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Clayton Haslop

That Elusive Spiccato, Part 2

December 12, 2009 at 6:05 PM

This morning I was fooling around a little more with the spiccato groove.  Something additional came to me that I can add to yesterday’s comments.

I said that the detache is the basis of spiccato; true.  I also said that it is very useful to ‘condense’ your detache, and PURPOSELY confine it to the string, an excellent practice.

Now, once you’ve gotten this – stroking back and forth with a small amount of bow somewhere near the middle, very horizontal and in the string – try moving the bow a little toward the frog and, if the following doesn’t happen, back toward the tip.  Depending on the speed and pressure you are using, in one direction or the other you are going to find that the stick begins to jump.


Return now to confining the bow to the string, right where you are.  Now release the pressure slightly so it jumps again.  Back and forth you go between jumping and not jumping.

Such is the way of getting consummate control of this stroke.  Once you have it in one spot, change the speed and/or pressure, confine it to the string, and move around to find a new jumping point.

Pretty soon you will have a repertoire of speeds and dynamics for this stroke.  The final step is to move fluidly through them, with no interruption in the action of the stick. 

One last thing, if control between the hands is an issue, lock the two together by playing slowly, counting and breathing while using the same confined, concentrated, in the string stroking you began with; exactly in the location where you plan to play ‘at tempo.’ 

This should lock things up in no time.

All the best,

Clayton Haslop

From Bruce Berg
Posted on December 14, 2009 at 4:36 AM

Hi Clayton,

Your comments are just fine.  Have you addressed the issue of what originates the stroke? Is it whole arm, forearm, wrist, or fingers?  You don't really address what controls the bow stroke in this post.

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