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May 25, 2024 - 8:07:09 PM
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2521 posts since 8/23/2008

May 25, 2024 - 9:31:53 PM
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1511 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by buckhenry

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYBlxzuqMF4

And this....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC4oO9l8P-8


Those videos have been discussed ad infinitum already elsewhere and they do not really prove anything. Again, I'd love to see some actual proof that their strings are off the board as much as they claim, and if you think about it a little, it would actually take a lot MORE effort to be constantly trying to find the "MVP" for every spot along the length of the string and holding yourself back from pressing down to the board. On the other hand, if the fingerboard is the reference point, you always know that the maximum pressure you need is that to reach the board and you don't have to worry about whether it's the third finger in first position or the second in eleventh. Which one would actually be easier to do playing fast passages? You can cause repetitive strain injuries by doing things that overtax the muscles. It takes more effort to stop a punch short than to carry it through its target.

Again, an excess of pressure is never recommended. I think the proponents of not contacting the fingerboard assume that contact means mashing strings down. I've seen many excellent players with light touches who were clearly touching the fingerboard in high positions, so this idea just doesn't hold up well. And looking at wear patterns on the fingerboards of good players tells a lot about their technique. I find that really good players tend not to need their fingerboards planed very often, but when it's time, the wear extends well into the upper portion of the board.

If you sit close enough to a soloist in a hall, you can often pick up the sounds of fingers striking the fingerboard in certain places (especially trills or runs of double stops). That's a reason why the best seats in the house for listening aren't typically in the first row. 

Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 05/25/2024 21:44:34

May 26, 2024 - 12:25:04 AM
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2522 posts since 4/6/2014

imo whether the finger or the string touches the fingerboard or not, is a matter of personal preference. As long as the sound you are getting is what you want. (BTW is it the actual "STRING", or the "FINGER" we a discussing?).

Fat strings, low tension, thin strings high tension, high action, low action, finger pressure finger pad hardness/softness, and sensitivity ...Not forgetting bow weight and speed, all effect tone, intonation and practical playing speed. There is no one size fits all. I can see that if a player has invested in a single approach that works for them and maybe some others, they might think it is the "Correct" way...But it might/will not be for everyone.

Edit: The videos describe how i think it works for me.

Edited by - pete_fiddle on 05/26/2024 00:30:48

May 26, 2024 - 7:29:10 AM

6542 posts since 8/7/2009
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quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

imo whether the finger or the string touches the fingerboard or not, is a matter of personal preference. As long as the sound you are getting is what you want. (BTW is it the actual "STRING", or the "FINGER" we a discussing?).

Fat strings, low tension, thin strings high tension, high action, low action, finger pressure finger pad hardness/softness, and sensitivity ...Not forgetting bow weight and speed, all effect tone, intonation and practical playing speed. There is no one size fits all. I can see that if a player has invested in a single approach that works for them and maybe some others, they might think it is the "Correct" way...But it might/will not be for everyone.

Edit: The videos describe how i think it works for me.


I think they accurately describe what I have experienced as well. 

May 26, 2024 - 2:19:51 PM

1511 posts since 3/1/2020

Apparently Djokovic likes playing that way too:

youtu.be/XdICPWnmtOc?si=Ada0mb_uNqy_RIJP

May 26, 2024 - 6:43:33 PM
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2521 posts since 8/23/2008

I think there is misunderstanding regarding the concept of MVP.

MVP is not a measurement of the 'force of pressure', but rather a gauge of the 'sound quality'.
At the degree number one is the pressure to execute a natural harmonic, and if not over a 'harmonic node' the sound quality will be 'noisy'. As we press the string down in minute increments the sound quality becomes less 'noisy' until we arrive at the 'clear' sound. This 'clear' sound is achieved before the 'string' touches the fingerboard, that is the MVP. The finger may or may not touch the fingerboard, that would depend on the physicality of the flesh at the fingertip. The degrees of pressure that we traverse to arrive at MVP will vary with everyone, the importance is to recognize MVP and then to stop pressing the finger any further down. When the concept of MVP is understood it is then not necessary to run through the pressure degrees every time a note is played anywhere along the fingerboard, the 'sound quality' is the guide and the finger pressure to acquire that sound will vary along the string and from string to string, so we don't need "to be constantly trying to find the "MVP", we only react instantly to the 'quality of sound'.

