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Rustam Gill
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Hi ViolinLab,
I had a lot of time to practice this weekend. I have been working on different bow strokes for right hand tchnique: Colle, sautille, and spiccato. For left hand technique I've been focusing on improving intonation through double stops. 

I've been using Melodious Double Stops by Josephine Trott, another great recommendation from Beth. I feel like it's cheating to call this technical work because it's sounds so good to the ear when you get the harmonies right.
Anyways, enjoy. And as always, critiques are welcome.
Rustam Gill
18 Responses
Posted: April 10, 2016
Last Comment: April 18, 2016
Replies

Cynthia Alpers
Posted: April 18, 2016
I know that the thread has now moved its focus onto Sautille, but I just wanted to say, Rustam, thank you for bringing this book of double stop exercises to the forefront.  Beth, that was an awesome video on the double stops, thanks.  I definitely want to get that book.

~ Cindy

Rustam Gill
Posted: April 18, 2016
This discussion includes members-only video content

Nick: No worries. Learning Sautille from the Internet is confusing. From my experience, 90% of the videos of Sautille online are just a fast detache. In addition to this, there is so much confusion as to what is Sautille, what is Spiccato, etc., that it's exhausting :).

 If you watch Beth's video response to my Sautille, you can really see the bow move up and down. The tip moves in an arc. Trying to recreate that is helping me understand how the bow moves in Sautille. She actually advised me to move closer to the balance point to get more bounce. Looks like I overcorrected :)

Beth: I see what you mean. I was really experimenting to see if I could get some off the string motion. I think I was exaggerating the up/down motion a bit too much. Still I guess that's an improvement because my first video had basically no vertical motion. I have been able to pull it back by moving a little bit away from the balance point. Working on string changes and left hand coordination is still a long ways away, of course, but I do think I'm getting a feel for the stroke. I will post another video of my progress soon. Thank you!

If anybody is curious I found a few examples of great Sautille. Here's Erick Friedman playing the Havanaise. The Sautille starts at 2:15 and it's awesome! It looks like the bow is actually coming off the string here, but it's so controlled.

Nick
Posted: April 17, 2016
Rustam, it seems everything I've read and watched about this stroke suggests that sautille is played at the balance point so my musings on this in my last post was very wide of the mark!..This is a perfect example of the dangers of giving advice/feedback when you don't really know what you're talking about! The "caveat" disclaimer in my post certainly applied here!

Beth Blackerby
Posted: April 17, 2016
Rustam, prepare the sautille by starting with a short-stroke detache first. Get it going, then gradually add the vertical motion. You have the vertical motion but are now lacking some of the arm that's required to get the tone. Make sense?

Nick
Posted: April 16, 2016
Hi Rustam,

My one and only attempt at sautille was at 3am while watching Beth and Laurie's webinar and, as you can imagine, my wife was not best pleased with my choice of timing. I have not attempted it again since (!) so i'm not very experienced in this stroke but I feel that there would be greater control and more effective use of the flexibility which is inherent in the bow if the stroke is played more towards the middle of the bow.

I noticed a lot of up and down movement in the heel and tip of your bow and I think this is because you are playing it more or less at the balance point. I wonder if you try playing it more towards the middle of the bow; I am thinking this may "cushion" the fast and forceful action of your right hand. The force generated by your right hand would be applied to the most flexible part of the bow i.e. the middle and would maintain a straight bow but still have the articulation on the string..... Just a thought. The usual "caveat" and grain of salt applies to my post and the comments contained herein : 0)

Rustam Gill
Posted: April 13, 2016
This discussion includes members-only video content

How is this? I added a down/up movement from the elbow that carries over to the wrist. The bow feels a bit like its a see-saw with the middle at the point in the hair that contacts the string. Is that right?

Beth, thank you again for the quick feedback. This is a tricky stroke for me and from what I've seen, 90% of videos on YouTube that are supposed to be Sautille are just a fast detache. Seeing you do the stroke showed me how it's supposed to look and the springing nature of the stroke. I'm not sure if I've got it yet, but the E string Sautille felt and sounded bouncy to me.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: April 13, 2016
A little more force/movement from the wrist and you'll have it. You're doing everything right, it just needs more motion. Really throw down the wrist to where the forearm moves as a byproduct.. You're just throwing down the fingers.  More on wrist, less on fingers. Try and make it louder and louder. The louder you try to make the sound, the more your wrist will move. Compare your sautille with mine. Cue up both videos and watch. 

Rustam Gill
Posted: April 13, 2016
This discussion includes members-only video content

Thank you for that video, Beth. I saw it yesterday. I had seen the spiccato v. Sautille video earlier but had missed part 2. Reducing the pronation of the hand was useful and I noticed focusing on pushing more with the middle and ring fingers rather than the index made a huge difference. I also realized I get more bounce by loosening my bow. Here is a video of my progress on sautille in case anybody's curious :) 

I think I'm starting to get it. In this video it sounds like an off the string stroke and the bow was bouncing much more. Although I can't inagine putting the left hand and string crossing together with it. I'm not really worried about that though. I just want to get a feel for the technique before I see it in music (Seitz Concerto, anyone?) 

I also noticed that each string requires varying amounts of pressure from the index to make the bow bounce right. G requires the most and E the least. Of course this applies in playing any stroke but I really noticed it in the Sautille. It's clear in the video how the pressure is good for a bouncy sound on the D and G strings but the A and E sound choked. I experimented after recording and noticed less index pressure made the sautille work on the higher strings. 

Beth Blackerby
Posted: April 12, 2016
I also have a video on sautille. Did you see it?

