High register playing on the violin

April 17, 2006 at 06:33 PM · Hey guys!

So yesterday I was practicing for my youth symphony audition and was playing an e melodic minor scale in 3 octaves and everything was ok until the last octave. It seems to be that with me if i try to play in the highest register of the violin it sounds nasty and scratchy and sqeaky...I have the feeling that it may be my bridge being too high or something else... i dunno but my scales sound REALLY bad...any ideas for making my violin sound pure and beautiful in the highest register?? thanks!


Replies (7)

April 17, 2006 at 06:44 PM · Have you readjusted the bow as you get higher up to closer to the bridge? Also, the more pressure you have and the less string there is to vibrate the more easily nastier sounds are created so move closer to the bridge, use bow speed and less pressure and that should help.

April 17, 2006 at 06:52 PM · Agree, don't press too hard with the bow. At the same time though, be sure you are using enough pressure with your left hand--it gets hard to press those darn strings down when you're up that high! Then just basic stuff like make sure you're not bowing crooked, make sure you have flat bow hair etc.

Don't worry too much about it, this sort of thing tends to improve naturally with experience. Good luck! :)

April 17, 2006 at 06:56 PM · Also I find that an increase of bow speed over pressure when getting into the upper register helps with a cleaner more vibrant tone.

April 17, 2006 at 08:28 PM · Yeah...whatever you do, don't dig into the string, and don't squeeze anything anywhere. The key is *relax*..........advice I myself would do well to heed.....

April 17, 2006 at 08:39 PM · haha I realize f sharp melodic minor is even worse lol thanks for the help it worked!!


April 18, 2006 at 05:14 AM · Simon Fischer's 'Basics' helped me a lot with this.

You know how in 1st position the sounding points (i.e. where you bow the string between bridge and fingerboard) are quite far apart? So when playing pp, you might play quite near the fingerboard, ff near the bridge? With each higher position, the sounding points move closer together, all crowding together near the bridge. So in 7th pos, the distance between sounding point 1 and 5 is very tiny.

ALSO, and most importantly, because you are now playing on a very short string, it can only tolerate a lower pressure. So when in 1st pos playing near the bridge means a fair amount of weight on the string, in 7ths pos near the bridge no longer means that (this is where I used to go wrong, thinking that near the bridge always meant a lot of weight).

Imagine, when playing up high, that you are now playing on a delicate little 1/8 size violin.

What the others have said about finger pressure is true though - the bigger distance between string and fingerboard means that you must be fairly firm with the left hand.

April 18, 2006 at 05:51 AM · Ahhhh, the torture of higher registers! Be patient for one. Experiment with the pressure of your left and and bow placement (fingerboard to bridge) until you find what works for you and the instrument. Intonation is touchy up there and being off by just a bit can get that scratchy "run for the hills" sound. Go slow at first and good luck!

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