Mintz and Zuckerman

November 26, 2005 at 04:02 AM · Let me start by saying that I have the utmost respect for Zuckerman and Mintz. They are great players and I don't mean to take anything away from them.

However, what is the deal with their chords? They both have such pure, beautiful sounds, but when it comes to chords, all I hear is crunch, crunch, crunch. They force their sound when it comes to three note and four note chords. That is undeniable. Examples:

Mintz-Solo Bach

Zuckerman-Tchaikovsky (chords at the end of the exposition of the first mov't are basically inaudible) and Bruch Concerti

The question is: why? Why do they do that? I'm interested to hear your opinions, please.

Replies (73)

November 26, 2005 at 04:08 AM · I think this type of forced sound comes from the Galamian/Delay style of teaching. When it comes to this type of sound Zukerman owns it because it doesn't necessarily come off as heavy like I think Mintz does.

November 26, 2005 at 04:53 AM · Hi William,

Personally, I don't find any issues with their bow technique. I find that Zuckerman's bow technique is one of the greatest, and Shlomo's is right there next to him. It is quite different from the guys of the yester-year generation (Heifetz, Milstein, Oistrakh etc.), and in their personal way it is very exciting in performance.

One of my most memorable and favorite performances of the Beethoven Concerto, was with Zuckerman playing solo and conducting. We played it with him several times at Mostly Mozart festival in NYC, and it was truly magnificent. ( that time I was still living in NYC).

Shlomo Mintz'a approach to the fiddle is very similar to that of Zuckerman I agree. I do like both of them. When one listens to the chords you are talking about, sitting in the 20th or 40th row in a concert hall, it is quite a different experience. Their sound really fills any hall. And I think that they built their technique with that in mind: to speak and touch every listener.

November 26, 2005 at 05:22 AM · I really agree with Gennady in how Zukerman's sound is geared for the concert hall, not necessarily perhaps a mic placed right on top of him. Generally Zukerman plays chords and accents starting from the string and deadens the beginning of notes I think for traction. This technique one finds more common in orchestral or chamber musicians so that it is easier to play together as an ensemble by placing the bow on the string rather than dropping it on the string. I personally like the sound of coming from a little bit above the string on a accent or chord with the bow instead of "pinching" the note.

November 26, 2005 at 07:43 AM · William:

I was just about to go test your hypothesis and realized that I have absolutely nothing with either Zukerman or Mintz here with me... what a tragedy.

I'm going to school tommorow and will see for myself. I'll get back to you.

November 26, 2005 at 07:57 AM · Admittedly Zukerman does have a fantastic bow arm (he calls it his "bank"..."because if you can't make a decent sound, you're not gonna make any money").

However, I agree that it becomes a bit crunchy sounding. Personally, I don't think a vertical approach to chords carries any more in a hall (perhaps less) than a stroke that is more ellipticle. I have changed my approach from verticle attack to a much more horizontal stroke that mirrors the shape of a vibrating string and find that the result is much more desirable (especially in Bach).

"The sound of a chord should never have the sound of the word 'chord' in it." - Ani Kavafian

And I totally agree.


November 26, 2005 at 01:07 PM · Hi,

The are both sensational players. That goes without saying. Particularly Zukerman these days, who is really... just WOW!

On the subject of sound, etc. Preston is right. They are different though. Zukerman uses a lot of vertical weight and slow bow speed, which is great in some ways, but sometimes leads to that crunch. He doesn't do that all the time, but sometimes he carries it to excess. However, he is doing less and less of that these days I find.

Mintz is different, his idea is similar, but he uses much more index pressure rather than weight, especially with that clawed out index finger position. Sometimes, the excess pressure leads to the crunch.

Also to be noted that both of them these days use very very heavy bows (at around 65-68 grams).

Personally, I think that a lot of factors go into it, but that kind of sound does not carry more in a hall. What carries is resonance, and if you use too much weight or pressure and can kill the resonance and the carrying ability of the sound. It also depends on the violin too. That Del Gésu that Zukerman plays can take and probably even requires much more weight than most fiddles do.


