Violinists can learn a lot by watching other instrumentalists.
Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg has stated in interviews that she occasionally tries to emphasize the singing nature of opera in her violin playing. Obviously she succeeds.
Because I play the guitar, there's a lot of overlap in technique. One thing I really picked up from guitar was the use of open strings and harmonics. For example, I'll play the Tchaikovsky 2nd movement with a succession of open D harmonics until it's time for the solid trill in the opening motif.
Watching my boss George Staerkel do his "screaming trumpet" thing with bands like Woody Herman and Maynard Ferguson led me to utilize "screaming violin" when playing nonclassical repertoire. Basically one plays melodies on the E-string in what's probably the 10th or 11th positions. A great place to use this is the song "O Sole Mio" also known as "It's Now Or Never" sung by Elvis Presley.
Listening to many of the great Italian American pop crooners like Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra taught me how to slide into a note from a passing tone. A lot of those kinds of slides are considered "old fashioned" or "schmaltzy" today, and how much I use them depends on the scenario.
So have you stolen any techniques from other instruments?
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