Rustam Gill
Posted: April 11, 2016
Beth: Thank you for the great videos. For the double stops, your point is well taken. I will really hone in on the intonation at the beginning of my practice session and not worry about the rhythm, etc. That is actually how I have been trying to approach pieces lately: intonation first, then rhythm, then bow division, and finally articulation, vibrato, and dynamics.
I have a tendency to just jump in and play, but I have consciously tried to change that when it comes to pieces. Now I know to apply the same progression to exercises.

As for sautille, watching your video was useful because I can see a good sautille that sounds like an off the string stroke. In my playing, I can feel the bow jump as I get closer to the frog with the tremolo exercise you mentioned but it is hard to control and I thought I was overdoing the jump. I will make another video after some more experimentation. Honestly, the sautille video was me just playing around after some "google research" but after seeing your response I have really been trying to figure it out. I will post again after some time to see if things have improved. Thanks again!

Mary Freeman
Posted: April 11, 2016
Nothing like double stops to keep a person honest about intonation. Every time I practice them I wind up doing scales instead to work on my intonation. A good first attempt
Keep at it.

Elke Meier
Posted: April 11, 2016
Wow, thank you, Beth! This was very helpful indeed! I like the teaching videos, but I think these short answers to a specific question are extremely helpful in their own way. Just from those few minutes I got so many really good tips!

Beth Blackerby
Posted: April 11, 2016
This discussion includes members-only video content

Sautille and double stops


Elke Meier
Posted: April 10, 2016
I thought you were trying what Dan Kobialka talked about in your second spiccato - it looked much like that :).

As for sautille: did you watch the off-the-string lesson of the webinars? One of the topics there was sautille, and it was actually the first time that I managed to do that. It was the last time also, since I think it is not time to really work on that yet...



Rustam Gill
Posted: April 10, 2016
Dianne: Thanks. That's interesting what you say about the sautille. To me it's a very mysterious stroke. Every example I've seen of it is a little bit different in execution. The basic idea, as far as I understand it, is that the bow hair remains in contact with the string and the bow stick itself is the part that bounces, leading to an articulated sound similar to other off the string techniques. It's still hard for me to tell if I'm achieving that or if I'm just playing fast detache. Oh well, I'll worry about sautille later. I was just trying it out after some youtubing.

Elke: Thank you. I'm enjoying working on double stops a lot. As for the spiccato. Actuallu, the last example was me trying to add the Colle motion to the spiccato. The fingers weren't passively moving but active. While it looked more relaxed, it actually felt less so, like I was not using the bows natural bounce as much and more like I was trying to control it actively with my hand. I think having that ability to add Colle to your spiccato is sort of a continuum of articulation and control between full Colle (the first stroke I did) where you fully control the bow movement, and full spiccato (the second) where you just let the bows natural bounce do all the work. At least that's what my experience has been. I'm guessing that people who do this well can use this technique subconsciously to shape a spiccato into what they want to hear, without tensing up like I was tending to do :) 

Nick: I can't do spiccato with just the lower arm like you are describing. I'm not sure if it's lack of control or something more fundamental, but for me the best tip for spiccato was to "bounce a basketball", and I use my upper arm to do so, with the elbow and wrist guiding the bow, stopping it from drifting from the right track on the strings. Maybe as the movement is more second nature and one can play it further away from the frog, it becomes more elbow dominant. My teacher has a very quick forearm spiccato past the middle of the bow but he admits it's not very loud and if he wants forte dynamic he plays
it closer to the frog, with more shoulder motion, which is what he told me to practice.

Who would have thought there would be so many moving parts to bouncing the bow on a string :)

Nick
Posted: April 10, 2016
Nice playing Rustam! Those double stop pieces sound really nice!

I can't comment on your sautille because I haven't been practising it much..but your spiccato sounds (and looks) really good. It's interesting to see and hear fellow VLers opinions and execution of spiccato - my teacher has advised me to keep the upper arm fairly still and to open the elbow and move the wrist and to "cushion" the stroke with the fingers. But I find it hard to do it this way and I always fall into the 9bad) habit of moving the upper arm. I guess very much depends where on the bow you are playing spiccato. If you want a heavier sound at the heel then I think upper arm movement is unavoidable but most spiccato I've seen is played just below the middle of the bow, so I think a loose wrist, relaxed fingers and forearm movement (from the elbow) is desirable (in theory, because i'm not entirely sure about this!). You play spiccato very well. Thanks for sharing your technique.

Elke Meier
Posted: April 10, 2016
You are so right, Rustam, those pieces are anything but etudy. Just very beautiful and melodious! I am impressed at how consistently you can play A and E-strings together. That to me is by far the hardest!

A note to the spiccato: I liked the last part of the video, I think this is where you want it to go. In the first spiccato the wrist seemed rather stiff. Actually, I saw all my own problems in your first spiccato... It works to have the finger motion for a few very short measures (like in your last part), but then I revert back elbow motion (your first spiccato) - which means that the bow does not really stay perpendicular to the strings, which impacts the tone, which makes me more tense, which results in a stiffer wrist, etc. etc. Also, I find that real even spiccato is only possible with a completely relaxed arm/wrist. As soon as I exert myself to do spiccato it becomes uneven, the up and down strokes are different lenghts - not much, but enough to show (just like in your first part), I notice that, put more attention to that, get stiffer, etc. etc. It is a challenging technique, but I so much enjoy it when it sounds right! So I guess it is worth keeping at it :)

Rustam Gill
Posted: April 10, 2016
This discussion includes members-only video content

And here's the bowing I've been working on. 
Is this the correct technique for sautille? It feels relaxed and the sound seems correct to me. However I haven't asked my teacher about it yet. He just assigned spiccato for now. I was just fiddling around with sautille on my own :)