November 26, 2005 at 06:04 PM · very interesting observations.....

has anyone ever accused these guys of not projecting in the halls due to a small, squeezed and overkill sound??? I don't think so.

November 26, 2005 at 05:21 PM · It's always funny to hear about projection in halls, etc. etc. Halls vary, of course. But the truth is, no matter how loud a violin is and not matter how big the sound, in a big hall, the sound will always sound faint towards the back when compared to a recording. This is one of many reasons Gould preferred recording of live performing.

We're all taught to "play for the audience in the last row," but even at that, there is no comparison to recordings. Not that that is necessarily a good thing either. :)

That being said, why don't Zuckerman and Mintz adjust their sound for recording? Mintz in particular, recording the Bach.

Also, big sounds aren't the end all be all of fiddle playing. It has been said that Milstein, for example, didn't have a huge sound. But listen to his Bach....what a sound!

Again, I think Mintz and Zuckerman are incredible players, and both have a beautiful sound when they choose.

The question is, why do their ears allow them to make what is in my opinion not a pleasant sound when playing chords?

It's definitely the training, but you can't pin it all on Galamian/Delay as many players from their respective camps don't have that kind of chordal approach. Gil Shaham, for example, doesn't force, at least to that degree. Perlman chords aren't not consitently the same, and not as forced as M and Z, imo.

Boy, I'm full of opinions. :)

November 26, 2005 at 05:53 PM · The real problem is that halls these days are way too big. Back in the day people would play in a large church that was the perfect size for a violin to project in.... not 3-4,000 seat halls. My dad thinks the solution to that is to use mics (because he plays guitar) but I disagree wtih that.

November 26, 2005 at 05:59 PM · In fact, builders of Concert Halls are actually listening to musicians and their Maestros these days and are constructing halls with seats up to 2,500 maximum (capacity).

November 26, 2005 at 06:00 PM · Christian,

You're right on the money. Mintz used a Vuillaume School bow (which I currently play on now) that is 69 feels like I have a dead weight when I play! jk But don't you believe that if they had the lightest Peccatte out there the sounds Mintz produces would still be very similar?

November 26, 2005 at 08:36 PM · Gennady, maybe now that's so with halls like Disney Hall but doesn't Carnegie Hall and many others seat about 3,000?

Andrew, how does one play on such a heavy bow? I came across a bow that was 67g when looking for bows and it was incredibly uncomfortable. Then again it most likely wasn't the quality of a Vuillaume.

November 26, 2005 at 09:13 PM · Enosh,

Carnegie Hall (Isaac Stern Auditorium/Main Hall)

Seats 2,804

Joan and Sanford I. Weill Recital Hall

268 Seats

Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall

599 Seats

Benaroya Hall (Seattle, WA) 2,500-seat S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

Disney Concert Hall 2,265-seat ..........etc.

November 26, 2005 at 09:48 PM · How could Mintz play the Paganini caprices, especially the 5th caprice, with a 69 gram bow? He must have been taking roids! lol

November 26, 2005 at 10:43 PM · Enosh, it was rough at first. The first week I had the bow, I played Scottish Fantasy on it, and it was a little out of control. It's very...frog-heavy, but in terms of sustaining, it's a pretty incredible bow. It's not in mint condition (1840's, I think?) but the pros far outweigh the cons.

November 27, 2005 at 03:07 AM · William,

Shlomo can play Paganini #5 even with a cello bow (80g), he is quite amazing.

November 27, 2005 at 03:21 AM · Cello bows sound really good.

November 27, 2005 at 05:20 AM · Hi,

In response to some things... I don't think that anyone can accuse them of killing the sound. I wouldn't for sure.

On the subject of weight of bow and Mintz being Mintz, it is hard to answer.

Why the sound is not adjusted... Because that sound is an extension of their personality and their artistry or means of expression. I am not sure that they wish to change it. Should they?


November 27, 2005 at 06:53 AM · I generally like their playing, especially Zukerman. However, I often find that this type of sound is kind of one-dimensional and lacks in variety and different colors and also that sometimes it's just too much pressing for certain places. This I find more in Mintz but I also like his playing.

