Which violinist has a perfect right hand

Edited: December 23, 2019, 6:04 AM · Which violinist has a perfect right hand for u?

Replies (28)

December 23, 2019, 6:05 AM · Me?
December 23, 2019, 9:22 AM · Seriously though, despite endless comparisons between Russian an Franco Belgian schools of bowing, hands are as different as noses!

To choose the "best" right hand I should have to listen with my eyes closed...

December 23, 2019, 10:50 AM · Which violinist has "a perfect right hand"?
There is no such thing.
Edited: December 23, 2019, 10:58 AM · Well it is certainly NOT ME! As a Southpaw fiddler [who plays standard RH instruments] I have a long way to go.

But, much like sailing, the joy is in the journey, not reaching the destination.

December 23, 2019, 12:06 PM · Don't know really...

But seeing her two times this year at a closer seat; i'd say Sarah Chang. Great control and precision.

December 23, 2019, 12:45 PM · Hilary Hahn on violin, William Primrose on viola.
December 23, 2019, 12:55 PM · I second Hilary Hahn, just wow. For viola, Philip Heyman.
December 23, 2019, 4:45 PM · There is no such thing.

Only the best bow hold for one's unique anatomy, to achieve the expressive goals in the music being played.

Edited: December 23, 2019, 4:48 PM · Heifetz or Hilary Hahn
And tabea Zimmermann has the most expressive right hand of any string player I know of
December 24, 2019, 11:55 AM · I would agree withe Gene that there is no single optimum bow hold. It depends on your anatomy, playing angles, and bowing style. Judging only on the Sound quality, on recordings, I would nominate people like Oistrakh, Milstein, Kreisler, Perlman, etc. On recordings Heifetz sometimes sounds a little dry, edgy, which might be because of microphone placement, or his choice of strings.
December 24, 2019, 12:06 PM · Watch Oistrakh do colle. Effortless. Zero joules of energy used. Defies laws of physics.
December 24, 2019, 6:54 PM · Another vote for Oistrakh. Among those who are performing today, HH is quite good.
December 25, 2019, 2:14 AM · Are you talking about "perfect" in terms of shape and tension visually or "perfect" in the sense of being able to generate the best tone?

I use here as an example Kavakos, who has a bow hold with the low elbow and curved wrist that you don't really see many people use anymore and for certain may not work for everyone, especially for beginning violinists, but has a tremendous ability to control his bow strokes.

When it comes to straight up generation of tone, it has to be Hilary Hahn. I don't think anyone can make 3 and 4 string chords sound quite like she can (not even Milstein on when it comes to Bach vs Bach, fight me), and every note she plays just sounds like the bow is stuck to the string. Damnit girl, you need to make an Ysaye recording.

That being said, I think if the average violinist tried to use her right hand technique, it would sound harsh and crunchy. She plays with a lot of weight which might be hard for the "average" violinist to deal with.

Edited: December 25, 2019, 4:33 PM · Of course, the use of the word "perfect" is a distraction, but I think at the heart of the question is a fine motive. Find three violinists who play so well you wish you could do as they do.

These three musicians may provoke you to assess yourself, to set in train development strategies that benefit you to a considerable degree. And, this might not mean you simply copy, or imitate, any one of the three.

In consultation with your teacher, who knows what insights you might uncover, and so inform your own growth.

For me, Anne-Sophie Mutter was one such inspiring musician. Check out her music, her technique, her right hand at work.

Of course, as time passes, you will probably change your "three aspirational models"; but that's all right, and it doesn't invalidate or compromise the strategy.

December 26, 2019, 1:13 PM · For me would be Zukerman and Heifetz.
December 26, 2019, 1:59 PM · JD - yes, Zuckerman does indeed stand out in this regard. On both violin and viola - his tone is incredible and his overall bow technique appears effortless.
December 26, 2019, 4:32 PM · I would vote for Divine David and Zukerman. But, I suspect the concept of perfect right hand is an illusion, a technical issue where we want to see something that is not really there.
Edited: December 28, 2019, 8:59 AM · Remember that one man's fat fingers may be one lady's spread fingers...

(On either hand!)

