Getting right and left hands on the same page - Violin

Edited: March 18, 2019, 12:27 AM · I've been practicing Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, and I've been having trouble with the second half of measures 90 and 94. I've put a lot of hooked-bows and rhythm practice into that small section, but there's an aspect outside the realm of intonation that's troubling me. I know what's going wrong, but I don't know how to fix it. My bow wants to move faster than my left hand can manage. It feels like my right arm can't comprehend the precision needed to find the correct angle for each string throughout the run, so it just drops to the E string prematurely. It's a very klunky and lazy feeling.

Any ideas on how to practice this to ensure a solid connection between my left and right hands? Also, exercises to build the tempo without losing the quality of the sound or crispness is graciously accepted! :)

Replies (13)

March 18, 2019, 12:46 AM · My copy doesn't have ms. #s, I presume it is the section between letter F & G. Two things might going on. The bow is in fact arriving too early on the open E because the right elbow is already at that level. Keep the right elbow at the A string level and just drop the hand to hit that single fast E string note. Similarly, for a single quick note on the G string, just raise the hand. OR; Our left hand fingers frequently arrive a little late. One can fix that by slowing done a lot, put little rests between all the notes, and prepare the next note during the rest. This "prepared fingering" trains the fingers to move a little earlier. Then there is the well-known trick of using dotted and reverse dotted rhythm.
March 18, 2019, 1:14 AM · Joel, thank you so much for your reply!

I appriciate the very helpful advice, though the section I am struggling with is the last measure of the bottom line on the second page. I don't know if that's any help at all, but it's between letters A & B. It's possible that your advice is aplicable to this section as well :)


March 18, 2019, 3:42 AM · Emma I am nowhere near your level but have you tried practicing this without fingering at all, so using just the open strings? This gets you accustomed to the length of time the bow needs to be on each string during the run.
March 18, 2019, 7:22 AM · Hi Emma,

I’m working on that very exercise of string crossings, making them seem less and connected. My teacher has me on Wohlfahrt etude 26. You should take a look at it and play it. I find it is like medicine for klunky string crosses. I am getting a consistent tone and rewarding sound as a result. I started from scratch a few months ago after a long break. I missed a lot of fundamentals, so I’m glad i’m rebuilding a solid foundation on which to build, doing etudes like this. Maybe that string crossing exercise will fill a void for a skill set that may be missing. If so, maybe it will help you through your preparation of the piece you are working on. Cheers!


March 18, 2019, 8:01 AM · My son struggled with that section as well. The best way he found to practice it was in groups. Play 6 notes at your current playing tempo. Stop for a beat rest, and then 6 more. You can also do odd groupings here like 4s. And then 12s. Eventually make the rest between the groups less and less. And always think about finger before bow.
March 18, 2019, 9:40 AM · Whenever I have a hard section to play, and my hands just don't seem to connect, I break the hard section into littler groups. I slow down, take bowing out (slurs, hook, etc) and just work on my left hand fingers for a section of notes. Once my left hand has figured out whats going on I add the bowing back in on that section at the slow tempo. Then I just work slow to fast. Once I have one section figured out, I move on to the next group of notes and repeat.
March 18, 2019, 10:19 AM · I find that a staccato bowing, usually on the half-measure, helps me significantly with coordinating evenness of left and right hands. (YMMV depending on whether or not you have a reliable even up-bow and down-bow staccato.)
March 18, 2019, 12:09 PM · continued,- my mistake, different spot, different problem. In general, you probably already know, arrange the bowing so that slurred arpeggios with string changes match the curve of the bridge; down-bow ascending, up-bow descending. That specific arpeggio: the "prepared fingering" concept still applies. Also lift the fingers you are not actually using (!). I sometimes find that very fast passages work a little better when I think of lifting the fingers instead of placing them. I would finger that spot a little different from what is printed: 3-1-3-1-2-shift-1-2-4-(3). Maybe your 1st finger was arriving late on the E string because it was still stuck on the A string.
March 18, 2019, 8:10 PM · My all-time favorite tutorial for advanced players on upbow staccato is Eyal Kless:

Beyond that, I also find practicing 2 notes on each pitch very helpful, dotted rhythms, and of course slurred. In general, the left hand has to match the bow, which is reverse of how we usually play. When I complained to my teacher years ago about this very passage, saying "I'm barely hanging on", my teacher said "Dear, barely hanging is what upbow staccato is all about". It did help me not freak out in the moment. Hope that helps.

Edited: March 18, 2019, 10:44 PM · Susanna, OP is referring to the slurred triplet arpeggio at the end of measure 90 and 94, not the upbow staccato section in measures 92+93.

OP, this problem is probably occurring because your bow arm is trying to "predict" what it has to do next, and is overdoing this, thus leading to it rushing ahead.

Here's what I would do in that section.

First obviously start really slow because in re-working the section, we're doing new things and our body isn't used to them.

1) Add an open G to the rest that begins the arpeggio, so it just feels like 3 regular pairs of triplets. The timing is going to throw you off if you don't do this.

2) Accent the first note of each triplet, but make sure the slur doesn't become broken. This will add structure to the timing.

3) When in slow mode, "hammer" each finger down so that the speed of each finger placement will also work as you increase the overall tempo. If your fingers move slow in slow tempo, they'll tend to stay slow as we increase the tempo. So "hit" the string with each finger even when playing very slow.

4) Mark on the page *where* the actual string changes occur within the arpeggio. We naturally expect the bow to change strings at the beginning of each triplet, but it doesn't. So mark where it does, and make a special physical *emphasis* on each string change when practicing slowly. For the "emphasis", I recommend a quick drop of the right arm, almost like it is "snapping to the grid" of the next plane of motion. Try not to let the bow stay in the "in-between" planes at all. It should either be fully on the D-plane or fully on the A-plane (or w/e string it's supposed to be).

Hopefully these help!

March 19, 2019, 12:51 AM · I don't have measure markings in my part, so I tried counting, and my be off. Are you talking about the arpeggio that starts on a B on the G string or its partner that starts in 3rd position with a B on the D string. I wonder if you could just avoid the E-string altogether. I have the Francescatti part and he makes a run up to the harmonic on the A-string without hitting the E at all.
March 19, 2019, 11:53 AM · oops - Erik you are correct I had the wrong place. I like your suggestions!
March 21, 2019, 1:16 PM · Thanks Susanna. I enjoy your videos as well.

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