November 27, 2005 at 07:11 PM · The thing is Enosh, I had the same impression when I heard Zukerman on recording, but when I heard him live for the first time I realized how he understands how to project. He understands that the dynamic "piano" does not mean soft in volume on the violin. He rather gives the aural illusion of playing at a different dynamic by articulating the notes differently.

November 27, 2005 at 09:33 PM · I understand. When I say these things I am talking a little more about Mintz. I will see Zukerman play the Elgar in January and I am just being critical now but Zukerman is in my opinion the best right now. I'm really excited to see him.

November 27, 2005 at 09:42 PM · That should be good, is he playing with the LA Phil?

November 27, 2005 at 09:50 PM · Does anyone know if Zukerman's tour schedule is posted somewhere online? He really should have a personal website especially in this day and age.

November 27, 2005 at 10:03 PM · To answer your first question, he will be playing with the Pacific Symphony in Orange County and I get to see the rehearsal because my teacher is in the Pacific Symphony. And second, I've looked for his tour schedule a few times and have never found one.

November 28, 2005 at 08:33 AM · Wow. That's a little harsh isn't it? I wouldn't like to approach a violinist of Zuckerman's stature and tell him he makes an unpleasant sound.

November 28, 2005 at 03:06 PM · Don't oversimplify what William is saying. He simply stated that he finds one small aspect of Zukerman's playing to be inconsistent with his otherwise glorious sound.

People like to really get into a dramatic state on this website...

November 28, 2005 at 04:42 PM · I saw and heard Mr. Zukerman play the Brahms with the Seattle Symphony. Indeed he *did* crunch most of the chords into mincemeat in an otherwise good performance. I wondered why anyone would sacrifice the potential for great beauty these chords offer. To each his own.

November 28, 2005 at 05:33 PM · I wasn't trying to belittle, demean, or really even 'criticize' either one, in character or playing.

Really, I was just trying to examine their philosophy as regards to chord production.

In retrospect, even with my disclaimer, I can see where people might think I'm on my high horse or something. I'm certainly not, and it definitely isn't my wish to perpetuate the already grossly negative nature of [many, generally] fiddle players towards one another.

And no, I probably wouldn't ask Zuckerman or Mintz to their face unless I knew them quite well.

Perhaps I may even phrase the question differently. For example,

"Mr. Zuckerman, oh great one (ok, that's just me joking, lol), how do you technically approach three and four note chords? What is your philosophy of sound production when playing such chords?"

On this forum, I was just trying to get my point across quickly for discussion purposes. I hope no one is offended.

November 28, 2005 at 10:38 PM · I find this sort of sound challenging and stimulating, like drinking green tea. I think that if they were actually 'forcing' the tone though, with the amount they put into it, you wouldn't be saying "I don't like that", you'd be putting your fingers in your ears!

November 29, 2005 at 01:05 AM · William,

Well put and thanks for your clarification.

In retrospect, I would say that Pinky makes the perfect Viola sound (the best really!).

I think his whole approach of sinking into the strings is very tenor / baritone (if you know what I mean). Hence, no wonder why he is the best violist around. Shlomo comes in very close.

November 29, 2005 at 02:01 AM · Ehnes' viola playing is also top notch! What a sound!


January 10, 2006 at 05:32 AM · These two artists are without a doubt amongst the greatest of their time. But why should they be beyond reproach? Everyone in this thread is knowledgeable and has logged comparable hours, each according to his or her ability, on the violin. We do a disservice to the art if we refuse to honestly critique and debate what artists have to offer the public (for they too serve their art, don't they?). Good critics are sorely missed in this day and age of media-crazed star worship.

Listen to an early Zuckerman recording (c. late 70's). Can we honestly say that the impossibly high standards he has set for himself are met in his current manner of self-expression? Has his personality and artistry matured into the final chapter of his career? These are not arrogant, self-serving questions. They neither diminish the greatness of Zuckerman's achievements, nor his stature as a great interpreter on the violin. They help us mere mortals to critique

[from Latin criticus, from Greek kritikos, able *to discern*] and aspire to the standards of excellence he himself helped to establish.



