Articulation: Finesse, Strength and Decisiveness

October 19, 2007 at 01:05 AM · For various people(short, tall) how do you feel about the intensity and decisiveness of articulation?

Replies (26)

October 19, 2007 at 01:26 AM · Greetings,

Albert , for the first time I have absolutely no idea what you mean ;)



October 19, 2007 at 02:26 AM · Well, to tell you the truth I don't either ;)...

Actually it's sort of an abstract question not totally unlike making a fiddle swell with the right hand; but, focused on 'the energy' involved in articulation.

The reason for the question is that after rehabilitating my left hand; and, going on a many month posture festival thinking that lightness and balance alone would improve my articulation, I discovered actually that I wasn't using enough force on the damaged finger, even after I got a well shaped hand.

So now, I've had help with hand shaping and finger dropping and would like to discuss the more subtle layers of the intensity of energy involved(how hard?)....

And confusing the matter, I read some remarks by Maia Bang(sp), suggesting a very distinct drop and strong hand. I've been doing all this harmonic work with scales and arpeggios in the meantime. Basically I think the question is in hopes of helping me not overcompensate as I learn to make f3 strong--as I believe f4 will follow.

An example: Now every time I encounter an f3 note--I hit it, and it resonates, but again--those subtle things that might help me further discover beyond harmonics, how much is too much? ..

Further and with a little irony, I have a friend who always talks about callus or something on her pads--she really is sort of delicate so I rationalized in that spirit.

October 19, 2007 at 02:46 AM · In baseball, if you fielded a team of "little people" the strike zone would be so small that no pitcher could throw strikes. It would be one walk after another, and the team would be undefeatable. Does that answer your question?

October 19, 2007 at 03:00 AM · huh?

October 19, 2007 at 03:21 AM · Greetings,

Albert I think this issue becomes troublesome when one begins to confuse what one sees with what is actually happening. If you watch a player like Mullova there is actually an audible click ad her fingers hit the fingerboard a lot of the time and an impression of great strength being used. But this kind of high level technique is a finction of an uttelry relaxed left hand in which the fingers are `thrown` from the base joints. Words like strength are best avoided in my opinion.



October 19, 2007 at 03:33 AM · This:

"fingers are `thrown` from the base joints" Qualified: relaxed hand.


I've heard that in some schools in the past, that one's articulation would be of the sort that one could hear complex passages just from the left hand--even on averagely good instruments.

I just don't want to start other problems now that I have my f3/f4 resonant. The question came up when I realized how much I was anticipating.... And actually, maybe over-executing. kuh-Boom! ;).

(not really that dramatic...)

No overuse issues appeared, the notes are fine, but, but... Can you see why I'm asking this now?

October 19, 2007 at 04:16 AM · Greetings,

to increase the articulation on descending passages it helps to add an element of left hand pizzicato,



October 19, 2007 at 04:45 AM · On what finger, different ones, or what... (pizz)

October 19, 2007 at 05:47 AM · Greetings,

all of them...



October 19, 2007 at 07:10 AM · Task master! Prunes!

Incidentally, because I'm too lazy to blog about it, I started throwing ricochet from the tip into vibratos and it took immediately. uh, not bragging or anything.

October 19, 2007 at 12:21 PM · Watch some youtube videos of Heifetz, Oistrakh, Neveu, etc etc etc...slow them down and you'll notice that their fingers move in sort of an "oval" shape, not just up and down. So-the finger drop comes very much from ABOVE the string and there is definitely a left-hand pizz element to the lift. It's fascinating!

Also check out how Neveu holds her violin if you can find some videos of her. Her hands weren't so large--and she had a very interesting way of compensating for it (which, by the way, works amazingly well if you have small hands).

October 19, 2007 at 01:53 PM · I shattered my left arm at the elbow 3 years ago, and do not (so I thought) have complete pronation of the joint. It doesn't fully extend and it is limited in movement.

I used to not be able to play my G string at all. My teacher, when I first explained this said "no problem, there are alot of other strings"!

So, anyway after brutalizing my arm for months, feeling discouraged and disappointed and pain for that matter, I had my moment.

