Schradieck Bk 1

February 19, 2017 at 10:04 PM · Hi Folks. I use Schradieck Bk1 Ex 1 for a number of purposes, warmup, improve form of hand, maybe read faster, etc. Question - fingers down or up? I other words, finger 1,2 and 3 when playing 4 or just 4?

Stay PAWsitIVE,



February 20, 2017 at 12:12 AM · I'm a firm believer in the Schradieck exercises. Keep fingers down as long as possible. Don't lift except when necessary. If you have a teacher, he or she should be stressing this part of the technique with you.

Prime example: first line of Schradieck, Book 1, Exercise 1. You'll find this technique valuable when it comes to playing rapid ascending and descending scale passages in other works. If your intonation is already solid on the ascent, then you should be good with it during the descent. An added benefit from keeping fingers down: better hand-muscle development. Hope this helps.

February 20, 2017 at 12:49 AM · What Jim said. The exercise is intended to be played with the fingers held down as much as possible.

February 20, 2017 at 02:49 AM · True, the book doesn't specify -- at least not the edition I have in my library, the Schirmer edition. I had six teachers from childhood through end of degree program. They stressed this technique. The goal is to economize on hand and finger movements so that you boost your efficiency -- not to do any more movements than necessary.

Kayser emphasized this in his studies -- or, at least, whoever put the books together emphasized it, clearly marking in the score which fingers to keep down and for how long. Again, the Schirmer editions are what I have.

February 20, 2017 at 02:57 AM · I was taught that the Schradieck No. 1 is as much an exercise in lifting your fingers up as putting them down. But yes, they should be held down as much as possible.

They should sell just exercise No. 1 from that book. I think it's the only one anyone ever plays. Ever turned the page? That book gets hard right quick.

February 20, 2017 at 04:09 AM · David, it really depends on the shape of your hand whether keeping fingers down as a general rule is a good idea. For fingers with a big difference in length between middle finger and pinky, it's better to lift lower fingers as you place higher ones, to balance on each finger. If you have small hands and so have to keep the hand more open, extending back with the lower fingers for a default frame, again it's better to lift the lower fingers when placing higher fingers. But for everyone once you exceed a certain tempo, keeping fingers down will only be restrictive. To play really fast you have to free the fingers and let them fly. Independence becomes more important than keeping fingers down.

So to "improve form of hand" it's a good idea to preserve finger patterns to ingrain them. But while you keep fingers down, make sure you still feel a slight lift in the baseknuckle of the old finger, and make sure the fingers kept down have no pressure. And to play fast, you have to really train the lift as Paul mentions.

Edit: use something like Dounis op. 23 to cultivate balance and use that feeling of balance when working on velocity exercises.

February 20, 2017 at 04:10 AM · The whole book is nice, but I agree those first two pages are the most immediately useful. Wouldn't find it a waste to go through the whole thing with open mind and ears, though.

February 20, 2017 at 10:56 AM · by the way Dave, make sure to play that exercise not only in the given key on the A-string, but also in other keys and on other strings, resulting in different finger patterns. for example you can play it on the D-string without any accidentals as D - E - F - G - A. keeping that second finger low is a challenge. you can even do D - Eb - F - G - A. this is a real stretcher for the base knuckles.

February 20, 2017 at 12:22 PM · There is a study in Fischer's Basics that takes you through all the various finger spacing combinations. I forget what number it is, 284 or something around there? I'll look later.

February 20, 2017 at 02:20 PM · Dave,

Are you still playing on a violin that you made?

February 20, 2017 at 05:29 PM · My answer: both!

February 20, 2017 at 05:48 PM · Dave, while I think Schradieck is pretty good for maintenance, there are better ways to build left hand action and velocity.

In order to easily keep other fingers down in certain patterns, especially tricky ones, the finger you lift must have considerable lifting strength and action, independence. Such action is trained by placing 3 fingers while working the 1 in short-long and long-short rhythms, rhythmic acceleration, and also various slur patterns. E.g. to work 0-1 on G-string, place 2-3-4/F#-G-A on D-string and apply rhythms and slurs to 1-0 on G-string; do a similar thing for each of the fingers, e.g. place 3-4/G-A on D-str and work 1-2/A-B on G-str; and also repeat on the other pairs of strings; spend some time tuning the upper string fingers against the lower open string; lift each finger by extending its base knuckle only, and lift each finger into the same shape as it was on the string, i.e. don't open or curl them as you lift them. You can also practice trill exercises with a rhythmic acceleration.

