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  • #14719 Reply

    William Bickerstaff
    Participant

    I am presently learning to play harmonics and I have a question.

    When playing harmonics, do you touch the string with the fingertip as you would playing a stopped note, or do you touch the string with the pad of the finger?

    #14729 Reply

    Dianne Adkins
    Moderator

    Hi William! It depends on which harmonic you’re playing. If you are playing the natural harmonic located just beyond 3rd position, straighten out the pinkie and play it with the pad of your finger. There are additional natural harmonics located just under the fingertips, too. An example: Each 1st position, 3rd finger – on D, A and E string. You should use the fingertip to play these. You can also produce ‘fingered’ harmonics anywhere on the violin by playing the 1st finger normally, then using the 4th finger as the harmonic. I found a good video that explains harmonics on the violin and include it below. The locations he shows on the G string apply on all strings in the same locations.

    An interesting experiment I often demonstrate to my students when introducing harmonics involves placing the side edge of a single sheet of paper at the location of the natural harmonic on E string. This shows you how very lightly you must touch the string. Any more ‘heaviness’ from the finger will not produce the harmonic. It is often difficult to play the fast, heavy bow required to produce the harmonic, with an airy, light fingertip when first trying the harmonics on the violin. When we start experimenting with fingered harmonics, it can further confuse the mind!

    #14734 Reply

    William Bickerstaff
    Participant

    Thank you Dianne.

    I found this video on my own after I posted my question… and I paid attention to what William said and did. My teacher also told me that I should feel a “tickling sensation” in my fingertips as I was doing it, but, alas, my fingertips are numb, so I listen for the clear, ringing sound of the harmonics.
    I am presently working on Mollenhaur’s fantasia, The Boy Paganini, as my introduction to natural harmonics, spicatto, and left hand pizzicato… Also double stops (other than my studies in Josephine Trott’s studies).

    #14735 Reply

    William Bickerstaff
    Participant

    I will post a video when I have it down a bit better.

    #14876 Reply

    Caroll
    Participant

    I am confused about the difference between fingered and natural harmonics. Aren’t they played the same way, with a light touch on the string?

    #15144 Reply

    Christie Nicklay
    Participant

    Hey Caroll…

    Harmonics can be confusing. I’m learning them too. Natural harmonics are produced on open strings, and artificial (fingered) or stopped harmonics are produced on stopped strings. Natural harmonics are indicated either by a small “o” written above the note to be lightly touched, and by a small diamond shape at a specific point on the string where the finger should be lightly placed.

    #15145 Reply

    Christie Nicklay
    Participant

    Hello again, Caroll…

    Here’s a link to more information about harmonics that I found helpful.

    http://www.violinonline.com/additionalskills.htm

    #15301 Reply

    Caroll
    Participant

    Thanks, Christie. I looked up the site and it will be helpful. I found the video confusing.

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Reply To: A Question About Harmonics
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