Triple stops in Bruch
I'm having trouble on the triple stops on the 1st page of Bruch, specifically on the F-D-A triple stop and on the G#-D-E one. I'm having trouble engaging the D and A at the same time on F-D-A triple stop; I keep producing a scratchy and unclear sound. On the G#-D-E my 3rd finger keeps touching the E-string when playing it.
Any tips/tricks on how to practice them?
Practice the triple stops as slurred arpeggios until you are comfortable placing your left hand. That is, finger the triple stop and slur downbow D string-A string-E string upbow E string-A string-D string, then go to the next chord and do the same thing. Get your left hand under control first and then practice the chords as chords with the repeated downbows.
This passage was the one that my daughter found perhaps the most difficult in the whole movement. The left hand issue basically dominates and prevents you from realizing just how straight-forward the right-hand issue really is. The way that Mary Ellen suggested solving it is pretty much exactly what my daughter's teacher prescribed (
Good advice above. Make sure you are bowing straight and your right thumb is relaxed. On the G#-D-E double stop, try using more of the tip of your third finger and move it closer to the D string than the E string.
Since it's "triple" stops, the goal is to ring all 3 strings at once.
All good advice above.
Don't just think of this as a passage. Think of it as a doorway to a really important set of skills.
I agree with Thomas but I would generalize. Any time you encounter a really bitchin' passage in a piece that you're doing, then you've reached the bottom of a steep learning curve, and you're going to improve your skill set by mastering that passage. Violin students go through a progression of concertos not only (or even mainly) to learn that particular repertoire but to develop their technical skills and overall musicality. When you leave the Bruch Concerto and move on to the next thing, your Bruch will be good, but it won't be as good as Vengerov's Bruch. However, in ten years' time when you've got far superior chops, and you get an invitation to perform the Bruch, then you will get out your old music and bring the piece up to a truly professional performance level. Brushing up your triple stop passage will be a 15-minute job then. Still, there is a certain time in one's development when you start to see a lot of double and triple stops routinely, and this is a milestone because they will improve your left hand agility and strength much more than many other things you could do. And, yeah, it's hard to beat Bach for that.
I'm a bit skeptical of using several months of Bach to fix a section in Bruch (and Thomas, I know that this isn't exactly what you were trying to say, but I'm just using you as a way of making a point...forgive me).
Erik, I think what you are suggesting is the way 95% of teachers operate. However if a student is able to play the rest of the movement nicely but only struggling with the triple stop passage, then I can certainly see assigning some additional studies or even allied repertoire to deal with that particular limitation, maybe while taking a break from the main piece itself. And I think if you are a teacher who finds, over time, that most of your students tend to stumble over one particular section of a certain piece, then you can assign just that section a few months before the student starts the actual piece so that they can learn the rest of it more enjoyably. My daughter's teacher did this very early on ... starting with the arpeggiated sections of the Vivaldi A Minor! But sadly this very useful method did not continue through to the Bruch level -- in hindsight that would have been very useful.
I should also add that this approach is only useful when the student has enough time to practice to validate studying for the sake of future pieces. If practice is less than 45 minutes a day, the time is probably best spent just on the piece that the student is on, and almost nothing else.
+1 on Thomas' approach. I worked on both pieces concurrently and the a minor fugue particularly was good exercise to get rid of breaks and cracks in the chords.
And lastly, the tilt of your violin matters. Sometimes, it helps to rotate your violin a bit. (clockwise, G-string side higher) Adjust the positioning of the violin so that your fingers press straight down, instead of an angle.
How long have you been practicing them?
One of my all-time favorite videos explaining this technique is by German Professor Klaus Lieb. It's in german, so you have to turn on English captions to fully get it, or get someone to translate for you. I think the explanations are an important aspect of it. In the middle of the video he deals with triple stops. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1z8b1OMtARU&t=232s
Erik I've learned to be generous when talking about pro-level violin teachers on this site, particularly since I'm neither a violin teacher nor anywhere close to a pro-level player so a teacher's got to be really awful before I'm second-guessing them. That didn't serve me well in my childhood because I had plenty of hints from other players and teachers that my teacher wasn't serving me well but I stuck it out.
I would assume most teachers on this site are good ones, because they are on a forum dedicated to violin. That in itself dramatically increases the chance that they care enough about music to try their best when it comes to teaching.
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