Left Hand: principles and compromises

November 3, 2006 at 04:36 AM · Tell me if I have this right:

At the beginning one learns a frame shape and to think of the fingers operating in a fairly uniform way from a base which moves to give access to different strings and positions. Then come extensions upward or downward, and as the music gets more advanced the hand/base moves around more and more to accomodate special situations.

What are some common ways in which the usual/basic principles of left hand function get left behind?

Do some finger patterns require a small hand to shift back and forth a bit while playing from 1 to 4? How about on a viola?

Replies (2)

November 3, 2006 at 06:00 AM · You're right, Andres.

One example of how left hand technique gets totally distorted is playing arco and left hand pizzicato at the same time in things like Paganini's "Duet for Solo Violin". I'll occasionally "pancake" my palm or bring the thumb way up over the fingerboard just to get the notes out.

Another example is a 4 string arpeggio that requires the use of the side of the first finger. The Sibelius Concerto features a C-A-Eb-F richochet arpeggio in the 1st movement that I'll play by doing a 243 fingering in the bottom strings with the side of the 1st joint of the index finger closest to the palm. I play it in tune and in rhythm, so the fingering works.

Rimsky Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee" I play with mainly 1234 fingerings, unlike what's written in the Heifetz transcription. I'm regularly shifting within those 1234 patterns because of my small fingers.

November 3, 2006 at 11:23 PM · I've found as much of this kind of thing in solo Bach as anywhere else. Most often, it's because of perfect fifths, played either as double stops or as adjacent notes.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Violinist.com Business Directory
Violinist.com Business Directory

Violinist.com Guide to Online Learning
Violinist.com Guide to Online Learning

Dominant Pro Strings

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases

Fiddlerman.com

Fiddlershop

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Violin-Strings.com

Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin

Warchal

Barenreiter

Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine

Subscribe