Right hand pizzicato form

December 28, 2017, 10:15 PM · Today, I have realised that there are two ways of doing the right hand pizzicato. Either grasping the bow as if you were to make a fist and plucking it with your index, or keeping the bow hold and just reaching out with the index. I have always used the second method but thought that the first method would've been easier to do. So I was just wondering which method is overall better to stick on to, and which method you guys prefer.

Replies (9)

December 28, 2017, 10:35 PM · Depends on the piece. If the pizz passage is long, I would use method #1. If the pizz passage is short, method #2 is best.
December 29, 2017, 3:08 AM · Same as Ella
December 29, 2017, 8:13 AM · Agreed -- with one small addition for method 2 in longer passages: Keep the right thumb hooked on the outer right edge of the fingerboard -- right at the end -- while you hold the bow firmly with RH fingers 2-3-4. Otherwise, it's easy to get off the beat in rapid pizz passages -- e.g., Tchaikovsky 4, 3rd movement, and Sibelius 2, 1st movement.
December 29, 2017, 10:52 AM · Agree with Jim 100%.
January 3, 2018, 5:46 PM · I use both, but as with the others, 99% of the time I use the second one. i only use the first when I have long rests before and after the archo. It is easier to play, but sometimes trickey to switch to and from.
Edited: January 4, 2018, 7:35 PM · I also do it depending on the tempo of the transition between the pizz and the arco.
If you have a break in the transition or slow tempo, I would recommend to use the method 1.
If you have a quick transition between pizz and arco, it is sometimes not possible to transition from method 1 to arco, so then use method 2.
If you have a very quick transition from pizz to arco sometimes it is necessary to play the last pizz note with left hand pizz, so that the bow has more time to prepare the next note.
Also there are pizzicato techniques for example in modern music or in tango, where you need to use method 2, because you need two fingers for example.
I used to play a piece, where I had pizzicato chord arpeggiated with two fingers then a fast pizzicato passage with a fast transition into arco. I had to use bow in the fist for the chord, then transition into the normal bow hold in a small rest to do the fast pizzicato and to make the fast transition between the pizz and the arco possible. Quite an experience, when you forget to change to the normal bow hold pizz. You know you can play the fast pizz with the bow in the fist, if you forget to change to the bowhold, but the transition to arco will be impossible if you forget that bow hold change. Been there, faked it good!
January 5, 2018, 7:00 AM · Difficult pizz-to-arco transitions can be handled nicely by splitting the stand. One player plays the last pizz stronger and the other plays the first arco note stronger. A faking conspiracy!
January 5, 2018, 7:45 AM · There's a thumb pizz, as well, where you use your thumb, nearly on its side, to pluck the strings. Useful for resonant G-string pizz, especially. (I was taught this trick by my teacher for us in Prokofiev No. 1.)
January 8, 2018, 7:22 PM · I hold the bow normally and just reach out and pluck, so option 2.

There are also sections in the piece we are working on where there is a large enough pause before and after anextended pizz section (Dvorak Stabat Matter Mvt. 1, Viola, as an example) where I've been putting down the bow because my arm is tired (but only for rehearsal!). I probably wouldn't do this in a concert unless the entire part was pizz. But when you're playing the same thing over and over again to tweak and fix parts there is no reason to suffer if there is a comfortable amount of time to make the movement.

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