MVP does not mean the 'finger' never touches the fingerboard, it's proof that the 'string' does not need to touch the FB, so a professional player with a light touch may still require a fingerboard planing due to wear from the actual finger.

Who am I going to believe? An esteemed member of the violin fraternity, and a professor of
'advanced' violin playing from Chapman University........ Or a luthier on F H O....?

May 26, 2024 - 8:08:34 PM
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2521 posts since 8/23/2008

An esteemed member of the violin fraternity,

Let me add to that........Concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

May 26, 2024 - 9:05:06 PM
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6482 posts since 9/26/2008

It's not called the stringboard after all.

wink

May 27, 2024 - 8:41:46 AM
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Mobob

USA

249 posts since 10/1/2009

I wonder if Tommy Jarrel or Clark Kessinger ever worried about finding their "MVP"?

May 27, 2024 - 9:46:25 AM

1511 posts since 3/1/2020

Leopold Auer, the greatest violin teacher of all time, who was both a great player himself and the teacher who fostered talent in some of the greatest players of all time, never made any argument for this approach, nor did any of the other great teachers in history. A number of great players wrote extensively on playing technique, and none of them suggested this as a part of playing. If anything, more is made of the release of the finger after a note than the amount of pressure used to stop the string.

Samuel Applebaum spent a good deal of time interviewing the players of the golden age in recording, and his interviews went into great depth on various aspects of playing. In none of those interviews did the players advance this idea.

If it was really such a fundamental truth, don’t you think at least one of the greats would have had something to say about it?

May 27, 2024 - 1:19:21 PM
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6542 posts since 8/7/2009
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I have seen a number of videos now that do teach / promote the light pressure. I haven't seen one that has said "make sure you press the string to the fingerboard". Is there one?

edit to add-

Opps... sorry. One of those videos taught to judge your pressure on a scale between 1 and 10. He did recommend pressing the string to the finger board when using vibrato (9). Other than that, to stop the string, his recommendation was to use pressure equivalent to between 5 and 6.,

I don't use vibrato - so I kind of forgot about that.

Edited by - tonyelder on 05/27/2024 13:26:24

May 27, 2024 - 1:41:55 PM
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2522 posts since 4/6/2014

Maybe it is so fundamental they didn't bother mentioning it ? ...Nahh just kidding wink

The classical  pedagogy seem to be more interested in lifting individual fingers off the string explosively while leaving the other three fingers resting on the string ...Dont know what that is all about..? Apart from getting RSI PDQ ...

May 27, 2024 - 2:31:35 PM
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3641 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by buckhenry


Who am I going to believe? An esteemed member of the violin fraternity, and a professor of
'advanced' violin playing from Chapman University........ Or a luthier on F H O....?


I don't really see it a matter of "who" to believe; or necessary to rely on "argumentum ad verecundiam" ( Argument from Authority) fallacy.

When you can see actual experience of real world demonstration, evidence, proof of concept; and read/comprehend explanation of concepts, why, physics... further can use own experience; do hands on and try yourself. That has value that vastly outweighs "who", using simple Argument from Authority (spewing out names).

----------------

The point of these is simply based on that's beneficial to find minimum effort required. Extra pressure is extra effort; which can contributes to tension, stress, fatigue, to lack of fluidity, restricting freedom. Common to other instruments as well, like guitar. There is often a tendency to think need to squeeze strings, it's type of death grip; as it involves thumb and whole hand. Sometimes it's about feeling secure, fixing a finger, somewhat like glued to place on fingerboard; but that can lead to issues, restricting freedom on movement; from small, in intonation fine tuning; and larger limiting movement affecting other fingers, to whole hand movement. As video mentioned one tendency that when right hand is playing fast and loud the left hand has tendency to use excessive pressure.

does not mean the 'finger' never touches the fingerboard, it's proof that the 'string' does not need to touch the FB,

The discussions, videos, and exercises are just simply to demonstrate that the extra effort is not needed, how can relax fingers and whole hand a bit and gain more freedom of movement. Once you practice with that in mind, your hand gets accustomed, naturally adjusts; should feel like just natural weight of the finger/hand coming down on string rather than needing to apply extra pressure.

