How to improve sound especially in difficult passages?

August 18, 2019, 12:46 AM · I’ve spent a ton of time working on technique this past year, and after working on things such as right hand bow control, left hand flexibility, and tone production techniques, I feel like I have a firm grasp on the skills required to play the violin. However, when I play anything other than open strings, especially fast passages with different bowing connections and string crossings, the sound quality that comes out is really scratchy and does not sound good anymore. I’ve tried slow practice, shortening bow strokes, trying different things in pressure and bow speed, but nothing has worked. I’m concerned because I have been working hard on improving technique and tone production, but the sound I produce is not musically pleasing. I would like advice on what I should do moving forward to make my violin playing sound better.

Replies (23)

August 18, 2019, 1:21 AM · I must admit. I have the same problem
August 18, 2019, 1:34 AM · Two other variables: sound point (distance from bridge) and orientation (vertical/flat hair vs tilted away from you).
August 18, 2019, 3:49 AM · Impossible to really help you from a distance I am afraid. A few visits to a knowledgeable teacher will do wonders. But just one thing that crossed my mind because a long time ago that helped me too: are you sure you play enough on the tips of your (left-hand) fingers? If your fingers are too flat on the strings they dampen adjacent strings and your violin can not resonate fully. Just a random suggestion.
August 18, 2019, 9:04 AM · Barry, basically what you are saying is that playing the violin is hard. Not trying to be snarky, but the difficulty you describe is experienced by pretty much everyone up to, say, the Bruch Level. This is why your teacher wants you to play study after study after study because studies are all about moving your bow back and forth on your strings and figuring out how to generate a nice tone and play in tune when the material gets gradually (VERY gradually) faster as you develop your technique.

People who are self-taught usually have two main issues -- (1) they're trying to advanece their repertoire "level" rather than spending serious time building their fundamentals with studies, and (2) they press down too hard on their bows. Tone generation is about optimizing the balance between making it happen and letting it happen. It's a resonance phenomenon. Suppose you're at the playground with your child on the swingset. Once the child is swinging, the amount of force you need to apply to keep them moving is very small -- but the timing is crucial. Tone generation seems to me the same kind of phenomenon, just on different time and length scales.

So .. not sure what your "level" is, but whatever it is, there's a set of studies to match it. My hunch is that Wohlfahrt ("vole fart") would do you some good. We've all been there.

August 18, 2019, 9:43 AM · I am just a beginner so my comments may not be valuable, but I have a few thoughts:
1) When things get more complicated and I'm concentrating on fingering, my bowing often goes whacko. I can make beautiful, long, even strokes on open strings, but when add fingering, my bow likes to slide sideways for example, resulting in some screeching or wheezing. The same thing may be happening with you.
2) The violin's other strings will often vibrate, creating harmonics, when notes are in tone. That is part of what imparts a fuller sound. As a beginner, my notes are often sharp or flat, so that harmonic resonance is not obtained. The same thing may be happening with you.
3) I'm learning that which part of the pad of my finger hits the string seems to affect the sound, and sometimes my finger touches a neighboring string, which again affects the instrument's harmonics. The same thing ...
4) There's a certain amount of pressure that needs to be applied to a string. I usually press too hard. If I reduce the pressure, the sound is clearer. The same thing ...
5) Although I can support the violin with my chin, and I check that I can before I begin playing, I play with too tight a grip, squeezing the neck. I'm pretty sure this affects the sound.
The bottom line is that there are many, many things going on at once when we play, and these various things all interact.
I believe that as I work through my basics, and try to notice and change the various things I know I'm doing wrong, I will improve. If you get too frustrated, you might seek out a teacher locally or online.
August 18, 2019, 10:20 AM · Agree with Paul D.-- The Violin is an instrument that needs Balance.
There can be equipment issues; violin, bow, strings, rosin.
For a quality sound we need to balance three independent factors; weight, speed, and point of contact. A lot of students use too much weight or pressure. The bow gets stuck and the wrong point of contact prevents the string from vibrating at its maximum, with both fundamental and overtones. Try emphasizing bow speed instead. The energy that the violin radiates depends on the energy that we pump into it. Since Energy = mass X velocity2, then we can expect bow speed to be the more efficient way generate sound. Just don't bow so fast that you loose control. I don't like to use word pressure because we do not want to push down on the bow, rather move sideways, feeling the friction of the rosin. An exercise that might help; Long tones only, upper half only, G-D-A strings; Hold the bow with only the thumb and second finger, zero added weight, controlling the bow with the position of the right elbow. Then gradually add the first finger, other fingers, for more control, then add weight or leverage only when you need more volume.
Edited: August 18, 2019, 11:11 AM · We could get into quite a discussion about the physics of the bowing process, but the reason I made the analogy to a simple resonance phenomenon (child on swingset) is because I think the most critical question is how efficiently energy (or momentum, or whatever) is transferred from your bow to your strings. The efficiency factor was missing in Joel's equations (even though he mentioned it in words). Nevertheless, I quite agree with him that working on bow speed is a good idea. If you notice, the easier studies (Wohlfahrt and such) will regularly specify "whole bow" for studies that seem like it would be hard to use that much bow for the tempo. That's just to give you practice making sound and learning where your bow begins and ends (propioperception), and just generally learning how to move your bow FASTER and still make a good sound.

