October 2009


October 23, 2009 10:46

 In response to a question of developing musicality/artistry…


The referrals to my book are simply to make the correlations easier for those that have the book. I trust the tips given are clear for all to benefit.



RE: Musicality……just guess:-)

Actually, I do have a 'hidden code' throughout the book……kind of. 


As you do the following, your mind, imagination and ear will become aware of the changes of character, tension and release caused by the numerous variables. 


Notes will take on life, becoming little people—each with a personality and duty to fulfill.


In doing just 3 variations of a passage or lyric phrase, you will gain greater awareness and skills in shaping, molding and expressing the musical character desired.


Listen, listen, listen. Feel the hands and arms move in concert with the character and type of sound you desire.


Along with pure technical work for the physical mastery of playing, use:


I. Rhythmic variations (e.g., Basics II R1-8 *plus)


II. Tonal and dynamic variations (e.g., Basics I #1-4 *plus)

  1. Vary bow speed
  2. Vary bow weights
  3. Vary point of contact
  4. Vary bow proportion/distribution or amount of bow
  5. Vary amount of hair in contact with the string

III. Vibrato variations ala the "Sliding Arpeggios," e.g., 

  1. Without vibrato, then 
  2. Slow motion vibrato to confirm range and balance of position, then
  3. Fast vibrato seeking the desired effect for the phrase/passage.    


IV. Shift Variations (e.g., Shift Types #1-6c on pages 24-26)

  1. Smooth flowing slow shifts 
  2. Gradually speed up the shift retaining absolute smoothness of action directed to the center of the pitch/tone—no jerks, no whiplash and no fishing for notes. 

             i. Lower 4 positions

             ii. 4th-9th positions (approximately)

             iii. 9th to end of fingerboard.


* The plus (I. & II.) is for going beyond the examples and adding your own variations. 



We are never simply learning to play one piece at a time. Via mastery of the instrument and bow in total, we are in the processes of moving to mastery in playing all repertoire.


Have fun and hope this helps—

God bless,



Author of: 

"Violin Technique: The Manual, How to master…"

"Viola Technique: The Manual, How to master…"


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