Holding the violin without tension | searching for a comment about Heifetz technique

June 11, 2020, 11:38 AM · Hello everyone,

I am new to this forum, so I apologies in advance if my question is posted in the wrong section.

I am an adult violin beginner, and as all beginners I struggle with holding the violin without tension. I remember reading or hearing (it was either an online article or a youtube video) about a musician who played with either Yehudi Menuhin or Jascha Heifetz (I can't remember exactly), the person tried to emphasize how much the violin hold was free of any tension by saying that when "she/he stood next to him, she/he held her/his breath out of fear of causing their violin to fall."

I am sorry I don't have enough details to give, this is why it has been so difficult for me to find this reference by searching on the internet!

I may even be wrong about whether it was Heifetz or Menuhin, it may have been another violinist.

Anywho, if you know what I am talking about, I would really appreciated it if you give more details about this... and this time I will take notes!

Thank you,



Replies (8)

June 11, 2020, 3:19 PM · It seems to refer to the following quote by Erick Friedman, published in an interview in the January 1990 issue of The Strad:

"Being taller than Heifetz, I was always a little afraid of breathing on him too hard for fear of blowing both the fiddle and the bow from his hands, that is how effortlessly he held them."

June 12, 2020, 5:29 AM · That must be it. Thank you! Do you have a link of the interview recording or transcript?
June 12, 2020, 5:52 AM · Love it! Very inspired now to reexamine my own posture...
Edited: June 12, 2020, 7:55 AM · Amal no I don't, you're going to have to try to get a hold on that The Strad issue.
June 12, 2020, 9:49 AM · Indeed James, I found this to be very inspiring!
Thank you so much Jean, you've been very helpful.

June 12, 2020, 12:45 PM · During my minor amount of time around Heifezt, he could make difficult things look easy. That was part of the gig, during that time period.
June 13, 2020, 7:45 PM · From either genetics or divine intervention, Heifetz seemed to be perfectly designed to play the violin; physically, intelligence, emotion, and character. Then add an early start, good teaching, avoiding incorrect postures and theories, good equipment, and self-disciplined practice.
June 13, 2020, 10:12 PM · There are a few videos of Heifetz that are easily available, and you can see some of his technique there, including things like pulling the violin back and 'grabbing' the chinrest with the jaw, repeatedly. The videos are probably more informative about his technique than verbal mythology ancient or new. To wit: If he played effortlessly, he certainly would have worked very hard to do so.

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