A great deal of arguing has occurred in the past on this site about "weight" vs. "pressure." If it helps you to think about "weight" while you're playing, then by all means do so. But there's no difference physically because a weight is simply the downward force exerted by an object in a uniform gravitational field. And since pressure is the amount of force exerted on a specific area (N/m^2), and since the contact area between your bow and any particular string is constant, weight and pressure are essentially indistinguishable. Where beginners tend to go wrong is applying all of the pressure with the index finger on the top of their bows, and they have to apply a lot of it because their bow speed is not optimized so much of the "energy transfer" (or whatever) is wasted, whereas a pro knows that the downward applied force has to be intimately related and optimized with the speed of the bow, and in practice, if one thinks about the "weight" of one's arm applying the pressure during the bow stroke, one more or less automatically comes to a combination of pressure and bow speed that is immediately much closer to optimum. I believe this is why teachers have always emphasized "weight".

Edited: August 18, 2019, 1:35 PM · When did you last change your strings? And are you keeping the rosin buildup on them under control? And sometimes people get into a habit of not using enough rosin, and compensate for that by bearing down to hard on the bow. But don't use too much rosin either. I apply a little at frequent intervals, rather than a lot infrequently. And you might need a re-hair, though I admit that's something I do extremely rarely myself, and I believe that if you treat the hair properly it almost never wears out. Those are my suggestions.
August 18, 2019, 2:21 PM · In addition to all the excellent technical tips above, I'd like to mention: anxiety leads to tension in the bow hand. Especially for someone still learning the instrument, when playing a difficult passage faster than you're prepared to play it, it's common for the right hand and wrist to stiffen, which can lead to excess bow pressure and the bow skidding up and down the string.

That's one reason we practice etudes. The more aspects of playing we can make automatic, the less anxious we are while playing.

Pay extra attention to how your right hand and wrist feel. They need to stay relaxed and move freely.

August 19, 2019, 8:50 AM · My two centimes d'Euro..

I have two very different kinds of slow practice, inspired by slow-motion filming:
- Frame by Frame: each event separated and prepared, left fingerfall followed by bowstroke, then simultaneously. A slurred group of notes will be separated, but with real tone and bow distribution.
- Moonwalk: the notes and transitions are done in very slow motion, with no real tone, but with total concentration on coordinating the left and right motions.

