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Notes in the Same Position Using the Same Finger Consecutively


tchaikovsgay
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Hi. After finally figuring out the differences between shifting, portamento and glissando, I've came up with another technical question: in the same position using the same finger consecutively, how is the exchange between notes with the same finger done?

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Study No.12 from 36 Violin Studies, Op.20 Heinrich Ernst Kayser
In beat 4, the C6 and B5 requires the fouth finger in first position being used consecutively, when transitioning from C6 to B5, the fourth finger obviously does not lose contact with the string, as it will produce an instrusion sound by the open string, so does it:
A. release all finger pressure and slide
B. release 50% finger pressure and slide
C. slide without releasing pressure

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Exercise No.15 from School of Bowing Technique II, Op. 2 by Otakar Ševčík

Follow-up question: the above situation is in the context of a slurred bowing, however, in separate bowing, with the disguise of a bow change, is it necessary to maintain any finger pressure during the slide?

P.S. Last time I asked this question using chromatic scales as an example, which wasn't a good idea as it wasn't specific enough...

Thank you

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Tch......y, you must release the pressure on the 4th unless you help the slide with your hand. I am an old violin player though new on Maestronet but I follow on and off for some years and remember some of your posts. It would be very helpful if you could post YT videos so we can actually see your actions and hear the result. It is a very common mistake with many students and even fully formed players to not release pressure during shifts and slides and that makes intonation insecure among other things.

 

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Committing to learn is important. The rush and intensity of school forces one to rush for solutions. This is a critique of higher education and more so because of the expense. Hopefully, what you learn, you will also be able to teach in the future.

The Kayser #12 example of teaching several things. Bow control, speed, arpeggiated and scalar movement are a few. Arpeggiated movement is much more difficult that scalar movement. For this measure, the first finger is the anchor. both on the g- and a- strings. The underlying importance is the outline of the e- minor triad e- g- b- e- in root position on the beats. In the beginning, stressing the triad is important, while as one gets better, it will de-stressed for an ultra smooth, ultra clear execution at presto speeds.The bonus test is to be able to make the 4th finger reach the c-, only a half step higher than the b-.

A good student would practice pressure on and off to reach the c- but more important, one should hold 1st finger on the a- string down. This is a better practice of the actual extension because the player's thumb is less likely to move. This presumes that the fit of the violin is reasonably correct or that the hands are not smaller.

For performance Clarity is second to rhythmic accuracy. The finger should be lifted and re-struck on the final b-. As you get better, the c- will continue to ring, even after you lift the 4th finger. The re-striking will activate on the violin and the viola, while on the cello, it almost requires a thunk. The re-striking is important for the accuracy of landing the 4th finger. After learning the notes, mentally prepare to land the note at the end of the measure/ bow. 

On the bow side, if you practice Martele work and up-bow or continuous down-bow spiccatos, a student may do a mini-martele right after the c- on the continuous bow. It is not discussing this here, but many students do this without realizing it.

The pressure-on 4th finger slide is important in understanding how the hand extends and strengthens. This is only a half step. It is preparation for octave work, high speed shifting and tenths. The a- e- string combination is the easiest, then practice similar patterns on the other string. The final Sevcik-esque permutation is to practice the pattern with the first finger anchored on the d-, then g- string.

Do not do this for more than 20-30 seconds at a time. If the hand gets tight, it is too late. Revert to gentle scalar action. 

For actual presto, pp, playing use the open e- string and shift into in lower 2nd position to land 1st finger on the g- note finishing with the 3rd finger on the b-/

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15 hours ago, Eugen Modri said:

Tch......y, you must release the pressure on the 4th unless you help the slide with your hand.

 

If anything I barely press at all on the c and increase the preassure (but that might be a sideeffect of contracting the hand to move to "normal" hand position) to move the finger down to b. It is quite possible to do the opposite as well, widen the hand, hit the c with curved finger and move the hand back to flatten the finger to hit the b. In that instance the pressure it higher on the c than on the b.

If you want a video, check out Anna Savkina here: 

 

 

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5 hours ago, fiolmattias said:

If anything I barely press at all on the c and increase the preassure (but that might be a sideeffect of contracting the hand to move to "normal" hand position) to move the finger down to b. It is quite possible to do the opposite as well, widen the hand, hit the c with curved finger and move the hand back to flatten the finger to hit the b. In that instance the pressure it higher on the c than on the b.

