phenomenology of 1st position
If only we could just put the fingers down! I feel
like finger 3 on the D is a little stretched, finger 2 on the C a little pulled back and finger 3 on the G just a touch stretched. Oh my. Is this just a late starter thing?
Maybe it's the ontology of your thumb that's the problem?
No musically instrument is ergonomic enough to feel good playing it, just a matter of extent. I think guitar, violin and viola are among the worst.
The flute is amazingly awkward after the oboe.
Horace I think your just lacking in proper training. People that study Alexander technique or feldenkrais or body mapping or even violists who sfudy Karen tuttle’s methods all tend to find joy and comfort playing.
If I am interpreting you correctly, you are saying that the places where the fingers must fall don't seem quite natural. Unfortunately, the violin has the last word on where the notes are, and everyone's hand is a little different. One thing that might be helpful to train your hand to the right form are the Schradieck excercises (see Excercise I, Excercises on One String). They are written on the A string, but the same finger patterns can be used on all strings. Be sure to practice alternating between sharps flats and naturals (e.g. C and C# on A) for your hand to memorize where they are. A few thousand repetitions, and all will be comfortable, quick, and in tune.
Charles, I can't say I'm complaining and I certainly know about Schradieck. It's an interesting phenomenon of violin playing that I think requies consideration. On the Schradiek on different strings issue - the fingers will be felt to fall on different places for different strings. Sometimes it's the physiology but other times the physical nature of the string.
Stumbled across this the other day, and it's making out to be a great excercise:
Bud, as a pianist you are used to whole-tone steps being equidistant. With string string instruments the step size going up each string gets progressively shorter. Once you get to the 2nd octave of each string the steps are half the length of the lower octave.
Can't stand Suzuki and I don't pancake (not that that is as irrational a technique as you'd think - see Ruggiero Ricci). No, if I was to complain, which I'm not, it's how illogical
There are at least two issues that contribute to the need to slightly change finger stretch between strings: 1) differences among the strings, and 2) differences in hand position when playing on different strings.
Thanks Carmen. I suppose players just Schradieck-out the problem and never give it further consideration. My body complains though! It doesn't fit its logic.
Try this;- Re-calibrate the first position. Place third finger on C , on the G string, so that it is curved and comfortable. Release the thumb. Put the thumb back where it is most comfortable. It will probably move forward , and a little under the neck, from where it was. The second and first fingers will feel pulled back from the third finger, and this might look like second position. Let the left elbow and thumb move when changing strings. For my hand, the major third between the second and fourth fingers has always felt like a stretch; the fourth pushed out and the second pulled back.
Bud if it can be of any consolation, Leopold Auer writes in his book that he never was able to become comfortable in first position!
Lots of good advice.
Thanks Adrian. Is any of that written down anywhere?
I have a hunch that Schradieck may be especially useful for adult learners, in that children have less of an ingrained neural map to overcome in terms of learning a new motor skills in a relaxed way. But my truthy blather is a hunch.
If you thought first position was awkward on the violin, try the viola.
Regarding what Paul said about the width of the intervals depending on the key, it's even worse! My teacher is taking me on a deep dive into intonation, and I'm finding that the fingers have to fall in slightly different places on the different strings, depending on if I'm playing a melody vs. a chord. I'm finding it very challenging, if not frustrating.
Make sure your fingernails are not pointed directly towards the fingerboard(like digging into it). Also wrist has to not be bending outwards past the plane of your fingers(idk how to explain this). You know what... just go practice, it really does solve all your problems.
I'm going to experiment with some Beringer (after Tausig) starting on A - less mind numbing!
That is of course piano music, with piano-style finger numbers.
Thanks for that, I will. Maybe even double stop?
If you focus all your attention on intonation then maybe you'll find that a little stretched there and a little pulled back here will be of little significance....
I would start by confirming your wrist and elbow position are correct.
Thanks for the advice. I have spent years (and teachers) on finding how I wish to accommodate this fiendish of instruments. For me it's the journey so I'm happy to take on board any advice
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