Edited: August 19, 2019, 11:37 PM · @Barry George ~

Firstly, a Bravo to you for working so seriously on improving your playing!!! The huge subject of Bowing is very often taught with too many complicated instructions! Truly, after 5 decades of my teaching (& concert artist violin performing/recording career), I'm deeply convinced that the Simple idea of
How to Hold the Bow, as taught by opening one's right hand but Upside Down, & someone then placing the Bow upside down into the upside down open rt. hand with ever so slightly curved fingers in the Air, and then putting the Thumb against the inside of the Bow Frog Nut, still upside down, & then
Taking The Middle Rt hand Finger & curving it to meet the Thumb with Frog being held -still upside down, & Now take the Bow which you are holding upside down with The Thumb & touching The Middle Finger, slowly turn the Bow Right side Up Over in the Air just above the A String & in Air now start
Brushing Up (V) from wherever the Bow is just Over the A String all the way Up to the Frog yet Never Touching down on the actual A String! Allow your whole body to sway to the left w/rt. foot as a swivel while brushing the Bow Up in the Air until you actually feel the Frog continuing on after no more A String! You will find yourself holding the Bow with a sureness that comes from Bowing just above & Over the A String yet not once having touched the A String! For several days, just do this as I've written it out like a good child does exactly what his/her Mother Says!!! For Now, Forget all about the Etudes, the left hand technical studies or scales, including any pieces of Music or even a melody you've been "playing" to simply focus on How to Hold The Bow.

**When you turn your right hand upside down & look down at it you will see the pinky, (4th finger), 3rd finger & other 2 fingers with the Thumb in a truly relaxed ever so slightly curved shape!! Again, upon having done this, have someone or yourself with your left hand place the upside down Bow w/Frog in your Right Hand & then do exactly what I have written above - putting the Thumb into & inside the Frog against the Nut & (you're still holding the Bow with your left hand upside down) then let your Middle Finger try to meet the Thumb (forgetting any thought of meeting the Thumb with the Index-1st Finger - NO!) but Slightly curve or wrap your Middle Finger as closely as you can to meet the Thumb against the Nut inside the Frog. When your right hand is holding the Bow, Hug hold the Frog with Thumb & Middle Finger and lift in the air a bit then with your entire right arm turn Over the upside down Bow you are now holding Over to Right side Up & make yourself hold the Bow a few inches Above the open A String in the Air and brush Up (V) from wherever the Bow is & all the way (in the air & only a few inches above the A String) to the Frog but In The Air! Hold the Bow once you are at the bottom of the Bow's Frog!! Feel this feeling of being in control of The Bow & then Rest your Body. Again, do this routine for 4 times over 16 hours in a day or over 12 hours (3 times over 12 hours in a day) for at least 3 or even 4 days. You will or should begin to feel You are controlling the Bow, Not the Bow controlling You!!! This is to Quote Neal Armstrong upon setting 1 foot on The Moon: "A small step for Man & a Giant Leap for Mankind" bowing wise!!! The Idea was taught to me by my brilliant Mentor, Nathan Milstein, who saw my Franco - Belgium Bowing was a bit shaky in 3 string chording of Solo Bach Sonatas & Partitas for Violin!! Please try this Simple Routine and if you follow exactly what I've written As It Is Written, you will Feel a big change of having Control of the Bow!!

One Routine at a Time. No thoughts of studies or Etudes or left hand fingers & btw, they can be, depending on the thickness or slenderness of your left hand 4 fingers on The Board (fingerboard) slightly placed on the Fat of the Finger but Never on the Tips of a Finger for you can fall off the fingerboard of the Violin & you have No Net to fall in to! That's an Awful physical feeling & causes injuries.

Again: One Thing At a Time!!! The Upside Down Bow with Thumb & Fingers opened slightly & upside down then when upside down Frog of Bow is placed into the Upside Down Right Hand, put Thumb against The Nut in the Frog then Meet the Thumb with the Middle Finger slightly wrapped to meet The Thumb & slowly Turn Over in the Air. Do This then read my suggestions below to continue!! Etc.!!

Do Not Try This in Front of any Teacher, Please. Most talk all about The Wrist; the Forearm; the Elbow; but Not The Right Shoulder which this Routine will employ but You are Not to Think About That right now! Just be an obedient child & follow All I have outlined here and In Order, Not mixing up or interrupting The Sequence of Steps of This Routine.

Exhausted writing this, it is easily shown in Person, but you are somewhere & probably Not in my City of residence, Chicago?

