking places to park my vehicle, different coat racks for my jackets, etc are a new few issues to think about.   Can those contribute to new types of pain?  I'm sure they would at first.  

  I know from by being a guy that I can put some weights on a curling bar and lift weights to strengthen upper body muscles.  Can the ladies do that?  Sure they can but time has to be set aside to do so, 2-3 minutes a day can help.  The hardest part is just walking to the weights.

  Having to sit for long periods with upper pain playing long pieces you'd have to pray to make it through the entirety.  But if it were me and at the first chance of a break/intermission I would find an unoccupied room with a clean floor and lay down on my back flat and stretch the back muscles.   Leave one leg flat on floor and pull the other kneecap to the chest for 3 seconds, alternating legs, three times apiece.  If pain is really bad that day or evening and I still had the same clean floor and did the previous stretches already I would continue the same stretches but this time laying on the sides instead if on the back.  Make sure no one else is in the same room, these stretching exercises work but may catch others off guard, maybe a trustworthy person would be o.k. to have with you.  1 to 1 1/2 minutes is all it takes.

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Reviewing the topic, I don't think it was ever mentioned what a Russian bow hold was. And I'm not talking about the bad interpretations like Kavakos's proclaimed "Russian" bow hold, I'm talking about the Russian bow hold as taught by Leopald Auer at the St. Petersburg conservatory. The only records that seem to be out there are videos, and the modern day interpreters. It's like it has completely died out. That and the cameramen would rather show you shots of the performers face than what we really want to see. I think much of what I've heard is simply a high index finger and close fingers, but when when I watch videos of Heifetz; he very loosely follows these observations. Another question is, how were they able to play at the frog! Maybe there are texts on the characteristics of this Russian hold that nobody has translated yet. Or maybe it's a trade secret. Either way, I'm curious.

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Reviewing the topic, I don't think it was ever mentioned what a Russian bow hold was. And I'm not talking about the bad interpretations like Kavakos's proclaimed "Russian" bow hold, I'm talking about the Russian bow hold as taught by Leopald Auer at the St. Petersburg conservatory.

 

 

Auer (wrist extended):

 

Auer%20bowing%20position%20at%20point.jp

 

Heifetz (wrist near frog):

 

hefietz.jpg

 

Hand frame looks very similar to me.

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My teacher, back then, had the Auer background, and we learned to form the bow hold by placing the bow across our flat hand like this:https://app.box.com/shared/static/4m945pzbaz4kker1r4swcpgselw1nnz4.jpg  

and when we closed our hand around the bow the hold looked like this.
https://app.box.com/shared/static/ap1h3thvykdxyhdhqlh6cthz9054g7ts.jpg 
I understand that this is the "Russian bow hold".

I duplicated the original instructions today in order to get it for the pic.  I ended up with the "Galamian" hold maybe 1 - 2 years after starting and haven't held it this way since.  It feels way different.

There was an exercise that I didn't know about until about 3 years in, which actually induces the arm to move along its path.  It was thought that as an adult who had no prior training in music I wouldn't want to do this, but when I learned of it, I asked about it.  In this exercise, you kept the wrist flat for a full bow stroke, so that the only way it would move was side-to-side at the wrist.  If you try to keep the bow straight at the same time, when you get at the frog, you end up with a very high elbow (which goes with what people are saying, and also goes to the question that was asked).  Stage 2 of the exercise brings in some raising of the wrist so that the elbow is not quite as high.  I was also told that the side-to-side motion was more important than the up and down motion of the wrist.

The violinist whose movements came closest to what I saw in the studio is Abram Shtern.  There is one recorded lesson where he shows how the bow hold works for drawing out the sound, emphasizing the interaction between the thumb and first finger.

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Apparently Abram Shtern is held in very high regard in Eastern Europe and is a name among the greats such as Horowitz.

I submitted the pictures because I actually did get taught the Russian bow hold initially, though at the time I did not know that there was such a thing as "Russian", "Galamian", "Franco-Belgian" etc.

The first time I discovered Shtern was while researching Massanet's Meditation from Thais.  The clip also shows the overall use of the bow arm from shoulder to fingertip.

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If you want to hear what he was famous for (being concertmaster of an opera/ballet orchestra)... get a load of this.  As we say in the biz, Holy Crap!

 

 

Also, fascinating:

 

 

I like Perlman's crossover album, In the Fiddler's House, but he doesn't exactly sound like the "real thing".  Shtern here does.  But I was looking for a better angle on his bow hand.  And here it is: 

 

 

It's easy to see the characteristic (as I think of it) forward-leaning of the hand.  See how the pinky is barely on the stick as he heads towards the tip?  Russian!

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I'm surprised I've never heard of Abram Shtern either. From watching the video, I felt like Shtern brought me into his world, as he was raised, and the sound and technique that followed. It was phenomenal. I loved the scene in which he demonstrates the Mendelssohn on the students fiddle while the student is holding her shoulder rest. It seemed like a contrast between the old Russian teachings of the violin, and the teachings of Galamian. 

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I found Shtern ages ago (sorry that's not meant to sound like one-upmanship) when looking for Achron's Hebrew Melody.  Two things stand out, one is that not only does his pinky come off the bow as Stephen noted so does the next finger as well (in one of the "plays and demonstrates" vidoes).  The other is how almost rigidly parallel to the floor the violin is.  It's not as though he's clamped down with his chin at all, nor does he have a death grip with the left hand, but the instrument just doesn't move.

 



Neil
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