Then, to have freedom with placing fingers in their various patterns, you have to develop absolute freedom in same finger chromatics. E.g. on G-string: 1-1-2-2-3-3-4-4/Ab-A-Bb-B-C-C#-D-D# and back down. Move the sliding finger abruptly, releasing to harmonic pressure during the slide, as if to create a 'left-hand' staccato. You can also continue up the 4 strings and back down, making sure to tune all the 4-1/e.g. D#-Eb unisons as you cross strings and 1-4 unisons on the way back down. Make sure to keep your hand in a single position and slide each finger only by extending and curling them, i.e. with no shifting motion in the hand or arm. You can play the above exercise either in 1/2 position, or 1st. If you're up for the challenge you can also work on other positions, e.g. start on 1/A in 1st or 1.5 position, etc.

Developing horizontal and vertical motions of each finger first will make all other velocity patterns much easier to do.

Such exercises can be found in:

Lifting: Dounis Daily Dozen Op. 20; Yost Studies in Finger Action and Position Playing; there's a collection of exercises by Steven Staryk on line somewhere which I'll try to find; Flesch Basic Studies

The Dounis and Flesch have the exercise I described above, i.e. lifting one while placing 3; the Yost systematically trains alternating fingers, i.e. patterns where you lift one finger while placing the other simultaneously; the Staryk has a pretty complete set of exercises for left hand.

Bytovetski's Studies in Finger Exercises in First Position is a great sequence of exercises and I highly recommend it as the first book to be used for building left hand action. Unfortunately it's out of print, so if anyone is interested ;) ;)

The chromatic exercise you don't really need sheet music for but I think it's in Staryk's collection. There's a similar routine in Sammon's The Secret of Technique in Violin Playing (also out print ;)

Staryk Collection: There's also a collection of bowing exercises for download, along with exercises based on Schradieck and Dancla.

Edit: their download doesn't seem to be working right now

February 21, 2017 at 12:11 AM · Jeff - Yes it just turned 21. Old enough to know better and do worse.

Adrian - I was expecting that earlier and I do for reasons outside the intended use of the note sequences.

J K - That's maybe above my scope for now, but I get some of that from 'Basics' and I appreciate your input and the concept.

February 21, 2017 at 01:58 AM · Hi Dave, I don't think what I'm suggesting is above Schradieck, but I understand you may already be covering such things in Basics. Don't have my copy with me so I can't check what info I've duplicated.

But my main point was that lift/drop and chromatic motion is kind of a prerequisite to Shradieck type patterns and practicing placing various finger patterns, even though it's often taught the other way around.

February 21, 2017 at 09:56 PM · Interesting Jeewon, it certainly is taught the other way around.... but it wouldn't have to be!

February 22, 2017 at 06:28 PM · Building hand strength in Schradiek is not the most efficient way to do so, I agree. Nathan, you should do a video on that!

February 22, 2017 at 06:31 PM · Yes, I've been planning one on trills to work the basic lifting motion. Would be a great pre-requisite to Schradieck!

February 22, 2017 at 07:51 PM · Hey Nate, looking forward to the trills video!

My old teacher had a compilation of exercises by Bytovetski, Sammons, Dounis, Sevcik and a few others we used to call 'the bible.' Late in his teaching career he said he got tired of using them and resorted to Dounis Fundamental Trill Studies for l.h. action.

I still like the Bytovetski as it starts with lift/drop between adjacent fingers, then goes to lift/drop with each finger and open string, then to 3 finger sequences in groups of 4's and 6's before finally getting to Schradieck's first 4 finger sequence, I.1. It's a good progression.

February 22, 2017 at 10:27 PM · I'm also working on a Schradieck excercise; and much to my teacher's consternation, I was practising it with independent fingering. She told me to try block fingering, but my second and third finger have a hard time going down together.

I'm not sure I really see the benefit of putting down all the fingers behind the one that's playing - unless it's being used right after, or as reference for intonation.

Nonetheless, I am trying it out - even if just to help the second and third fingers behave together!

February 22, 2017 at 10:51 PM · I don't put all fingers down all the time, although I do try to let the 1st finger rest on the string at all times. Of course you'd want to be able to put down 2 and 3 together when necessary. If you look at line 10, the last note of the 1st measure (a 3rd finger) would be one where you'd want to drop 2 and 3 together.

But the rest of the time? I would just let fingers stay on the string if they're already there, but not to worry about putting them all down together. Of course, do what your teacher says!

February 23, 2017 at 11:01 PM · I've found the warm-up regime explained here, if you do it every day for 15 minutes, really increases hand strength and finger independence rapidly:

The C-Major scale with just third and fourth fingers is especially wonderful.

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