Which run is easier to play?

July 30, 2020, 4:19 PM · Hi Forum,

I've always been wondering what would be more comfortable to play for string players.



Please let me know your thoughts,

Replies (13)

July 30, 2020, 4:32 PM · B has the exact same notes as A except that it has two more in the beginning, so what is your own guess :-)
Edited: July 30, 2020, 6:33 PM · I would say the lower (longer) one (B) is easier because it is a complete 2-octave E-flat major scale and thus would feel more natural to play. It is something you should have already studied and should thereafter recognize instantly at sight.
July 30, 2020, 8:18 PM · Awesome, that was actually my guess. Thank you Andrew Victor!
July 31, 2020, 5:21 AM · On the flip side of Andrew's comment, which has a great deal of validity, I would say that rhythmically, starting on G would perhaps be easier. A group of 6 notes feels better than a group of 7 to me.

From the perspective of fingering, I also think that starting on the G would be easier - I would start that run in 3rd position and then only need an extension for the e-flat at the end (it's not held long enough to need a strong vibrato). Starting from e-flat would introduce either a shit mid-run or an additional string crossing. Obviously fingerings are personal decisions, and other people may have better/more efficient ways of playing these options.

Edited: July 31, 2020, 5:59 AM · For the left hand there is not much difference. Either way you can play it in third position and extend your fourth finger for the last e flat (easiest fingering I believe in both cases).

However: sextuplets are easy, heptuplets are very difficult. Most people even cheat when they encounter quintuplets and play 2 + 3 or 3 + 2 rather than 5 even. 7 even is harder than 5 even. So number 1 clearly wins.

Or maybe Andrew is right and I have just admitted that I rarely practice scales...

Edited: July 31, 2020, 7:29 AM · Andrew's appeal to ingrained familiarity is a good answer. Problem is, there are two conflicting kinds - familiarity with the full 2-octave scale and familiarity with the 6/8 rhythm.
But at that speed you should be relying on timing, not on rhythm, and least of all on counting. No, I'm not sure - 7 will be about timing, 6 may be about rhythm.
Then there's the choice of 3rd position and a slide for (a), assuming you can stop the slide in the right place; (or even 4th position for a); or 4th position for (b), with the added bonus of marking the beats with the second and first fingers. I'd probably favour the last option, but I don't know.
July 31, 2020, 8:43 AM · I think fingering would depend on what preceded the scale passage in the music and where the hand was at the start, the player's prior approach to practicing this scale and whether this was sight reading or a familiar passage.
Edited: July 31, 2020, 11:35 AM · I take a pragmatic approach to these issues. When executing a rapid heptuplet run (or similar) in orchestra I aim for getting the next note after the run exactly on the beat, and let the fingers look after themselves during the run. At speed no-one will be aware of possible slight inconsistencies, although details probably wouldn't stand up to forensic examination in an audio lab.
July 31, 2020, 10:58 AM · There are users on v.com who work out and are fairly pumped. It doesn't keep them from playing the violin or the viola.

Note, however, that the cello is by far the most ergonomic of the stringed instruments.

Edited: July 31, 2020, 11:01 AM · I think you meant to put that in the other thread, Paul, unless you meant it as a joke.
Edited: July 31, 2020, 6:35 PM · In "music theory" you can find names for scales of virtually any "one-directional" combination and number of notes and if you include the entire range of "world music" you would not be limited to "12 tones per octave" at all. But octaves, fifths and (in fact) any two notes where the frequency of one is an integer multiple of the other is a natural phenomenon (and actually the basis of Niels Bohr's initial concept of Quantum Mechanics related to atomic structure). Not all "musical notes" follow these relationships as our ears often tell us - and our 4-legged friends as well. (I once played weekly string quartets at the home of a cellist whose very large boxer (dog) growled at first violinists who played double stops out of tune, so the cellist informed me when I first sat down to play there. He was quickly proved correct and I just didn't even try after that for the several more years we played together.)

But even in "Western Classical Music" there are more scales than "major," "harmonic minor" and "melodic minor." Based on any major key of the 12 tone scale there are conventionally 7 named scales:
Ionian (i)
Dorian (ii)
Phrygian (iii)
Lydian (iv)
Mixolydian (v)
Aeolian (vi)
Locrian (vii)

Following this system, example B linked in the OP's post would be the "Ionian" scale in E-flat and example B would be the "Phrygian" scale. But here my shallow knowledge ends - is it the "Phrigian scale in E-flat" or is it the "Phrigian scale in G?"

July 31, 2020, 3:40 PM · Agree with Andrew; they are both modal scales, how we label them is not very important. Both are not difficult. I would not try to accurately time the groups of 7. I would take my daughter's advice:
Play the first and last notes on time, then play more notes in between. For a soloist it is more impressive to start a little slow, then accelerate and crescendo into the top note.

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