If you want a video, check out Anna Savkina here:

What I advised is what I do and what I would advise one of my pupils because there is more into that than discussed here. For ex. the habit you form most not later interfere with double-stops 1-4 / 2-4 where fingers must be in balance and pressure rather medium to light. They say on violin takes you 6 times longer to unlearn than to learn.

But it all comes down to personal physical attributes, ability and preference. That of course if it works in more than one situation.

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On 4/24/2020 at 5:41 PM, GoPractice said:

Committing to learn is important. The rush and intensity of school forces one to rush for solutions. This is a critique of higher education and more so because of the expense. Hopefully, what you learn, you will also be able to teach in the future.

The Kayser #12 example of teaching several things. Bow control, speed, arpeggiated and scalar movement are a few. Arpeggiated movement is much more difficult that scalar movement. For this measure, the first finger is the anchor. both on the g- and a- strings. The underlying importance is the outline of the e- minor triad e- g- b- e- in root position on the beats. In the beginning, stressing the triad is important, while as one gets better, it will de-stressed for an ultra smooth, ultra clear execution at presto speeds.The bonus test is to be able to make the 4th finger reach the c-, only a half step higher than the b-.

A good student would practice pressure on and off to reach the c- but more important, one should hold 1st finger on the a- string down. This is a better practice of the actual extension because the player's thumb is less likely to move. This presumes that the fit of the violin is reasonably correct or that the hands are not smaller.

For performance Clarity is second to rhythmic accuracy. The finger should be lifted and re-struck on the final b-. As you get better, the c- will continue to ring, even after you lift the 4th finger. The re-striking will activate on the violin and the viola, while on the cello, it almost requires a thunk. The re-striking is important for the accuracy of landing the 4th finger. After learning the notes, mentally prepare to land the note at the end of the measure/ bow. 

On the bow side, if you practice Martele work and up-bow or continuous down-bow spiccatos, a student may do a mini-martele right after the c- on the continuous bow. It is not discussing this here, but many students do this without realizing it.

The pressure-on 4th finger slide is important in understanding how the hand extends and strengthens. This is only a half step. It is preparation for octave work, high speed shifting and tenths. The a- e- string combination is the easiest, then practice similar patterns on the other string. The final Sevcik-esque permutation is to practice the pattern with the first finger anchored on the d-, then g- string.

Do not do this for more than 20-30 seconds at a time. If the hand gets tight, it is too late. Revert to gentle scalar action. 

For actual presto, pp, playing use the open e- string and shift into in lower 2nd position to land 1st finger on the g- note finishing with the 3rd finger on the b-/

This is good advice overall but it is too much for the aims of the OP. I read his previous posts and it looks to me he is trying to optimize his violin technique on line. That will not work and should not be encouraged. Short, to the point explanations are fine but in the end he needs personal contact with  a good teacher once in a while. Even once a month could be effective. One often sees pupils, even professionals who get some element(s) of their playing right and many others not at all. It is a teacher in direct contact with the student who ensures the herd moves all at once, more or less.

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If you go to IMSLP and look up Dounis Op. 35, page five, it's an exercise for doing just this, and includes high and low fourth on adjacent strings.  It's also good stretching and for hearing carefully.  Any way of doing it that doesn't make an ugly sound I'd consider fine.  Pay attention that when you use the 4th and you have the 3rd down, you don't tilt the 3rd so it becomes sharp.   Dounis wants vibrato on everything, so you might not have that situation, but it's something to watch for in general

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17 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

If you go to IMSLP and look up Dounis Op. 35, page five, it's an exercise for doing just this, and includes high and low fourth on adjacent strings.  It's also good stretching and for hearing carefully.  Any way of doing it that doesn't make an ugly sound I'd consider fine.  Pay attention that when you use the 4th and you have the 3rd down, you don't tilt the 3rd so it becomes sharp.   Dounis wants vibrato on everything, so you might not have that situation, but it's something to watch for in general

This comment is not to contradict the post, as Dounis is certainly important. Every player should eventually know about this school of thought. But more so than the sometime obssesive fetish-like work of Sevcik it is difficult, time consuming and sometimes if not for many, un-satisfying. In this day and age where students cover 300 years of literature we do not have to practice a 1434241 pattern in every key.

And I try not to reply to other observances and opinions.

