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Drew Lecher

“GPS” — 1.2 Left Hand RH

January 20, 2008 at 4:55 PM


There is no improvement of intonation with rolling fingers — it only shows where we should have hit.

How do you think of, view and order your fingers?

Plan actions > Accuracy, Fluidity > MASTERY

This is a continuation in the series of blogs dealing with:

1. Left Hand
2. Shifting
3. Right Arm
4. Right Hand
5. Bow

They will be kept under the heading of ”GPS” for those who wish to follow the articles. I hope they are of benefit to you.

Intonation is one of the primary areas of focus in all we do. This applies to the intervallic measurements set about for the left hand fingers and also the contact variables of the bow hair to the string — the 1) point of contact, 2) speed of bow, 3) weight of bow, 4) amount of hair, 5) string selected and 6) vibrating length of string/position number are brought together in order to accomplish the desired dynamics and character of the music.

Your Global Positioning Satellite/Mental Positioning Satellite is all-important in all of the above.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the numerous variables –– they will free you to maneuver, easily flowing into and out of the various settings/posturings for the left hand to accomplish the passage.


Everything affects everything.

Do not lift fingers. Rhythmically release them and they will precisely leave the string adding clarity and diction to the note. This is why it is of paramount importance to practice in various rhythms, bowings and dynamics. It develops knowledge of the technique required to achieve the passage and opens the mind and ears to harmonic structure that will guide your intonation and musical interpretation.

Pivot, Rotate, Extend, Contract, Raise up, Lower down, Modify –– subtly adjust as needed and when needed, programming all those moves’ actions and feelings into your GPS/MPS.

Technique is the tool by which we accomplish the artistic.

What am I suppose to be 'repeatedly hitting'?

The RH is Repetition Hits of the left hand fingers, developing great ease of action with consistency, balance and accuracy of intonation. The fingers will be hitting/tapping the notes. This is to be done with the bow, sharpening the coordination of the two.

Use separate bows and hooked staccato with the last note sustained into the next as a variation, e.g., 2 short eighths followed by a sustained quarter or half note connected into the next RH sequence. Do slowly at first and gradually speed up, but never with tightness or panic in the left fingers, hand and arm.

The short notes’ hits/stings develop quickness, agility and freedom of action. DO NOT LIFT FINGERS. Throw/release from the knuckles — finger should hover, poised above the note. The following long note proves the stability of the finger assuring accuracy with balance after which we can add vibrato.

With the addition of vibrato maintain the core/center/plumb line of the straight pitch in your inner ear — the mind. This will prevent the vibrato becoming too obtrusive and thereby “offending” the character of the music — not to mention, the listener’s ears:-)

Also, do not allow the left wrist to kick/react out or in at the moment of impact. Absorb that tendency through the left hand and arm by simply maintaining the proper form/positioning. There is no need to tighten.

The RHs can also be done without the bow to great advantage, especially when one observes the angles/balance of the fingers and how the left hand, wrist and arm line up. This will cause the note to ping, being easily heard. It will be softer and requires our listening much more keenly — a good thing.

I apply this technique throughout work in all of the studies and repertoire, as it has been my experience that it corrects faulty actions, balance and intonation like nothing else. When I play a note out of tune and/or something is off balance, I will instantly use the RH in sets of 5 or 3 — giving 15 or 9 hits, respectively. This takes a few seconds and the note and positioning become focused, afterwards incorporating it back into the section/passage a few notes at a time.

Hope this helps…

Author of
Violin Technique: The Manual, How to master…
Viola Technique: The Manual, How to master…


(Rep Hits)
Repetition Hits of the left-hand fingers thrown from the knuckles to gain a freer action with greater accuracy — do not pound the fingers as in knocking loudly on a door.

1. The action is to be decisive and light.
a. For dramatic and/or intense passages we do apply greater strength, always maintaining freedom of action with flexibility.

2. Best done in rhythmic patterns.
a. For the longer rhythm, feel the finger hold the note like an electro magnet that you simply turn off when the note ends — the finger rhythmically and automatically releases the string.
b. The fingers must remain close to the string and above their note.

From Mathias B
Posted on January 21, 2008 at 4:02 PM
Great blogs, Drew! I am eagerly awaiting your book which I ordered today.
From Ray Randall
Posted on January 22, 2008 at 3:12 AM
Appreciate your sharing all your experience and advice. I intend to order the book.
I wish you had some of these on a video
as I'm trying to visualize what you're
explaining on this one.
Thank you.
From Drew Lecher
Posted on January 22, 2008 at 5:03 PM
Mathias — thank you and it is on the way:-)

Ray — thanks and I am thinking about doing an accompanying video in the future.

This blog was the response to a question, so feel free to ask and I will try to respond promptly.

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