Staccato Help! Saint Saens Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso

October 31, 2005 at 04:09 PM · I am a college music student and I started working on the Saint Saens Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso around the beginning of September. I have managed get through the whole piece, but I am really having trouble with the staccato at the animato part on the first page (the pattern is slur 2, then 2 stacatto on an up bow). Most people take it pretty fast, but I can't seem to speed it up at all without getting too much schmutz on the slurs, and making the staccatos inaudible. I was told to play them at the middle of the bow, but the middle seems not stiff enough to project any sound. The stick just hits the string, and I get a lot of ricochet notes that aren't supposed to be there.

Replies (7)

October 31, 2005 at 07:14 PM · in the middle? odd...I was told to do it quite close to the frog. Try it two or three inches away, see how that goes, once I tried it a few times, it worked pretty well.

November 1, 2005 at 04:15 PM · Work on your right hand first. Start with open strings with the l.h. wrist and fingers completely RELAXED. The fact that you get a lot of ricochets means that you are too tense! You shouldn't throw the bow as in ricochet because you need to play just two notes. In fact, the bow doesn't go off the string before the staccato notes. The other thing you have to focus on, is bow speed. The bow will not bounce without that.


November 1, 2005 at 05:03 PM · Stephanie,

What slows people down in this passage is their lifting the bow after the slur and dropping it on the string to articulate the next note. Instead try this: Make the bow change from the slur to the next note *on the string*, playing the first up bow note as a colle (a lifted stroke, not a bounce). Play the second up bow note as a spiccato. This bowing pattern eliminates two actions (a lift and a drop), thereby greatly simplifying and facilitating it. Practice repeating this four note pattern (first 2 notes:downbow dropped slur--next note: colle (lifted stroke)--4th note: spiccato) very slowly at first, to be certain that you are doing the intended stroke for each of the notes.

November 1, 2005 at 06:42 PM · Exactly what Oliver said, plus:

Make sure that you use enough bow on the second up bow note, so as not to get higher in the bow as you go along. I always see students doing that, and that will cause all sorts of extra problems. Make sure that each down bow slur starts at exactly the same point in the bow.

This stroke should not be performed in the middle of the bow, imo. Maybe the extreme lower middle; definitely the lower half of the bow.

November 2, 2005 at 06:23 PM · Thanks all for your good suggestions. I usually don't have as much problem with this type of bowing but I usually would not do a stroke like this in the middle, where the stick is so flexible. It's much easier a little closer to the frog. Also I noticed, at the middle I was getting a little too much rebound on the last staccato note. Also with the string crossings, by angling more toward the higher string in each passage, the bowing was much more efficient and not so violent. Thanks again.

November 3, 2005 at 12:14 AM · Ah--my teacher had me work very hard on the G and D string section of those off the string passages. One of the things that really helped me I found was to concentrate on making sure that I was using my arm for the string crossing and to use my arm to initiate the double ups on the D string once you get there. The right hand fingers and wrist can work to some extent, but using them exclusively makes it very difficult. Good on the bow arm is Galamian, with the geometry of the bow. Good Luck!

November 6, 2005 at 07:10 AM · I have no advice to add, but I just started on this piece too and noticed that this section was much easier closer to the frog. I probably would have wasted a lot of time struggling if I hadn't read the posts. So, thanks Stephanie, for bringing it up, and thanks to for the suggestions. :)

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