Work is work and practice is practice, certainly we know this, but if there is no joy in some of the work, resentment ( if not injury ) builds. The benefit of trying Dounis is that one learns to appreciate the other exercise books. It is like an amateur trying to smash purfling into a hand cut channel when a high speed router works so well - maybe the Croen. With the guidance of an instructor or shop owner , it is so much better ( or torture or doom ) as is the with a good teacher for Dounis. Practicing the exercises badly will deteriorate your skill set rather than hone it. Making a copy of the page being examined allows a student to write plenty of notes of and limit the scope of practice. 

Anyone listening to Dounis practice will also wonder why their being played. Only the show offs practice these well in the practice rooms. Almost everyone else is at home sitting on their beds with lead mutes on. It;s like the kid that plays the Flesch scale sets in order, completes them and goes to the next key without a break. Carmen Fantasy? Oh, I played that at my Mitzvah...

Also being about 7 feet tall with the helmet, your hands are large enough to play Paganini on a 18' viola. 

My point is that nearly playing them is fine for a hobbyist. Nearly playing them indicates that there are mechanical issues. The recommendation of the Dounis is novel and rewarding ( maybe ) for those curious.

Other books and schools of thought have been suggested here and one instructor in particular has multiple thumb locations in each position. Or multiple position in one thumb position - and i teach this, but not to those who are insecure locking into octaves. The ( possible ) by-product of this is that the elbow reaches under the instrument when playing on the g- d- strings for those with smaller hands and shorter arms. I just happen to be watching an old Pat Metheny ( jazz guitarist - one of the best creators of melodic line ) performance when I noticed that he has the thumb hanging opposite the ring finger for lot of his improvisional work. This allows for multiple position in one thumb position and better ornamentation. Works great... but on violin, not as well, again depending on the individual. Violists rarely play above 3rd position so not an issue. 

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On 4/25/2020 at 2:12 PM, Eugen Modri said:

This is good advice overall but it is too much for the aims of the OP. I read his previous posts and it looks to me he is trying to optimize his violin technique on line. That will not work and should not be encouraged. Short, to the point explanations are fine but in the end he needs personal contact with  a good teacher once in a while. Even once a month could be effective. One often sees pupils, even professionals who get some element(s) of their playing right and many others not at all. It is a teacher in direct contact with the student who ensures the herd moves all at once, more or less.

No argument here,whether a live teacher is important. But a good teacher is better than a bad teacher ( for most people, ) provided that is what they need at the time. So you are correct. But at my age, peers are more important than teachers and students offer some of the best labs for learning.

Dead teachers offer better long term knowledge while my peers offer possible solutions that are specific. Szigeti, Stern, Menuhin allow me to think how to approach playing music. I do know how to play these instruments but may need more insights. If i play out of tune, someone will tell me. As you suggest, short responses are more convenient. But the ability to show the way one thinks, is as important as the tip or solution or critique. What anyone takes away is up to them. When young, I was fortunate enough to meet perhaps the most famous violinist of the time during a soundcheck. Tickets to the performance were not available. My hero sounded like crap compared to his LPs. It took another ten years and some insight into understanding why he sounded the way he did. In the meantime, I stopped buying his records and promised myself to sound better than that loser. 

This is a free site, so if one cares to read a post, there it is. It's free, save the precious time spent on processing a post. Sorry if it is/ was a waste of time. Utube can be a waste of time. I do not understand this mayhem that is kids willing to post their latest piece but unwilling to listen to suggested performances. 

I coach in public schools for free and the kids choose to take my advice or not. Who cares? I do this as a favor to instructors, getting up early, fighting traffic, paying for parking. I entertain for 40min to the extent that I am not their classroom teacher. These are kids who don't take lessons. And adults at hobby websites do not participate in anything resembling lessons. 

The several who I have coached and taught for free have gone on to becoming professional musicians but that was on their abilities and chosen path. And I feel bad about this. My intent is not to prepare potential professional musicians, but for the kids to appreciate better their relationship with sound, the instruments and what is the joy of music and playing with others as an adult. One brilliant student chose not to double major in both Engineering and Music. Perhaps struggling for the next few years, he can complete the missing classes and start a Masters in Engineering. His engineering classes were in the way of his practice. 

I disagree that online optimization does not or will not work. There are always longer conversations when learning something of value, if it is of value. Players eventually need to learn how to think.

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Sure, that is a way to think about it and there is nothing I disagree with.  

