Regular, Even Runs

March 17, 2004 at 07:05 AM · It's a strange (and recently touched on in another thread) thing: in exercises I can do this, but in music, my runs (and in fact any fast legato passages) lose their evenness. Maybe because I try and add expression but it's not well controlled? It's more even if I think 'I'm a robot' and concentrate on playing like one, but that doesn't sound like music.

Any ideas?

Replies (12)

March 17, 2004 at 01:46 PM · Hi susan :first of all, you should further analyze your problem String crossing,shifting ,bow division,bow speed or pressure then work separetly each difficulty. cheers

March 17, 2004 at 04:16 PM · To be concerned with this issues is a good thing- shows maturity as a musician. I remember being told that we perform largely according to how we practice. There is some truth to that. Galamian had his students practice 3 octave scales with the metronome starting with 2 notes per beat, then 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, and 24, then 3, 5,7, and 9 notes to the beat. I did this using the A major scale-it took me weeks to consistently play of all of the variations. With the tremendous variations, the violinist learns to be skilled be technically and intuitively with runs. Also, arpeggios are often over looked but they are great practice in smoothing out the shifts and string crossings. Be patient, have fun with it, drink coffee or tea, and eat chocolate in between!!!

March 17, 2004 at 08:32 PM · I have begun to analyse it, and the more I look at it, the more complex it seems. Even a simple scale up and down involves so many different things: some notes are made by just placing the finger, others by lifting, some by just crossing the string with the bow, some by placing more than one finger, some. I don't know whether all this intellectualising is helping me though. Sigh...

March 17, 2004 at 08:35 PM · Buri, don't say 'prunes for regular runs'.

March 17, 2004 at 08:46 PM · lol,

for me this problem always leads back to the bow, if that helps at all. make sure you are not using too much pressure in left fingers.

March 17, 2004 at 08:48 PM · For evenness in runs, I add rhythms...dotted, slowed down, accelerated, different bow strokes, all different lengths of rhythm and stroke. Then, after about 5 minutes of that, I bring it back up to tempo, as written. It solves my issues!

March 17, 2004 at 10:26 PM · one thing my teacher taught me was how if you take time away (slowing something down or stretching it for an effect or expression) then you have to give it back and in return stay in rhythem. So in a sense, being "even" in that way can be more difficult than exact metronome evenness.

For something like bach though...runs have just got to be metronome even...

uneven runs on one string is left hand problems...practice slow (of course) and make sure the action of your fingers is lightning quick at that slow tempo, so when comes time to speed it up you WILL be even

of course if you don't stay on one strings there could me many more problems that have already been mentioned

March 17, 2004 at 11:30 PM · Hello Susan,

I donĀ“t know what your technical level is, but I have worked to correct my string crossings exercises from Scevcik op. 1.

The nr. 17 double stops exercise, that serves for introduction for the nr.18 .

I think this is a good exercise to take care to your bow.

You can practice it with all the bow variations, picking one bar at a time, and concentrating on it. You then can add speed and even rythms.

Well, hope this is not an offense to your technical level. ;-)

March 17, 2004 at 11:55 PM · Greetings,

aside from dotte d rythms and the reverse it is important to find out what the bow is doing and -what the bowing is doing with the left hand- at certain crucia lcoordination points.

To find out what the bow is doing play the run purely as the bow would play it with no left hand. Also practice this way double stopping the

two strings involved in any crossing without disturbing the rythm.

Then practice with the left hand, double stopg the two notes on the string crossing.

You could also try to discoordinate left and right by sustaing a long note on the g string while playing the scale. In this case only the first four notes (or whatever are heard and then it is all open string as the left hand goes off on its own little adventure.

Another fundametal way ofpracticing runs which also clarifies probelm areas is to play the first two notes only, as loudly as possible. Then the first three, then four, then five etc. This method of practicing also develops tone.

Don`t forget the mind prfers order and pattern to abstractions so mentally grouping any run (groups of four or whatever) helps a greta deal on making the fingers play evenly. This also addsa n interesting musical dimnsion since a group of four is not actually agroup strating on the first note. In most phrasing the last three of the group lead onto the first note so we are playing 2341 2341 2341. If you addthis musical element t runs it cvan also help to add eveness and natruralness to your playing,

Then there are prunes, or dried wombat droppings or whatever those strange Americans now call them,



March 18, 2004 at 12:35 AM · Like others have said, my teacher suggests using rythms. The 6 she gave me to do are:

LS (long/short, that is)






Just take each run and apply the rythms, then go back and play it regularly. Do this everyday and it should help soon. Hope so!


March 19, 2004 at 09:50 PM · Thanks everyone, that's really great. I'm just reading Simon Fischer's 'Basics' (see Buri, I do follow your advice eventually), and discovered (duh!), that placing a finger is a totally different time event from removing a finger - ie that to play in musical rhythm, we need to move 'unrhythmically'. And that when placing fingers fast we need to wait longer before placing them. That explains why I tend to rush so much in fast and loud passages. I'll be working on those exercises. It seems like the most logical source of my problems.

I've tried the method of playing a passage with dotted rhythms many, many times, and don't seem to get long-term results. But thanks for the suggestion, and it's interesting that this works so well for some people.

March 19, 2004 at 05:19 AM · Greetings,

Susan, `Back to Basics` sounds so terribly Victorian but I am glad you are doing it anyway.

I just dozed off and woke up with a stray thought about developing velocity in a somewhat indirect but painless manner. That is through the pracitce of mordents and short trills.

Actually, it is amazing how helpful talking things through is for experiencig revelations of a sort.... Wowowowowowowowowowowowo

Just as I wa s writing this and going to suggest that you practice the Kreutzer trill etudes I realized that those specific etudes are actually followed by the only `run` study in the book.

Could that be a coincidence or have the prunes really come through again?



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