The Minor Arpeggio Trick

July 11, 2023, 9:27 AM · Hi, I wanted to share a "trick" which I learned from one of the bass teachers in my school. For some of you, it might be obvious, but I wasn't aware of it despite having played the violin for over 10 years. To summarize the trick in a sentence: The distance between a minor third on the fingerboard is equal to the distance of a major third when shifting upwards by that same distance, followed by a perfect fourth, a fith and an octave.

You can find a more thorough explanation of the trick here:

Replies (9)

July 11, 2023, 12:15 PM · This seems like a lot of extra brainwork to me. On the bass it makes some sense where shifting can be more naturally visual. But you shouldn't be staring at your fingers while shifting anyway so it is still necessary to memorize the feel and the sound of shifts.
Edited: July 11, 2023, 6:01 PM · I looked at the article. My impression is that the solution is more complicated than the problem,- like a grad. student desperately searching for an original thesis topic.
For shifting, I am more aware of interval distance than the position numbers.
? Undertone series?-Really?
For the physical distance between the fingers, on one string, in upper positions, to prevent cramping, I do this: 1/2 steps with the same finger, adjacent fingers play Maj 2 or min 3, alternate fingers play Maj 3 or P4, 1-4 finger combo does dim 5, P5 or farther.
Edited: July 11, 2023, 5:36 PM · You got me!

Just kidding, but "one weird trick" is just about the oldest click-bait phrase there is. Usually the "trick" is something to help you lose weight or cure your tinnitus.

I think it's always fun to see the kinds of mathematical relationships that people have cooked up for violin fingerings. What you're saying is that the stop for the minor third is halfway to the stop for the fifth. I can see where that might be useful in some classical-era second-violin parts (Alberti figures).

July 11, 2023, 5:25 PM · Paul, apparently the tinnitus one involves a laser
July 12, 2023, 8:33 AM · It's certainly an interesting phenomenon!
Edited: July 12, 2023, 11:16 AM · A quick way to count cows is to count their legs and then divide by four.

"Coincidence" is probably the word, not "trick." When ratios add up to near ratios, you can claim they are exact and people will believe you. Alternatively, it may be the result of choosing a certain flavour of Pythag (yes, there's more than one).

But every time these things crop up, doing the math is like undergoing root canal work at the dentist.

July 12, 2023, 3:36 PM · Gordon I think it's the Pythagorean thing. I'd have to think (or read) about it more than I have time for at the moment, but it could be exact. In fact it might be too exact.
July 12, 2023, 4:31 PM · I’m happy to see the post creating some discussion. I’m not saying that this is a method you have to apply whenever you are shifting, I mostly wanted to point out the curious fact that the intervals in question are equidistant on the fingerboard. Like all theoretical knowledge, it is up to the practitioner to choose how or whether to apply it. Personally, I believe it has given me some additional awareness when performing certain shifts, especially in higher positions.

And yes, this theory is obviously only exact when it comes to the intervals of the overtone series, i.e just intonation.

July 13, 2023, 11:38 AM · I am disappointed. I hoped from the title the thread would be about bowing (as in "Mendelssohn cadenza").

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