Fingertip point of contact

September 29, 2017, 3:39 PM · A while back I read Galamian's book on the principles of violin playing. One of the things that stuck out to me was when he said the fingertips should contact the string to the LEFT of center as explained in this video
https://youtu.be/ai9JB1eBqdw?t=47s

I have never done this. In the beginning it was because it was painful to keep my left elbow to the right enough to play with a straight wrist and forearm (making it impossible to bring the knuckles high enough to make the left-of-center contact), but now that I no longer have that problem I wonder if I should try to implement this. As of now, the point of contact my first finger makes with the string is RIGHT of center, it feels natural this way to me. I've watched Sean Lee's point of view videos while he plays and his first finger does not make this left-of-center contact either. I'm not sure if that's because he's playing the Paganini Caprices and the technique requires it to be that way, or if this left-of-center thing is subjective.

Here is the Sean Lee POV video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmkckmByfQ4

Replies (7)

September 30, 2017, 2:36 AM · There are ofen differences between the basic holds and positions and those required for a given musical passage.

That said, we teachers would often be surprised to see ourselves on film...

September 30, 2017, 5:55 PM · I do agree it should be the first foundation and shape of the hand to master, especially because it will make you successful for keeping fingers down and being able to play the higher open string (no pancake fingers). There has to be length/height in the fingers to achieve this though. The thumb placement has to be considered, especially if you don't have long fingers. He seems to have large hands in that video and rest the violin a bit deeper into the thumb than I would find comfortable. Interested to hear others opinions...
October 1, 2017, 8:55 AM · Perhaps not so extremely but I think in the Sean Lee video the tendency is still more left of center. Being aware of this "left of center" aspect has helped me tremendously in improving fourth finger vibrato, just one personal anecdote. By the way thanks for linking this Sean Lee video, it is very interesting!
Edited: October 1, 2017, 10:27 AM · Wow , I am just trying this and it is wonderful!! Makinmg such a difference. My intonation is improving fast and everything else stays good. Thank you everybody - a really useful tip for me gleaned on this site - not the first.
I have always tended to like more splay-fingers like a mole rather than arched like a dandified aristocrat because it is easier to be romantic - wide vibrato and sliding around, but of course everything in life is tension of opposites and as so often I get attracted to one polarity and think it is "good" and better. This is really useful, especially with the 1st finger - to keep the approach coming in from the thumb side more - then you have a slight curl on the 1st finger .
I have watched Yehudi Menuhin take more this approach and thought -
"yuk, prim and doctrinaire", but now I see a point to it. Wonderful
October 1, 2017, 3:50 PM · I've been trying to implement this lately... how the heck am I supposed to get my first finger to contact left-of-center on the g string without breaking my wrist
October 2, 2017, 12:41 AM · I tried this today. Very helpful.
October 2, 2017, 6:14 AM · Christopher, initially when developing left hand technique your left elbow can swing quite a bit to the right when you are playing on the G-string. However, once you get used to the hand position, the elbow movement can be reduced back a bit, because excessive elbow movement has disadvantages too.


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