Tenths...

December 27, 2017, 3:58 PM · Hi,
I was just wondering if anyone has ideas or opinions on how to play tenths lower down the fingerboard,in a reasonably relaxed fashion.I have been doing some of the exercises in
Simon Fischers ''double stopping'' scale book,and they are very good.The other day I tried putting my third finger down behind the fourth finger(on the same string),and this seemed to help a little....(I guess the 3rd finger was pushing most of the string down,and the 4th was doing the correct note)
Any opinions on this?

Thanks,
Malcolm

Replies (12)

Edited: December 27, 2017, 4:11 PM · If you start with the 4th finger and make sure it is not too tense, you can actually stretch the 1st finger pretty far back without becoming tense, or at least overly so. Also, make sure you are not doing anything weird with your wrist like exaggerated torquing or twisting. Work slowly and pay special attention to relaxation, and you should be able to gain some facility. It's a little tricky in keys with b-flats, but when descending (shifting down), you should be able to keep the 4th finger relatively quiet, while the 1st finger is moving to accommodate the wider space.

Oh yeah, and your thumb should move way under the neck, like pointing at the scroll, and possibly even on the same side of the fingerboard (within reason) as the rest of the left fingers.

December 27, 2017, 4:35 PM · Just hope you are not trying this on your own, it is the kind of thing that can cause injuries....
December 27, 2017, 4:36 PM · Likewise if you are in a situation where your first finger is already set, move your thumb up.
December 27, 2017, 5:20 PM · I second starting with the fourth finger.
December 28, 2017, 3:22 AM · Tenths? Trying to giv'em up!
Good advice here, though.
December 28, 2017, 12:30 PM · Yes, in the lower positions it is much easier to do by placing the 4th and then reaching back. Pretty standard technique. I would just add that a little bit a day in the beginning is all you need. It takes a while for most people to get this stretch into the hand. It may feel impossible at first, but then didn't everything else on the violin when you first learned it?
December 29, 2017, 3:23 AM · Looking at the Caprices of Paganini, one can see that he well understood the idea of reaching back, as it's reflected in the writing.
December 29, 2017, 10:47 AM · Tenths lower down are largely the same, physically, as tenths further up. It's just a larger stretch.

It requires some physical strength to hold down a tenth, especially if you're using the corner of the fourth finger because your hands are small. Fingered octaves, especially 2-4 fingered octaves, are a good way to build that strength.

You can place a sixth using 2-3, and then use those to place 1-3 and 2-4 fingered octaves, which will be a third apart, giving you the tenth.

December 29, 2017, 2:11 PM · Regardless of what you're doing, always make sure to warmup your fingers first. If you have short fingers, it's really easy to twist them in unintended ways, especially if moving up and down the fingerboard, in which friction could affect your hand structure.

If you're having a hard time keeping the hand structure, try playing octaves first, because it helps you realize the differences in spacing between fingers as you move up the fingerboard.

For me personally, placing the 3rd finger doesn't do anything but make it harder for me to stretch back. Instead, I use it as partial support for the 4th finger, without putting it on the string. It helps keep the structure in place.

December 30, 2017, 11:04 PM · Advice from my teacher was; start with the minor tenth. In fifth position find the 1-4 octave F-F on the A-E strings. Then pull the first finger back to D; it will probably be on it's side, like a cellist or Guitarist. The major 10th in first position and the 2-4 octave are still beyond me, either too far or out of tune. Using the third finger behind the fourth too help depress the string is standard bass technique but hardly necessary for violin. Perhaps your bridge is too high ?
January 1, 2018, 11:59 AM · Hi,
Thanks for your very useful suggestions,I also discovered that
it seems to help,using a variation of the '3 contact-point rule'
I put the two chord fingers down(1+4),and the thumb is the other contact point.This freed up my first finger to stretch back much more.
Thanks,
Malcolm
January 3, 2018, 7:34 PM · I think there's an exercise you can try with tenths:

1. start with octave fingering (1-4)
2. move the first finger below (now 9th)
3. move the finger first finger again (now 10th)
4. rinse and repeat with other strings / starting notes.

iirc the point of this exercise was not only to stretch your hand, but also to gain the muscle memory that it's your 1st finger pulling back, not 4th finger stretching up. that way the central focus will be on the 4th finger.


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