Slurring to open E
Whenever I slur from the A-string to open E, there is a high-pitched squeak. I seem to have no control over this. Sometimes it happens, and sometimes it does not. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?
Try a different E string.
I never have a problem with my plain steel Dominant E string.
It's not a finger thing.
It's a common problem that's been much discussed here and on maestronet. Some find they get on better with a particular brand of strings, others recommend a slight change of technique such as holding the bow at a less oblique angle or closer to the bridge. One sure thing is that nobody has a sure answer.
Two causes of that "whistling": The base of your first finger might be touching the E string. More likely: if you slur on a down-bow from an A string note to an open E, lightly, the string might start spinning at a very high frequency longitudinally, along its axis, instead of the normal laterally. The easy fixes are to use fourth finger E, or move out of first position, or arrange the bowing to slur into the open E on an up-bow, or just hit it with more force, louder. Fiddlers don't seem to have this problem because they don't try to play soft.
I'd advise switching to Warchal Amber E. An excellent string. But first, before changing strings, check your technique carefully. Like Joel said. The pad at the base of your first finger may be lightly touching the e-string, and this will inevitably cause a whistle. Easy to slightly reposition the wrist. Also, clean the rosin off the string(s)!
Things to try:
Work on your string crossings, the problem goes away with practice not switching strings every 2 seconds. Make sure the hair is crossing smoothly and just practice going to open e on a scale or that one section in Mozart 5.
No one has suggested this, and it came up once for me... Make sure your bow is traveling at a 90º angle to the string.
What part of the bow Paul? The stick is usually tilted a little forwards unless you’re at the tip. Making sure it’s 90degrees is a good way to make harder techniques like up bow staccato a pain in the arse as well as develop worse right hand technique. Watch some violinists, their bow isn’t 90degrees, whoever gave you that information... oof.
Make sure your bow is not tilting dramatically as you change strings, the hair brushing against the string in a way other than the way you bow can cause whistling.
The Warchal Amber pointed the way. Now other makers are advertising "non-listing" E-strings - But we all like Bohdan, don't we! Are some of hs newer E-strings also non-whistling?
The Warchal Timbre E also has the helix spiral that prevents the whistling.
@Lydia "I have never much liked the sound of aluminum-wound E strings"
I prefer wound E-strings. But then I'm a really a violist..
When you study the maths of oscillating strings, you tend only to study transverse and longitudinal, but there's a third kind - torsional (a first finger inadvertently touching the E string would dampen the torsional vibration but might set up an obscure harmonic) - and this is, I guess, what is heard as this whistle - it will be very high frequency (as is longitudinal), and it would explain why it's only the open string, and perhaps also why it would only be a solid string.
If you’re having constant issues with an E-string whistle in the same spot, the sure fire way not to get a whistle is by covering the open E. According to Joseph Silverstein, ‘God gave us the 4th finger to cover open strings.’ He went to the extremes of rarely playing open strings except for the open G. I’m not sure if I agree with doing that, but that’s an easy immediate fix. The greatest violin teacher in the world will not be able to give you a correct diagnosis, over a message board, on what’s causing the whistle, without hearing you live, and seeing what you’re doing with both hands. There are many variables.
There are many times when you can't use 4th finger though. In Mozart 5, for example, there's a G#-B-E chord (right before the reprise of the main theme) and when I was working on it, I was squeaking it terribly. I switched to a Goldbrokat E and the problem was mostly solved. I also found as I was rolling the chord (a quick roll, mind you), pushing my right hand out -- away from my body -- totally defeated the squeak. Probably I was compensating for a natural tendency to draw inward and keeping my bow perpendicular to the strings.
I had a violin that, no matter how it was set up, tended to have a strong tendency to whistle. The choice of E string had a lot of impact on the likelihood, but it wasn't until I got a Warchal Amber E that it truly stopped.
Xuanyuan Liu..."Making sure it’s 90degrees is a good way to make harder techniques like up bow staccato a pain in the arse as well as develop worse right hand technique."