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 05/27/2024 14:33:04

May 27, 2024 - 2:36:57 PM
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3641 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful

Apparently Djokovic likes playing that way too:

youtu.be/XdICPWnmtOc?si=Ada0mb_uNqy_RIJP


Not sure what your point is to that...

but might indicate lack of comprehension of what this discussion is about.

May 27, 2024 - 5:53:51 PM
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JonD

USA

168 posts since 2/12/2021

Here is what Simon Fischer says:

(simonfischeronline.com/uploads...ssure.pdf)

"When working with a student on gaining greater freedom and ease in the left hand, or when working on intonation (which depends on complete freedom of the hand), one of the very first questions to ask is whether the student thinks that the left fingers should press the string down until the string makes a firm contact with the fingerboard.
Are they mistakenly thinking of it as a guitarist does, i.e. when playing pizzicato the harder you stop the strings the better, since then the instrument rings more?
Many answer yes, their mental picture is indeed one of pressing the string down until it touches the fingerboard (and often they have been actively encouraged to do this by their teachers), when actually the best approach is always to stop the string as little as possible. This is an area where the principle of ‘as much as necessary but as little as possible’ clearly applies."

He goes on to define 5 levels of pressure, of which full contact between string and fingerboard is the final level (1). Default he recommends is 2 or 3.

May 27, 2024 - 11:33:26 PM
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2521 posts since 8/23/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Mobob

I wonder if Tommy Jarrel or Clark Kessinger ever worried about finding their "MVP"?


I once played some else's fiddle and the string height was so low I could hardly feel the strings under my fingers, and just the weight of my finger was enough for the string to touch the fingerboard, so MVP was nonexistent.  

I'm guessing that fiddle was for playing old time music, and the above mentioned players are OT fiddlers. 

May 28, 2024 - 12:49:26 AM
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2522 posts since 4/6/2014

quote:
Originally posted by buckhenry
quote:
Originally posted by Mobob

I wonder if Tommy Jarrel or Clark Kessinger ever worried about finding their "MVP"?


I once played some else's fiddle and the string height was so low I could hardly feel the strings under my fingers, and just the weight of my finger was enough for the string to touch the fingerboard, so MVP was nonexistent.  

I'm guessing that fiddle was for playing old time music, and the above mentioned players are OT fiddlers. 


i would also guess that the strings would be slapping on the fingerboard if it was played at volume?

May 28, 2024 - 1:46:25 AM

Quincy

Belgium

896 posts since 1/16/2021

quote:
Originally posted by buckhenry
quote:
Originally posted by Mobob

I wonder if Tommy Jarrel or Clark Kessinger ever worried about finding their "MVP"?


I once played some else's fiddle and the string height was so low I could hardly feel the strings under my fingers, and just the weight of my finger was enough for the string to touch the fingerboard, so MVP was nonexistent.  

I'm guessing that fiddle was for playing old time music, and the above mentioned players are OT fiddlers. 


I have the opposite with the gypsy fiddle I bought and that according to one specific luthier has a lowered neck. There is more space between strings and fingerboard than usually. It did not bother me at all until I heard this. Then I started to compare with my first fiddle.

Edited by - Quincy on 05/28/2024 01:48:20

May 28, 2024 - 7:10:06 AM

1511 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by alaskafiddler
quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful

Apparently Djokovic likes playing that way too:

youtu.be/XdICPWnmtOc?si=Ada0mb_uNqy_RIJP


Not sure what your point is to that...

but might indicate lack of comprehension of what this discussion is about.


The discussion was about playing double stops with one finger and the finger technique required to play them. That question was answered, but the discussion turned into one about finger technique in general. Perhaps you have forgotten?

Your constant claims that I don't comprehend  discussions are pitiful and obvious attempts at discounting my comments by use of insults rather than thinking through any kind of useful or logical response.

