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A comeback after a month's hiatus away from blogging? A discussion of left hand pizzicato - to help circulate the blood in the fingers; build strength and springiness in the joints; develop light calluses for tactile stability! Usually one thinks of left hand pizzicato as having the pizzing fingers trace a simple diagonal line (from the player’s point of view- top to bottom, right to left). I experimented around with a few exercises from the Dounis collection and realized that alternatively, and more helpful, one can imagine the finger tracing a tiny arc... almost like a letter “C”. In other words, the pizzing finger feels the potential energy stored as it sets itself on the string, leaning towards the player before the actual act of pizzing (kinetic energy) and snapping in the opposite direction towards the scroll.

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To create more leverage, the thumb moves forward the higher the finger involved in the pizz. Naturally, the hand supinates slightly, to the extent that in certain instances (on lower strings), the fingers themselves are placed almost if not completely perpendicular to the string.

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These two factors (the trajectory by which the finger follows while plucking the string and the position of the thumb) liken left hand pizzicato to finger snapping. When snapping, the thumb and second fingers move as oppositional forces- thumb to the left and second finger to the right. The same actions happen in left hand pizzicato, just more subtly. The thumb is an important component in pizzicato, and because it is the strongest (and longest) finger in the hand, one would be remiss to not take advantage of it!

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Spending just under 3 minutes a day working on pizzing can help with building up pliability and strength, especially in the pinky. Taking it easy so as not create blisters - but, mild calluses are more than welcomed and good for intonation. I needed it especially today, as I felt the pinky was feeling a little wobbly while working on pieces. Dabbled with the 12th exercise in Dounis’ Daily Dozen, a section from his Fundamental Trill Studies, and finally applied to the 9th variation of Paganini’s 24th Caprice😊

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#violin#violinist#dounis



A bedeviled practice session, focusing on one of the most haunting, mercurial, and fun parts to study - the cadenza from Giuseppe Tartini’s “Devil’s Trill” Sonata.

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I entered the mode by faintly knowing how I wanted to sculpt the harmonic progressions and gestures, and throughout the minutes, ended up with something that was far less geometric and symmetrical than I expected - the end result was a more fluid, legato approach. Probably will change tomorrow. Such is practice...

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Coordinating vertical finger movements with horizontal movements of the hand and arm is a long-standing challenge, and this particular section puts it to the test. Mindful awareness of different amounts of counter-pressure exerted by the thumb against the neck board and its lateral adjustability directly affects the agility of the fingers, which are engaging in fleeting interactions with the elastic strings. The bow’s contact point in the playing area is constantly varying as well to ensure a solid core in the sound, regardless of which strings being played on and regardless of which double stop hand frame being operated in. Lot to think about... Work in progress.

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#violin #violinist #giuseppetartini #devilstrill



Back in full intensive mode with Eugène Ysaÿe’s Solo Sonata no. 3, which I will be recording next month for @twelve.thirtyfour.music. The choreography of the conclusion is challenging - the poetic nature unflinchingly underscores a particularly virtuosic section, framed by a simple, taut harmonic progression, and the body is faced with rapid string crossings... the mind is on fire, in a state of at once hyperactivity and composure!! Imagining the movement coming from the sternoclavicular joint, where the collarbone connects to the sternum, and the arm as suspension system of springs (joints).

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#violin#violinist#eugèneysaye