January 10, 2006 at 05:51 AM · My teacher told me a story of playing in an orchestra a long time ago when Mintz was about 18. He remarked how his sound was so refined and very sweet. After he went to new york and studied with Delay, he came back and sounded totally different.

January 10, 2006 at 07:43 AM · It is pretty widely accepted that many violin virtuosi fall short of they're praise in they're later years.

I recently heard Perlman play at the ravinia festival and I admit, I was rather dissapointed. He was kind of out of tune, and seemed rather unaware of the orchestra. But thats the way things work. How much do you think violinists that have won 16 grammy's really practice I mean in TRUE honesty. The talent is undeniably there, but the only thing that can make the music "perfect" is the hours spent getting to know it, and lets say you get to know it 20 years ago. I mean sure you perform is alot but when do you think is the last time that one of these guys actually "studied" these pieces?

My conclusion- forget perfection and enjoy what you enjoy, wile disliking what you dislike. Just make sure you get something out of being a critic.

January 10, 2006 at 07:50 AM · In my oppipinion it's due to the fact that they both were obsessed about projection and volume( Galamian and De Lay)who always said that you have to reach the last man sitting in the top of the 6000 seat-hall , and the chords, we all know we want them to sound; again, it's their concert habitudes who don't work as well in the studio with the mic at 10feet;Secondary, Mintz uses a viola bow-might just be that

January 10, 2006 at 07:57 AM · P.S. I also saw Mintz's 5th caprice live and it was for sure the fastest and the clearest ever played;with that viola bow; I don't know how he does it, probably the heavy bow has more contatct on the string, so he lets it work by itself.Cheers

January 10, 2006 at 08:45 AM · I used to lump Galamian together with Delay in that regard (when talking about bow crushing for sound production). Then it was explained to me that DeLay took it a lot further, and Galamian's students were not exactly known for the New Yorky sound which some people don't find interesting.

Regardless of his schooling, Mintz is a fantastic violinist, and I wish he'd come to this side of the pond more often.

January 10, 2006 at 01:29 PM · Pieter,

unfortunately even if he comes, he's no more who he was;I hard him this Septmber and I couldn't believe; seems like he does a lot of gym, and I mean a lot!!!!!and the efect is easy to imagine:Not only the chords are crushed!!

Such a pity though........

January 10, 2006 at 06:51 PM · Eugene,

That wasn't a viola bow he was playing on, that was his very very heavy Vuillaume bow :)

January 10, 2006 at 09:49 PM · About Zukerman... his sound is perfect the way it is. Just yesterday I went to see him rehearse in Orange County the Elgar which I'm seeing Thursday and it was really amazing. The chords definitely had bite and attack but were not crushed. I think he does exactly what is necessary to make everything project in the huge hall - and he did have a huge sound. He is in my opinion the best violinist right now. It was really amazing to see him rehearse the Elgar.

January 11, 2006 at 08:34 AM · Andrew,

as far as I know violin bows go up to 65 grams max; everything else is by convention a viola bow, but it's just a convention, it depends from wich angle you're thinking: is a 74 grams a viola bow ,or a very,very heavy violin bow...?

January 11, 2006 at 08:37 AM · Definately Zuckerman has the biggest sound, in volume and projection today, together with D.Sitkovetski and Vengerov

January 11, 2006 at 07:16 PM · Andrew plays on something like a 68g violin bow... a Vuillaume.

January 11, 2006 at 07:25 PM · You could make a violin bow that's 90 grams, in my opinion, but it's still a violin bow. :) Yeah, Mintz's old Vuillaume bow was 69 grams.

January 11, 2006 at 09:01 PM · Yes, weight is irrelevant. My question to you andrew, is why not go with a viola bow and get the extra length? I know of one violinist doing this. whatever, it's obviously working for you. I might like it actually. Next time I'm at a shop I'll ask to try a real heavy bow.

