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Approaches to Violin / Viola Pedagogy

Models for Interval Practice                                  Printer Friendly Version  Printer Friendly Version 
December 27, 2008

Approaches to Violin / Viola Pedagogy - Models for interval Practice

Stopping fingers often need to act independently of the bow arm and the independent count. The effectiveness of an intervallic approach will be enhanced if an "anchor finger" remains planted while the new finger is placed. In this way, the muscles will experience the interval span. And the muscles soon will remember the distance, in the same way the driver of a car remembers the movement from the accelerator pedal to the brake. Holding down anchor fingers -- or guiding fingers -- is important. But this technique has a downside. It can produce excess tension. Also it inhibits vibrato. Therefore it is essential, particularly at slower tempos, to learn and to drill the release of the stop -- raising the finger independently of the start of the bow stroke and the sound.

The models above show how this is done. In B, on the same string, when the second finger falls, the new pitch sounds -- the second finger is placed simultaneous to the second-quarter-count. But 1st finger -- the anchor or guiding finger is maintained. It is raised only after the new sound is started -- practice doing this action on the "and" of the count. In the descent back to E, the new 1st finger is to be placed ahead of time. The new pitch sounds when the 2nd finger is removed. In A) which involves string crossing, the second finger anticipates the new pitch -- it must be already in place when the bow reaches the new string. The 1st finger acts as the anchor or guide as in B. In A, at the descent, the 2nd finger remains planted until the new pitch on the new string is already sounding.

The triple aspect of the models is important. When the repeat is observed, the changed bow direction relates differently to the left hand and to the bridge's curvature.


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