Need Help With Higher Positions

October 19, 2016 at 12:52 AM · I'm having a little bit of trouble conceptually with playing in 7th position. In practicing the c-major flesch scales I notice that once I shift up to 7th or 8th I get quite an unpleasant sound (Almost like what you would hear from a really cheap fractional sized childs instrument). I don't think it has too much to do with my right hand technique either, as I'm making sure to use very smooth, light strokes using most of my bow. In terms of my left hand I'm pressing the string to the fingerboard in these higher positions to play the note as I would normally do to play any notes in the lower positions. However, a friend of mine that's a violist is recommending that I use my finger to lightly pull the string from the side instead (so the string doesn't make contact with the fingerboard) to play the note. Is the same principle necessary for us violinists?

I have a lesson tomorrow, and I intend to bring it up then, but I'm curious as to what you guys would recommend.

Replies (8)

October 19, 2016 at 01:52 AM · Yes, mininal pressure as you get above 7th.

Also, play closer to the bridge. :)

October 19, 2016 at 03:04 AM · Do you have this problem on all four strings?

One other thing to check is bow-hair tension. I split my practice/play sessions among three fiddles. Recently, when practicing broken 3rds on the G, I had great results on one instrument, all the way up to 7th and 8th -- as high as I planned on going that day. But, later in the session, when I tried the same routine on another fiddle, the tone high on the G was less focused. The string didn't always speak clearly.

I slackened the bow hairs a bit, and that solved the problem. Both instruments currently have Infeld Red for the G.

October 19, 2016 at 05:48 AM · I'm in agreement with A.O. I think you probably need to play closer to the bridge.

The ideal "sounding point" (distance from bridge where the bow contacts the string) is a proportion of the length of the string. The shorter the string (as in higher positions), the shorter the sounding point.

October 19, 2016 at 08:28 AM · Extremely good points made so far, in answer to your question. (In my opinion).

October 19, 2016 at 01:39 PM · You must also be aware that playing in higher positions, from about 5th pos up, but particularly going very high, requires a totally different approach and technique, than playing in the lower positions. This applies to bowing technique as well as left hand. Sorry if that is obvious, but I thought I would mention it just in case. For instance, very high up on the E string, you often cannot put one finger down after another, but instead you might have to move (slide) a finger a small distance by ear, especially if it's a semitone.

October 19, 2016 at 02:25 PM · Be sure to bow closer to the bridge while you're up there

October 19, 2016 at 04:05 PM · If you stay up there too long you get frostbite ...

October 19, 2016 at 10:03 PM · Yes, I did discover that bowing closer to the bridge also helped. Forgot to mention it in my post. Perhaps I'm actually just being too critical of the sound of my instrument, but I'll try a few more approaches later on when I go to practice. Thanks for the comments as always.

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