False harmonics

October 1, 2018, 9:30 AM · If you've watched any of that crazed acrobat's — Roman Kim's — videos, you'll have noticed he makes extensive use of false harmonics.
Those being playing almost sul tasto and keeping the string halfway between the fingerboard and its natural resting position to get that flute sound.
I've been wanting to use this technique in my compositions, but I can't get it as clean as he. Maybe it only works on synthetics or wrapped strings? I can do it best on the G string.
He also seems to be able to play up the octave this way, which I can only do sporadically (as well as accidentally play all the other partials).

Can someone enlighten me? Or do I gotta just work at it obsessively for a month?

Replies (3)

October 1, 2018, 10:14 AM · To my mind they are not "false" harmonics, they are "fingered" harmonics. You can work this out yourself with open string (or natural) harmonics within the first octave* of each string: any place you can touch the string gently with a finger and create a clean sound you will have divided the string into some integer fraction such as 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5 - and so on. The instrument, the string, the rosin, bow and your skill with it all play a part.

To play a fingered harmonic, you are just shortening the string with the force of the lower finger and creating the harmonic by just touching the string with the upper finger. Typically one would press the string to the fingerboard with the lower finger, but that is not really necessary - you just have to stop the lower part of the string from participating in the vibration of the part of the string activated by the bow.

I'm not sure this really replies to your query but...!

* You usually see violin virtuosos finger the natural harmonics in the upper half of the strings but you can achieve the same result in the lowest octave of the strings. For the fingered harmonics you have to have both fingers "dead-on" in tune and some instruments and set ups do make it much easier.

October 1, 2018, 11:29 AM · I'm not talking about the traditional artificial harmonics. I find those very easy for me, since I've practised those extensively.
It's simply not possible to play fast or complex passages whilst shifting your entire hand across the neck, however. Kim can play so that it sounds likr a harmonic, but only one finger is down at a time. This allows for a lot more freedom in what you can play.
October 1, 2018, 11:57 AM · extremely light pressure and fast flautando.

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