Playing techniques for Fortissimo and Fortississimo
I suffer from poor techniques when I'm playing the Violin in ff or fff. The bow either tend to finish off quickly, or else there is some sort of scratchy sounds often.
Can you suggest some basic techniques or any studies for developing the skills to play the areas in ff & fff in a better way?
Do you have a teacher? If so, your teacher is in the best position to help. Otherwise, it sounds as if you are using either just bow speed or just pressure to achieve the ff or fff. You need to experiment on open strings with combinations of bow speed and pressure to see what works best for you. Also, when you want loud sounds, playing closer to the bridge can help. However, a teacher can help you most of all.
Thank you Sir, for the important information.
It is also important to remember to moderate your forte, otherwise you have no way to raise the level. If there are faff and ffff markings your f must be barely above mf.
For me the hardest part is good bow control near the bridge. There is something called "one minute bow" which isn't especially for fortissimo but for bow control playing near the bridge - I integrated it into my daily warmup routine. And don't be shy, anybody sounds more or less awful in this exercise. (Maybe that's why Nate Cole recorded this YouTube video in the sauna...?)
You can get an additional (perceived) volume boost using the left hand, by ramping up vibrato ;)
There is a performing technique which could be used when you are required to play a sustained ff note or notes when soloing with an orchestra, for example. You start off the note with a sffz lasting a fraction of second and immediately reduce the volume to a manageable f for the sustain. As far as the audience is concerned it will seem that you are sustaining an ff.
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