How to make a bigger sound with less effort
How do I make a bigger sound on the violin with more ease. I know its all about the upper arm weight but its easier said than done. I feel like my fingers are doing too much pressing. Does anyone know any good excercises that will help me produce a bigger sound with less strain?
What is the value of your violin?
Do you know the concept of sounding point?
And slow down your bow speed - seems paradoxical but it works.
It is not just important to produce a big sound, but also a good ppp piano sound, and all between them, and in this case a good instrument, with a generous dynamic range is very very important.
Move towards the bridge more? I don't know if you already do but in louder pieces, it helps for sure.
Of course a good violin and violinist must have both, but he explicitly asked for a big sound.
Sometimes lower tension strings will allow the violin to vibrate more freely, while being easier to )lay.
Hi Alena, I recommend that you purchase an inexpensive Hrimaly scale book and start with the one octave scales in the beginning of the book. They do look at first deceptively easy and I think people tend to gloss over them but they will help you with your sound if you put in a lot of time on them. It is the dynamics which I think makes these basic scales so effective. For instance , first note is marked Forte and next note is marked piano and this simple scale exercise forces you to change your soundpoint and pressure and speed to achieve these different volumes. And then there are many more complicated variations of dynamics to work on which is why I am such a big proponent of this book.
The three components of sound production are bow speed, pressure and point of contact.
Also sound quality changes. You can produce a loud sound near fingerboard by increasing speed,less pressure, it sounds more reverby. Near bridge, bit more pressure, less speed, its a loud sound with a bite. Also i think (correct me if wrong) equivalent sound points vary from lower strings to higher ones.
I dont know if you can really get loud near the fingerboard but the idea is exactly right.
Everyone has made good points. Three things to keep inind:
I guess I'll ask again: what is the value of your violin?
How is the value of the violin relevant?
Partly. A cheap (not so good) violin has to be treated a bit differently in bowing positions than a good one. Or put better: You wont be able to get a good sound close to the bridge with a bad violin.
Cheap doesn't exactly mean that a violin's not going to respond normally to bowing. The OP is probably busy and hasn't had a chance to reply yet.
I understand that cheaper violins are usually not as nice as more expensive ones. I wasn't trying to generalize on cheap vs expensive violins and was referring to bow response only.
Bow response is one of the main differences between bad, ok, good and great instruments.
"Pressure" is an interesting concept. Could be an oversimplification at times? I like Yehudi Menuhins' book on how to play the violin partly because it is very poetic. Being poetic can actually be MORE not less precise. It seems there IS pressure where the bow touches the string, or it just rests. One can always no doubt measure pressure there if one had the right instrument. But does that mean "pressure" is the best concept to use, or even an accurate one? Perhaps not.
@Sylvan "pressure" and "weight", I thought the same. There has got to be a better way to describe when it comes to the violin.
If I were drafted into a heavyweight woman's wrestling match as punishment and a 500 pounder sat on me would I be thinking of weight or pressure?
What made the biggest change for me on both my 1894 vln & 1926 vla was a change to Kaplan strings and a Glasser braided carbon fiber bow with the right rosin (Millant dark/Jade).Oh, and I took off the shoulder rest- it really dampens resonance.
Just turns out I was not playing close enough to the bridge because I've always been scared of the tone there but my violin can actually handle it pretty well. My violin is about $4000 btw.
I would like to offer a more rigorous description of the difference between weight and pressure. Weight is the downward force that is exerted on a massive object in a gravitational field. Pressure is simply the same exact force divided by the surface area of contact. Since one cannot control the surface area of contact between the string and the bow, then whether one *thinks* one is using "weight" vs. "pressure" they are, as a practical matter, indistinguishable. The "shoulder/arm/wrist/hand/fingers/bow" concept that Christian describes is a mental construct that is intended to explicitly recognize and ultimately facilitate the coordination of the various muscle groups used in drawing the bow.
At the tip I find that thinking about the elbow and shoulder is useful for understanding how to keep the torque "weight" applied correctly.
I haven't seen anyone saying this ... but does replacing the current bridge with a higher bridge can make the sound louder as well??? (not too high of course) As far as I know, too low a bridge can cause your violin to lose its character.
It can, but it doesnt have to.
Interesting - Thanks for the clarification. I actually thought of using the word "torque" in my post, but wasn't sure enough about the meaning of torque. Sounds good to have an approach that is scientific ( as well as poetic of course - one wouldn't want to insinuate that somehow poetry is wrong , would we !)
Wait what kinda strings do you use?
Speaking strictly scientifically, there is a distinction between weight and pressure. Pressure is basically the weight divided by the area onto which it presses.
The Art Of Bowing Practice by Robert Gerle. Excellent book for the bow arm.
I still think pressure is a concept of limited usefullness. To get the effect needed it may in fact be necessary to start thinking in grander terms, or further back as it were, in terms of something more fluid and dynamic , where the word "force" or "pressure" then becomes something misleading to focus on, and something more poetic and including intention, may be more helpful.
Hm, at aech bow speed and position and sound colour wanted I use different down force on the string. Definitaly an imporatant part of it.
Back muscles. I read an article a number of years ago and haven't been able to find the article in the last few years again. But, it talked about how the bow stroke begins in the back muscles. After reading the article and employing the techniques in it, my sound got much larger and easier to produce. It is particularly useful on piano sections.
here is what I do:
Simon Fischer’s dvd on bowing- Clear teaching on speed, lacement, pressure relationships.
I actually think less efford is the opposite from that vibrato projection thing and everybody should first have the bowing technic strait, than he can think about the left hand supporting this sound.
Laura McDermott is correct in her explanation of the back and shoulder muscles which, when added to the right arm weight, produce maximum volume. Carmen Tanzio also has a wordy but effective explanation of using the term "weight" of the bow hair on the string. Playing close to the bridge also lets the string vibrate with maximum velocity.
Also you can add a very slight sidemovement whereyou put the tip towards the bridge at the end.
I couldn't resist having this violin community listen to Oscar Shumsky play the Preludio to the last J S Bach unaccompanied Suite:
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