I'm searching for a piece that lets me practice 5th position and basic double stops

May 1, 2020, 1:42 PM · Hi. I'm at around a "Vivaldi A minor level". I'm learning 5th position and double stops. Can you recommend me a piece that meets my level and at the same time lets me play some 5th position and some basic double stops? I have clear preference for baroque music.

Thank you very much.

Replies (10)

May 1, 2020, 3:24 PM · Although not a "piece", but technique books I used (and still do)

Whistler: Learning the Positions
volume 1 positions 3 and 5
volume 2 positions 2, 4, 6 and 7

Trott: Melodious Double-Stops for the Violin

May 1, 2020, 3:30 PM · It would be very useful to practise two-octave scales in 5th position.
May 1, 2020, 8:46 PM · You may try to work through some easier Bach Like adagio g minor or Sarabande D minor. I found it very useful for developing double stops. Kreuzer is also very useful.

I also tried to play my beginner songs all on 5th position.

Edited: May 2, 2020, 8:04 AM · "I'm learning 5th position and double stops."

How? Who is teaching you 5th position while you are working on Vivaldi A Minor? What are you trying to accomplish?

I agree with the others that if you are trying to isolate fifth position then you need studies, not pieces. Schradieck Book 1 goes to Fifth Position at exercise XIV (14). I humbly suggest that you do No. 1-13 first until you can play them pretty well. That shouldn't take you more than, say, two years of diligent work.

For double stops, you should practice slow scales in sixths and thirds. Barbara Barber's "Scales for Advanced Violinists" has fingerings, but she doesn't show you the best way of practicing them. The way I learned to practice scales in thirds, which I think is very good, is to play them like this:

B2D0, B2D0-C3E1, C3E1-D4F2, D4F2-E3G1, etc.

Each comma is a bow change. Each hyphen is a slur. Numbers are fingerings. Add accidentals as needed for all twelve major and twelve minor keys. You do it very slowly and make sure your hand positions are comfortable and you are playing in tune. You don't need to go higher than third position -- not for quite a while.

May 2, 2020, 1:30 AM · Yes Paul, second your point. G think practicing 3rd and 6th are very useful too.
May 2, 2020, 6:30 AM · Thank you everyone for your answers.

Paul: Thank you for your advice and exercises.

As for my situation, I know it sounds strange. Let me explain how did we end up there, and see if it makes sense:

My teacher treats every pupil differently, although he follows a general method. He says I have good ear and good intonation. After I was comfortable in 1st position, he taught me 3rd position, and after working on it for a while, he taught me 2nd position. He says he's surprised because I learnt 2nd position really fast compared to other students and that the next thing I should learn (position-wise) is 5th position (so he recently started me on it). He also had started teaching me double stops by following the Trott method, which so far is not being 'hard' for me.

I have the finger and bowing dexterity of a Vivaldi A minor (slow fingers), struggle a bit with vibrato, and my bowing tends to be on the softer side. But in some other aspects I'm slightly more advanced than the average Vivaldi A minor student.

My teacher plays as a 1st violin in the regional orchestra and has been teaching for more than 25 years. So far, I've been progressing with him and I trust his knowledge.

May 2, 2020, 8:57 AM ·

The best way to learn a new position (any position) is to have a least 5-10 two octave slow pieces that you can easily transpose to different keys or positions. Slow fiddle tunes are good for this.
- Ashokan's Farewell
- Lavender Blue
- The Road to Lisdoomvarn
- Westphalia waltz
- Walzing Matilda
- Ode to Joy

or pick any piece that you really like and play in different positions and scales.

Keep in mind, ONLY practicing scales and having limited position playing time in a piece, is a poor learning concept and is a complete waste of time and creates poor playing. Variation is key!

May 2, 2020, 2:16 PM · Kreutzer!
Edited: May 2, 2020, 2:21 PM · Solos For Young Violinists bk 2, edited by Barbara Barber, has several pieces that might fit the bill! I don't have it in front of me to pull all the titles to mind, but there's a Rieding with great 5th position work about 2 pieces in and several more following,plenty with double stops. I think there may be a 5th position piece at the end of bk 1 as well but it's escaping me at the moment. These are also great pieces for bow and interpretation work! I would consider most of bk 2 a bit more advanced than Vivaldi a minor, but a logical step up if your vivaldi is really solid.
May 2, 2020, 3:38 PM · Hey Miguel, I think you've gotten a lot of good advice here. Practicing yours scales and getting to three octaves is big, and the Schradieck that Paul suggested is really great since it doesn't ask you to do a lot of different technical stuff at once. I would say Kreutzer is the first book of etudes that will have you in 5th position, since looking at Dont Op. 37, there isn't a single one that has more than just a moment in 5th position, but Dont Op. 37 is still good to do before Kreutzer, and Kreutzer may be a bit much for you at this point (but I could be wrong). I would just say to encourage the balanced diet of pieces, scales and etudes and to not try and get too far ahead of yourself.

A piece my teacher gave me to work on high position lyrical playing was Rachmaninov's Vocalise, which still may be a bit much for you, but trusting your teacher is a good bet.

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