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Beth Blackerby
This discussion includes members-only video content

Simon, The issue of tension in your first finger is very common. I went ahead and loaded this response into the library as well. And some day insert it into a logical sequence of videos. I do hope this helps.
Beth Blackerby
5 Responses
Posted: September 6, 2011
Last Comment: September 7, 2011

Posted: September 7, 2011

Hi Beth,

Very good video, (as always), in this mornings' practice session I will be incorporating this technique. 



Posted: September 7, 2011
A quick update, having worked with this for only 15mins or so...

Yes, it does feel strange!  But at the same time, it feels 'right'.  The intonation will take a little while to settle down, but when I get the right spot, the F# and G both seem to ring a little more freely.

What I'm aware of now though, is when I move my base knuckle away I have the sensation that the violin is less stable and will fall.  This is silly really as I know it's perfectly stable on my shoulder and can take my hand away completely and it will be fine!  As a concequence, two things are happening:

1) I feel my shoulder come up a little to help 'stablilise' the violin
2) My thumb slides under the neck a bit - both to 'support' the intrument and to give a little to create the space that's needed.

At least I'm aware of these so should be able to fight them!  If I make sure my elbow comes right underneath (as Jo demonstated in her video) I shouldn't have to move my thumb to create the space.

So far so good.....

Thanks again , Beth.


Beth Blackerby
Posted: September 6, 2011
I'm glad it helped, Patricia and Simon. Also remember Simon, that it will feel so strange when you try to restructure your left hand. Your first finger isn't used to dropping without that contact, so it will feel awkward at first. And it might make intonation unstable for a while, but in the end your intonation will be better. A liberated left hand is free to move and adjust in a split second. Whereas if your first finger is locked in place, and you're playing something out of tune, it's more likely to stay out of tune. Keep me posted. Changing something like that is no small task.

Posted: September 6, 2011


I know that this video is addressing to the problem of “First Finger and the E string: No Scrunching!” but believe me, this will help me tremendously with my vibrato. I was practicing vibrato in 3rd and 4th positions and only on A and D strings. Vibrato on E string felt so awkward.

Thanks Beth.


PS.- I’m no longer using Tricia to sign because the others Patricia(s) are not active in VL Community, and if they participate in the future, Tricia will be at the left to identify me.

Posted: September 6, 2011
Brilliant, Beth!!  You've really understood what I was trying to explain (but sometimes just articulating the problem is a problem!) and your video is so clear!  As you state, it's not so much squeezing but rather not having the space.  I'll work on this....