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I discovered I can read and play double stops! (Sorta)


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As my title alludes, I’ve come to realize that I can read and play simple double stop etude exercises without actually trying to learn how.

My teacher recently recommended (been playing 4.5 years now) a couple of new books of duets, some of them include double stops, but nothing too difficult.

On a whim, I picked up an introductory etude book “Melodious Double Stops”, and to my great surprise....I could actually read and process what I was seeing.  Ok, ok...I can only play the first couple, but still... I’m blown away by the fact that I could see double stop note pairings and the brain said, “sure, we can do that”.

 The fingers of my left hand are not fully convinced, however.  But still, a lovely discovery.

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Congratulations. It opens up a whole new world of sound production. My confidence level with double stops is still rather  low.

I curse any music the asks for a double stop with the E string. I cannot get the sound to balance between the A and the E. Might just be my string setup but it is very frustrating.

 

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2 hours ago, ctanzio said:

I cannot get the sound to balance between the A and the E.

The brain hears but the hand is unsure how to react.

Try play intentionally louder on A or E and the problem will go away. Some time later you'll struggle to properly voice d/stops on Bach when you need to play unbalanced. Such is life...

 

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I've found a good exercise to ingrain double-stops "melodically" is to practice your scales with a 3rd, 4th, or even 6th above the scale degrees.  5ths are easy, just a "barre" finger, but they are a little too strident on the ear.

This helps learning the finger "forms", or patterns, since they repeat.  Definitely installs muscle memory for genres like jazz, country, bluegrass and folk.  Beware, once you start playing double stops, it's hard to stop (no pun intended)!  But, as a comparison, a harmonized vocal duet is so much prettier than a solo.  Good luck...

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Coming from a guitar player background and not having any method books for violin I found the easier doublestops for violin were contained in Beethoven op. 40 two page version and for more difficult doublestop playing there was Tschaikowsky op. 5 six page version.

There's always #24 Paganini doublestops but after a while you may be asking yourself to why you are putting yourself through all of this.    

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