My concern is that the OP ( learns violin for 12-14 years by now ! ) is asking elementary questions and seems confused about fundamentals. I suggest we should always be mindful of not helping somebody to waste even more time. But that is only a suggestion. :)

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On 4/26/2020 at 6:54 PM, GoPractice said:

This comment is not to contradict the post, as Dounis is certainly important. Every player should eventually know about this school of thought. But more so than the sometime obssesive fetish-like work of Sevcik it is difficult, time consuming and sometimes if not for many, un-satisfying. In this day and age where students cover 300 years of literature we do not have to practice a 1434241 pattern in every key.

Actually I don't play stuff like that because I have big hands.  I play it because I have small hands!!

For the most part Dounis doesn't have you playing patterns in every key, but on every string.  I find that for example if you can play those patterns - with nice controlled vibrato - you can do a lot of things that are often called for, but that you might go through some method and never hit the way it deserves.  Snapshots.  What I pointed out to the OP is mainly designed to  hit normal and high and low 4th.  Seems like a very efficient way to get facility there, to me!

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Thanks for everyone's reply. It seems like we already have three different answers. I do have a teacher from the University and I just like to ask questions about the fundamentals in a platform that allows free discussion because I want to optimize my playing by understanding how and why things are done in violin playing.

I'm not a very flexible person; I like to choose the best way that suits me as default instead of changing from time to time; for instance, questions like: the placement of the little finger on which side of the octagon of the stick, whether there is a default contact of the knuckle of the index finger with the neck, how to tilt the bow without hindering the bow hold, the setup of the violin hold in terms of the balance between weight and comfort, etc.

Sometimes I think and experiment for days and nights but still couldn't figure out a convincing answer, that's when I post a question on the forum.

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1 hour ago, tchaikovsgay said:

I'm not a very flexible person; I like to choose the best way that suits me as default instead of changing from time to time

A BIG mistake in learning violin.

You are not yet using competently and effortlessly the techniques and that means what suits you now may become a stumbling block later. Learning violin is about taking things you find impossible and making them feel naturally through diligent practice. Now and then some analysis is good but trying to optimize everything will not get you far. Violin is just not that much about comfort.

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On 4/26/2020 at 6:54 PM, GoPractice said:

In this day and age where students cover 300 years of literature we do not have to practice a 1434241 pattern in every key.

LOOOOONG ago , when I was a child and learning to play violin my teacher would give us a new piece to study and a list with patterns to practice. Made a huge difference.

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On 4/24/2020 at 1:41 PM, GoPractice said:

Committing to learn is important. The rush and intensity of school forces one to rush for solutions. This is a critique of higher education and more so because of the expense. Hopefully, what you learn, you will also be able to teach in the future.

The Kayser #12 example of teaching several things. Bow control, speed, arpeggiated and scalar movement are a few. Arpeggiated movement is much more difficult that scalar movement. For this measure, the first finger is the anchor. both on the g- and a- strings. The underlying importance is the outline of the e- minor triad e- g- b- e- in root position on the beats. In the beginning, stressing the triad is important, while as one gets better, it will de-stressed for an ultra smooth, ultra clear execution at presto speeds.The bonus test is to be able to make the 4th finger reach the c-, only a half step higher than the b-.

A good student would practice pressure on and off to reach the c- but more important, one should hold 1st finger on the a- string down. This is a better practice of the actual extension because the player's thumb is less likely to move. This presumes that the fit of the violin is reasonably correct or that the hands are not smaller.

For performance Clarity is second to rhythmic accuracy. The finger should be lifted and re-struck on the final b-. As you get better, the c- will continue to ring, even after you lift the 4th finger. The re-striking will activate on the violin and the viola, while on the cello, it almost requires a thunk. The re-striking is important for the accuracy of landing the 4th finger. After learning the notes, mentally prepare to land the note at the end of the measure/ bow. 

On the bow side, if you practice Martele work and up-bow or continuous down-bow spiccatos, a student may do a mini-martele right after the c- on the continuous bow. It is not discussing this here, but many students do this without realizing it.

The pressure-on 4th finger slide is important in understanding how the hand extends and strengthens. This is only a half step. It is preparation for octave work, high speed shifting and tenths. The a- e- string combination is the easiest, then practice similar patterns on the other string. The final Sevcik-esque permutation is to practice the pattern with the first finger anchored on the d-, then g- string.