Email me back c/o; goldenattorney@hotmail.com & put on Subject: "Attention Prof E. Matesky, from Barry George of Violinist.com/ How
to Hold The Bow, Please Forward to EM asap! Thank You! BG"

Do This Routine Slowly & Print Out All I have written Large Enough to read on your raised Music Stand. Email me on Friday, Aug. 23, 2019 early AM, so my Concert Artist Rep, Mr. Golden, can be in his office & Email your Report on The Upside Down Routine to Hold The Bow to me!! Depending
on your Report, & if you follow through, I will continue next Steps via Email!

Elisabeth Matesky **

**Read Bio: https://www violinist.com/directory/bio.cfm?member=Milstein

* Heifetz Film: https://youtu.be/M54U-P-Vs9g (JH Violin Master Class,1st
Mov't, Khachaturian, JH-7, Elisabeth Matesky ^Russian version, Library
of Master Performers ) >please notice my faults at the Frog w/Heifetz,
which were later corrected by Nathan Milstein, privately, for 3 + Years in
London, UK!!


August 20, 2019, 2:03 AM · Ms Matesky, so in this exercise we are holding the bow only with two fingers? But then how can we keep it above the string? I would need my pinky, or in the worst case my third finger, as a counterbalance to keep the bow horizontal in the air. I am probably misunderstanding something.
August 20, 2019, 5:56 AM · I am currently working on the Devil's Trill sonata, and one of my challenges is improving sound in the difficult passages.

I suspect that Paul Deck is correct to say it's a universal challenge of violin playing, just the definition of "difficult passage" changes over time. I am pretty happy with my tone on the G and D strings, fairly happy with my tone double-stopping the G and D strings, very unhappy with my tone while trying to play an arpeggio up the G string while also trilling on the D string, even though it would be easy to see the technical problem as a 'left hand' issue.

The answer is also pretty universal - play the changes of notes in the passage slowly with close attention to both how your fingers fall on the strings and how your bow makes contact with the string, and practice studies that are similar-ish to the work you're looking to perform..... :)

Edited: August 20, 2019, 11:35 AM · @Jean Dubuisson ~

Dear Jean ~

Thank you for writing in and for your fine question! It is most difficult to put in black & white print what one shows & demonstrates in person vis a vie the Routine I described above!! Let me say to you, specifically, that the Routine written about is to take pressure Off many violinists seeking help
re their Distressing Sounds on even open strings. It is a 'bowing antibiotic' to create much more control of The Bow by reducing all sorts of tension caused bowing itis's by following the exact steps I outlined & in sequence. Your important question re the Pinky & what does one do with it if 'only holding the Bow with 2 fingers' is a touch misguided, only in the sense of referring to The Thumb as a 'finger'! The idea is to learn & in many cases, 'relearn' How to hold The Bow and follow through in the Air a few inches above the A String, which offers the opportunity to control the steadiness of the Thumb & Middle Finger relationship basic Chief holders of the Bow. I deliberately did Not mention the 1st finger, the ring finger or the Pinky to
avoid Confusion about a truly Bow Arm & bowing changing Routine. For you, Jean, it is okay to 'touch' the top of the Bow with your Pinky to offer a sort of balance (to provide an analogy) that great wings on Jet passenger
planes have to steady the forward thrust in flight & during turbulence. The Pinky exists, yes! But it touches as a 'lite' Balancer - Not The Major Support of holding The Bow which is the cause of many imbalances in the
bowing of a huge percentage of the upper strings population! So, you can most gently touch the top but lightly to feel a balanced confidence. But I ask you, please Don't make the Pinky the Main Holder of The Bow!! This will upset the very thing this Routine is designed to create & will greatly in time improve!! It is a First Step in this process & has helped liberate many artist pupil's faulty bow arm's & of course, there is No replacement for a one on one exchange In Person!!! I've no doubt you are very well aware of this! I'm encouraged by your Question & indication of serious interest with some long distance guidance! It was written for a different Contributor, but most violinists (I hope) would be interested in something Nathan Milstein shared
with me, his concert artist - pupil whom he nicknamed his "guinea pig" because as he used to say, 'my dear Elisabeth, you play well enough for me to experiment!' Experiment he did, liberating much of my own bowing deficiencies in my Franco - Belgium bow arm, and kindly hinted at in my Violin Master Class film with & by Mr Heifetz!

