Pinky trills

Edited: October 12, 2021, 10:16 AM · Pinky trills are interesting.
You try to avoid them on keyboards.
They are unavoidable on wind instruments.
Unfortunately for violinists, the right hand pinky trills are more common than the lefthand ones (G# only, on flute and oboe, but clarinets may have more).
So a piece of Corelli/Geminiani I'm playing has a pinky trill which doesn't worry me, but I do wonder if you have a favourite étude for pinky trills on the violin?

Replies (12)

Edited: October 13, 2021, 7:08 PM · 4th finger trills can usually be avoided by shifting to another position, even if it is only for that one note. Don't have the 1st and 2nd fingers down while doing a 4th finger trill (or vibrato). Some players are blessed with a longer 4th finger or have anatomically completely independent 3rd and 4th fingers. For early music, like your Corelli piece, don't try to trill too fast. Think of what a singer would do with that trill. And then there is the double stop trill - that's advanced class, beyond me. Kreutzer #s 16,18,19,21 have plenty of 4th finger trills, just be careful, don't hurt yourself. For all fast stuff I found it helpful to mentally focus on lifting the fingers quickly.
Edited: October 12, 2021, 1:40 PM · Dont, Op. 25, No. 6
There are several versions here:
https://imslp.org/wiki/24_Etudes_or_Caprices%2C_Op.35_(Dont%2C_Jakob)
October 12, 2021, 1:36 PM · Joel gives good advice. An additional place to work on the light finger-lifting is on the first page of Schradieck. (I think it's) the second line with the 2-3-2-3-2-3 followed by the 3-4-3-4-3-4 can be practiced pretty slowly, but with each finger lifting as quickly and as silently as possible.

There's some good trill stuff in Rode as well.

October 12, 2021, 10:29 PM · What's a right handed pinky trill?
October 12, 2021, 10:47 PM · right-handed?
piano, trumpet, flute, (left-handed fiddler?), etc.
October 13, 2021, 1:30 AM · I’ve found that my 4th finger trills are better/easier after having done Kreutzer 9. It’s not specifically for trills, but it does work wonders for finger independence which is why I’m studying it.
October 13, 2021, 8:47 AM · i play the recorder too. for my luck there are almost zero repertoire who uses right hand pinky trills (because it's the lowest note and not everyone likes to compose with it, i don't know why
Edited: October 13, 2021, 11:57 AM · Mazas 13 and 14. Also general fourth finger exercises such as Mazas 19 or those you find in Schradieck type exercises.

None of these are my favorites though I do like Mazas in general. But fourth finger trills are really best avoided as Joel said. Investing some mental energy for that purpose is well worth it.

Nota bene: Do not overdo any of these exercises if you want to keep your pinky functional!

October 13, 2021, 7:18 PM · continued,-- Another vote for Kreutzer #9. For an easy exercise prior to those heavy etudes:-- Somewhere in Doflein book 4 there is an exercise I call "taps and lifts" I still do it as a warm-up. It develops finger independence, velocity, and gives you a good trill as a bonus. Another factor not mentioned yet is how high you lift the fingers. 1/2 inch, or 1 cm, or the height of a fingernail is about right. Too high-the fingers travel farther, and land too hard, producing popping sounds on the fingerboard by some players. Too shallow a lift; the finger doesn't go all the way down to the wood, sounds mushy, and surprisingly slow. And then there is the vibrato trill used in East Europe folk fiddle-- but it would be malpractice of me to even suggest it.
October 14, 2021, 9:21 PM · Fiorillo #2 makes regular 4th finger trills feel easy after the prolonged 1-2 and 3-4 double stop third trills you have to do. I wouldn't say this etude isolates 4th finger trills in particular though.
Edited: October 14, 2021, 9:50 PM · Paganini Caprice No. 3. They must be pinky trills if you do trills in fingered octaves ;-)
Edited: October 15, 2021, 3:45 AM · Lists of studies are fine, but they don't tell us how!
Indeed the the pinky must loosen and strengthen through assiduous repetition, but we have to give it a chance!

It normally has to be curved, to avoid collapsing, and to allow the tip to make a clear sound; the other fingers must get back out of the way.
We can also temporarily rock the hand forwards over the third finger. Smallish hands have to change their overall shape frequently. This becomes part of our practice routines.


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