Edited: December 28, 2019, 9:00 AM · This guy is pretty good
I like the cut of his jacket too.
Edited: December 28, 2019, 4:45 PM · Re ~ "Which Violinist has a 'perfect' right hand?" (20th Reply)

as from, artist protege of Jascha Heifetz & p.t. Teach-help assistant 'Guinea Pig' artist-pupil of Nathan Milstein ~

With respect to the Discussion Question, my first response is does one cut out the rest of the full right shoulder & arm when trying to find 'the perfect right hand'? Hello fellow Violinists!! The first glance thought-out comment with regard to the obvious is Joel Quivey, who mentions countless varying issues of individual human anatomy, in an informed & on Terra firma path! Every hand is made differently due to something termed our own genetic inheritance for starter's! The approach of various hand physiques are truly limitless which rule out a "Perfect Right Hand" in violinistic talk, excepting smart savvy usage of one's nature made hand! This falls into a category of Who taught whom & when and of which bowing approach = the most frequently known Franco-Belgium & "Russian" or better stated, (from direct experience) the Leopold Auer bowing approach yet with his acceptance of differing outwardly looking physical appearances & due to again, nature's billions of hand formations in variated holding of the Bow w/5 fingers thumb involved! The mental imagery which is more often than not 'set' by an early beginning teacher usually stays stuck in the eye of the brain. Knowing of this, myself a concert artist, having been wonderfully trained by a brilliant exponent of Franco-Belgium approaches of how to bow with the 'right arm inclusive of the right hand', & sounding rich in sound for acceptance by Jascha Heifetz, into his First International Violin Master Class @USC (1 of just 7) w/all of us being subsequently JH filmed, I had to make very serious major amendments to my Bow Arm which meant outward appearance's of my right hand on the Bow at the Frog & all the way Up, starting at the bow tip which required many alterations of right hand/arm holding of the Bow Frog, vitally critical to a Healthy right Hand, + the Trajectory of the Bowing Path with synced to body movement, which was gratefully addressed by THE MASTER OF BOWING, NATHAN MILSTEIN, privately with unusually profound NM instinctual expertise for the first year & a half of my 3 & 1/2 + years of private involved artist 'tutorials' with Nathan Milstein, at his home in London, and usually twice weekly for no less than 3 & 1/2 to 4 & 1/2 hours during each tutorial ~

Studying Mr. Milstein's rt arm - hand, I noted innumerable times a one-ness of his entire right Arm from right shoulder to bow hold hand. Period! NM, in a new 'role' relished having his 'Guinea Pig' artist-pupil, (having studied with revered friend-colleague, Jascha Heifetz), yours truly, 'playing well enough to experiment with because you have no troubles playing violin!' (Well !?!) However, as recently disclosed on a violinist.com discussion a few weeks back, I knew my bowing needed 'something' not yet exposed to in order to reproduce musical ideas I heard in my head, which providence brought into my seemingly 'successful' concertising Violin soloist life by chance + maybe the old adage of: 'when the pupil is ready the right teacher shows up'!!!

The Milstein Hand was glorious but Not (I'll chance writing this but ask it not be taken as verbatim) in the same physical structure as Heifetz, nor David Oistrakh, for JH & Oiatrakh were nature made by their own parent's genetic heritage ~ To my eye, NM possessed a beautifully rather rounded holding
of the Bow at the Frog with minutia changes occurring during the Bow's trip Up (V) from beginning at the Bow tip all the way Up to the Frog destination. Along the trajectory path were intriguing & subtle adjustments in Milstein's curvature hold of the Bow with an accompanying full body on a slight sway due to beginning at tip from slightly Behind himself to the right with left foot planted & right foot used as a leg/ankle swivel naturally, for a fully aligned balance, allowing chording of All Four Strings as smooth as butter ~ (Btw, James T., goes far saying Hilary Hahn surpasses even Nathan Milstein's chord bowing in the Unaccompanied Violin Sonatas & Partitas of Bach!!! Dear James T., you may not be listening to great musicality & depths of phrasing from Nathan Milstein!) Ms. Hahn has a very refined Bow arm but has yet to delve spiritually into a 'holiness' of Bach's rolled chording which is a Milstein Trademark of Artistry far and above bow 'hand' technuique!!! It's the Other Way 'Round, dear Sir!!! The near Segovian rolled chording within Milstein's presentation (which was ever evolving over 75 Years) of the Six Bach Unaccompanied Violin Sonatas & Partitas lifted his Bach into Realms the superb Hilary Hahn has yet to enter, & was exquisitely captured in NM's Last Later-in-Life Grammy Award winning recording of All Six Bach Violin Unaccompanied Sonatas & Partitas. (It was No accident that Nathan Milstein was honoured w/The Grammy Award for his Offering of 'The Bible of Violin' playing & artistry composed by Bach, the 'Jesus' of The Violin Ten Commandments. (And shared with James T. + All here with my sincere affection & respect ~)

