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body posture for playing
sitting, standing, crosslegged, ...?
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June 12, 2018 - 8:05 am
Member Since: December 24, 2017
Forum Posts: 48
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From the beginning, it has made no sense to me to practice exclusively standing up (as a teacher I had briefly insisted): people in orchestras, string quartets, jam sessions all generally sit. It is star soloists who stand. So it made sense to me, at the very least, to do enough practice sitting down, using different chairs, that when I went to fiddle class (which I will be back to soon), I at least was not surprised by the changed dynamics of sitting. (Especially: how to negotiate the bow and the right leg.)

I was also curious about the Indian and Iranian traditions of violin playing--these cultures adopted the violin in the early 1800s. I knew they play sitting crosslegged, with the scroll braced against the foot or ankle. Now I've found some beginning instructional videos (https://www.youtube.com/channe.....U3Q/videos) that give more precision about the posture. This appeals to me because my most comfortable sitting position is crosslegged--I tend to pull my legs up in any chair that allows this. I wonder if anyone here has tried that?

I also notice that folks playing in this position tend to be a little slumped, at least by cross-legged meditator standards. If the violin were just a little longer, they could sit up straighter... Combining this with the strings and tuning advocated by Kala Ramnath (discard E string; move G, D, and A strings one place over and tune G up to A; add violin C string in place of G and tune to D; result = DADA), it is possible that, for those whose body will cooperate, this may be the best possible position for the viola!

More practically: I'm not changing my tuning any time soon, but I have experimented with the posture some, and am thinking of experimenting more. I figure the more I change up my position, the more I dilute the input from doing this in one exact position. I see some probable loss of facility in that, but offset by some probable gain in flexibility/adaptability. In other words: orienting how I play around the violin, not around an exact posture.

I also see that, the less you keep repeating the same stressful position (by changing it up), the less your repetitive stress risk.

Have others tried this playing position? What do you think?

Fort Lauderdale
June 12, 2018 - 10:01 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16063

Personally, when I play sitting down I get tired if I don't play with a very erect and curved back.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

Tucson, Arizona
June 15, 2018 - 5:49 pm
Member Since: February 6, 2017
Forum Posts: 3
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35 years ago, when I first stopped playing the violin, I never really thought about the difference between sitting and standing. We sat when playing as a group and stood for practice, lessons and auditions. Now, for some reason sitting feels like madness to me. I usually stand exclusively to practice now. I feel more free and relaxed, and more focused. Funny what a 33 year break will do to the mind. I've been thinking about forcing myself to sit while practicing to change things up. Sitting crosslegged...I'll have to get back to my old proficiency before I experiment with other postures.

Fort Lauderdale
June 18, 2018 - 1:55 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16063

I can relate FiddleRat. My feeling is that it's good to alternate. But very important to have an arched back if possible when sitting for those of you who do it.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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