December 18, 2009 at 3:53 AM
I agree that using the good part of the arm according to the part of the bow should be the first thing essential to be taught. When I think too mathematically, my arm often mooves wrong. They also said such things in the books I'm reading now if I remember correctly. 1st select the area of the bow for x area in the score, then analyse the arm motion required (of course amount of bow and pressure too...).
"the wrist is…never used for string crossing." This sentence by Clayton seems weird but since he's so experienced I'll assume he's "right"! But my teacher always tells it as simply as: when string crossing in the G to E string direction, the elbow lowers a bit to "prepare" for the next string and when string crossing in the E to G string direction, the hand and wrist act first (she says laughing as when you eat with a fork, it's not the elbow that raises first!) and just after the elbow becomes heigher at the good level for the new string played. So seems that hand and wrist is used in some stages of some string crossing patterns??? (can't get rid of these big letters?)
yes, Clayton is something of the extreme in his simplification of playing;) There are actually excellent exercises in Basics which practice the very tehcnique you refer to. Now you have it you can explore all angles of the question. When I studied sevcik at RCM my teacher was quite adamnat that sevcik opus 2 was for arm training and opus 3 for the wrist and I had to do all of both. He would make me draw little diagrams of the wrist patterns for each verison of an etude. You have to take things with a pinchof salt. If you are going to apply the concept of `the faster the note the smaller the unit of bow arm used` then certain things are going to played from tewrist and by default ther eis going to be some kind of wristy string crossing goin on.
If you're playing the second movement of the Handel Sonata No. 1 in A major, there's a place where if the arm is positioned for an A-E string level, the counter-clockwise movements of the wrist are easier so I would qualify the statement to say that the appropriate arm level for the strings to which you are crossing greatly eases whatever wrist movement is made and makes it more efficient. Obviously too much wrist motion can result in bad angles for the hair on the string and weaken the tone, a tendency happily completely absent from Nathan Milstein's video of his stellar performance of Bach's Preludio from the 3rd partita. The wood of his bow consistently stays at an angle that keeps excellent contact of the hair with the string. This factor, in addition to proper placement and distribution of the bow goes a long way to making the tone project with clarity and openness.
Take a look at Milstein's efficient wrist movement at about 15-16 seconds into this video. In the famous bariolage passage it's clear he's using very efficient arm movements to cross the strings.
Thanks, interesting replies!!!
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