After warming up, I've been able to mentally detach my left arm. I have a free sense of movement and all the things I thought I could not do, I am now doing. Don't know how, but I'm pretty sure that it is the old "believe you can do it and you can" sort of thing.

Now, I don't even notice that it was ever a real problem!

This probably has nothing to do with this thread, if so, sorry bout' that! :)

October 19, 2007 at 02:24 PM · Thanks Shannon--I'll do that... I'm assuming Buri was talking about actual doing l-pizz rather than the audible hearing a good drop? I saw someone getting better projection using l-hand in a video. So were you talking about the audible hearing finger drops--or l-hand? Thanks for the image--it is good.

John--I'm glad you conquered your elbow... You are not so alone. Congratulations on being a winner! And best wishes for further development.

October 19, 2007 at 04:16 PM · Hi Albert,

Sounds like you're doing amazingly well since last we talked about issues of the left hand! Congrats!

As with posture of the body, posture of the hand is equally important to get enough leverage to 'throw' the fingers, as Buri mentioned.

I think if you search this site you'll find lots of info, but one important aspect of left hand technique, where articulation is concerned (in slow passages, where you're focusing on vibrating each finger, this doesn't matter as much: flat fingers for luscious vibrato and full sound - vertical fingers for articulation and speed), is to make sure your base knuckles are high enough over the strings (looking down the fingerboard, the left edge of the first digit of f2 will be perpendicular to the plane of each string - if not leaning slightly to the left). You're probably already aware that for smaller proportions your hand will be angled more than larger, so your pinky baseknuckle will be proportionately higher than forefinger baseknuckle. Since keeping your knuckles 'high', or rotated over the strings, will cause your arm to rotate under counterclockwise you have to be careful not to strain the left arm. More than small hands, the amount of rotation is affected by the difference between the lengths of your middle finger and pinky: the greater the difference, the greater the rotation.

The strength you have to build in the left hand is in the lifting muscles and the spreading muscles, not the grabbing muscles. Here are a few exercises you can try:

1) Moving from the base knuckles: with left hand in playing position, uncurl your fingers so they hang over the fingerboard and wave 'bye-bye' with just your fingers from their base knuckles; remember to keep the rest of the joints of each finger relaxed; start with fingers totally straight in the air as in a salute, and throw them onto the fingerboard with a 'slap' against the strings with the palm-side of the fingers (don't worry about placing finger tips yet); land with relaxed fingers, in other words, don't press them onto the strings upon impact;

2) Aiming the fingertips: gradually aim the tips of fingers into a fingerpattern as you throw them, by curling the fingers; as you aim the fingers, you can simply lift them into a natural curl - if you completely open your base knuckles straight and straighten your fingers as in a salute (with wrist open), there is some tension in the fingers - so with open wrist, when you open the baseknuckles, allow the fingers to curl naturally for the most released fingers; from a lifted and released curl, you can easily throw the finger and aim to place them in the appropriate finger pattern (aim the fingers so they land on their inside tip)

3) Lifting from the baseknuckles: practice timing the lift and strengthening the lifting muscles (and isometrically stretching the f3/f4 tendon: N.B. build strength gradually; WARNING: don't overdo): slowly and gradually lower the finger over 4 counts (subsequently accelerating the rhythm over 3, 2, 1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4 count(s)) and on the next count of 1, lift the finger (into it's natural curl) as fast as you can; open it's base knuckle straight, i.e. lift the finger as high as you can to strengthen the lifting muscles, and as fast as you can to condition them for speed; once you're comfortable with this control, isolate each finger by keeping the other fingers on the string while you lift it (you should still be able to lift f1 and f4 so their tips are higher than the second knuckle of f2 and f3; f2 should go almost to the level of second knuckle of f3; f3 - just keep working at it - should eventually go almost to the second knuckle of f4 as well, of course depending on proportions); after you're comfortable isolating each finger, you can do rhythm exercises this way with Bytovetski, Flesch Basic Studies IA, Dounis (Fundamental Trill Studies, also double stop trill studies), etc.

