How to make fast slurs sound good.

July 15, 2019, 10:34 PM · When playing quick slurred runs, it sounds "mushy" and the notes kind of blend together and it sounds sloppy. What are some good ways to practice to correct this?

Replies (10)

July 15, 2019, 10:37 PM · Practise detache, then hooked staccato, then with original bowing. Don't forget your strong beats as well. It might help to exaggerate every possible strong note in the beginning and make it more subtle later. And go slowly!
July 15, 2019, 11:06 PM · Work on articulation in general. Schradieck is useful for this, done with a metronome. You want snappy finger action that results in a little ping when fingers are set down and picked up.
Edited: July 16, 2019, 12:13 AM · Mushy notes on slurs ? Let's see: don't stop the bow when changing strings, instead move an extra inch , to compensate for that distance between the strings. If you keep the bow moving, the left fingers will follow. Don't have your fingers too close to the strings, they won't hit with enough velocity to go down all the way to the wood. Don't forget to lift the fingers you are not using right now, you will need them somewhere else very soon. A Cellist's trick that is not needed very often on violin; add some left hand pizz. on descending scales. Because of inertia the string does not want to drop down to a lower pitch.
Edited: July 16, 2019, 1:33 AM · Energy! Even in pianissimo.
Left hand fingers must lift as fast as they drop.
The bow must cross the strings quickly and lightly.

And for us poor "right-handers" the left hand must learn to lead the show.

July 16, 2019, 10:36 PM · Yea, I guess I should make a schradiek-like exercise out of the difficult parts. My bow definitely does not move fast when I'm thinking too hard about my left hand.
July 16, 2019, 10:41 PM · It's more worthwhile to practice this kind of velocity exercise using finger patterns (Schradieck, or the equivalent Sevcik, Dounis, or Fischer exercises) than it is to practice it on specific repertoire because the velocity then carries over to everything you do.
July 16, 2019, 11:08 PM · My guess is that your fingers aren't hitting the string hard enough. The faster the notes are within a slur, the harder the fingertips have to "pop" the string in order for the clarity to be there.
Edited: July 16, 2019, 11:40 PM · I’m trying to do the fast run in the beginning of Zigeunerweisen for fun because my teacher is in China until August and one of the things I wanted to improve is fast runs. I’ve done 3 octave major scales to death so I wanted to try something else that I would enjoy. Funnily enough, the sloppiest part is the e flat on the d string to e flat on the a string. Something about the low 1 and high second finger makes me play unevenly and no articulation.
July 17, 2019, 12:25 AM · It's not how hard you strike the string or how solidly you stop it. It's the speed at which the finger hits the string or leaves the string. Sure, many people use a hammer-on to get speed. But that's actually much less effective for articulate playing at extremely high speeds than the lightest clean stop possible with very fast drops and lifts.

A fast run shouldn't actually have all notes totally even. The first few notes and the last couple of notes are the ones that really matter. Start the run slow and then accelerate. That's much more effective.

July 17, 2019, 3:16 AM · Don’t forget the bow. It might take care of itself after the LH drills, but be sure it isn’t skating around, and changes stings with authority. Perhaps keep the bow more vertical (i.e. not tilted forward).

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