Solving hundreds of physically ill bowing arms which = all from rt shoulder to hand's fingers/thumb, has only been possible after being 'Bow Liberated' by Nathan Milstein, to near mirrored version of NM's bow arm-hand - call it what you wish, but Every Great Violinist revered "the greatest bow arm 'in the business' being that of Nathan Milstein." Quote several great violinists, all of whom have more or less been mentioned here. Btw, Zukerman could seemingly never grasp how Mr. Milstein Did What He Did, due to the a bit 'Zukerman' ego despite awed respect for Milstein ~ In Christopher Nupen's film on Nathan Milstein, Zukerman is seen having a meal w/'Natan', greatly enjoying questioning the delightful person of Nathan Milstein, then picks up his fiddle & begins playing the Mendelssohn w/ a faulty rhythmic instability which upsets Mr. Milstein, who calls him out asking-saying he (P.Z.) doesn't make music of Mendelsdohn, just fast changing tempo's - asking him w/a frustrated, "Why!" And left in the film is 'Pinky's' arrogant trying to appear respectful yet barked out quip, 'because I am Zukerman.' NM, the ever gracious & dignified artist yet simple person is taken aback, but smiles & shakes P.Z.'s hand from across the table w/an NM courteous head looking down nod as the scene fades away . . .

Dear Violinist.com friends, Greatness is Humble + worried nothing is ever good enough as decades witnessed by this responder of mentor's, Jascha Heifetz and Nathan Milstein throughout my rare personal friendship, former artist pupil-ship of both which extended from Day 1 meetings with JH & NM
until shortly before both 'left' God's Earth ~ Please join me in recalling some of your memories of the Great Nathan Milstein, on his One Hundred and Sixteenth Birthday on Tuesday, December 31st, 2019, praying fine Editor, Laurie Niles, will keep this Discussion Open until January 1, 2020??!!!!

A Word ~ @J. Quivey, did you really mean JH had a dry recorded sound?? When, other than 1 of JH earlier recordings of Bach's Chaconne, ???? (for another time, okay!) *Bravo, 'hands are as different as noses...' Guy, Adrian
Heath!!! (#2 Reply)

Happy New Year's Eve, Nathan Milstein's 116th Birthday 2019 ~ everyone!!

Elisabeth Matesky


*https://www.facebook.com (listed under Elisabeth Anne Matesky)

Edited: January 1, 2020, 1:09 PM · I have just watched these videos on You-tube.
Indeed, Zukerman sometimes behaves like a bumptious teenager, but to be fair, a) his answer "I'm Zukerman" (Sugar man!) is a smiling reply to Mr. Milstein finding a high note on the A string as (too?) "sweet"; and b) Zukerman's unrythmical tempos were only during discussion of certain isolated fingerings.

I find his tone is amongst the most beautiful on disc, even more so on viola.. So his right hand can't be too bad!

December 29, 2019, 5:42 PM · I have never heard a recording of Zukerman that I did not think was very good, and, in concert, he is tremendous.
Edited: December 30, 2019, 5:34 PM · E.M. has the enviable advantage of having been close to both Heifetz and Milstein. What I meant by "edgy, dry" is Heifetz's distinctive, recognizable tone, which I would attribute to playing at full blast, with great strength, with maybe close miking(?). To muddy the waters some more; The photos of Leopold Auer in his method book, the supposed inventor of the "Russian" bow hold, looks somewhat like the "German" hold, from drawings of F. David and Joachim, fingers close together, with a loose right hand and very low right elbow. In the same photos his little finger is straight, which for me, and my students, causes problems. The continuing unresolved bow hold debate is more evidence that there is no single optimum bow hold.
December 30, 2019, 3:11 PM · Kevin Burke.
December 31, 2019, 8:18 PM · Szeryng, because his right hand produced his tone.
January 1, 2020, 4:02 PM · "in concert, he is tremendous."

The last time I heard the violinist in question was when he came and played a concerto with my summer festival orchestra. Utterly disappointed with his "phoned-in, they'll love Bruch no matter what, take the check and leave" feeling I got.

January 1, 2020, 4:11 PM · Scott, I believe you, but I remember Menuhin writing about precious practice time spent in aeroplanes, trains, taxis and hotel rooms, never mind jet lag and irregular meals...
January 1, 2020, 7:40 PM · On the viola I'll throw in Philip Stevens

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