Staccato... Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso

March 11, 2007 at 11:44 PM · I'm having a bit of trouble with the upward flying staccato's (the scales in one up bow - just before 3 mins in the below recording).

Firstly how is it best to practice this? I have been practicing them by starting slowly and working up the speed incrementaly with a metranome but i seem to have reached a platua at about 80ish. I have also started doing Kreutzer No.4. Is this my technique?

The other thing i am confused about is how to achieve the staccato. I have also been told that there are two methods: Tensing your arm and letting your hand shake or applying pressure to stop the bow on the string. Which is correct and how exactly is it achieved?

At the moment i am doing a sort of tremolo while steadily moving my right arm up (not applying pressure by pinching the index finger). This results in my wrist being very loose (allowing it to shake) while the rest of the arm is almost locked.

I enjoyed this alot - Hiefitz playing Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso (there is also one by Stern there)


Replies (37)

March 12, 2007 at 01:26 AM · Greetings,

there is a long discusison of staccato in the archives. I thinkmit is fairly recent,



March 12, 2007 at 03:23 AM · I think Buri might be referring to this discussion that I started last year:

March 12, 2007 at 03:43 PM · Thanks very much... plenty of stuff in that thread to get through, I shall try to work something out which works for me based on those suggestions.


March 13, 2007 at 03:22 AM · I've been working on this piece myself in recent months. I don't have great advice, but maybe I could give you a little nudge to keep trying. I've struggled like you the past couple of months trying to get that upbow staccato. After lots of slow practice and fast practice and crying and praying (literally), I've got it.

March 12, 2007 at 05:43 PM · The trick with stacatto is to try to play the entire run (forte) in about 1 inch of bow.

March 12, 2007 at 05:48 PM · The key to this bow stroke is to keep lots of pressure on the bow. First start with so much pressure that you get a scratchy tone. Accent the first note of the run to dig the bow into the string. Then accent each beat to control it. Work in small groups (by beat) in tempo using a stiff arm. Use as little bow as possible, this will help maintain the pressure. Be aware that one possible reason for losing pressure will be the string crossings. Sometimes it works to do a fast tremolo at the tip of the bow with lots of pressure, then move the bow.

March 12, 2007 at 07:01 PM · Rondo Capriccioso= Flyng Staccato is more appropriate for the style and more elegant.

March 13, 2007 at 03:23 AM · You mean separated bows, Marc?

March 12, 2007 at 08:15 PM · No my friend, all in one stroke, flying, instead of the martelĂ© staccato. It is like ricochet with an up-bow or a down- one, and very light.

March 12, 2007 at 08:20 PM · I think the staccato should be on the string in the Intro and RC.

March 12, 2007 at 09:16 PM · I can't believe that nobody who'd herad Massimo Quarto's Pag 21, free on his website, wouldn't think his off-the-string style wasn't just the most elegant thing they'd ever heard.

March 13, 2007 at 03:21 AM · Marc--do you have any pointers for "flying staccato?" I assume it's not off the string--is it what Heifetz does in Hora Staccato. . . am I on the right track?

March 12, 2007 at 10:35 PM · Greetings,

>is it what Heifetz does in Hora Staccato?

No, that is th e on the string version.



March 12, 2007 at 11:12 PM · I also think it should be on the string. The tempo is not too fast and it has to be right in time since there is an eighth note pulse underlying the soloist. The staccato should not be the uber fast Wieniawski-Paganini type. You should use more bow on each note in this passage IMO.

Practice with rhythms to help accelerate the tempo. long - short, short - long, etc.

March 13, 2007 at 12:57 AM · Yes, and it sounds a lot more articulated.

March 13, 2007 at 01:48 AM · For flying staccato accent the first note, but immediately change the balance in the hand to the pinky and move the forearm in a clockwise direction.

March 13, 2007 at 02:59 AM · Nate and Kevin are right. I have never played flying staccato in the Intro and Rondo. On the string staccato is more than adequate and gives the right amount of bite to the passage if you don't squash the notes. Flying staccato is to my ears a little too flashy and brilliant to be effective in the I&RC.

March 13, 2007 at 03:24 AM · Jim--I just listened to Massimo's Pag 21--that staccato is off the string?

March 13, 2007 at 03:41 AM · I think a more appropriate place for the flying staccato would be in a lighter piece such as the Tchaikovsky Melody or even maybe the Waltz Scherzo. There are some violinists like Kogan that use(d) only a flying staccato. I'll check that recording out Kimberlee later, and tell you what I think.

March 13, 2007 at 04:11 PM · I'll check out Kogan then. I'm making a desperate search on youtube to try to figure out what all you intelligent violinists are talking about.

March 13, 2007 at 04:08 AM · greetings,

think more like the last movemnet of the mendcelssohn for the off the string....