January 11, 2006 at 11:19 PM · Hi,

Pieter, I think that the reason is that the balance is not the same between a violin and viola bow, weight element aside.


January 11, 2006 at 11:57 PM · hey ars, aren't you selling that heavy bow of yours? :)

January 12, 2006 at 12:00 AM · Well I gather that, and also that the weight distibution is probably more fitting on a viola bow...

April 9, 2006 at 03:29 AM · I just finished listening to Zukerman's Tchaikovsky recording with the London Symphony Orhcestra and Antal Dorati. The first thing that struck me was Zukerman's powerful SOUND. I quickly went on to see if I can find any information on what kind of violin Zukerman plays, and I came upon this thread. His sound is really amazing. I don't think any other violinist of our day and age could produce such a loud, powerful, pure, and clean sound. I had previously never listened to any of Zukerman's recordings, and I'm really amazed. Zukerman has officially made it onto my list of top violinists.

April 9, 2006 at 12:06 PM · Hi,

Zukerman is amazing, and the sound he draws from his Del Gésu (the Dushkin) is, well, huge. Hearing him live, one can appreciate it even further.


April 9, 2006 at 02:46 PM · Ah, yes. Pinkie. One of my major symphony player friends is a good friend of his. He says "Pinkie" drives him nuts. Why, because while the rest of us practice our tails off he's out allegedly partying and not practicing much at all. And he still can play like that.

My friend says Pinkie told him the secret of the powerful sound. It's not the violin as Zukerman got the same sound of of my friends Gagliano. He, in turn, demonstrated it to me. When I remember to apply that incongruently mathmatical equasion to my playing it works like a charm. Logic dictates that this is baloney, but it works. Why aren't I telling how to do it here. I honestly can not come up with how to put this down on "paper." When I came home from having it demonstrated to me I went upstairs, took out the violin and tried it. After a few minutes my wife hollered up from the kitchen to stop whatever I was doing because the dishes were rattling.

April 9, 2006 at 03:46 PM · Why aren't I telling how to do it here. I honestly can not come up with how to put this down on "paper."

Well, please at least give it a try -- you've now got a significant number of readers of this thread salivating!

April 9, 2006 at 03:56 PM · Well, maybe I just listened to the Tchaik. on bad speakers or something. He's incredible, of course. Really, really incredible.

As for Mintz: He's incredible, too.

I like Christian's Ysaye quote, appreciating everyone for what they have to offer. And really, I do... I think I was really just curious, as they are incredible players, I figured it was a concious decision, a conscious choice, and wondered why.


Now people can go to my recital at the end of the month and say,

"I wonder if it's a concious choice that William plays those octaves in Wilhelmj's Ave Maria out of tune." -or- "I wonder if it's a concious choice that the Hora Staccato is slower...."

April 9, 2006 at 04:37 PM · Ok, Let me think on how to do this so it makes sense. A backround is also necessary. If I don't mow the lawn now I'm in trouble. While mowing I'll try and simplify the explanation. Dumbing it down for me, not you. LOL

To start out, for now until I get back from involuntary servitude, remember 8 + 2 does not equal 10. It comes to around 12 to 13.

April 9, 2006 at 04:48 PM · I think part of it is the really flat bowhair, the flat knuckles, and the heavy bow.

April 9, 2006 at 06:42 PM · The lawn is done so I’ll do my best to describe how a friend of Maestro Zukerman told me how that big reverberating sound is produced. A little background is necessary to arrive at the end product. To cut down on my typing “F” = my friend in the major Symphony and “Z” = Maestro Zukerman.

The dress rehearsal ended with Z playing the last chord of the concerto. The last sound faded away. Or did it? Z’s last chord was still bouncing around the hall as it slowly dissipated while the orchestra sound had already left. F said we looked at each other and wondered how he did that. Well, he does have a beautiful Del Gesu.

