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With the wrist only.

August 20, 2007 at 05:44 AM · I am currently doing some review on Sevcik Op. 2 Part 1, No. 5 with the wrist only exercise. This wrist-only bowing is really bothering me. When I first learned it, it was done quickly and without attention, so I am not very solid. And. also I recall that my old teacher told me that true wrist-only action at the tip of the bow is near impossible (or very difficult, I guess), true?

Does anyone have any alternate methods (besides just doing what is written over and over again...) to improve and practice this specific bowing? I am really lacking this bowing style in the middle and the tip of the bow.

Replies (5)

August 20, 2007 at 07:02 PM · As I understand it wrist action at the frog also includes finger action. At the tip if you don't have wrist action you can't get a seamless bow change. That's my understanding.

August 20, 2007 at 09:16 PM · Hmm.. yeah. But the exercise I am having trouble with is sixteenth notes with the wrist only at the tip at a high metronome marking.

August 21, 2007 at 01:14 PM · bobby, i am not a violin person but have been an observer for some time.

the precise thing you are talking about is one of the first things i look at when someone plays violin in front of me. that handling of the bow near the frog gives me a very good indiction where the player is at.

to me, 80% of the work that goes into your bowing exercises is geared toward making that transition seamless. in fact, not just seamless, but giving your downbow a voice at that precise millisecond. unless the transition is controlled well, your downbow never really begins because you will be forcing the sound out later with pressure instead of the natural weight made possible by that subtle transition (fingers/wrist). a little like you are at the bus stop, but the bus is already leaving and you give chase.

having problem with 16th notes simply means spending more time at 8th notes... if faster is worse then slower is better.

August 21, 2007 at 01:43 PM · Bobby,

I just took a look at the exercise you mentioned. Which variations in particular? To isolate the movements you need, first get rid of your violin and bow. Make a wrist bowing motion holding your arm like you're at the frog. Notice what it feels like. Continue that motion and move your arm around - down low, over your head, and of course as if you're holding the bow at the tip. See how your arm finds the right place to support the movement? Now bring back the instrument and bow. Try to recreate the feeling you had when you were doing this stroke before in playing position. If you're still not comfortable at the tip, see how far up the bow you can get before the motion changes, and work to extend that range by a few centimetres every day.

Your wrist may be tight because other parts of your arm (especially shoulder and elbow joints) are tense. You may also be trying to use too much bow and involving your forearm. Not really a problem, but it doesn't help you to isolate the different muscle movements - and that's really what Sevcik's about.

Hope this helps!

August 21, 2007 at 06:11 PM · My former teacher Robert Gerle mentioned and showed to us on several occasions the "figure 8" idea for bow changes at the tip, the idea being that as you move clockwise, for example on the D string on separate bows, the bow is on the "left side of the string" on the down bow and the wrist helps wrap the bow around to the right side of the string as you go to the up bow. Without the violin or bow, if you watch your fingers making small circles held close to your face (as if you were playing at the frog) you will see a little residual wrist movement that happens naturally as a passive reaction to the finger motion. As you move further away from your face to what would be the middle of the bow, the wrist motion becomes the dominant motion still with the fingers being flexible and as you get to the tip, the arm passively comes into play as the wrist motion continues. This motion is a natural one which if blocked would create tension and stiffness in the hand, so nothing is really done totally in isolation.

One other thing to be sure of is that the angle at which the violin projects out from your chin/jawbone/collarbone/left shoulder/upper chest area of support is such that you can reach to the tip of the bow without hyper extending the elbow or with your fingers barely remaining in contact with the bow.

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