Left Hand Pizz Causing Pain

November 2, 2019, 6:19 PM · Hellooo. I am practicing the Basque Caprice and everything is going good up until I reach the left hand pizz.

Description of Pain:
My 3rd and 4th fingers are experiencing an ache in the joints at the end of the fingers. It is not a constant pain, it usually goes away after a few minutes. Just to be clear, I don't have any pain on the skin of my fingertips, just the joints.

I'm not exactly sure how to solve the issue.I will admit, I've never done any left hand pizzicato exercises. The most I have done is slow practiced the left hand pizz section, but even then I don't feel like I slow practiced enough. Are my fingers just not quite used to left hand pizzicato yet? Are my fingers just not fit for performing left hand pizz? I'm also wondering if anyone else has had this issue or a similar issue before.

Replies (11)

November 2, 2019, 7:01 PM · If you can't do it, play other things. I have lost my ability to do left hand pizz - as well as the ability to snap the fingers of my left hand audibly. I relate the two actions.

So I'd say if you can hear your left fingers snapping it is worth practicing left hand pizz. To avoid frustration I'd advise practicing the finger snapping first - if you can make it audible go to LH pizz practice. In most pieces the LH Pizz passages alternate arco and finger strokes in a convenient way.

November 2, 2019, 9:19 PM · I think LH Pizz is the stupidest thing ever introduced into the violin repertoire. Not even Heifetz could make it sound good. It just sounds cheesy. It's a parlor trick that has nothing to do with musical content.
November 3, 2019, 10:06 AM · "Fingers just not made for LH pizz" do not exist in my opinion, except for special cases which I am sure we are not talking about here. LH pizz requires a left hand that is well trained, well positioned.

There is one aspect for which LH pizz is really useful, namely, in orchestral music where it often happens that there is a fast switch from arco to (regular, RH) pizz. Then you can LH pizz the first note of the passage which gives time for the right hand to get ready and do the rest of the pizz passage.

November 3, 2019, 11:10 AM · Yes Jean, I agree. I make use of the pizz-to-arco LH pizz commonly in orchestra. Usually my stand partner is aghast but that's their problem.
November 3, 2019, 9:12 PM · Make sure you are left hand pizzing by rotating the hand to the right and under a little bit - i.e. by using the rotation of the arm rather than the muscle of the finger.
November 3, 2019, 11:42 PM · Sussana yeah i can agree it's better.
Edited: November 5, 2019, 6:54 PM · Sevcik has exercises on his double stops volume, I believe. Also Ricci, on his LH technique book. It's just another technique. IMHO, a high level bow arm is more difficult to develop-it just so happens LH pizz is rarely practiced. Anyone can play them, though some develop great clarity and volume with them.

Do not "brutalize" your finger muscles. Not necessary. Do not worry about having Vengerov's LH pizz sound, just in making the notes audible. Sometimes practicing with care will help develop mild callouses that may help you obtain better sound and clarity.

So in short, devote a few minutes per day on LH pizz., as there are more works up ahead that will use them.

I find them fun, but I have pretty bad taste in music, I suppose.

November 6, 2019, 9:48 AM · I would like to emphasize part of Jean's input:
"There is one aspect for which LH pizz is really useful, namely, in orchestral music where it often happens that there is a fast switch from arco to (regular, RH) pizz. Then you can LH pizz the first note of the passage which gives time for the right hand to get ready and do the rest of the pizz passage."

This occurred to me several months ago and I used it on viola it in a recent concert. It made the switch from arco to pizz so very smooth. The first pizz-ed note was an open string, which made the move very easy.

November 6, 2019, 10:35 AM · Hmmm... I like LH pizz. Apparently I'm in the minority here on v.com. I try to spend a few mins a day on it, and mine has gotten a lot stronger and more reliable. Still not totally reliable, but its getting there.

My teacher taught me to LHP the way Susanna says - are you doing that? How long have you been learning LH pizz?

Edited: November 6, 2019, 4:08 PM · I have mixed feelings about this technique. How you see or perceive it can really change according to where you stand(metaphorically).

For an audience who is not into violin playing; It looks cool, challenging and virtuosic.

For an advancing student who is yet to try the technique; it looks pretty easy and straight forward.

For a student who has to practice and learn a certain passage with it; the technique might become somewhat challenging and more so annoying.

Finally, I don't know what professionals feel about it. So...

I think that the major downside to this technique is having a really limited and a short amount of time to practice.

As an example; my daughter is forbidden to practice more than a few minutes a day by her teacher. I can see why. But that really drags, if the piece you are working on have lots of challenging bits of this technique.

She just finished Zigeunerweisen in september from the same composer. I must say that for LHP; maintaining coordination for clear rhythm with audible notes while avoiding accidental slips into other strings at allegro molto vivace was some journey!

November 7, 2019, 6:56 PM · Thank you to everyone that has replied!
I will look into the exercise that has been mentioned, I will take the left hand pizz slowly day by day and see how it goes, I wont abuse my fingers. I didn't know there were so many mixed opinions on left hand pizz. Thank you to everyone that has given their input, I am very grateful!

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