Advice needed on Sevcik bowing variation study 10
Hi l’m steadily working my way through the Sevcik bow variations and have a question. Variation 10 has spicatto followed by slurs. My understanding of spiccato is they should be off the string and in the middle of the bow. In this piece that are four staccato notes followed by two slurred. My question is how do I stop the bow bounce from the spiccato into the slurred notes. Also to get more volume I would need to drop the bow from a greater height and possibly with a larger brushed stroke. Do I have these ideas correct? I would attach the music but I’m not sure how to on an iPad
Many thanks Sonia
If you have a teacher, ask about it. Spiccato is done anywhere from the middle of the bow to the frog. For a louder, edgier-sounding spiccato, aim to be closer to the frog. To go from spiccato to on-the-string playing, make a soft landing on the string. A relaxed right hand and especially thumb will help.
Generally spiccato has to be done where it sounds best. The slower the spiccato the closer to the frog. I would strongly recommend to do the spiccato in this variation below the middle, somewhere around the point of balance. Start with playing the whole variation only spiccato to find the exact area of the bow where it feels comfortable and sounds good. When you add the slurs drop your arm for the slurred notes to add more weight to the bow. Very important is to not lift the bow after the slur but to do the bow change between the slur and the next spiccato note on the string. Lift the bow after the spiccato note following the slurr. That will give you more control and make it cleaner and more precise and you avoid cropping the second note of the slur. Make sure you don't use too much bow for the slur so that you don't get too far away from the place where you do the spiccato.
Sevcik Op 3, 40 variations is my favorite bowing book, both for teaching and personal practice. I studied it with a student of Sevcik. For any note attacked from the air the bow will want to bounce. To prevent it from bouncing you either set it on the string a split-second early, or, use a firm grip to force it into the string. Conversely, any note following a slur or ordinary detache will Not want to bounce, you have to either lift before the first bounced note, or give it extra energy with a string change or a pinch-accent with the fingers to pop it off the string. What I would do with var. 10 is set the bow during the tiny rest between the fourth spiccato note and the first slurred note, then lift the bow after the second slurred note. The reverse-bow version, the second measure, should feel mechanically different. It might get easier when played faster, as the bow stays closer to the string, and the natural bouncing frequency of your bow starts to match the velocity of the piece.~jq
This is good discussion for me because I find myself needing to transition between slurred notes and spiccato a lot more in the pieces I'm working on.
~Paul, et al. The Sevcik Op3 book is very useful for that skill. There are frequent comma makings [ ) ]. Those indicate the places to lift the bow. Var. 1 is mechanically more complex than it looks, might be the most useful one in the book. What makes the topic messy is how to interpret dots and wedges.jq
Sonia, in addition to the very useful suggestions by Joel. Your fingers can act as shock absorbers. A lot of the art of bowing is in the fingers. The "Collé" Exercise 88 in Simon Fischer Basics, five minutes every day, does wonders in this respect (initially it may be very difficult for you but give it time and you will advance very quickly if you practice this every day a bit). Now on the other hand, you should also not exaggerate how high you come off the string with spiccato. It doesn't have to be all that high. The more important aspect of spiccato is the articulation and again that is done with the fingers. You can actually get a spiccato effect also without the hair actually leaving the string. It is fine to leave the string, but try to keep it at a minimum. (Edit: I now see that Joel already said that much.)
By the way I also love these exercises. If you work on them and achieve some level of fluidity with them you find yourself playing one variation after another, they bring you in some kind of trance and make you feel like you can actually play the violin. The feeling subsides quickly once you get back to the real world :-)
Thank you for all your helpful advice. I’ll be putting them into practice (lol no pun intended).
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