Kreutzer #2, Measure 13

April 24, 2021, 2:47 PM · Hi all,

Been following (slavishly) the Galamian fingerings but on measure 13 (same principle for immediately following measures) why isn’t the standard fingering (position 1) 4 on A String then 1 D string THEN SHIFT UP TO NEXT POSITION (now position 2) 1 - 2 - 3 then A string 1234 then D String 1 SHIFT 123 then A string 1234?

Seems to me clearer....

Thanks for the thoughts...

Replies (16)

Edited: April 24, 2021, 4:16 PM · Hi Jeff,

This is such an interesting question - I hadn't thought about it before!

My guess is that the shift to second position is placed on the C (rather than on the F, as you suggest) to encourage the player to phrase the last three notes in every set of eight as pick-ups to the next beat. For example, the notes of m. 13 (ending with the first note of m. 14) would be grouped as follows: E - EFGA - CDEF - FGAB - DEFG. Perhaps you can think of each 4-note group as being played by one of two alternating voices - one lower and one higher. I think the printed fingering is meant to help create this grouping, which aids phrasing and voicing. Does this make sense?

Of course, in the end, the "correct" fingering is whatever works best for you! :)

April 24, 2021, 4:26 PM · Those of us who do not have the Galamian version can unfortunately not say much about this.

However: Your solution involves 1-finger shifts or slides, something we are generally advised to avoid.

April 24, 2021, 7:23 PM · Greetings,
to be honest I don’t like a lot of Galamian’s fingerings but they are systematic, usually logical and should be given consideration. In this case, as Albrecht comments above. I think that Galamian’s fingering is not only the cleanest but also allows for practicing putting dow the hand in blocks which is fantastic mental training to control finger placement and build up the ability to play extremely fast and cleanly. Since musicality and technique are the same thing this is also pretty much the most musical fingering in my book although there are certaiinly others.
BTW I always urge my Ss to play this etude in 2nd, 4th and 6th positions as well. There are no limits on the ways you can torture yourself with Kreutzer. A lifetime’s work rather than just an intermediate student’s etude book to be discarded after working through.
Many thanks for the thought provoking question.
April 24, 2021, 9:17 PM · Buri wrote: "Since musicality and technique are the same thing..".

Huh?? Kinda reminds me of the cats and legs. All cats have legs but not all legs are on cats.

I think its hard to argue that you can have (violin) musicality if you don't have technique. However, all the technique in the world will not make you musical, at least not in the sense of individual expression. Or am I missing something

April 24, 2021, 9:51 PM · hi Alice,
I guess I just use musicality in a much broader sense than you do. The more we polish our technical resources the more musicality can flow naturally. The more polishing of technical resources is driven by our innate musical feelings the better that technique will be. In the old days, it seems like there was a distinct separation between for example,Technical practice such as scales and finger exercises and something called musical practice?However, I think violin practice and thinking has genuinely evolved a little bit beyond this These days. For example, I recently saw vengerov teaching skills in a masterclass where every skill was regarded as an expressive piece of music. In spite of the ideas of Shefchik that we can separate the two things I personally believe that going the opposite way is more effective. I also note many great players for example hadelich Who say that they practice everything so they were in a performance. I’m not sure I can get to this extreme, but it is one way of raising one’s game to a much higher level. And, by default, if we do even our most diligent technical practice well imagining we are performing to an audience I’m pretty sure The concepts of technique and musicality merge into one in the same way that yin and yang do in the proverbial mystical Asian symbol of the universe.
Edited: April 25, 2021, 12:11 AM · If I wanted to shift, I think I would shift to second position for the C natural after playing the G natural (and before the open A), and then shift back to first position for the B natural after playing the G natural (and before the open A).

But I think I would just play this measure in first position (and most of the etude) to practice the string crossings. Not sure I want to necessarily avoid the string crossings in this etude by shifting.

Edited: April 25, 2021, 2:25 AM · I have a slightly different take on Galamian's fingerings - I'm not an expert player at all so I'm probably missing the point altogether, but I always assumed that fingering those runs in groups of 4 as Galamian has them means that you are playing a number of different patterns of tones and semitones. After all, this is an etude and the point of them, I understand, to help develop technique.

In the first group of 4 (E to A), the intervals are semi-tone, tone, tone. The second (C - F) is tone, tone, semi-tone. Third(F-B) is tone, tone, tone. Fourth (D-G) is tone, semi-tone, tone

In effect, the fingering requires us to play all combinations of intervals if the run is started on the first finger

For me, this seems like a worthwhile thing to practice.

Please be gentle if I am talking nonsense :-)

April 25, 2021, 5:15 AM · Tony,
not nonsense at all. That was what I wa s referring to when I mentioned blocks . There is a book about practicing by Robert Gerle which focuses on thinking in finger patterns. It’s full of excellent ideas. Highly recommend it.
Edited: April 25, 2021, 8:35 AM · Tony, I use the same approach as well.

Practicing Kreutzer #2 can be enhanced by inserting repeat signs at the ends of measures 8 and 18. This works with some others of the Etudes.

Edited: April 25, 2021, 8:21 AM · In my viola edition I have added Kreuzter's own fingerings, and those of Flesch, which suite my stubby fingers better than Galamian's spidery creepings.

BTW 1-1 semitone shifts are fine, but the finger may have to change shape if shifting to (or from) a wide-open finger pattern.

April 25, 2021, 6:28 PM · Tony brings up an excellent point!
April 26, 2021, 4:41 AM · By the way another way to use this passage (it is versatile) is to also practice this in first position, as an exercise in skipping strings, which is a useful technique to have.
April 26, 2021, 4:43 AM · By the way, it seems Kreutzer got inspiration from Corelli opus 5 no 6 sonata, the fourth part Allegro contains passages that remind very much of Kreutzer #2!
Edited: April 26, 2021, 9:16 AM · Thanks for all the food for thought - heartwarming to see such a vibrant community of musicians :-))
April 26, 2021, 10:24 AM · Thanks, Buri - I have two of Robert Gerle's books (the art of practising the violin and the art of bowing practise), recommended by my teacher.

It's a long time since I read them, but I do remember they were useful at the time. I guess I need to dig them out again.

April 26, 2021, 3:40 PM · For that Kreutzer #2, Ms. 13, I also like the Galamian fingering:
Use the open A to shift to second position, then later in the measure, 4th finger B, shift to first finger D. The unprinted technical trick is; don't shift up on the 4th finger, but move the first finger from F to C, early, then shift up on the first finger while also changing strings. In the next measure, #14, use the open A to go back down to first position. The same pattern happens in ms. 15.
In general, etudes are for technical training, so do the alternate suggestions.
As for the musicality vs. technique question. There was a piano soloist (forget which one) who used the phrase "take the path of most resistance", meaning, that frequently the best sounding solution is not the technically easiest.

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