4) Balancing the fingers: the quickest way to balance the fingers is to place accents with the bow as well as the left finger; e.g. on a simple pattern A-B-C#-D-E-D-C#-B, repeated

i) slur 4 notes to a bow, in the first pattern, you will accent the A with down bow and the E with up bow; accent with the bow and the finger, but also accent with a lifting of the finger, i.e. on open A accent with the lifting of first finger before placing it on B, on E accent with 4th finger on E, but also with a lifting of 3rd finger from D - lift lower fingers as you place higher fingers to feel balance (this is not a general rule, just an exercise for balancing the fingers, as sometimes it's useful to leave 'old' fingers on); next pattern, start with B and change bows on D, etc., slurring 4 notes to a bow

ii) continue in the same way with 8 notes to a bow, 16, etc., always listening for even fingers

iii) finally, once you feel the balance of the fingers, play exercises, keeping the fingers quite low now (just make sure your lifting them with the same energy as in the previous exercises from the baseknuckles, but not as high - try to achieve the sensation that there's fly paper on the string and you have to pull each finger off with some force), such as Schradieck, Dancla, Sitt Op.32 7, Kayser 4 & 30, and of course Kreutzer 9, and if you get bored with those, play Schubert's The Bee

5) Trill exercises: at some point you'll be flying (like a bee), but you might start to feel that fingers get 'stuck' once in a while, especially playing trills, as in Mozart, with a termination; there is a further balance problem that sometimes remains even with the most advanced players: tension in the lower finger; when practicing trills, start by placing the two fingers on the surface of the string without depressing the string (still grippy, but not throwing the fingers yet) and without lifting them either; do rhythmically accelerated trill exercises this way (or Dounis rhythm patterns in his Trill Studies), with fingers just rhythmically pulsing on the surface of the string; gradually lift the upper finger higher as you get rhythmically faster while leaving the lower finger on the surface of the string; the lifting will take care of the throwing as you speed up and the lower finger will also gradually start to react to the lifting of the upper finger, pressing just enough and not too much; Dounis type rhythms should be done regularly (on any fingerpattern in any piece) to keep the fingers in shape: even, balanced, and fast(!); the double stop trill exercises are especially good

6) Releasing the thumb: another reason fingers get stuck or seem to press is that the thumb is opposing the action of the fingers; instead of grabbing the neck by opposing thumb with fingers, practice sliding it along the neck, back toward the scroll; slowly place each finger with a backward swing of the thumb, without letting the thumb actually slide along the neck; with each weaker finger let the thumb open more, pivoting further toward the scroll; the effect is like opening a deadbolt with rotational leverage between the thumb and each finger; to get a clearer idea, see how the fingers and thumb function without the fiddle: if you place each finger onto the tip of the thumb, you'll find that the thumb-side palm gets tighter and tighter as you move from f1 to f4, as the palm closes in on itself; instead, swing the thumb toward the scroll as you throw each finger onto the thumb-side of the palm; you'll find the forearm wants to supinate - let it; repeat with the fiddle and see how your thumb acts as leverage against the fingers rather than as a clamp; this opening of the palm is especially important for smaller hands

Building strength and speed are really one and the same; the faster (stronger) the lift the faster the throw (lifting the fingers is like cocking the hammer of a gun, so when released, the fingers are thrown by their springs back down to the string.) As Buri mentioned, left hand pizzicato will help articulate notes as you lift the fingers, especially on the thicker strings; note that if you just leave the fingers a little more 'grippy' as you lift them into their curl, the pizz will happen automatically because of the diagonal path of the fingertips (as Shannon mentioned). Sometimes, for extra articulation placing fingers in rapid sequence, you do have to throw them a little faster, i.e. lift them a little higher before throwing them. It's the velocity of the fingers, rather than their pressure, that causes the percussive noises you're after.

Happy articulating!


October 19, 2007 at 04:45 PM · Jeewon Thank you so much. I'm going to have to print your notes Jeewon as my eyes get tired looking at a screen and will read them before I put them on my practice wall.

Thank you Jeewon--I feel certain that your points are exactly what I'm looking for for the moment--along with everyone else's images.

I think it was Ron Mutchnik who taught me to do some work with separation--which I started incorporating into my trill work. I tried to put it in my Sevcik but it was too much thinking on my feet. So I trill, separate, trill separated--next two fingers--eventually maybe skipping fingers.

