Artificial Harmonics Help?

Edited: May 26, 2018, 9:29 AM · My teacher told me that the reason why I can't really play well the artificial harmonics in Zapateado by Sarasate is bc that I'm not using the wrist of my left hand and I'm only depending on my elbow/forearm. Any help on how to use my wrist on my left hand for artificial harmonics? Thx
(and i did check older posts to see if there was anything about this but i didnt find anything)

Replies (8)

May 26, 2018, 9:43 AM · Also, the artificial harmonics are spiccatoed. I think that might be a factor as well to why it sounds very unclean and "scratchy"
Edited: May 28, 2018, 10:19 AM · I recommend studying artificial harmonics before doing octaves. It trains the first finger to be down solid, the fourth finger light, and the perfect fourth interval to be exactly in tune. I would keep the the wrist straight to preserve that interval. When shifting to the next harmonic, lift the first finger off of the wood, but not off of the string. The point of contact for the bow hair should be about 1 cm/ 3/8 inch from the bridge, almost ponticello, because the vibrating length is very short.
Edited: May 26, 2018, 10:28 AM · Well with any kind of harmonics, and with artificial harmonics especially, it’s either in tune or it’s not.

For harmonics to sound, fingers have to be perfectly placed, otherwise the harmonic won’t get through.
Practice slowly to find the ideal distance between the two fingers, which gets smaller as you go up the fingerboard.

But if you can play it perfectly in a slow tempo détaché, then the issue is one of bow.

‘Very unclean and scratchy’ may likely mean that you are over-pressing, or playing too close to the bridge, or with too little bow, or a combination of these factors.

I would try taking each harmonic separately, one-by-one, and learning to make them sound with the actual movement you’ll be using in the final tempo.
Also check if sound is also unclean and scratchy without the harmonics

May 26, 2018, 10:43 AM · Thx. I think the "too little bow" is causing the bad noise but i HAVE to do the spiccato as it is required by my teacher and the music. My teacher told me to use more bow and less bounce
May 26, 2018, 10:44 AM · I think you need to get your teacher to elaborate about the wrist comment. I personally would want the wrist to remain in a neutral position, but not actively involved in shifting. Release first finger pressure as you shift but maintain contact with the string.
May 26, 2018, 12:03 PM · That's a hard passage. I spent so many hours practicing that.

I'm also not sure about the wrist thing. I guess one question to ask would be:

How does your teacher play the passage when demonstrating it to you? Do they play it clean with a pure tone, in a decent tempo? Can you catch visually what they're getting at?

Or do they just talk about it?

May 26, 2018, 12:29 PM · Then yes do just that, use more horizontal and less vertical movement in your spiccato, rather than something chopped and hard, so that the string can resonate.
Listen! Your ear will guide your movements towards a cleaner sound
May 26, 2018, 3:58 PM · Joel's advice is right on. My father was a serious amateur violinist also and part of his daily warmup was to play two-octave scales with the fingered (fourth) harmonic (up, then down). First play the first-finger note and then the 4th finger harmonic and them move the first finger up to its next note, etc., 1st, 2nd, and 3rd position. (Open strings harmonic with the third finger.)

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