After the rehearsal a few string players asked Z how that sound continued ringing like that. Z demonstrated again. Bonggggggggggggg. One of the players tried it. A nice forceful and beautiful tone, but it went Bonggggg. Z offered to swap violins. The player took the Del Gesu and went Bongggg. Z took the other instrument and out came Bonggggggggggggg. F took Z’s violin and got Bongggg. Z took F’s Gagliano and achieved Bongggggggggggggg. So, what the heck is going on here. Z said he would teach part of how this ringing penetrating sound is achieved.

I’ll do the best I can here. This is quite simplified for my sake. Z’s explanation to F sort of came out like this. F did his best to pass this one to me. Imagine the bow pressure to create a nice full carrying sound is a 10 units. That’s ten units of down bow pressure. Your 10 is different than my 10, I’m sure, but it seems to work with different people I’ve told it to. Now, remember 10 units of pressure down equals a nice full beautiful carrying tone. That’s what all the orchestra string players were using. Ten down. They got Bongggg. Now the good part. Z said lighten up about two units. You’re now pushing down with 8 units of pressure, but you still need ten. Where does that extra two units come from? That needed two units comes from pushing UP on the violin. Eight units down plus two units up equals ten. Not so fast.

I realize that you are sitting here reading this and saying “no way.” That’s what I thought until I tried it. Getting the right ratio of 8 to 2 took a little finessing. Not too much happened. All of a sudden I got it right. That’s when my wife hollered from downstairs that I’m rattling the dishes. Maybe the ratio is different for each violin, but mine came out about 8 to 2. So, 8 plus 2 really equals 12 to 14 in this case. At my own orchestra’s next dress rehearsal in the hall I got there early and tried it. WOW! Bongggggggggg. I’ve been told not to do that in the orchestra because it overpowers the string section. Heh, heh. Actually until I read about Z in this thread I had forgotten about it for awhile.

Why pushing up on the violin helps create a bigger carrying tone than 100% pressure down I couldn’t say. It sounds like an old wife’s tale, but it works. Have fun working on it.

April 9, 2006 at 07:35 PM · I'm gonna try that. I thought it had something to do with bow hold and that knuckle thing as well as the "bow/body triangle" that Zukerman always seems to be talking about in his masterclasses.

April 9, 2006 at 09:11 PM · I'm not familiar with his Master Classes. What is the knuckle thing?

April 9, 2006 at 11:48 PM · Flat knuckles.

April 10, 2006 at 10:30 AM · 8 down 2 up.....bonggg.

8 down 2 up........bongg.

8 down 3 up...bongchhhk.

It's not working! And I am looking a little stupid.


April 10, 2006 at 01:07 PM · Hi,

To do this, all elements need to be there. Make sure that your elbow, wrist and hand are aligned in a straight line. Now, curl your fingers (to quote Pinky) to the max at the frog. It is not just a question of flat knuckles, but one of properly curved fingers. Make sure your bow hold is correct (i.e., ring between middle finger and thumb) and thumb properly angles against the frog. Make sure the bow sits on the string and that your bow bold is very relaxed (i.e. about 3.5 on a strength scale from one to 10). The object is to guide the natural weight of the bow on the string using gravity at the best advantage (that is why Pinky uses very heavy bows). Now bring the violin up with the left hand so that is counterpressuring against the bow, slightly (hence the 2). Now draw the bow allowing it to follow the motion originating in the arm, which is completely relaxed, and allowing the fingers and wrist to adapt as the stroke takes place. Do not force the bow direction, but allow the natural resistance on the string to help you draw a straight bow. Make sure you open your arm at the tip. Make sure your geometry is right - triangle at frog, square in the middle, extended triangle at the tip.

Does this help?

Also, a note on Mr. Zukerman's naturalness and practicing, etc. Mr. Zukerman is one of the most knowledgeable players out there. He knows the instrument inside and out. He is a very rational man and extremely effecient. He does practice, but because his understanding is so great, and his mental control of all he does so well established, his work is extremely effecient. I think that is where people are often misguided. There is not a fraction of a millimeter that goes on in his playing without him understanding it, or being able to articulate it. Very very very impressive.


April 10, 2006 at 02:18 PM · "That needed two units comes from pushing UP on the violin."