I also noticed though that I want to be careful with this for intonation--I've had this one little thing about c and c-sharp (yes only those two notes weirdly) from the beginning. Actually at this point I'll have to admit listening for relative tuning--a habit that must cease.

Finally and again, thank you so much for your generosity now and in the past. I look forward to internalizing these. It's been a journey--absolutely.

My last hour or so of freestyle at the end of my program every night even today, is way worth it.

p.s. Having now scanned the printed notes--I'm so looking forward to working with this.

October 19, 2007 at 08:37 PM · Jeewon, I heartily concur with all you've said, Mr. Kless and others with whom I studied all spoke of the proper articulation, height of fingers and base joints. There is one thing I want to ask you- a number of fine artists do a trill that looks like a vibrato motion to help speed up the trill especially in using the fourth finger, but I find that since it does not appear to be fired, so to speak, from the base joint, it is not as crisp sounding as a trill that uses base joint motion more obviously. Do you see this vibrato trill as a necessary evil if the fourth finger is reluctant to move quickly enough or should players work patiently at the exercises you've outlined and wait until a true fourth finger trill develops?

I am also asking because a number of students have to play Kreutzer Etude # 18 as part of their Maryland Senior All-State auditions this year any additional advice on trills would be welcome.

Finally, I hope you got my answer from the now retired post in which you asked about my sources for the information I provided on Ravel's Tzigane.

October 22, 2007 at 04:09 AM · Thanks for the info Ronald - yes I received it and have already ordered the Gerle autobiography and the Thurmond from Amazon, but haven't found the Ravel bio yet. Looking forward to some good reading :)

I know what you mean about the vibrato/trill. I don't remember who I saw using it, but I do recall a rather 'mushy' result, as you say, 'not as crisp.'

I think anyone can strengthen their hand to accomplish a 'crisp' trill with every finger, including the pinky, but it takes time and dedication. Also, as Yost suggests, without the regular, excess (lifting) effort – i.e. working out – the capability diminishes quite a bit even if one plays daily. Regular Dounis type rhythm exercises is a must for keeping the hand in shape.

A student of my former teacher, who has small hands (the length from her wrist to tip of middle finger reaches my first joint, 6 1/8"), is able to execute any big stretch or double stop trill with clarity. To get to that point she'd been using stretching exercises (i.e. on the fiddle, isometric, e.g. Sammons, Dounis, Flesch stretching exercises, Paganini - like yoga for the hands) and velocity exercises for years. I saw her perform 'I Palpiti' at a masterclass and was quite amazed at how clean her flageolet trills were (although she hadn't, at that point, quite tuned her fingered octaves yet;).

The technique for trills is related to vibrato and involves the balance of the hand. Balancing is usually described as 'leaning' into the finger but when I first tried to 'lean' into it, the finger I was trying to balance, namely the pinky, would invariably feel weak or seize up. I think there are three issues one must address for pinky trills, especially if small hands, or a big difference in length between pinky and middle finger makes it difficult. The first part involves learning the leverage of the thumb – i.e. keep palm open, keep it from squeezing in on itself. The second part involves proper rotation and alignment of the fingers/hand/arm, and proper 'height' of the hand for extensions. The last ingredient involves isolating (for lack of a better word) the fingers being used. In the spirit of Al's 'form dictates function', I remember observing that the stronger fingers had a distinct advantage because they could be more curled and vertical, and their baseknuckles could be closer to the neck. Keeping the base knuckle far from the neck is related to some students' tendency to push the hand away from the strings/neck, thereby making their fingers quite stiff and work against each other. Instead, bring the neck close to the hand; to 'strengthen' the trilling finger, release and curl the lower finger, rotating over the strings to the left, and bringing its base close to the neck. In other words, copy the posture the second finger always enjoys. Release all lower fingers as well - some violinists release the first finger so that it points straight into the air when balancing the weaker 3rd and 4th fingers. Lastly, everyone benefits from balancing the pressure of the fingers, i.e. keeping the lower finger of a trill from pressing too much and causing excess tension.