Do not do this for more than 20-30 seconds at a time. If the hand gets tight, it is too late. Revert to gentle scalar action. 

For actual presto, pp, playing use the open e- string and shift into in lower 2nd position to land 1st finger on the g- note finishing with the 3rd finger on the b-/

Thanks!, Lots of information.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Release 50% for the slide.

About your "i am not a flexible person" comment, I think that the above poster is correct that that can stunt your playing, but I bet that you also feel it's a strength at times. I think we could remove the bad characteristics by simply changing the language, and yes, sometimes it's really that easy.

I bet that the reason you're ok with being inflexible at times is because you want to do 1 thing, with repetitions, get it really good, and be able to do that consistently. That doesn't have to be inflexible, it's doing it intentionally. There is a lot of power in doing things intentionally. You can always tell which violinists are half-heartedly doing what they've been told, and which really mean to do exactly what they are doing.

You should be just as intentional as you are now about practice, but when doing etudes especially, or something like solo Bach, be open to intentionally practicing different ways.

I don't mean half-heartedly scrub around on your instrument with 2 or 3 fingerings before choosing the path of least resistance (I'm totally not guilty of ever doing this), I mean really commit to making each fingering as good as you can, right then and there. Nail those fingerings like you're Odin trying to take down the Eiffel Tower. You'll see that you can do that, and then choose a fingering, and it won't have been inflexibility, it will have been the flexibility to truly explore your options, and then pick the one you'd like best.

You are already doing this, by the way. You already play scales, arpeggios differently, when you play them in Tchaikovsky, or Mozart, or Beethoven, or Mahler. You just don't think of it that way yet. But you are already flexible.

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  • 1 month later...
On 5/6/2020 at 11:27 PM, Porteroso said:

Release 50% for the slide.

About your "i am not a flexible person" comment, I think that the above poster is correct that that can stunt your playing, but I bet that you also feel it's a strength at times. I think we could remove the bad characteristics by simply changing the language, and yes, sometimes it's really that easy.

I bet that the reason you're ok with being inflexible at times is because you want to do 1 thing, with repetitions, get it really good, and be able to do that consistently. That doesn't have to be inflexible, it's doing it intentionally. There is a lot of power in doing things intentionally. You can always tell which violinists are half-heartedly doing what they've been told, and which really mean to do exactly what they are doing.

You should be just as intentional as you are now about practice, but when doing etudes especially, or something like solo Bach, be open to intentionally practicing different ways.

I don't mean half-heartedly scrub around on your instrument with 2 or 3 fingerings before choosing the path of least resistance (I'm totally not guilty of ever doing this), I mean really commit to making each fingering as good as you can, right then and there. Nail those fingerings like you're Odin trying to take down the Eiffel Tower. You'll see that you can do that, and then choose a fingering, and it won't have been inflexibility, it will have been the flexibility to truly explore your options, and then pick the one you'd like best.

You are already doing this, by the way. You already play scales, arpeggios differently, when you play them in Tchaikovsky, or Mozart, or Beethoven, or Mahler. You just don't think of it that way yet. But you are already flexible.

That's a point worth thinking about intentionally doing things differently.

I do feel like tend to have a 'default' way of doing things (e.g. flat hair, using open string instead of fourth finger unless in between notes or in a slur on the same string, use the provided upper fingering instead of the lower one, following the printed fingering obsessively, etc) because I feel I'm not practicing seriously if I'm bisobeying the rules. I don't know why it's like rooted in my head. (maybe the way my dad raised me? That's another story though)

The benefit is I'll be really clear what I'm doing when I deviate from the 'default' (e.g. tilting the bow for dolce passages, changing the fingering according to the teacher as it's the old fingering style, approaching staccato-dotted notes with bowings other than the on-the-string shortened detache, which can be a lifted detache, spiccato, detache leger, martele, etc) so it'll be easier to figure out what to work on and why should it be different than the default. Obviously the downside is it's not a musical and merely fun approach, as my old teacher asked me why do you stand like a robot (he knows I am able to be more natural), and my current teacher said I play phrase without marked changes of dynamics and articulation and like an 'on-off switch'. (She said it's like I play, then it's on, when I stop, it's off; there's not enough humanistic nuances in it)

I do feel like at a point I was drifting to an extreme of rigidness after watching all of Sassmannshaus' video when playing Sevcik: it was like inflexible student + systematic teacher + robotic exercise!

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