The video of Djokovic is just an example of trying to play without using enough finger pressure. He accidentally plays harmonics here and there and never gets a solid tone, but that's to be expected with a first attempt. Beginning players often do this. Some are too heavy-handed and just bear down on everything, but it's quite common to play with too little pressure at the beginning.

It is the duty of the teacher to assess the physiognomy of the player and  advise more or less finger pressure and that of the player to develop a sense for the amount that is needed to get a good tone. 

May 28, 2024 - 11:42:40 AM
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6482 posts since 9/26/2008

There was indeed a discussion of double stops, but that's not this discussion. THIS thread seems to actually be about whether or not you need to press the string to touch the fingerboard. Based just on the discussions and instructor examples given, my vote is one does not ~have to~ touch the fingerboard with the string, but it happens. And to me, being so in control that you never ever touch the string to the board seems like myth, especially if you play anything at a dance tempo or above. If that were the case, I'd say more effort/energy is being put into halting your finger and it would thus become energy inefficient.

Edited by - ChickenMan on 05/28/2024 11:45:09

May 28, 2024 - 11:44:18 AM
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2626 posts since 8/27/2008

The videos, especially the 2nd, were illuminating to me. I haven't seen them discussed elsewhere. After watching them, and trying the technique, I am now convinced that one needn't touch the fingerboard to make a clear tone. On the other hand, intentionally avoiding meeting the fingerboard still doesn't seem necessary to me. I think with a good set up involving a low enough action, the fingerboard should be right at the correct point of pressure. It is a distance that increases gradually and predictably as one moves higher. It seems to me lightly touching the fingerboard as you rapidly change notes is an easier gauge of pressure than gauging the pressure by monitoring the tension of the finger itself - there must be a certain amount of tension in gauging and holding back any extra. Anyway, the difference between the two approaches is small. I'm not convinced anything is gained in the "effort to avoid effort" if I may coin a phrase.

It is interesting to follow the opinions about it here. I might possibly leaning one way or the other with more consideration.

Edited by - Brian Wood on 05/28/2024 11:47:37

May 28, 2024 - 1:38:04 PM
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doryman

USA

600 posts since 2/10/2020

I'm mostly wondering why the fellow is the second video has his head in a vice. Other than it being hilarious, I'm wondering if he's being tortured to say the things he's saying and, thus, how can I believe anything he says?

Edited by - doryman on 05/28/2024 13:46:18

May 28, 2024 - 2:38:15 PM

6542 posts since 8/7/2009
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quote:
Originally posted by Brian Wood

The videos, especially the 2nd, were illuminating to me. I haven't seen them discussed elsewhere. After watching them, and trying the technique, I am now convinced that one needn't touch the fingerboard to make a clear tone. On the other hand, intentionally avoiding meeting the fingerboard still doesn't seem necessary to me. I think with a good set up involving a low enough action, the fingerboard should be right at the correct point of pressure. It is a distance that increases gradually and predictably as one moves higher. It seems to me lightly touching the fingerboard as you rapidly change notes is an easier gauge of pressure than gauging the pressure by monitoring the tension of the finger itself - there must be a certain amount of tension in gauging and holding back any extra. Anyway, the difference between the two approaches is small. I'm not convinced anything is gained in the "effort to avoid effort" if I may coin a phrase.

It is interesting to follow the opinions about it here. I might possibly leaning one way or the other with more consideration.


For me - it has never been an "exercise" as a practice routine I worked on in order to learn a technique. It has been more an issue of being aware that I can, and then reminding myself when I'm dealing with other things that are slowing me down - to remember.  

I am not claiming to have perfected anything. I am claiming that I did recognize, I have discovered that I can, so I am doing, and it helps - a lot. Enough that I will share my experience whenever the opportunity is presented. The benefit is worth that much to me. Folks who disagree, disagree. No problem. To me - it isn't right or wrong, it is degrees of better. That's all. 

I do have a problem when folks declare "you have to, or you're doing it wrong".  Nope.  But I'm not against them personally. I'm just against what they are saying. 

