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Drew Lecher

“GPS” –– 4.1 Prep for Right Hand

March 13, 2008 at 5:52 AM


This is in preparation for working with your Bow Hand, Thumb and Fingers.

How do you think of, view and order the movement?

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.

The following should be done without and with the instrument.

1. Hold bow per usual keeping thumb, fingers and hand well formed.

2. Keep all joints FREE and flexible with bow pointing to the ceiling.

3. Now FREEZE the thumb, fingers and hand — they are NOT to move, even the slightest. KEEP THIS FREEZE. It helps to have the thumb slightly push up into the bow and the fingers and hand respond in like kind. Not too much, just enough to maintain the FREEZE.

4. Next FREE the wrist, elbow and shoulder joints of any residual tension caused by the FREEZE. Slowly and gently move the bow around drawing circles, arcs and straight up and down trajectories.

The above can also be done without the bow. Simply shape your hand as if holding the bow and/or use a pencil, etc.

Following, I will write as though this is being accomplished with the instrument — it should also be done without the instrument.

5. Now go into the actual path and plane of the bow stroke. You can choose any of the strings to start with and vary the sequence, doing both single and double strings.

Draw the bow stroke, whether Crescent Bow or straight, using an easy, comfortable and resonant forte (strong) tone.

Do this periodically throughout your practice for the next several days. String crossings are to be done exclusively by the raising and lowering of the upper right arm effortlessly from the shoulder.

Bow changes are to be smooth and connected.

You will truly learn how good your bow arm is — or is not:-) The bow’s point of contact is to be maintained generally near to the bridge for the given stroke, and the complete length of hair is to be used — your thumb will cross over the string you are playing on.

Vary the length and region of the bow for greater study and detailing of the precise action and flow of the right arm enabling maintenance of the point of contact.

This is also very good for the Son filé – The long sustaining of tone. It is the string player’s breath control and should be practiced with varied crescendi and diminuendi in addition to a level sostenuto tone. (Excerpted from my violin and viola books.)

The various parts of the arm and hand always work in concert together.

The Bow Hand will be continued in a few days, after one has time to incorporate the above reasonably well.

Hope this helps —

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

Everything affects everything.

From Ray Randall
Posted on March 13, 2008 at 6:53 PM
Ah Ha! That turned up a little wrist and elbow tension that shouldn't be there.
Thanks, Drew, appreciate your blogs.
From Drew Lecher
Posted on March 14, 2008 at 2:20 AM
Banish those little demons forever — glad it help.

I still do it once in a while — just to check. When you get used to the feel, both good and bad, they become very easy to identify.

One just has to remember to spot-check once in a while. Make it a habit for a month.

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