How does one achieve a fast but controlled detache? When I try fast detache, my bow strokes become shorter and shorter and my arm begins tensing up (the left hand fingers and bow are coordinated though). I have tried practicing slowly and gradually speeding it up, but my arm just can’t seem to feel relaxed or in control. Thanks
Gradually speeding up may bring too much muscle into each note.
"my arms tense" That indicates that you are probably using the beginner's style of bowing; arm motion only. As the speed increases the the wrist and fingers gradually take over, the arm moves less. This requires a light, flexible bow hold. Too many players have a locked bow grip. Beware of the straight 4th finger; that locks up rest of the hand.
Adrian-thanks for the advice. I’ll try that soon.
Only the wrist. Only the wrist!
I have tried only using the wrist but the wrist motion seems too short, and make the notes seem a bit choppy. That is why I tried using the arm along with the wrist.
Don't worry about your tone. I gave you a drill to introduce the wrist into your stroke. When you go full speed it will become something like 80% wrist motion and 20% arm motion (depending on the volume and speed) and should be a very fluid motion.
Alright, I’ll try the exercise when I get home from vacation tomorrow and see how it feels. Thanks
-continued- Actually, it is a combined arm and wrist/finger motion. The arm is not completely stationary. The fingers finesse, control the change of direction.
I’m assuming your playing violin. If playing viola the principle is completely different so in the unlikely case this is true, Remember that much more arm is needed and really only a flexible wrist is needed but not a solely wrist motion.
You'll have arm tension if you use either ONLY arm or NO arm in your motion. The way to get there is gradually. If you are close to beginner level, the Perpetual Motion piece in Suzuki Book 1 will be fine for improving your detache stroke. Advanced students in the Suzuki program often return to this piece when they have new bow strokes that they want to groove.
OP, at what approximate metronome speed would you say that the issue begins? (Use open A string to determine this, to take out the fingers as a variable, even if you don't think it's a variable).
Paul- I don’t think I’m around the beginner level (I’m currently about to begin the first movement of the Lalo symphonie espagnol) but I’ll try it
I'm kind of confused at this point, OP. What exactly do you think "detache" means?
Mostly I practise the descending G major 2-octave scale, as descending seems harder than ascending in terms of détaché LH/RH synch.
The left hand has to lead the dance; and
continued-- Sometimes when we see the word "detache" we make the mistake of trying to separate the notes in some version of staccato, which involves extra motions and time. Fr. Detache vs Eng. Detached is one of many false cognates. What is intended, my opinion, is: Indifferent, Ordinary. I call it plain-vanilla bowing, back and forth, on the string.