I learned from the supreme Master of Bowing because, despite a growing concert career & much music critic praise, I knew deep down in my gut that there was a limitation to reproduce the musical expressions I could hear in my head/inner ear, yet had trouble making it happen ~ Nathan Milstein near transplanted his own uncanny bow arm into mine! My concert playing of the Violin Concerto Masterworks (the Brahms, Beethoven. Prokofiev No. 1, the Khachaturian & Shostakovich First Violin Concerto in a minor - which I later recorded with the Bamberger Symphoniker, were much closer in sound &
musical empathy to the messages of the genius composer's who created
such glorious works for Violin with Orchestra, & as a direct result of Milstein
demanding I do as he did!!! So to actually write out a Routine which will be
a huge step in learning How to control The Bow here, on a public forum, is
my way of helping some deserving others but it won't continue if not taken
Most Seriously and with an attitude of Patience & Trust! If you wish, you
can email me by going to my Biography listed here on Violinist.com, & we
can exchange information - tailor made for your purposes, via Email for a
bit!!! Are you far from Chicago?? I've helped some pupil's from as far away
as Australia, Brazil & Spain (in bad Spanish!) but do guest teach in London!

I look forward to an Email from you & if need be, a question or 2 more here!

Sending you very best musical greetings ~

Elisabeth Matesky / Chicago

*https://www.violinist.com/directory/bio.cfm?member=Milstein

August 20, 2019, 10:28 AM · thanks for the clarification!
Edited: August 20, 2019, 11:41 AM · Barry, not knowing your overall level, I want to recommend Sevcik Op. 3 as a foundational exercise series to learn most of the basic bow strokes, bow control and distribution. I mostly play viola but when I was picking up the violin the first few times, I worked on this book to concentrate on getting good tone and articulation on the violin, which is a bit different than the viola even though they are played roughly the same way. I agree with the other posters as well that slow practice is critical. One "trick" often used to increase clarity on difficult passages is to play the string crossings on open strings only, no fingerings, until you can play it really cleanly. Then add the fingerings. The left hand is yet another animal to tame, and working out good fingerings is an art in itself. Good teachers can of course help with both, and zero in on the problem areas with left and right hands. Here's a link to the Sevcik Op. 3: https://preview.tinyurl.com/y6puk3qb
Edited: August 20, 2019, 1:34 PM · Attention: Chris Keating

Dear Chris ~

Reading you are now working toward an LRSM Diploma, as a former loved 'Londoner', I confess curiosity about which music conservatory you might be studying at in London or elsewhere in the U.K.!? On my initial 'visit' of 2 full years as a Fulbright Fellow at host institution, RCM (Royal College of Music, SW7on Prince Consort Road) + 5 more years, I wonder if you are at RCM or the London Academy of Music or at the Birmingham Conservatory which is truly expanding their Course offerings as of late with the import of their new Birmingham Conservatory Head, 'Cellist, Julian LW!! A few BC violinists from the BC of Music have reached out to me, online, & I was able to really help one needing intense coaching on a Mozart Violin Concerto (A Major, 'Turkish' w/the glorious Solo Opening ) which earned her Jury ready performance the respect of all on the Jury wondering what had happened for her to make a spiritual offering of that simple yet divine opening!?? Rachel Roberts & I were delighted!

Just above on this forum, I wrote out a Routine to help a Barry George, having real troubles with his Sound & bowing. As you are preparing the 'Devil's Trill' Sonata (aptly titled!) I'd like to hint/ suggest you slowly walk through the Routine I've actually written out here, and follow it faithfully for a full day & possibly twice the following Day, then and Only Then, transfer my Upside Down How to Hold the Bow Routine on over to the D string Without Any Bowed notes But with your trill fingers placed down & trilling silently whilst Bowing just Above the D String a few inches in the Air, & brushing the Bow Up (V) whilst trilling at a slowed speed trill while your brushed just above D String in the AIr Bow is moving!

