Kreutzer 26

October 27, 2021, 10:32 PM · In this etude, there are some broken tenths when the 1 is played first then the 4 in a group of 16th notes, I’m having trouble reaching the 4, as normally I lead with my 4 then stretch back for the one when playing normal 10ths. Any advice?

Replies (13)

October 27, 2021, 11:15 PM · Having had a quick look, these shouldn't be too uncomfortable, considering almost all of them are in position. My guess is that there is something tense in your tenths.

I have somewhat small hands, and I play tenths with my thumb very lightly grazing the underside of the neck, so my thumb is pointing along the same direction as the neck goes, and not going up the side of the neck AT ALL. This allows me to still play tenths with a straight wrist. While it's good practice to stretch back, this is a case where you kind of have to set your hand all at once, which is a technique you will see again in Rode, where you are playing tenths and having to stretch in both directions at once. That doesn't mean to just jump in and hurt yourself - You can still practice getting the tenth from the 4th finger back, but eventually you need to be able to set the hand all at once - My guess is that your thumb is in the wrong place and it's making tenths more difficult than they need to be.

October 27, 2021, 11:26 PM · The idea of reaching back with the 1st finger for tenths is a pedagogical concept meant to give you an "expanded left hand" approach to large intervals instead of the approach of just stretching your pinky upwards (and often not getting far enough). As you point out in this example, starting from the 4th finger and reaching back simply isn't applicable, because the order of the notes requires you to go from the bottom of the interval to the top.

Many violinists, possibly most, do not have large enough hands to accomplish tenths in the lower positions without expanding both the 4th finger upwards and the 1st finger downwards. Like I said, the idea of starting from the 4th finger and reaching back with the 1st is a pedagogical tool. What you are actually doing is expanding the fingers outwards, and it's the same motion whether you're starting from the bottom or the top. Isolate the tenths in the etude and go back and forth between the notes very slowly. The "reach back" method has already made you familiar with how your first finger should feel when the fingers expand to a tenth. "Glue" your first finger to its respective pitch and notice the "reach back feeling" as your fingers expand till the 4th finger reaches its respective pitch.

Edited: October 28, 2021, 5:17 AM ·

An old thread that features a trick.

October 28, 2021, 8:49 AM · I agree with Aaron that the "reach back" method is a pedagogical concept. It is equivalent to moving your thumb forward. So maybe the position of your thumb should be a consideration.
October 29, 2021, 12:33 PM · Not mentioned yet: Those 10ths are not double-stops; so you do not have to have both fingers down at the same moment. Ricci has something in his book called a "pivot-shift". The hand moves forward, or back, bending at the wrist to get extra distance on the extension. The thumb can move prior to that motion. Some Bass players do it all the time because their 1/2 steps are very far apart. Pianists do something like that for "topping", getting extra leverage on the top note of a melody played with the little finger. First finger extension is part of normal Cello technique.
October 29, 2021, 1:25 PM · I wonder if moving the violin more to the front (rather than the side) would help in making those stretches. That's a good etude.

Edited: November 2, 2021, 2:07 PM · I apologize. I should have played that spot before responding, instead of just looking at it. There are six tenths in the second half of the etude. The first one Gb-Bb, is easy because it is in a high position and you are already up there. The others can be found by Not doing a conventional shift, but only move the first finger, keeping the thumb anchored at the saddle point, the curve of the neck block. The major 10th Bb--D I cannot play it in first position, so I "cheated" and did it on the D & A strings.
November 2, 2021, 5:40 PM · Greetings,
I am not sure if I understand the earlier references to stretching backwards as a ‘pedagogical concept.’. I guess we are agreeing that it is a point which is usually taught because it is important to know and do (except when you can’t). The concept/point/ or whatever we decide to call it is rooted in a concrete fact about the structure of the hand. The third and fourth fingers share a tendon, therefore their range of movement and degree of independence is quite constrained in comparison with the index finger. Because of this structural condition it is important to emphasize stretching back issue . Doing it in the wrong direction will necessarily create unwanted tension and may even lead to injury. To my mind this belongs in the physiological rather than psychological sphere.
November 2, 2021, 10:25 PM · I have small hands and here are the tricks that help me with 10ths: stretch back not up, put more space between all the fingers (not just one and two), play on the side of the first finger, turn elbow towards your body (to the right) so you can rotate over the top of the fingerboard to the left, position your thumb in the middle not back of the hand. In terms of navigating between 10ths, try very little finger pressure and not actually shifting (just move the wrist) until you absolutely have to. Hope that helps!
November 3, 2021, 6:53 AM · hi Landon, like you write, those tenths are 1-4-1. prior to the first 1, you do shift up to the 4, but you simultaneously reach down with your 1. of course this needs to be practiced.
November 4, 2021, 4:15 PM · Reaching back is great, try keeping your thumb against the button even for the one that is in 1st position. I have the Urtext and was surprised to note that there are no tenths, just octaves. (The high note is a third lower.)
November 6, 2021, 12:50 AM · I don't have an answer beyond the 24 Rode Caprices regarding my criticism of the "reaching back" concept. His gentle introduction of tenths into many different musical situations and keys, coupled with Galamian's fingerings, convinced me that the more versatile approach to tenths is that the hand sits in the "middle position", while the pinky reaches up one position and the first finger reaches back one position.
Edited: November 7, 2021, 6:32 PM · Greetings,
my apologies to everyone for dragging this one up again. To tell the truth I haven’t played this one for so many years I didn’t recall the passage in question. Having finally taken the trouble to actually look at what you are talking about , which I suppose is form bar 33 (?) I am not completely sure what the problem is aside from normal technique that needs to be worked on more or less depending on size of hand. (Easy for me to say since I have big hands…) The point about stretching back remains absolutely fundamental, but, assuming I have the right spot, you are in a sense, =already stretching back since you play the top note of the scale first. So when you descend the scale keep the feeling that the hand is balanced on the upper fingers and the fourth finger should reach where it is required to go fairly easily and comfortably.
I think one of the problems may be that one need sot clarify in ones mind where these tenths are exactly. So I would set up the hand and then extract the tenths themselves and then play them with a slurred, hooked bowing until the hand is able to to move perfectly in tune from beginning to end. It’s kind of a study within a study I suppose. You may find it helpful to support the had by having the third finger lightly depressing the string as well as the fourth.

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