Holding fingers on two strings - Kreutzer 32

July 17, 2017, 11:00 AM · I'm working on Kreutzer 32 right now, and I'm noticing that when I set the fifth double stop and keep my first finger down throughout, my tone quality gets really intermittent. I'm trying to figure out if I'm doing something sympathetic in my right hand, but it seems like the issue is with my left hand.

It seems like it happens when I get to the 4th double stop, and that when I play without setting my first finger across both strings, I can get a nice sound throughout, but then I have to find a moment to pivot my finger for when I get to the 5th, so that is the drawback.

Does anyone have any thoughts about keeping your finger down throughout, versus moving your first finger at the last moment to get the 5th (Which I find much more comfortable). I have fairly small hands and thin fingers, but not so much that I can't play a 5th. I plan on running this by my teacher, but was curious if this seems like an issue anyone has run across before.

Replies (8)

July 17, 2017, 2:40 PM · Having slim fingers, for fifths I place them between the the strings, a little further along than usual, so that the sides of the fingertip catch the strings. When only one of the notes is needed, I can roll the tip more onto the required string for a clearer tone.

Sometimes works!

July 17, 2017, 3:14 PM · Christian try to put the first finger more on the E string and only a little bit on the A string. In general when playing double-stopped fifths the finger need not be equally placed on both strings. In your case it can mainly be on the E string with just a "corner" on the other. Then you can infinitesimally roll over like Adrian says. Check this old post from Emil Chudnovsky http://www.violinist.com/discussion/archive/10337/ Actually Emil says "don't lean", I guess if you are playing fast passages there may indeed be no time for that.
July 17, 2017, 4:16 PM · I have been aiming for the sides of my finger to hit either string, although I've been playing with leaning. That's a really interesting thread you posted Jean.

It seems like I'm pretty constrained. I could put my finger across more perpendicular to the string, as an alternative, but then it's even tougher to reach the fourth finger an augmented fourth above the first (half step below the first finger on e string. I guess I'll just have to play around until I get a clearer sound. It just weirds me out that the tone gets weird and scratchy, even though it seems like I have enough pressure on the strings.


Edited: July 18, 2017, 5:02 PM · I play all my fifths with a sideways finger with a bit of slant.


1. Each correct note lies a few cents lower on the string due to string thicknesses, so a perfectly centred finger will be out of tune.

2. It is much trickier to perfectly hit a fifth with an unnatural hand position. The sideways drop is similar to an actual fingering as used elsewhere (if a bit guitar-y), and ends up being much easier to memorize the feel for and reproduce accurately IN MY VERY STRONG OPINION. :)

3. Slanted finger means fifths can now be played, for my smallish male hands with long fingers and nice rounded pads, up to 7-8th position consistently, instead of the usually regarded fifth position as a "string space limitation".

Thanks for reading... :D

Edited: July 18, 2017, 2:20 AM · Here we go again. The discrepency where we have to advance the finger more on th E-string has nothing to do with the curvature of the bridge but is due to the inharmonicity of the thicker strings. (Very strong opinions based on facts.)

If the bridge curvature means that the vibrating length of the E is a shade shorter than the others, it would tend to cancel the discrepency, not increase it.

Edited: July 18, 2017, 8:59 AM · Hmmm, I guess this is a little confusing, and I could do a better job of describing. The problem isn't really the 5th, which I can play in tune, but more an issue of how the various ways I could position my finger for the 5ths (as well as the rest of my hand) affects my hand-frame for the other notes I'm playing (My hand feels really cramped near the 1st finger and really stretched near the 4th finger, and it's also an issue of getting the 4th finger to the a string without having it touch and disturb the e string).

I guess I'm trying to figure out whether the problem is:

-My left hand (not enough finger contact, I'm pushing the string out to the side too much, etc?)
-My right hand (I'm letting up on the bow because of the difficulty in my left hand, I'm pressing too much, etc?)
-The violin / set-up (I would tend to think not, since I can play the perfect 4th with a solid tone when I leave my first finger on just the e string)

But it FEELS like it's the violin's fault. Anyway, it didn't seem to be an issue at my lesson yesterday, so maybe it just kind of figured itself out (Still need to work out some of the shifts a little better and more relaxed). I guess I was curious about what I seemed to be experiencing.

July 18, 2017, 5:01 PM · My bad! Regardless, it still holds that the strings are not perfectly intune if played with a dead-straightened finger across. Hence, I go sideways for many the benefits. :)
August 2, 2017, 4:07 AM · There are moments when I have to have a more cello- or guitar-like hand position during chords (or even arpeggios), which are far from simple assemblies of scale notes.

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