March 13, 2007 at 04:21 AM · Okay--yeah. That's not what I heard Massimo doing in Pag. 21. I think that's where my confusion begins.

I can't imagine how to do that many notes (the upbow staccato passage in I&RC with the ascending scales) fast enough off the string. I have managed it two ways--sticky and on the string, and less sticky and on the string. If I'm doing the sticky version, more of the action is coming from my arm. If I'm doing the less sticky version, more of the action is coming from some spasmic frankensteinish wrist/hand/arm thing I don't try to explain, I merely accept.

I still don't understand this third "flying staccato" option--how does one do all those notes off the string on an upbow, fast enough? Maybe I'm a much more humble and lowly violinist than I previously realized. Superhumans do, in fact, inhabit the violin world.

March 13, 2007 at 04:21 AM · Francescatti does a great flying staccato in his recording of the Paganini First concerto with Philly and Ormandy.

March 13, 2007 at 04:12 PM · I just tried Kreutzer 4 with what I think is "flying staccato." I can do it, just not very fast. Truly, I am a humble and lowly violinist.

March 13, 2007 at 05:53 AM · Greeitngs,

sound slike you are doing the work the bow is happy to do. Can you ifnd a spot where the bow just bounce vertically without you doing anything at all?



March 13, 2007 at 07:31 AM · I think what's meant by flying staccato is like the stroke used in the 3rd movement of Saint-Saens violin sonata. The kind of stroke that Gil Shaham uses brilliantly in his recording. However, in the Rondo Capriccioso, I'm not sure that would be the best choice.

March 13, 2007 at 08:43 AM · That's sautille. For the 3rd movement of the Saint Saens Sonata, that is, if I'm thinking of the part I think you're referencing.

A flying staccato would be all on one bow, but off the string.

March 13, 2007 at 02:31 PM · Emily I think you are thinking of the last movement. The 3rd and 4th movements are conjoined.

March 13, 2007 at 04:10 PM · I'll take a look Buri, but I don't believe I'm forcing my bow.

March 13, 2007 at 02:24 PM · Thanks all, lots of helpful ideas!

"The trick with staccato is to try to play the entire run (forte) in about 1 inch of bow."

This seemed to help me as did Bruce's comment.

"Rondo Capriccioso= Flyng Staccato is more appropriate for the style and more elegant."

I tried this and it sounded more like a chicken pecking... *cries* my technique :(. I'm not sure i like flying staccato here (personaly, and partly caus i cant do it!) in Intro and Rondo but i guess it depends on how you do your flying sticcato??? Have you any recordings of this so i can hear it Marc?

"Superhumans do, in fact, inhabit the violin world."


"A flying staccato would be all on one bow, but off the string."

That is also how i understand it.

Going back to my technique, I am now basicly using a tremolo (from the wrist mainly) and moving the arm upwards so that the sound is damped every other tremolo note. Is that the best technique for fast on the string staccato? Will it get fast enougth as i need to trem twice the speed of my staccato?


March 13, 2007 at 04:13 PM · After all that whining and confusion I think I've got it. I can do flying staccato on I&RC. At least what I think is flying staccato. It's upbow and it's off the string and it's fast whatever it is. Thanks for bearing with me. I know my little discovery is not that exciting for all the superhumans who've been doing this since they were six, but I'm a mere mortal playing superhuman games, and I'm ecstatic when someone throws me the ball and I actually catch it.

I don't have a teacher currently, so I'm afraid you guys are my "lessons" at the moment. Thanks.

March 13, 2007 at 03:37 PM · Kimberlee - here is a good reference for flying staccato. It it is a clip from the movie 'They Shall Have Music' with Heifetz playing a part of Tchaikovsky's Melodie, and the finale to the Mendelssohn VC. If you fast forward to :44 in you'll see a good example of impulse flying staccato:

March 13, 2007 at 04:21 PM · Thanks, Nate! I'm finally tuning into the same wavelength everyone else has been on. I think my confusion was coming from not understanding how to apply that technique to the I&RC passage, which is twice as fast.

March 13, 2007 at 05:47 PM · Emily, I wasn't referring to the very last movement of saint saens. I was referring to the one in 3/8 time. Right after the slow movement.

March 13, 2007 at 09:51 PM · Ah, yes.

March 14, 2007 at 09:30 PM · kimberlee, I'm not completely sure, but it sounds amazing and is more 'off' than most!

For a clue, he does the combined upbow/downbow passages in Caprice 7 as basically ricochet, so I suspect it's off.

March 14, 2007 at 11:13 PM · Okay, I believe you now. I had a friend play Pag. 21 for me using flying staccato and staccato on the string. The difference was very subtle, and not as easy to differentiate as I had previously thought.

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