In this variation of the Upside Down How to Hold the Bow, you might be more able to coordinate the Trill speed & very gradually increased speeds to a brushed V Bow just above the D string in the Air in a ('Flight path' an analogy) trajectory of The Bow without the annoyance of an unhappy D string sound! In so doing this, you hopefully will be giving your mind a tonic break from distress over the Sound quality you have been experiencing whilst both trilling on D & tending to the Sul G string arpeggio going 'Down' - and I use the word Down, deliberately, so you will 'fake' your brain/mind repeated visualization out of the 'All The Way Up the Sul G string arpeggio', & may well hold your fiddle higher travelling on the Sul G moving 'Down' & Again, using the Upside Down How to Hold The Bow brushing just Above the G String in the Air, But with your left hand arm/fingers simulating down on the Board (fingerboard) the arpeggio movements minus Sound yet The Bow brushing silently from wherever it starts toward the Frog & go on past the Frog with the Rt. foot swiveling your whole body (fiddle and all) slightly to the left whilst let's term this "Air Practising" the arpeggio on the Sul G String "Down" the Board, rather than thinking "Up High", for as my great 'other' Mentor, Nathan Milstein, always said: "Go Contrary"! How we Think & Visualise is How we Play & Practise!!! So, try these suggestions with a positive attitude because they were shared with me by my Mentor after Jascha Heifetz, Nathan Milstein, in London at his residence for over 3 & 1/2 Years & he liberated my Franco - Belgium Bow Arm to a sort of model of his own uncanny Bowing which is Mastery of The Bow!!! NM also stated almost All left hand problems were as a result of faulty bowing. It is The Bow which pulls the left arm with fingers attached above palms around!!

Take this to heart and print it out in Large Print to place on a raised Music Stand to explicitly follow the Sequence of Steps outlined. Go S L O W L Y for you most probably have Not done this before!

If you wish, Report back on How Things are coming along & advise When you will perform the "Devil's Trill" Sonata for part of your requirements to obtain the LRSM Diploma!!!

A major part of problem solving is PATIENCE & Lots of It!!!! Slow = Faster Progress on Terra Firma!

Looking forward to a 'Check in' from you, accept my best musical/violinistic greetings ~

Elisabeth Matesky / Chicago & London + parts further

*https://www.violinist.com/directory/bio.cfm?member=Milstein

Edited: August 20, 2019, 4:04 PM · Yehudi Menuhin said hold the bow like a baby bird to put it gently back in its nest.

I like to imagine putting my fingers and thumb round an extremely ripe peach, to gather it up without denting the skin; then rotating back and forth with fingers and thumb; the putting it down without damage.

I don't "hold" my violin and bow, I "hold them up"..

August 21, 2019, 7:06 AM · As a maker, you will depend on the instrument's response, that must be quick, and clarity, that is, notes must not get mixed.
Edited: August 21, 2019, 9:11 AM · One rarely-mentioned aspect which I have observed with my students:

The left fingers must have full contact with the string just before the bow starts to move. This "precedence" is natural for a left-handed player, but we poor right-handers have to learn it: slow practice again (Stop&Start and/or Moonwalk, see my post above).

On the other hand, right-handers can concentrate more on the left hand, and let the the dominant right hand fend for itself..after due preparation! Left-handers bowing can be more chaotic, and they may have to give it more conscious control.

My Suzuki trainer, Christophe Bossuat, is left-handed (as was the Sensei himself) and he could transform our bowing in minutes. In fact much of Suzuki's best advice concerns the bow.
His (ex)wife Judy is right handed, with tiny hands, and her best advice was for the left hand.

I should like to discover which of the Immortals are left-handed!
(These days with U-toob we can sometimes see them off-stage writing or gesturing when they speak..)

Edited: August 21, 2019, 12:29 PM · Re: Menuhin's Quote on How to hold the Bow ~

With all due respect, Yehudi Menuhin, who suffered from a terribly shaky bow arm beginning very early on in his concert playing /recording career, refusing Enesco's offer to help him for 2 years to correct bowing faults (& because, quote - "I can't disappoint my audiences" at aged 16 , which he would live to regret the rest of his life as a violinist, seeking all sorts of help from Guru's, even the Maharischi the Beatles went to in India, & not being able to truly express his deep inner spiritual feelings due to a nervous Bow Arm which shook in nearly every public performance for decades), had kind & beautiful description's of how to hold the bow but just that ~ Beautiful! He never gave any concrete idea of How To Hold The Bow nor on Bowing ... I knew Menuhin, as did my Grandfather, a Violin Studio teaching partner with later on, *Naom Blinder, in San Francisco, w/whom *Menuhin studied prior to his studies w/Persinger in New York.

