#13995 Reply

Dianne Adkins

Ha! Ha! I smiled all the way through this wonderful and fun performance. So much personality! Really enjoyable to watch! Thank you for sharing this video! And I’m wildly impressed by that lightning fast syncopated fiddle bowing at the beginning!

So if I were going to TRY to give you some tips to improve your playing, let me first say, I have to dig deep to find ANY problems and I have to be VERY picky to ask you to improve on this performance. It was really fun. It was fierce. And I loved it!

OK. First small thing, I would tighten the bow more for this kind of piece that has so many double and triple stops where you actually throw the bow onto the string. Also, I recommend you wipe the rosin off the violin every day. It eats the varnish off the violin over time. Also, if there is so much rosin appearing on the violin, don’t rosin the bow for several days. That said, it is a point of interest to note WHERE the rosin is showing up on the violin. There is a lot of rosin over the fingerboard. This naturally indicates that the bow is going over the fingerboard pretty often and, if it were me playing this piece, I would want to stop that from happening at all while I played.

The video does not show the bow at the bottom of the DOWN bow, but this is likely where the bottom of the bow is pulled back (towards you) and causing the tip of the bow to go over the fingerboard. It would be most preferable, even as you are lifting the bow off and dropping it on the strings, both during up and down bows and throughout the piece, if you could restrict the bow from ever going over the fingerboard. The function of the bow arm is a little stiff, and as a result, the tone is a little tight.

I think it would be beneficial to get some control of the bow also when it leaves the string and returns to play. My suggestion is to take a small part of the music out and practice it as a bowing exercise. I would pick the measure around :32 where you go UP bow from the air, then DOWN bow, playing a rhythm. Then this pattern repeats. This is a good practice unit to closely examine what the bow is doing during this segment. Practice with no fingers, repeating this segment on open strings at a slower tempo. Note where the bow is dropping on the string, on an UP bow. At the end of that UP bow, SET the bow before you play the DOWN bow and subsequent rhythm, which also ends on a DOWN bow. Stop the bow, stay on the string. Rock to the next string/s (or lift and SET the bow). Play the UP bow, follow through with a lift off the string. Repeat.

The point is if you SET the bow in the instant before you play the note, you get a cleaner sound. You can also notice where the tip of the bow is when you are playing, both at the tip and at the frog. At all times, the tip should be aligned with the hand, not behind your head, and not over the fingerboard. I hope I have explained this well enough. It is a very subtle thing but with the bow preparing in this manner, your bow will straighten out, your sound will improve. (It’s already good, so it can be better!)

I also note there is a little vibrato used in this piece, but when I see vibrato, it seems inhibited because the base of the first finger is stuck to the violin neck. We could go into a whole discussion about this, but it has been addressed in a previous thread. So if you’re interested in improving vibrato, please look it up and I’m happy to answer any questions. I would like to keep this post limited to bow arm function as I really feel there is much to be gained if you get more full control of the bow. Thanks so much Danny!