With respect to the Kreutzer etude you mentioned, as with all trills that end in a termination, it often helps to pause (gradually shortening and eliminating the pause) and release the trill before playing the termination, so that the termination can be grouped with the next set of notes, whether in a cadence or a sequence of trills. Coordinating this slight release with bow speed can help delineate the line as well. I've observed that in most cases, feeling the proper phrasing and grouping of notes magically solves many a technical problem.

The last point is related to Albert's second finger tuning problem. Some people seem to have difficulty playing vibrato with the first finger, or trilling with the first and/or second finger(s). The base knuckle of the first finger must be flexible, i.e. must be allowed to open, when trying to curl the first finger. For vibrato on the first finger, in order to allow the base knuckle to open and close, the contact at the side of the first finger must be allowed to slide along the neck. For a fast f1 and/or f2 trill, it helps to let f1 curl, i.e. open at its baseknuckle.


Albert, if you're having difficulty tuning the second finger (C & C#), it's most likely that your first baseknuckle is rigid, even pushing up into the neck (perhaps on the lower strings, you're allowing the baseknuckle of f1 to open as your hand rotates to the lower strings). This tension causes the second knuckle (one away from the base) of f2 to squeeze against f1, causing the tips of f1 and f2 to separate. To tune, the tips must be free to glide along the string. Release the base knuckle by depressing the string with the inside (thumbside) tip of the finger and let it lean onto the string. To feel this release, without the fiddle, hold your hand in playing position. With your thumb press gently against the inside tip of the first finger and let it pivot - tip swings toward f2, rotates counterclockwise, second knuckle of f1 swings toward left, away from f2. That's what f1 should feel when placed on the string. (Hope that makes sense.) Another couple of exercises you can try: "sensitivity of fingers against each other"

A) Curl a higher finger, so that it touches the second knuckle of the lower finger; slowly brush the tip of the higher finger along the outside edge of the lower finger until it glides over the nail of the lower finger and 'touches down' on the string; leave the higher finger overlapping the lower finger and find the semitone pitch; repeat but this time, after gliding over the lowerfingernail keep sliding along the string until you find wholetone above the lowerfinger.

B) Slide a lower finger underneath a higher finger. Touch outside tip of lowerfinger to the inside edge near the second knuckle of the higherfinger. Slowly slide lowerfinger underneath inside edge of higher finger so that it 'underlaps' the higher finger, sliding in close for a semitone, or curling down a wholetone below. After placing the lower finger, play higherfinger then lower finger to check tuning.

Whenever working slowly on left hand, 'feel' the shape each finger (curled or extended) makes when placed. 'Feel' the shapes of each finger that make up a finger pattern for the given key. Ultimately you tune with your ears, but relating the pitch to what the hand feels like can help with consistency and accuracy (important to do prior to lifting exercises so you can be careful about tuning as you say - don't want to drill in an incorrect finger pattern.)



P.S. Al, you’re most welcome!

October 22, 2007 at 08:23 AM · Thank you Jeewon. I'll be adding these notes to my others from you for an intensive focus on these things. I've had a house full of company the past several days, and have only played an hour or so for pleasure each day. RE: My martle, bow speed and sometimes double stop exercises would run even crows away. And Buri's advanced bow speed exercises are pretty noisy as well.

I have your previous notes printed, but barely got through basic programs these past few days. I did have a wonderful time playing though, and took memory lane tours through all Suzuki, crooning, and reviewing other more serious work to keep it in the mix.

One important thing I grasped immediately was the pause and release of the trill. The Bach I'm playing requires a nearly instantaneous trill in all cases. I think there are five of them--it's a beginner's piece more or less. (a quick trill as well).

Oddly, when I practice trills, I have no problems--though in light of your remarks, and listening to my sound in my memory, think this may be an illusion. So with all this new information I'll revisit them--particularly the release of the joints.

Now here's some irony. The first trill is the same as the last trill. I hit the first trill perfectly the first time I played near speed. After that however, it like locks up nearly every time and I have to turn it into an accent(f2/3:D-F#/G). Now the final trill--I hit perfectly nearly every time.