Menuhin couldn't hold up next to Jascha Heifetz or Nathan Milstein, due to his very restricted bowing 'disabilities' which is truly Sad for his decision to defer taking just 2 Years off from his prodigy years of then greatly deserved world acclaim, proved a tragedy for an artist with exquisite musical-spiritual gifts ~

He moved from America to London, marrying his second and devoted wife, Diana, finding peace in London, plus many musical opportunities - creating The Bath Festival, & The Menuhin School at Stoke 'd Abernon, (which he invited me to visit w/ Dorothy DeLay) hearing some students perform & a
long music-talk luncheon following ~ His contributions to Music in England brought great respect & a House of Lords peerage ... (In my heart, I sensed & still feel his first love, The Violin & making great Music, was his deepest sadness for I believe Menuhin knew his earlier decision to not take those 2 years of advanced correction offered by Enesco, brought him grave Violin artistry consequences ... )

The Master of Bowing, Nathan Milstein, who hated being called 'Professor' - saying always he was 'a Violinist not a Professor' proved to be a truly rare & remarkable Mentor combined with his Great Artistry amid fabled bowing.

Upon looking back, my heart is sad for Yehudi Menuhin as he could have reached both JH/NM level's ~

EM **

**We all sometimes make decisions which are not best for our future's . . .

August 21, 2019, 12:45 PM · I haven't had the same amount of experience with Menuhin as some of you (including on-line friend E.M.). I did only one concert with him, in his orchestra. I was only a teen-age student, but I remember that I thought his playing was strangely disconnected from self. His writing is very undisciplined and subjective. A transcript of one of hes lessons was long on verbiage and very short on technical help. I thought his music history and appreciation book was so full of factual errors that I got rid of it. His technical book is very specific about the bow-hold and bowing mechanics, but I consider the book to be more dangerous than useful. His use of Yoga, eastern style meditation, in my opinion, is the wrong kind of self-absorption, that creates a distracting mental feed-back loop. In an interview he admitted to the danger of the technical self-analysis of his playing, telling the centipede story; When a centipede was asked what was the order of using his feet, he replied that he did not know, had never thought about it. So he thought about it, and from that moment, could not walk at all. The moral of the story; If you have that level of talent, learn the fundamentals that young, if playing is that instinctive; Do Not analyze your playing.
That was all very presumptuous of me. Menuhin could do things as a young child that I could not do at any age.
Edited: August 24, 2019, 4:50 AM · My two centimes d'Euro..

Menuhin tried, desperately, to recover his childhood ease by analysis and inspiration.

In his verbose Six Lessons, I find the chapters on bowing are pure genius! Following his Genealogy of Bowing Strokes with care, I begin to sound like him, which is remarkable for purely written instruction. (Of course you may not want to sound like him, but that is not my point.)
The yoga-inspired introduction proposes integrated circular motions and balances similar (I think) to those described by Ms Matesky.
Alas, he worked it all out too late to help himself..

His Bach and Mozart discs sing! His Bruch D minor, Bloch, Elgar concertos, and his discs of Bartok and Enescu are full of unique fervour.
His 1976 discs of solo Bach have much of the heart-rending majesty of Enescu's own; and a 1940(broadcast?) recording of Tchaikovsky's Concerto has a nostalgia and tenderness far removed from other great artists.

Other Immortals present the works in all their glory: Menuhin takes us gently through them by the hand.

Edit: The Tchaikovsky was recorded in 1949 (not 1940) in a cinema in Berlin, I presume for a broadcast. It is technically perfect, and gives the lie to the idea that the post-war Menuhin had lost much of his ability.

To come back to Barry's query (!), the left hand must lead the dance but its partner mustn't spoil everything by being ill prepared..

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