The best way to play staccatissimo?
So I have a piece that calls for staccatissimo playing. I want the notes to sound as clear and separate as possible WITHOUT the God-awful crunching sound.
What is the best way to accomplish this?
What is the piece? Or at least, what is the tempo and dynamic at the relevant part?
Staccatissimo is just a direction that means "very separated", and not a bow stroke. It's hard to give more specific advice unless one knows the context of the piece and tempo. I'm guessing you might be asking for a martele bow stroke? Hard to tell but you are probably pressing too hard and not releasing after the initial catch of the bow. Same thought as Mary Ellen's suggestions.
A staccato note, like most others, needs to release at the end.
Ha, so it's Magic Flute overture! It's probably better for you to consult with your teacher on spiccato and sautillet bow strokes. Not sure where you got the staccatissimo from, it's not Mozart's for sure.
Oh OK, the copy of the excerpt I got very clearly has staccatissimo markings, so now I'm kinda confused...
Depending on the piece, either an extremely short stroke-release as others suggested, or spiccato.
Mozart Magic Flute overture is spiccato. Start from the string and then come off, very small strokes, you do not need to see daylight between the bow and the string.
"I'm shuddering a little bit thinking of Magic Flute done staccatissimo. Yikes."
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Staccatissimo? I wonder if the OP is refering to the little dart-like sign that can replace the usual dot?
Be sure that's what your conductor wants. Modern bows didn't even exist in Mozart's time. A gentle rounded spiccato or even a baroque stroke near the tip would be common ways of playing the 8th note passages in that overture today.
Oh also, you don't want a "godawful crunching sound" but a percussive staccato is one of those things that can sound scratchy to you, but the scratchiness doesn't carry so a listener 30 feet away just hears a nice clear articulation. Heifetz played a very aggressive staccato and if you'd been right beside him it would have sounded scratchy, but to his audience it sounded divine.
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