I know the answer is preceding notes probably, but it 'is' somewhat frustrating, as this song has a single trill now--holding me back. And some more mastery on the accents actually(Gavotte in D maj/Suzuki 3-6).

I'll holler back in a couple weeks after I've had time to work with all this--including the original notes and etc... I have some more things to revisit Mr. Mutchnik helped me with about shaping the hand as well. This may take a little while huh... ;)...

Thank you again!

p.s. "The technique for trills is related to vibrato and involves the balance of the hand. "

The themus. I truly have to anticipate vibrato.

October 22, 2007 at 12:54 PM · Hi Albert,

It's probably not an illusion at all. Often what we practice as an exercise seems to malfunction as soon as we apply it in the context of a piece, much more so in a performance, which is why, everything we practice in the comfort of our home studio, even the comfort of our teachers studio, must be tested on stage, hopefully, at first, in the relative safety of a masterclass and a few 'practice' concerts but ultimately in performance before a real, live audience. Even for the 'greats', performing a new piece doesn’t feel comfortable until the 3rd, even 5th, performance (and that's after who knows how many practice performances).

Most likely, you're at a stage where just by thinking about it, i.e. paying attention, you have control. That's a good thing!

The difficulty remains in executing whatever skill without disrupting the flow of the phrase in a piece, a.k.a., playing rhythmically, a.k.a, 'smooshing' all those motions into the rhythm of the piece. To overcome this 'difficulty', (which is just a nervous coordination, i.e. timing our neuromusculatory system) we must always practice rhythmically, which is another way of saying, we must develop and feel our inner sense of rhythm and make sure that every motion we practice is triggered by that rhythmic sense and not the other way around. For this reason I'm a huge fan of practicing rhythmic acceleration (i.e. playing the same sequence of notes with the same metronome beat, counting 4 beats per different pitch, 3 beats, 2, 1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, etc., with an emphasis on 'counting' every motion) in general, and practicing Dounis type rhythms in particular for trills and rapid fingerwork (even drilling tuning, or fingerpatterns, into our hands for accuracy and consistency.)

e.g. F# to G on D string with f2,3:

Play dottedquarter-eighth rhythms, a) counting the subdivided eighth pulses, b) counting the quarter beat, feeling the eighth pulses, in particular the 3rd eighth pulse, i.e. the 2nd beat

1a) Play F#, counting 3 pulses; precisely on the count of four play G, then F# on the count of 1 again; (subsequently for b) count the beats 1, 2, feel the 2, make the finger move in response to 2 and precisely on the 'and' of 2)

1b) Same as 1a), except starting on G

2) Play F# for 3 pulses; precisely on 4, play G,F# over 2 sixteenths, then G on the count of 1 (notice the alternating pattern for odd groups of notes)

3a) Play F# for 3 pulses; precisely on 4, play G,F#,G over 3 triplet sixteenths; play F# on the count of 1

3b) Same as 3a), but start on G

4) Play F# for 3 pulses; on 4, play G,F#,G,F# over 4 thirtysecond notes; play G on the next count

etc. ad infinitum (almost - if you look at Dounis' Trill exercises, he takes this quite far indeed :). Incidentally, this rhythmic pattern is also good for practicing vibrato.

Note that you can hold the first note for more than a dotted quarter, pausing for as long as it takes to prepare (hear/feel the upcoming fast trill pattern, preparing the 'lift' before the throw, vice-versa) what's coming - this kind of neuro-auditory-muscular preparation is key to efficiently developing control; just make sure you feel the next pulse to trigger the trill pattern.

Practicing in this manner, training your sense of innerpulse, moreover, timing every motion, it becomes much simpler to fit trills into the flow of the piece.

Hope that helps,


October 22, 2007 at 01:49 PM · Thanks Jeewon.

I'll give these a try tonight. I think finding ways to internalize that rhythmic pulse speaks to my tendency to listen and copy. For instance on the ones I hit correctly, they are copied from the Suzuki tapes. This does not say that hearing them and copying them, allows me to understand how to get past impasses.

This is also true in vibrato, thus my early comment quoting you. Often, I'll delay the vibrato until I've released my thumb, though landing on a quick vibrato is becoming easier weekly--little tiny steps. But, I've also learned, as mentioned to anticipate them and make sure my fingers and hand shape are in place before hand.

