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Hello Beth: In watching this video (Left Hand Squeezing: part 5) your comments on the use of the thumb reminded me of a concept that Dr. Todd Ehle teaches.
He says that the contact point should be just slightly above the middle joint, where there is a natural "shelf" as it were, where the neck can rest. This forms the contact and pivot point for the thumb.
Not in the sense of "cradling" further down into the thumb, or of "squeezing" into the hand, but rather a small "shelf" or ledge on the thumb itself, slightly above the middle joint. You also seem to be describing that in this video, although not in the same words. I like the concept of the "ledge", picturing just a slight area where the thumb can gain some purchase. This ledge may actually not be noticeable in very "fleshy" thumbs, but it is still there, as it is part of the joint.
This concept is really helpful for me. I also see that when I finish playing, there is a slight natural indentation directly at that point on my thumb, created by the pressure of the neck pressing into the flesh there.
For the past couple days I have been trying out a new tuner - and I think I really like it.
Intonia is a nice program, but I dislike being tethered to my computer; I am still in search of a reliable alternative
I am trying out the Peterson stroboclip. It's marketed as a guitar tuner, but it has "sweetened" tunings, including one for violin. If anyone else uses this, please share your opinions. To my developing ear, my intonation is improving substantially.
What I like:
-not dependent upon computer access
-no wires connecting to a tuner(my Korg offers the option of a clip on wire to use in noisy environments)
-"strobe" dial is very intuitive for me, rotation to the left is flat, right is sharp, steady is in tune
-Violin setting (suggesting an alternative to equal tuning?)
-easy clip on for direct line-of-sight while playing and use in noisy environments
-screen is large enough for us folks with fading eyesight
-seems to be a feasible alternative to a live teacher to give immediate feedback re: intonation
Unfortunately, at $69 it is not cheap - but will be worth it to improve my intonation and confidence
Anyone else with an opinion re: this tuner?
So I thought you all might be interested in meeting my two new babies.
The one of the left was born, by happy accident, a fortnight earlier than the one of the right. After months of prevarication and much pondering I finally decided to get a violin again. The last one disappeared to the pawn shop when I emigrated a decade ago. I hadn’t played it in the previous decade. This is a Gliga Gama and it is a revelation, so much nicer in tone than the mass=produced Chinese student violin shaped object I played. It is also a 7/8. Being five foot, short armed and tiny of hand I have found it so much easier to manoeuvre around the fingerboard. I found my old full sized violin so disheartening and too far a leap from the ¾ I played as a kid.
So I have been playing for a week and on the plus side holding it still feels comfortable and natural. On the negative side, I sound like Homer Simpson with Tourette’s (constant “doh, ugh,yikes”), as my intonation is way off as I am making the effort to not to cradle the neck of the violin. I keep stopping to wince and fuss over all the bum notes. I am beginning to think the way I hold the neck is getting a bit extreme. In order to avoid squeezing or cradling the neck, my thumb is sometimes almost on the underside of the neck rather than on the side, especially when I am playing on the g string. Is that ok or could I be overdoing neck squeezing avoidance? All I can think about is my old violin teacher stuffing a pencil between the neck of the violin and my hand telling me to stop squeezing.
When I cradle I have no problem with intonation but then vibrato is not happening. I can feel tension build as I start to press down on the fingerboard too hard. Actually vibrato, like Elvis, has left the building, possibly the country for a long vacation. I’m happy to accept that as it was always tenuous so I’d rather rebuild it properly over a period of time than fudge it.
Loving the site, it is really motivating me to practise each day. The explanations are fantastically detailed so I find I can understand so much more the whys and wherefores of successful practice. Also finding my other baby, Felicity, to be my greatest fan. She seems uncaring about intonation. She may have no grasp of just or even temperament but she gurgles through the practices and beams however badly I play,
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