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vathek

Is this playable?

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I've been trying to get this passage to sound good, trying varying bow speed and pressure but I just can't bring the harmonic in without losing the tone on the open g. I think it should be possible to play with with a clear sound for both strings - is there some trick to it?

post-1193-0-80622600-1480711007_thumb.jpg

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Have you tried it on a Stradivarius?  ;)  I got all three notes to sound with no trouble on my Thompson by going at it "full tilt",  Sounds nasty, BTW.  :P 

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All three notes?  It's two notes, no?

Nope, the little diamond is a parasitic B, fingered but not bowed.  Tricky crap.

 

What is this passage from, Vathek?

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Tried this on my two violins.  Very tricky on the good one, easy on the Jackson-Guldan, a fiddle with crummy sound but very easy response.

 

For the kind of bow control required, Simon Fischer has good exercises on "pivoting" in his book Basics.  But none with a harmonic, and the harmonic increases the difficulty here. 

 

BTW, getting too far from the bridge will put you near a node where the harmonic can't sound.

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I just now tried it and the G wasn't good at first.  Less pressure and more speed, and maybe a little toward the fingerboard too, made it sound nice together.

Harmonics usually sound better bowed near the bridge but the open G string sounds better away from the bridge.  Tricky.

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I have just tried this. Indeed it is tricky.  If the tempo is very slow and bow changes are not allowed, it's nearly unplayable.

 

Before you try to play both notes, first check how fast your bow needs to be to make the harmonic sound right.  Then practice playing on the G string with the same bow speed close to the bridge.  You'll probably need a lot of bow weight for this.  Once you can get the G to sound properly, add the harmonic as well.  You should have a decent sound on both notes.

 

EDIT: The dynamic marking must be ignored. :)

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Harmonics usually sound better bowed near the bridge but the open G string sounds better away from the bridge.  Tricky.

 

I think this is the key to the example in the OP.  The ideal contact point when we're playing an open G is different than the ideal one for that harmonic.  So the way to solve the problem is going to be a compromise.  Maybe some violins won't allow it, or will make it necessary to be extremely precise.  As I see DGV has mentioned, we might have to find a dynamic which will help.  Good point.

 

I'm always amazed to find violinists who can play long strings of complicated harmonics without a bobble.  I've wondered how they practice to achieve that. 

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Thanks for all the comments. I've found that angling the bow so that it's nearer the bridge on the d string helps, but getting the g to sound even while holding for full length is tricky. It's from a modern solo violin work.

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