November 13, 2004 at 01:11 AM · I have to reconsider my left hand technique. All that I do with my left hand (fast passages, vibrato, shifts) comes from the forearm. I have a considerable amount of tension there. I have tried to free it and try to concentrate on my fingers lifting, instead of hammering, and on the motion coming from my knuckles, instead of my fingers. I don't really know how to isolate the motion and the only way i can free my forearm from absolute tension while holding the violin is when i rest my elbow on a flat surface. otherwise i still have tension, even if im playing open strings. does this make sense?


what am i to do?

Replies (9)

November 13, 2004 at 01:47 AM · Greetings,

place your forearm and hand face down on a table. Rotate the whole so that the palm is now face up. The correct way to do this is keeping the pinkie side of the arm and the pinkie in contact with the table as an axis. The side which rotates in an arc to the up position of the palm is the thumb side. Following this procedure the two bones of the forearm cross over each other correctly as they are intended to do.

Now switch. That is go to palm upposition by focusing completely on the pinkie side and making that side do the roatation. It will have to come away from the surface of the table and feel very uncomfortable. However this incorrect rotation is often used to some extent by violnists and is a major caus eof tendonitis and the tension you describe. Practice on the table until you feel it all comes naturally and then transfer what you have learnt to putting the violin up,



November 13, 2004 at 04:28 AM · In addition to this, how about the possibility of over-rotation, Buri? Being too parallel to the fingerboard especially on the 4th finger side. I'm guilty of that and it creates a lot of tension in the fingers as well as the hand. Or does your rotating across the 4th finger axis cure that as well?

November 13, 2004 at 10:35 AM · This has become a bit of a focus for me.

Out of interest.. when you are starting out, the reach across to the G string whilst maintaining a reasonable roundness to the fingers creates a stretch and tension in the forearm all the way to the lower back. Is this simply a case of using parts of your body in a way that you have not before? A bit like horse riding when you ache like crazy afer the first few times, after 15 years' of riding I now sink into the horse and it's motion comfortably. Surely it's simply a question of hours practicing to be comfortable in this position, rather than something that is actually incorrect. As old timers you may have forgotten that early stiffness when you began?


November 13, 2004 at 01:17 PM · Greetings,

Inge, certainly over rotation is a problem. I just doubt it in this case because it is a very advanced player.

As far as the streching into what you want to do I think that is a good point. But i would work on it form the other direction. IE release the tension in the back and in the process the hand may find out what it wants to do,

In my case pick up a prune ortwo,



November 13, 2004 at 03:34 PM · Don, there's this elbow thing - but I'm the wrong person to ask since somehow the elbow idea was omitted as I "self-taught" my G & E strings during my teacher's absence. Wait for your teacher with the nether strings so you don't get messed up with needless strain and reflexes you will later need to undo.

Buri: My hand looks "perfect" to the few violinists, violist and teachers who looked at it - for one thing, most beginner tend toward the opposite - but I know it's over rotated because the strain is removed when I take the rotation back a notch. That part of my hand looks quite "classical": thus I entertain the possibility that certain exaggerations of motion can exist even among advanced players. When problem solving, I look for the plausible as well as the implausible just in case the most unlikely thing is actually the answer. Of course I was also asking on my own behalf.

Grocery store is out of prunes.

November 13, 2004 at 11:21 PM · Greetings,

very true.

The grocery business is probably due to a recent increase in demand for obvious reasons,



November 14, 2004 at 12:27 AM · Hi Buri,

I'd read something you were saying about the two bones crossing over each other, but I hadn't really payed attention to it. So, when I switch, do I lift my hand or just the fingers? It feels unconfortable as you say, but you think that if I practice it correctly, my forearm will loosen up?

No problem about over rotation in my case! Quite the opposite. I wish my forearm/hand rotated more.

I have another question, if I were to check my tension status feeling my forearm with my right hand, where would I touch, on the top (near the elbow) or on the back of the forearm?

It seems that even if I try to move my fingers from the knuckles, without much force, the nerves near the elbow move anyway. Should that movement be minimized?


November 14, 2004 at 01:50 AM · I found that Fisher's Basics answered a lot of questions regarding how the hand and fingers really function and how to use them. Could that be useful?

November 14, 2004 at 02:11 AM · Greetings,

>Miwa said:

>So, when I switch, do I lift my hand or just the fingers? It feels unconfortable as you say, but you think that if I practice it correctly, my forearm will loosen up?

I am not sure if I have managed to explian this well enough. Writing is difficult...

When you put the violin up you rotate the forearm and hand while holding the neck with the fingers and some palm. If you do this rotationkeeping the thumb side of the hand and arm relatively motionless with the little finger side sweeping around in an arc then you will creae tension and set yourslef up for tendonitis. If you kep the little finger side stilland throw the violin up with the thumb side of the hand and arm making an arc then the set up will be correct.

Does that help?



Incidentally, the same thing applies in bowing...

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