I've been playing some pieces in youth symphony that require a very loud and fast tremolo for extended periods of time (pines of rome, for example). is there an easier way to do this other than furiously trying to move my entire arm as fast as possible? I've tried just using my wrist but I can't get a ton of volume or intensity from that. any tips?
Use your wist, but tilt your right hand to get enough torque from your index finger (levered to your thumb) and SMALL STROKES.
Yup. You're trying to get a nice section volume, not personally scrub out a big sound. Don't press, and don't try to maximize the speed of the tremolo. Get a nice sound, and use vibrato.
You have to accept that the instrument is only going to produce a certain threshold of sound, and pressing more won't make it louder. Go for resonance. Don't kill your arm over stupid tutti tremolo.
A great picture! I play like that too - my conductor would come over and wipe my forehead with his towel. Better, I'd say, than just sitting there like a cabbage.
I continually alternate hand and forearm to avoid getting stiff, and try to feel arm weight rather than muscle tension.
Also, be sure to use the lower part of your bow and make sure your bowhair is flat against the string.
Remember that if you have 10 people in your section you don't have to be making half the sound.
I'd try playing closer to the bridge. That is one of the methods used to get more volume.
Don't kill yourself trying to squeeze out maximum volume during orchestral forte tremolo spots. Let the brass section take over. Take all the weight off of your 3rd and fourth fingers of the right hand. Another conductor's trick is to not have the same speed of tremolo for all of the string section. The 1st violins can have fastest speed tremolo, the basses the slowest. Also; single notes divisi is actually a little louder than everyone trying to play double stops.
Make sure your violin strings are level or perhaps even tilted slightly up.
In forte, use a slightly longer bow.
My bows are all the same length ... (wink)
Next week my orchestra (i.e. one of them) is performing Rimsky-Korsakov's rarely played 2nd symphony (the "Antar"). At rehearsal figure 18 the 2nd violins are required to play, at dynamic p, 12 adagio bars of 4-line tremolo in stopped harmonics. The upper 2nds play the 2-octave stopped harmonic above the F# in the 1st position on the E, and the lower 2nds play the 2-octave stopped harmonic above the F# on the D-string, a note which sounds an octave below what the upper 2nds are doing - one hopes.
I have to assume your overall tension level is too high.