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Successive Staccato in one bow, up or down

 
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Lemuel
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:13 pm    Post subject: Successive Staccato in one bow, up or down Reply with quote

Anton,

There are several violin pieces that I have been wanting to play for a long time, but have not put much effort into it because of the bowing technique required.

I'm specifically referring to one bow staccato where a successive number of staccato notes are played in succession without lifting the bow off. Where does the movement originate from - the wrist?

My right hand is suspended as usual with minimal pressure from my index finger while I flex the wrist repeatedly while moving the bow upwards. When I down bow, the bow stick is tilted the opposite way (wooden part facing me), again flexing the wrist repeatedly (the thumb seems to help a bit here as well).

I can only get up to a certain speed (about 6 notes per second), a far cry from the speed that some of these violin pieces demand such as Hora Staccato by Heifetz or La Capricieuse by Elgar.

How is this method learned or taught?
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AntonPolezhayev
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Joined: 18 Jan 2010
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Location: Long Island NY USA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very complex question. I can make the following observations:


1- Right hand techniques respond to slow practice same as left hand passage work does.
Many people make a mistake thinking that one can either play strokes such as staccato in fast tempo or can not, but truth is we can all play it slowly, and have to then gradually increase speed in practice, even by a single metronome click. And it will improve, it may improve very little and take forever to do so, but it will improve.


2- Some people have the muscle twitch or some other genetic gift to deliver very fast staccato without much if any schooling or lessons, but some people can not. I heard that Oistrakh for example had no fast long staccato at all. Not the end of the world Smile I knew several students with devastating staccato, yet they could not play violin very well at all...


3- The faster staccatos such as for Hora by Dinicu are usually on the string, and the very fastest ones are often done by a completely different technique where you'd stiffen your entire shoulder, arm and hand and perform a jackhammer-like drill/shaking to produce extreme speed (aka Wieniawski staccato)


4- I saw an exercise in that Soviet book by Yankilevich, he recommends development of staccato to be done by starting with just one note on an open string, then 2 notes followed by a break of a second or two, you'd then try to perform those 2 notes really fast one after the other and stop, then play those 2 notes again and freeze, and again etc.. Then you'd go to 3 notes in a row followed by a break. Then 4 etc.
In my experience the exercise is somewhat effective.


5- Leopold Auer made a nice observation that the right hand of a good staccato player is like a coiled spring unleashing energy. He also said that some people have it, and some don't. So don't worry about it much if it doesn't work out.



Here is a bright example of genetics in action. Notice how Heifetz and other great technical players with millions of practice hours, desire, talent, best teachers, best bows and violins are not able to come anywhere remotely close to the speed of this 13 year old unknown who isn't even that great:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uLnV1BE_Tw
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Lemuel
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I almost cannot believe my ears and eyes Shocked. Talk about something out of this world (well at least out of reach of the norm).

Yes, with practice it does improve slowly over time. This 13 year old unknown... do you think he is stiffening his entire shoulder, arm and hand? I doubt it.

Thanks for the tip from Yankilevich and Auer.
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Lemuel
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AntonPolezhayev wrote:
....I saw an exercise in that Soviet book by Yankilevich, he recommends development of staccato to be done by starting with just one note on an open string, then 2 notes followed by a break of a second or two, you'd then try to perform those 2 notes really fast one after the other and stop, then play those 2 notes again and freeze, and again etc.. Then you'd go to 3 notes in a row followed by a break. Then 4 etc.


Anton,

Are you able to get the name of the book by this author? Is it in English?

Also the violin piece called Schon Rosmarin by Fritz Kreisler. Do you know if the connected dotted notes are done with the bow flying of the strings or remaining on the strings? I watched some videos, and I am not sure how it was played.
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AntonPolezhayev
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lemuel wrote:
AntonPolezhayev wrote:
....I saw an exercise in that Soviet book by Yankilevich, he recommends development of staccato to be done by starting with just one note on an open string, then 2 notes followed by a break of a second or two, you'd then try to perform those 2 notes really fast one after the other and stop, then play those 2 notes again and freeze, and again etc.. Then you'd go to 3 notes in a row followed by a break. Then 4 etc.


Anton,

Are you able to get the name of the book by this author? Is it in English?

Also the violin piece called Schon Rosmarin by Fritz Kreisler. Do you know if the connected dotted notes are done with the bow flying of the strings or remaining on the strings? I watched some videos, and I am not sure how it was played.




The style of the Kreisler piece you mentioned calls for volant (off the string), as the hard (on string) staccato would be too "hard" for such an elegant piece.
You can always START the staccato on the string (extra articulation and clarity), do one or 2 notes on string, then gradually get off string. Kreisler does that right at the start.

Furthermore, for studying this piece I would steer clear from listening to anyone else play this but Kreisler. Other performers have serious musical understanding/style issues (relatively speaking) and are not able to get up to Kreisler's level of musicianship.
Just clicking on youtube right now: IMHO for this piece:
Nadien = too fast, metallic cheap string sound.
Francescatti = heroic... totally wrong style for this piece, aggressive nervous vibrato.
Stern = too fast,
etc.
(not saying I can do better)


Don't know the 13 year old boy's staccato approach. You should e-mail him or ask right on his video. He will answer. He seems like a nice guy, and he checks and responds to comments.

Unfortunately I don't have that Russian book anymore. I remember it as a fun read.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_Yankelevich

What I would do is google his books and also of

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abram_Yampolsky

and see if anything is in English. Those 2 are top Soviet teachers.
Word of caution: it is believed by many that the two teachers above were in USSR kinda like Delay was in USA (can't play, but good at finding talented child prodigies and making deals with management regarding their careers) Basically several of my older Russian colleagues (some of whom have studied under those teachers) have mentioned to me about the over-rated nature of those teachers.
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Stradsman
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember reading an old, extensive book on violin technique (Can't remember the name of the author). It said clear, well-articulated staccatos are the dream of every violinist. It's a skill that apparently comes with years of practice.

I was under the illusion that it was rather a limitation of the instrument, until I saw videos of master violinists playing staccato.
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gavin_rossdale
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A noticeable change of sound in bowing direction is likely to group notes and may interfere with the composer’s expectation in violin music.
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dinafried
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Joined: 22 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:13 pm    Post subject: Firm Staccato up and down Reply with quote

Hi guys,

I started taking lessons on skype from one professor, who has developed his own method of teaching firm staccato up and down. He is just genious in that topic, thanks to him I can play now firm staccato up and down!!! I found information about him here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-dzQ5VUR3E

I recommend him to all of you very much.

All the best,
Dina
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Lemuel
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Location: Mt. Elgin, Ontario

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dina,

This is amazing...thanks for passing on the reference. I will definitely check it out.

Regards,
Lemuel
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Will L
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Joined: 06 Mar 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is impressive in many ways. Just to be able to go all the way from one end of the bow to the other is remarkable. And to be able to do it up and down bow, too.

But I suggest players always consider that the bowing should never be separated from the musical content. The sound quality and dynamic shouldn't deteriorate in the staccato parts. A lot of players—myself included—lose power in those parts; another area where Heifetz is even more impressive. And hear Grigorio Dinicu himself on YTube; one can see what inspired Heifetz to do his arrangement.

BTW, I remember many years ago that the "conventional wisdom" was that a violinist should not take the Wieniawski 2 to a competition unless he could do this bowing. I don't know if that is still true.

On YouTube there are at least two violinists who do not use this bowing for the Hora Staccato. I can't see any point in performing the piece without it, personally. —MO
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Lemuel
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my judgement....Alexander Shonert is an amazing violinist, technically and artistically.
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