Flesch Scales-3rds. Advice Needed

February 3, 2021, 1:15 PM · I am working on 3rds, and was wondering if people use Flesch's suggested fingerings or if they just shift 1-3, 1-3 (i.e. 1 and 3 playing the two notes in the 3rds over and over) and adjusting for the key so to make them major or minor 3rds.

Replies (9)

February 3, 2021, 1:49 PM · You need 1-3 2-4 thirds for a lot of repertoire.
February 3, 2021, 2:23 PM · Sometimes Flesch makes them deliberately "difficult" or "inconsistent", though there is a method to his madness, and it is worth to learn them as-is. It is only difficult as you start-they will soon become second nature if you study them carefully. And as aforementioned, the point of thirds is the 1-3, 2-4 sequence-that's the *only* way to play them super fast and most efficiently. However, it is also a good exercise to play those scales 1-3 only, or 2-4 only, even if you would rarely do so on an actual piece (similar as practicing fingered octaves 1-3, and 2-4.)

While I generally use other scale books, I still find Flesch 1-4 and his octaves and thirds sequences very useful and practical.

February 3, 2021, 3:17 PM · no no no Dimitri, you should practice the given fingerings.
February 3, 2021, 3:23 PM · You need to practice 1-3 1-3 and 2-4 2-4 sequences as well, because there will be tons of repertoire in which you will repeat a pair of fingers for convenience of shifts and whatnot.
February 3, 2021, 4:30 PM · Thank you all! I’m going to do all three, actually, since it seems like a good set of tools to have in muscle memory.
February 3, 2021, 5:10 PM · Greetings,
I think this tends to highlight the fundamental problem of all scale manuals (with one exception that I know of): they are basically just a shopping list of stuff. There isn’t actually a great deal to choose between them. Flesch is thoroughly reliable and you can’t go wrong following his fingerings. Where we go wrong is how the heck are we supposed to practice this stuff and why.
The one scale book I know of that gives a rational explanation of stuff and a huge range of basic exercises to solve this dilemma is the Fischer double stop scale manual. It seems to be currently out of print which is a real shame.
Another thing that might help you is the double stop exercises in Dounis’ ‘An Artists’s Technique.’ The sam problem of explanation or lack thereof, is still there, but the approach he uses is, in my opinion, more effective than just slogging through the shopping lists as best one can.
One kind of practice that has worked wonders on my playing is scales in fifths. (I dont remeber if the are even in the Flesch...) These days I practice just about everything in fifths for both technical and repertoire practice. You can see videos on this approach by Rodney Friend on youtube. Well worth a look.
February 4, 2021, 7:07 PM · Greetings,
just to clarify, I mistakenly said Simon Fischer’s double stop manual was out of print. I read this on Amazon.com but it is completely false. The book is selling like crazy and can be bought from Simons’s website. So go buy it now! Worth every penny.
Edited: February 5, 2021, 7:56 PM · I find that double-stop scales in thirds to be the most difficult. The 2-4 minor third is a strain for me, and therefore usually out of tune. There are so many combinations of minor and major thirds, both within a position and shifting; you need to be mentally aware of what you are doing. Depending on the key, 1-3 --> 1-3 --> 2-4 --> 0-2 is usually easier than the conventional 1-3 -->2-4 --> 1-3 . In real music I have never found a spot that needed the 2-4 -->2-4 shift. Hint: when shifting with thirds, focus on the finger that travels farther.
Another hint: You have to adjust the intonation a little to use Just/chordal intonation instead of melodic/Pythagorean.
February 6, 2021, 12:26 PM · As Joel mentions, my most uncomfortable third is the minor third 2-4 (g natural-e natural) on the E and A strings. It's a tricky one to get any kind of vibrato on, but it's good to practice on exactly those tricky ones, and my ability to vibrate on it has improved with practice.

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