Hell, I always thought that was the normal way to play! (G)

April 10, 2006 at 02:51 PM · Why does that pushing up thing keep coming back to me?

April 10, 2006 at 03:03 PM · Even though it works for me after I was shown the technique, I have no idea why pushing up a bit does what it does. Maybe it has something to do with helping the fingers and arm act as shock absorbers so you can add more pressure without squashing the string's vibrations. I worked on that last night after writing the story and could not do it. This morning it works. Go figure.

April 10, 2006 at 06:22 PM · This is interesting. I don't want to say for sure, but I would suspect a couple of reasons it might work: First, pushing the violin up into the bow hair also lifts the violin away from the body a bit. The violin may be ringing more as a result of better playing posture.

Second: The effect of pushing upwards into the hair would not change the quantity of pressure exerted on the string. Pressure is pressure wheter from above or below. However, I wonder if lifting the violin into the bow a certain percentage actually allows the bow arm to remain more supple than downward pressure alone. If that were the case, the increase in sound could be explained as a "side effect" of simply remaining more pliable in the arm (to a degree), allowing the tone production to occur without undue tension.

Using the leverage of the violin uses larger muscle groups than the smaller muscles of the bow grip and forearm, etc. Essentially,I wonder if simply feeling "springier" in the playing apparatus allows for the final percentage in output of sound?

Wordy, but worth a thought?

April 10, 2006 at 08:00 PM · In trying this technique, I noticed that indeed the pressure is the same. However, the slant of the bow into the string changes. In the ratio of 8 -2 or whatever, the bow (at least in my case) tends to pull the string closer to the bridge in a sort of slanted manner, indeed resulting in a bigger sound. It's as if the string is being vibrated/pulled to the bridge in a slightly different way than what is normally done. The physics is a little different. Enough to add a couple more 'g's to 'Bongg' anyway. lol

I think we're all sort of taught this 'slanted' pulling of the string to a certain degree, but the 8 - 2 ratio definitely makes it easier, and definitely brings it to ones attention in a most profound way!

Thank you, Mr. Zuckerman!

addendum: I also noticed that that my bow speed increased slightly, or at least the feeling of wanting the bow to travel faster occurred with this ratio.

Interested to hear others own conclusions!

April 10, 2006 at 09:12 PM · pushing your violin up gives the instrument less contact on your body, allowing it to vibrate more freely.

as for zuckerman, his bow arm is quite smashing.

April 10, 2006 at 09:39 PM · Interesting discovery. Since I posted this technique and had actually forgotten about it for awhile I've been working on reaquiring this technique and having only so-so success. BUT, being lazy a few minutes ago rather than get out of my chair and yank out some rosin I just grabbed another bow and voilla, it's working again.

April 11, 2006 at 12:51 PM · In one of his free master class video on the net, I remember seeing and hearing he actually moves the violin to the opposite direction to the bow movement. That is with a down bow he moves the violin up to the left a bit and vice versa. This would increase the bow speed to the strings. The coupling of both violin and bow movement is very intriguing.

April 11, 2006 at 01:45 PM · thanks for that i never thought of moving the violin in the opposite directions when bowing

April 11, 2006 at 03:29 PM · It is necessary for balance.

April 12, 2006 at 06:10 AM · Greetings,

Scott, Menuhin devotes pages to this fundamental aspect of playing in his book Menuhin and Primrose `The Violin and Viola.` He prescribes fascinating exercises and very thought provoking text. Mostly it is about the spralling of energy. Bowing is launched though a spiral motion beginning in the toes. Since you like Oistrakh so much watch his feet carefully. You will see very clearly the way his body coils and uncoils beginning in the toes on every long bow stroke. Its beautiful to watch once you get a sens eof what you are seeing,



April 13, 2006 at 01:30 PM · I have a DVD with an extras section where Perlman and Zuckermann play the Wieniawski Caprice. Zuckermann does crush the chords a little. With the mic up close it may be a little much.


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Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Jargar Strings


Violin Lab



Nazareth Gevorkian 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