Still trying to get the new site/host to work before the transfer. Some of your new posts on the forum may be lost on the restore. Everything should be back to normal within a few days and hopefully we will have a quicker site as well. Thanks!
I mean pre-scales, completely focused on elementary technical difficulties in bowing and producing a clean sound separate from tone production and intonation. The simplistic "bow parallel to the bridge, flexible wrist" really doesn't cut it as a prep for scales. Sevcik isn't much of a help here and Fiddlerman has a bit with the 16 and 8th notes exercise but I don't think there is a rigorous book on the market that runs the table so that some smart-arse couldn't give you the simplest exercise after 1 year of practice and laugh when you couldn't do it effortlessly. More than just open string crossing exercises in every imaginable way,,, also dynamics, the most difficult rhythmic variations, etc.
It would be nice if there was less infatuation with vibrato and more attention to the bow.
Wow, I don't quite know how to respond to your post.
I can only suggest one thing…
quit analyzing and start playing, perhaps you'll advance enough to be able to do scales.
Did you check the Suzuki method books? I see lots of exercises that are not scales in mine anyway. Also you could write your own in Finale Notepad 2012 if you are not satisfied with what is offered.
How long have you been playing Composer?
Please give Composer a break. I understand what you guys are saying but everyone has their own way of learning. Some people have to analyze the heck out of something to learn and others just do it. Sometimes by just doing it you get into bad habits as well. Who can say for sure what the best way to learn is?
@ Composer – just because students and learning violinists focus on the bow doesn't mean they can't focus on other aspects of expression such as vibrato. There is always room for more technique. The question is maybe how much we can soak in at once? You are correct for spending time on your bowing technique but imagine if that was the only thing you were good at.
Here's a book recommended by Oliver, one of our Pro Advisors, in a previous post. Hope the link comes through okay. I just ordered one myself, though I had been putting it off because of other books I have.
Also, under Fiddlerman's Sheet Music, I see quite a few practice pieces in the beginner category that might be suitable for you.
Two ASTA publications I ordered arrived today:
Basic Principles of Violin Playing by Paul Rolland
A Violinists Guide for Exquisite Intonation by Barry Ross
and at least at first glance I am pleased with its contents. The Rolland book is both elemental and contains sophisticated instruction on the mechanics of bowing especially. Much more detailed than Galamian despite no photographs which i find refreshing. For example, he states that increased bow pressure has much more effect on timbre than dynamics. This is the most physics oriented book I have found as it replaces those useless photographs with drawings that illustrate non-obvious flaws: for example, instead of hair 90 degrees to the string, beginners typically bow an outward arc. He then prescribes a counter example bowing an inward arc and notated exercises to correct this problem. Even the vibrato section is enlightening, much less academic and again sophisticated in detailing the physics of what exactly goes wrong. The book is short (48 pages) and compact (not much bigger than Readers Digest). It appears to be very practical for the complete beginner.
The Ross book is for the extreme confusion surrounding exactly what is playing in tune anyhow for a string instrument? Again, very simple exercises and not just melodic tuning but harmonic as well.
The final two books (before I give up entirely) I got are:
The Mastery of the Bow and Bowing Subtleties by Paul Stoeving (1920)
Orchestral Bowings and Routines by Elizabeth A.H. Green
The Stoeving book includes an absolutely incredible rant on vibrato near the end of the book:
"…it is the bane of sensitive ears and nerves and the enemy, the despoiler of the true violin tone per se as well as of sound left-hand technic and through it to the tone indirectly."
"If vibrato is the only means of expressing intensified emotion, the latter must be continually in the throes of harrowing emotion, or emtion must be a cheap and common commodity, for the listener is drenched with it until he is tempted to wonder what a violin tone sounds like without being so adorned, beautified and intensified by a vibrato. Is the abuse of the vibrato a sign of the times, in which the quietly dignified, the reticent-beautiful has no place?"
Stoeving really hates vibrato: "The use of the vibrato invites loud, noisy playing. He, who is once seized with the vibrato mania is not happy unless he can play forte, with plenty of feeling"
"Passage work for bow and fingers should never be INVADED by any suspicion of a vibrato, and many times a mezza voce cantilena will gain poetical charm and beauty by its absence."
Three pages (in 184 total) of total vibrato hatred. And this was published in 1920. This book is a godsend.
Composer, when you have completed your analysis of useful beginner techniques, I think you will have done enough research to write a book of your own! Just remember to share with the rest of us.
Despite everyone's exhortations to "just do it" I can appreciate your analytical approach. I learned how to use chopsticks by reading about it, astounded my buddies on the first try. However for most of us the thrill of producing some sort of music outweighs our desire to master form.
I find the vibrato rant interesting. It mimics the rants I have heard from friends against the current fashion in vocals [the term eludes me - I refer to it as a soul-yodel] whereby a singer cannot or will not hit and hold a single note in a song. It has made the national anthem nearly unbearable to listen to and impossible to sing along with at sporting events these days.
All things in moderation, yes?
I'm not a big fan of vibrato myself like I said on the shoutbox, I like it, but very discreet and only when the song really is embellished by it, so not on every notes. I still will learn how to do it though, because I think it's a beautiful technique when mastered and like everything else in life, moderation is the key!
Are you suggesting that your quest is for mere scales ?
How many octaves would you like?
Any particular keys?
Up to 3rd position?
(How about this?
PS Why do you want to play scales?
Oliver, your page 38 etudes will keep me plenty busy until the book arrives. I have not had much of a musical background (singing in a choir? a little effort with lap dulcimer. That's it.), so I need to learn a lot about music theory.
I'm only through a beginner's first book, Muller Rusch String Method actually, and parts of Essential Elements Book One, and neither even mentions a scale with B flat in it. I've also been practicing Fiddlerman's beginner etudes and octaves. So, back to Music Theory for Dummies. I'm on a mission, like many of us here.
Thanks so much for scanning a page for me!
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