Bruch String Crossings

July 20, 2018, 9:05 PM · I got to the section after the chromatic scale where there there are awkward string crossings. I can't seem to be able to play it, and it only seems to gets worse when I slow it down. Any tips or suggestions on how to practice/play it?

Replies (4)

July 20, 2018, 11:05 PM · Try practicing articulations under the slurs--for example, if a downbow slur covers three notes, play them down-down-down with stops in between. It goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway) that this is a slow practice technique.
July 21, 2018, 10:07 AM · There are a lot of things that can go wrong with that passage.

#1 - get really comfortable with that first shift into 5th position. If you're not in complete control of that aspect I don't see how the rest of the passage could possibly attain any sort of routine in a left hand sense.

#2 - there are left hand finger manipulations that need to be mastered in order for the passage to sound properly. I would recommend slow but steady separate bow practice, making sure that each individual note sounds cleanly and clearly. Follow that up with 2 notes per bow before practicing the printed bowing.

#3 - many students move the bow too far when attempting the string crossings. When you're practicing separate bows keep a keen eye on how little the plane actually has to move to get the notes to sound.

Of course - getting all of these moving parts to work together in harmony is not an easy feat and requires much repetition. When I'm teaching the Bruch I assign the entire passage to be practiced with the metronome, separate bows, from the beginning of the first chromatic scale to the end of the aforementioned passage, at least 10 times a day.

July 21, 2018, 10:14 AM · Thanks for the suggestions, I will try them and see if the passage gets any better.
Edited: July 21, 2018, 2:50 PM · @Ryan Smith pretty much said it all, I'll add on a few:

#4 - once you figure out #3, you'd find that it's best to play this passage in the lower half of the bow. Because at this part of the bow, string crossings are smaller, AKA more control, and you can get more sound than playing at the tip.

#5 - with slow practice, pay attention to the bow distribution in respect to how you cross strings. You'll find out that some notes you actually need more bows for. Which I will mention in #6.

#6 - it's really to miss out the middle note and get it imbalanced. Here's a tip: articulate the bow changes. So NOT smooth. Since the bow change is also at the string crossing, it's actually acceptable to do it in order to bring out a weak note.

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