Truth is - I've never had a reason to look into to this at this depth before now (thanks again Rich for making me do that). I was challenged a long time ago by someone here on FHO (BJ has passed). She promoted the idea - see how little pressure it takes to actually stop the string and still get a good tone. I took up the challenge, discovered it really doesn't take that much, and determined for myself that is "better" - for me. Thank you BJ.

And for those who were around "back then" - you will remember that BJ and I went round and round on a few issues. This wasn't one of those issues, but we had a few... Discussions like this are good for me. 

Edited by - tonyelder on 05/28/2024 14:46:50

May 29, 2024 - 4:30:54 AM
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3641 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

There was indeed a discussion of double stops, but that's not this discussion. THIS thread seems to actually be about whether or not you need to press the string to touch the fingerboard. Based just on the discussions and instructor examples given, my vote is one does not ~have to~ touch the fingerboard with the string, but it happens. And to me, being so in control that you never ever touch the string to the board seems like myth, especially if you play anything at a dance tempo or above. If that were the case, I'd say more effort/energy is being put into halting your finger and it would thus become energy inefficient.


Yes, though that was already pretty well established. I don't consider that though the main focus, as if just some parlor trick or to win argument.

More importantly the videos are really discussing is about goal of LH efficiency and awareness; allow for release of any unnecessary tension in left hand; addresses "using muscles in fingers that might not be needed to accomplish what trying to achieve".  One aspect is in understanding and finding the least effort, SUFFICIENT to stop the string and create a clear tone.  Least amount pressure can get by with. Many folk would consider improved efficiency, less effort, less tension, freedom of movement as good thing, beneficial.

Part of that is addressing some misconceptions that might be getting in the way. Part is actually NOT WORRYING about the fingerboard; that is, not having to worry neither whether finger is pressing string down to touching, or not. In order to not think about fingerboard.. thus needs to start with addressing that issue(s)... whether it "needs to". - and some of the common misunderstandings folks interpret from that, and issues that arise.

Once comprehend that it doesn't need to... don't have to worry about it... that can help open up room to experiment with finding more relaxed natural weight of hand/fingers, less force SUFFICIENT to stop the string and create a clear tone. It might take some time and a bit of experimenting with exercises like one in video (or others).  I think there are a couple things they didn't cover, that play a role (but that's another post).

As far as comments:

intentionally avoiding meeting the fingerboard still doesn't seem necessary to me.

being so in control that you never ever touch the string to the board

I'd say more effort/energy is being put into halting your finger and it would thus become energy inefficient.

I agree that would be inefficient. However I did not pickup that was their literal intent, my guess would be probably wasn't; so would probably agree as well. Rather more metaphor. Again to not worry about fingerboard; but don't overthink it, trying to find the literal perfect spot. The difficulty with both teaching and learning many aspects of various technique, is that you get to a certain point the mechanics and fine adjustments of it are so nuanced/subtle that they really just comes down to feel; which is a very difficult thing to observe or explain... so often rely  on various metaphors, such as idea of scale or degree; to guide into a direction, find a way to encourage to do a lot of experimentation. So good chance it might sometimes string touches board, esp depending on string height/tension... possibly just natural weight of hand fingers coming down... it should feel more relaxed, less forced.
 

May 29, 2024 - 5:55:32 AM

1511 posts since 3/1/2020

This thread is just a continuation of the “barring strings” thread which started when a poster asked about playing double stops with one finger.

The question posed to me wasn’t what this thread was about, it was what the discussion was about, and as I pointed out, it veered away from its specific focus on one fingering situation into a more general one about left finger technique. I consider this thread a continuation of the discussion that began elsewhere.

With online forums it’s not uncommon for a discussion to take a turn that branches off from its original focus. If a poster thinks the tangent is interesting but prefers to put it into a separate thread, it will often lead to the creation of a related thread where the tangent can be given more direct attention, but posters who comment are better able to do so having followed the whole progression of the conversation from its origin.

May 29, 2024 - 6:54:31 AM

275 posts since 11/26/2013

Personally, with my style, I touch the fingerboard, and rather firmly. Its the only way I can get the ballsy sound, digging deep into the available tone. Classical players may not need that though and the light finger pressure suffices to perform the many different violin techniques classical music uses. Fiddling - not so much. Just my opinon, and every a-hole has one!

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