Sound purity, ricochet and upbow staccato

Edited: October 15, 2019, 2:56 PM · Hello,
I have a lots of question about technique and musicality
Once, I went to a concert where Renaud Capu├žon was playing the 3 violin and piano sonatas from Brahms. A thing that surprise me is that he has notes that are "pure". Each single note was in tune and it has all types of vibrato!How does he make these notes sounding so " pure"?

My second question is :
How do you make ricochet and upbow staccato?
In Schubert's sonatinas(I've player them all), I was always playing "normal staccato" (last mov of the 1 st sonatina and in the 1st mov of the second sonatina).
My teacher told me that it isn't necessary to play with upbow staccato or with ricochet these passages(even if It's write on the score).I'm not accusating my teacher of course(she's a perfectionist and she's very demanding so she's only making this so the sonatina is easier, and it is easier to play almost perfectly)
So How do you make these types of staccato(I just wanna know)?

Replies (7)

Edited: October 15, 2019, 7:40 PM · You're asking for verbal descriptions of very subtle bowing technique. Maybe you could see if Todd Ehle has youtubes on these?

For ricochet start with Mozart 3, bar 64-66.
For upbow staccato start with Kreutzer No. 4.

October 15, 2019, 8:14 PM · IMO the optimal bowing in the Schubert passages you mention is flying staccato. Staccato (up- or down bow) with its hard attack and its abrupt silencing of every note is too aggressive.

If you have not learned flying staccato just play them spiccato*. It sounds almost the same.

Generally it is useful to start by imagining the sound you want, then figuring out how you can produce it with the technical means you have or can acquire rather than getting hung up on a specific bowing.

* Since the word comes up I can't resist the opportunity to point out that "spiccato" is spelt with one t, not with a double t, "spiccatto" is incorrect. I see it misspelt so often on this forum that it may be worth pointing this out.

Edited: October 21, 2019, 1:49 PM · The staccato is often described as having an "abrupt silencing" at the end of each note, which makes it ugly indeed. Forget the abrupt ending and end the stroke with zero pressure.....
October 21, 2019, 12:22 AM · The way I was taught staccato is by definition not played with zero pressure.
Edited: October 21, 2019, 1:54 PM · I know, but it's ugly with an abrupt, on-the-string ending.
Life is too short to do ugly things on purpose!

There is the "bite" from index and thumb at the start of each note, but there is no need to crunch the note's end, especially when there is a new bite just after.

October 21, 2019, 3:07 PM · To answer your first question:
1) practice carefully many hours every day, for many years
2) have a beautifully made violin which has been broken in so that it rings with beautiful rich tone
3) have a perfectly balanced hand-made bow which has been expertly rehaired with beautiful hair by an experienced bow maker
4) use the perfect rosin that works best with that bow and that violin
5) find the right set of strings which really bring out the beautiful tone of the violin
6) practice carefully many hours every day for many years (this can't be emphasized enough if you want a world-class beautiful tone)
October 21, 2019, 5:58 PM · I didn't personally find kreutzer #4 to be a helpful way of "starting" my upbow staccato.

It's more of a continuation exercise for the technique, rather than one that be used to have the epiphany of "oh, *that's* how it feels."

With that said, it's very hard to describe online.

Start with open strings until you can do at least 8-16 upbow staccatos in a row. Do them in "bursts," starting with only 2. Then 3. Then 4. Then 5, etc...

Start the bursts from the middle of the bow, not the tip.

Use the minimum amount of movement for each staccato.

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