November 6, 2009 at 3:40 AM
Thanks for your timely tips, Buri.
I agree, we often neglect the right arm in the quest for perfect intonation with the left. There has to be a balance of attention paid to both in order for us to improve. I had pulled my Basics out from the dark cupboard this morning to work on some bowing exercises.
This is not to mention doing 10,000 bow circles in the air.
Thanks this is very true!
As Drew and my teacher say, everything affects everything. They are correct.
Ysaye is reputed to have said that one can develop a mature left hand in a few years but it took a lifetime to learn to bow.
"the science of violin playing is in the left hand and the art the right." That's exactly what my teacher told me! For years I only paid attention to the left hand, but the teacher I've been working with the past two years showed me most of the problems that I thought to be left hand turned out to be or at least contributed to by the left hand. Problems include the quality of sound, cleanness, intonation, phrasing, even vibrato.
Bow exercises are definitely helpful, but one of the most obvious issues for me is listening: how to listen for different shades of the sound that I'm producing and how to make one notes connect the ways I want from an external point of view. The things I would normally notice when someone else is playing often escape my ears completely when I'm playing. Video-taping helps to a great degree, but it seems to take me forever to cultivate the ears, or rather the mind to achieve the discernability a good violinist should have. Practice is very much a mind thing, and this is particularly true in this aspect.
An absolutely indispensable exercise for me is from the Ysaye book on scales and exercises. its the first exercise in the book and spans several pages. It works both your left and right hand technique, as well as string crossings. But unlike other exercises it allows you to concentrate on both hands very closely. It's also highly flexible, so one can get creative with different finger patterns/keys and bowings. has anyone seen this?
Mr. Kurganov, I'm very much interested but I searched a few places online and can't seem to find it. Any idea if and where it is available?
thanks for your comment Mark. I think once in a while a book comes along that changes or markedly influences vilin pedagogy. Basics was one. There was no longerr any excuse for teachers humming and hawing and just pointing out a few dynamics in the lesson. We could all, in our own way, becomes diagnostic (as opposed to agnostic).
Drew`s book is similar in it helps to side step many issue which we perhaps haven`t addess so much. Just how useful all these stuidies? How much is enough? What is the core of technique that we can teach really rapidly (not sloppily!) so that music can then take precedence?
This idea of a core technique fascinates me. What I mean by it is something that is basically simple, an abolsuite minimu, yet connects up into a viruouso technique at any level. Such a `core` would also be equally applicable to a rank beginner and a hardened (literally) professional. Drew`s book does precisly this.
That about sums up the whole thing.
My take on this whole intonation thing is: If the bow arm can not produce the tone for intonation to follow, the the left hand will have nothing to do.
When I play I listen, my bow arm does the work and my left helps my right produce the tones I am looking for. I really don't give much thought to my left hand as it knows where to go and a note is a note coloured anyway you like but the bow, well that is what makes the note speak.
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