A friendly -no-SR question
Wish I knew how to set up a poll here - I think we used to..
So, without looking it up: the question is simple and its just for those who are dedicated SR-addicts. Oops, that wasn't so friendly was it? LOL!
If you play without an SR what is the main method of holding the violin up?
a) by resting it on your shoulder?
b) with the left hand?
c) by clamping the chin against the collarbone?
d) you don't you let it droop
e) with strings, elastic and pulleys?
[question triggered by a pro who told me I was wrong]
This is NOT an SR-fight, there is no judgement as to which is better (although we all know which is).
f: All of the above.
a) by resting it on your shoulder.
Elise - I am learning to play with a Belvelin shoulder pad, which isn't entirely SR free, but it is far less support than my Kun! Here's what I was told:
I have actually repeatedly tested the acoustics of my violin with and without a shoulder rest and have surprisingly found that the sound is better with the shoulder rest. However, this only started when using the korfker rest. And yes, I was testing only balancing on the collarbone, which is the least acoustically disruptive).
I use a balance of the LH and the collarbone/jawbone with a well-fitted chinrest (Tempel, Germany) to hold my instrument up. No clamping necessary, although I do have to "throw" the instrument around with the left hand a bit to stay mobile.
To answer the question, though, the answer is *all of the above* when I have played without one (still uncomfortable because of poor shoulder flexibility).
Flesch center mount with the same height from back table to top of CR for both viola and violin. Center of the instrument solidly on my collarbone. Rest of weight in hand. I have free rotation when playing low second or viola parts to better play lower strings. I rarely play with a SR anymore and like the resonance, lightness, freedom of motion and lack of dropping and carrying the darned thing.
Some of a-d. When in first position, as little pressure as I can get away with between left hand thumb and finger base, using that to push the instrument gently back against collarbone and neck. This works better with a very light instrument, or one balanced more towards the chinrest end. Some pressure between jaw on chinrest and collarbone, but just the bare minimum and mostly when downshifting. Also sometimes adjusting the horizontal angle (raise scroll a bit before downshifting). When in higher positions, left thumb against bast of instrument neck, and use that to push the violin slightly back against the neck. (Note that I am double-jointed, so my thumb can assume some positions that may not be possible for everyone.)
B & C; although it's less clamping and more using it as a counter weight... I occasionally drop my shoulder rest during playing and it is not always possible to stop and pick it up.
I m curious about what you were told was wrong. The topic of dogmatism in classical music is something that really fascinates me!
I think this topic confirms that the fine art of SR-less playing is disappearing. The answer to my question should be (IMO):
I don't use a SR and completely depend on the left hand to keep the violin up. It would fall on the ground without my left hand. On the other side of the violin it rests on the collarbone and also a little bit on the left shoulder top muscle (Jeewon what is the name of that muscle? ;-)
Here’s something I wrote after a number of people suggested that the left hand should NEVER support the violin:
Denis - Thank you. At last someone has spelled it all out without prejudice. I think nothing more needs to be added
Since the violin has clear contact with my collarbone despite using a shoulder rest, I disagree with the idea that one can only feel as if the violin is part of you without a shoulder rest. If you can play perfectly & comfortably *all* the repertoire without shoulder rest, then you should indeed do that. But those who choose to use a SR are not necessarily avoiding "intimacy" with the instrument. I find that it is all well-intentioned but more very subjective and romantic (nothing wrong with the latter) advice. I know from personal experience that violin became much "easier" for me once I found my own, proper balance between collarbone, chinrest, and shoulder rest. I agree that bodily contact with the instrument is wonderful, but that it's also not made impossible with some shoulder rest setups (such as in my case, some of you, and other people I've known.)
Timothy - all very interesting but PLEASE don't make this into a SR vs No-SR war - that's exactly what I was trying to avoid and there are already probably dozens of the same topic on V.Com.
Thanks for the clarification.
Elise reminds me of those young kids that throw sand in people's eyes and then when they retaliate she screams "don't bully me!".
I have known Elise on this forum for some time, and she loves to tease...
I will refer you to the video that made me want to play without a SR. He does a good job of explaining it. Personally, I don't use a shoulder rest anymore because I basically have no neck and can't physically get my shoulder rest short enough to be in the right spot, and it feels more natural and comfortable to play without it. However, I also dont rest it on my collarbone, but the bottom purfling notches in just under my collarbone which works fine for me. But like I said, I have a fat no neck.
I went sink-or-swim after my shoulder rest seriously ****** me off while I was recording a CD in a church. That was a few years back. I learned to play comfortably without an SR (more comfortably than with) in a fairly short time---no more than a year. My posture is always changing, though.
Hi Erik Williams, actually I thought her poll was really quite interesting but it was not clear (to me anyway) that she was looking for input from actual SR players. It could’ve been worded better IMO.
Elise so your question was directed specifically at SR users, and asks how they support the instrument without a SR? As in, when they just try it for fun or for the gimmick of it? Totally confused now!
Hi Jean, this thread interests me as it’s quite related to my research topic. As I said previously, the question could’ve been worded differently.
As an adult student, the biggest revelation for myself was prioritising bow arm mechanics - the fiddle needs to the in such a position that it is effortless to bow all the strings and the natural weight of the arm is enough to produce good, consistent tone.
"She talks about how she simply wants the question answered and doesn't want it to become a battle of SR vs no SR, and yet keeps throwing in little passive remarks about SR users, and indicating her opinion on the superior path."
OTOH Denis - I see we agree entirely on the use of the left hand when playing without SRs. Indirectly, I see also seem to agree that the art of playing without an SR is being lost. A few years ago I think very few people would not know that supporting the violin with the L hand is essential for SR-free playing.
Sigh. I'm not sure anyone read my OP!!
For my money, you're not wrong.... if you don't use a shoulder rest, support the violin with the left hand and collarbone. I tell my students not to regard the violin as a dance floor on which the fingers dance, but as their dance partner.
I stand by my original assessment. You have a generally defensive-elitist tone and should really phrase things differently if you want better responses. You failed to make your question and the purpose behind it clear enough. The best part is that now you're acting as though everyone else is stupid for not understanding the specifics of your inquiry, when it was your lack of communication skills that made it this way.
I found the questions clear, and my own post too, I think.
"I will give you a bit of help though, in case you're having trouble understanding why everyone was confused: you said: "the question is simple and its just for those who are dedicated SR-addicts".
Adrian - since this topic is obviously going to wander where it will, sometimes its best to go with the flow.
"For my money, you're not wrong.... if you don't use a shoulder rest, support the violin with the left hand and collarbone. I tell my students not to regard the violin as a dance floor on which the fingers dance, but as their dance partner."
When you've attained a 4th Dan (actually, 3rd or even 2nd Dan will do fine) in the SR-less technique then perhaps it is the time to think about the freedom of playing CR-less. I must make it quite clear that I'm not advocating CR-less for all music, particularly that from the mid-19th century onward, but there are advantages I find in using the technique for the preceding Classical and Baroque eras. The advantages include being able to adjust one's playing position to suit the requirements of the moment, and an improvement in tone production, in connection with which I've long been convinced that a chin rest has some sort of adverse effect on the tone.
Dan plays without a SR?
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.