So I trend to just keeping the metronome below speed until I can confidently bring it up to speed. Incidentally, I hit all trills perfectly 16bpm beats below speed. Your exercise though will give me freedom to 'unlock' actually, those problem points while enhancing my general dexterity as an added benefit.

Thanks again. Al

I've seen this used in other ways it seems--maybe fast troublesome passages in genera it 'seems'.

Thanks again.

October 22, 2007 at 05:14 PM · Thank you, Jeewon. What you have detailed is very clear and makes good physiological sense to me. I would also like to add that I have observed the turning of the hand and the leaning into the left side of the finger to be helpful to students who are "double jointed" or "weak jointed" so that a more favorable condition is put in place to allow for quicker and more solid results with the exercises you've outlined. With the turning of the hand and arm I also find the elbow ends up a little closer to the rib cage and seems to give greater support to the hand and its ability to feel lighter and not stiff or burdened so the fingers can fall with gravity . This also seems to be very similar to what Mr. Steck spoke of when he said you should keep your arms in a position closest to where they rest at your sides so that as you extend for first position you still feel the bottom of your arm close to your center of gravity. Of course you are right that the lifting of the finger, especially the fourth finger, against gravity, needs to be practiced a lot because it's the resistance against gravity that keeps the muscles in trim. Thank you again for your thorough and insightful advice.

October 22, 2007 at 05:48 PM · I think this:

"I would also like to add that I have observed the turning of the hand and the leaning into the left side of the finger to be helpful to students who are "double jointed" or "weak jointed" so that a more favorable condition is put in place to allow for quicker and more solid results with the exercises you've outlined."

is what I felt when we first conquered f3/f4....

So now I have these four well prepared adolescent like uncoordinated digits to train--athletic but a little clumsy.

I had no choice to continue with those finger dropping exercises for months before though, as my f3 was that mmm.... So in ways, it's a little (though not really) like starting over.

The next few weeks will involve internalizing all this better. Thanks.

October 23, 2007 at 12:04 AM · How cool--I picked up my violin a little while ago and started thinking about this thread, and how much work I thought it would be.

Mr. Ron Mutchnik's hand shaping came back immediately. That's where I've been floundering of late I think. When I was trying to get my program back on the road full swing, and learning the little but cool Bach piece, I sort of lost that part of my progress. It is not a myth that I can't walk and chew bubble gum at the same time.

But a couple more things jumped into the mix immediately. First, I started 'feeling' the curves in the fingers. Then, I started 'feeling' my hand staying close to the instrument, which led to my instinct improving under the instrument somehow. I played around with the parameters of my general tuck awhile back, but this will end up being another improvement.

There's more. I started feeling the throwing of the fingers towards fast detache v. vibrato, and just started hitting the flesh versus edge really well.

Yes, there's more. I mentioned to Jeewon about how his comment concerning the similarities between trills and vibrato therein layed my answer on a significant level. I didn't work with it a lot, but just as soon as I got my hand to loosen up for trill as if I were preparing for vibrato, I felt it.... Yes, the trill worked fine... ;)

So I still intend on a small sabbatical while these things are coming together, as I edge them into my playing. I think I'll learn a few more etudes to displace any zone factor. I will finish Suzuki 3 first in the process though.

Oh, the point... I think I'll be able to do well with these new exercises...

October 25, 2007 at 12:12 AM · Epiphany #342483848: Do base joint finger raising away from the instrument.

RE: Above discussion

October 25, 2007 at 12:26 AM · Greetings,

yes. Use the right hand forefnger and thumb to snese the muscle smoving just below the base joint and help with isolation,

Also practice on Ms. Stone



October 25, 2007 at 02:48 AM · It helps keep the other joints relaxed too--as well as contemplating the thumb.

Pronate, face east, when you say Sharon

Incidentally Buri, I migrated your sounding point exercise to my bow pressure exercise grabbing four beats per bow for now. (the one where one of the mm-speeds was missing).

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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 Business Directory Business Directory Guide to Online Learning Guide to Online Learning

Dominant Pro Strings

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases


Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin



Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine