String crossing is hard.

May 29, 2018, 12:29 PM · I'm learning minuet in G major (I think it's the third) i don't remember so here's the link:
I'm having problems with switching from the A to the D string using the third finger (like in the first measure). Is there any kind of exercise i can do improve string crossing?

Replies (16)

May 29, 2018, 12:40 PM · Have you tried etudes?
Wohlfahrt will be good for this.
Also, yes, that's Bach's Minuet in G Major, No. 3.
May 29, 2018, 12:48 PM · Are you putting your 3rd finger on both A and D string simultaneously? If not, try doing that. You should not be lifting the 3rd off the A and moving it to the D when going from the first note to the second.
Edited: May 29, 2018, 10:18 PM · @Nina Roco thanks. I've been searching for some etudes to start and I'll try that one. :)
@Mary Ellen Goree do you mean I should put my 3rd finger somewhere in the middle of The A and D string so as to get the sound of notes effortlessly? I wanted to do that but i thought that would be cheating.
May 29, 2018, 10:28 PM · Hi Violetta,

Try to practice (no need bowing) "rolling" the finger between the strings. For that passage, start with the 3rd finger a little flatter (more in the flesshier part) in the A string and roll it so that the tip of the finger goes to the D. So the finger would start at about 30 degrees angle in A and end at 90 degrees angle in D. It is important that once the finger is in D it doesn't touch the A because you have to move fast to the open string in A.

You could also press down both strings, but in my case and experience, you might do it too strongly and when you release both fingers from the string to bow the 3rd note open string, it makes a "sproing" noise. I like rolling better.

Edited: May 29, 2018, 10:49 PM · Violetta, if fingering two notes at once is cheating then I best go re-finger my copy of the Telemann viola concerto ;)

Carlos, interesting you mention that noise. Are you sure you are lifting the finger directly vertical when you remove it? That sounds like it might be a side-effect of pulling one or both of the strings to the side - when you release them they end up releasing like a very weak left hand pizz.

May 30, 2018, 12:40 AM · @Carlos I'll try that. Thank you. ^.^
@Michael haha. If it's something that everyone does then i suppose it's more of a technique than a shortcut to get something done. XD
May 30, 2018, 12:48 AM · No reason it can't be both technique and shortcut.
Edited: May 30, 2018, 12:49 AM · Hi Michael. No, it's hand or string stickiness :-P A side effect of living in a humid country.
If you press the string too hard and either the fleshy part of the finger or the string is "sticky", it makes a tiny pizz when releasing, more noticeable (though only for the player) if the next note is an open string.

It's an issue long time past behind. Now my fingering is lighter and it doesn't make that effect. However seems to be normal around here because my teacher identified it soon and gave me the answer to correct it (which was, press lighter and less in the fleshy part of the finger). But it drove me nuts when I did Violetta's Minuet and I was warning of the stone in the road...

May 30, 2018, 12:53 AM · Always fun, we are entering that time of year here where my apartment gives a similar effect. There are more days than I'd like when it hits 80%+ humidity.

I was only wondering about the pulling of the string as I recall a similar problem I had, and one that my guitar students suffer from as well (and then become confused about when they get to slurs and you *want* them to do that!)

May 30, 2018, 1:17 AM · There is no such thing as "cheating" on the violin, as long whatever you do produces the sound you want.
May 30, 2018, 7:16 AM · I read the topic of this thread and thought "yes" ;)
May 30, 2018, 10:24 AM · With my slim fingers on the more widely-spaced viola strings, I place the finger between the strings and roll it either way. Not cheating, just intelligent technique!
The contact will be on either side of the fingertip, which must be placed a little nearer the bridge than usual to be in tune.

Flattening the fingertip across the strings may work for you: for me, the diagonal component makes for less-than-perfect fifths...

May 30, 2018, 12:32 PM · It isn't cheating; it's a technique sometimes referred to as "blocking" or "barring."

Part of becoming an excellent sight reader is developing the ability to see fifths coming up so that one can put the finger down in advance on both strings.

May 30, 2018, 1:19 PM · A good part of the challenge with string crossings depends on whether or not the consecutive notes are to be played slurred or detached.

Have you practiced detached and slurred crossing across open strings? I did various etudes for months until I felt comfortable crossing from any string to any other string. I use rotation of the forearm to rapidly and precisely switch strings.

If you can reliably cross with detache bowing when going from one open string to another, then crossing for fingered detached notes should just take a little bit of slow practice. The challenge of placing a finger while crossing a string can cause over-rotating the bow and nicking one string further than desired.

Practice it while looking at the fingerboard, then gradually close your eyes and repeat so you can feel how the motions of the left and right hand. It should soon become automatic.

Slurred notes across strings are more of a challenge. I find a slurred crossing to a lower finger rather easy because I can place the finger without danger of interfering with the note currently being played.

A slurred crossing to a higher finger is fraught with danger and takes me a lot of practice to get it to sound right.

May 30, 2018, 10:42 PM · Part of the problem can be solved by mentally re-labeling it as "string changes", Not "string crossings". Keep the hair on the strings. The angular difference between the 4 string levels is not that great. Beginners can learn the 4 discrete places in space of the right elbow. There are a finite number (15?) of combinations of the open string pairs that you can practice: up&down, high-low & low-high, slurred or separate. Later, when things go faster, add wrist and finger motions to change strings.
May 31, 2018, 12:53 AM · All the videos on YouTube on this piece do hop the finger between A and D strings, and they sound fine. Whether we ‘cheat’ or not by pressing both strings and rolling may depend on how the exercise wants us to do , IMO.

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