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I started a review of Book 4, and do not like how I am playing the pieces, so I am going back through Book 4 again. In the 1st piece, I ran into an old problem of putting a 4th finger down on the A string 1st position, followed by a 3rd finger, and getting tension in the top of the hand. Can anyone give me help on this? It has to do with the hand setup, and the space btw the 4th and 3rd finger descending. If you have book 4, look at m.68 of the 1st piece. Maybe you can try it, and tell me what you do to make it comfortable, repeatable, and with good intonation, like an exercise.
6 Responses
Posted: April 13, 2019
Last Comment: April 20, 2019

Posted: April 20, 2019
Schradieck- the Ultimate Solution
Today I spent time on very slow Schradieck, just the first few lines, slurring 16 notes to a bow, and the reach back to the 3rd finger from the 4th finger became doable. I honestly had let the 4th finger exercises slip, and had only practiced shifting and vibrato for the last few months. I think a broad practice regimen is a good idea for this reason. The reach back to low 2nd finger from 4th finger still requires a tiny roll or pivot, and does not upset the hand frame. Maybe over time that will resolve, but I do remember my 2nd teacher mentioning a pivot for that one was ok.

Posted: April 19, 2019
Found Something That Works
Ok Elke, the arpeggios are just another exercise. There are many good exercises for the 4th and 3rd finger, but it did not solve what the main issue was for me so far. I think 4th finger strengthening is something I need to work on daily (Schradieck, Pinky Buster tutorial, tapping, trills, vibrato, shifting), but what I did find for an interesting interim solution is the following:
1.)The 3 Left Hand: Contact, Balance, Vibrato videos, especially video #2 at ~5 min in.
2.)Really bringing the elbow to the right, so that it becomes visible beneath the violin even on the upper strings (I was taught by my 2nd teacher to not see the elbow on the upper strings) and then play on the insides of the fingers. This is a totally different way of playing, but I can successfully reach back from a 4th finger to a low 2nd, and from a 4th finger a whole step to a 3rd finger, without tension, in tune and in tempo.

Posted: April 15, 2019
One Octave Arpeggio Sequence
What I was thinking of trying is the one octave arpeggio sequence (ex. p.18 of the S. Fischer Scales Book) for establishing the spacing of the key. It might help to train my fingers in a way that does not repeat the pattern, but keeps coming back to it. The feeling I have when putting down lower fingers from the 4th finger (w/the exception of the 1st finger), is one of blocking, or anchoring, which I am trying to avoid. But perhaps that is the way to gauge the interval. Just wondering what the feeling should be of the 3rd (or 2nd) finger is as it prepares to go down, in relation to the 4th finger, which is already down. The arpeggio sequence might strengthen my hand and allow it to feel as natural as a 2nd finger to 1st finger, or 3rd finger to 2nd finger. That is what I am hoping for. Right now, there is a wobbly feel to the 4th followed by 3rd finger, that I wish to remove.

Sonia Lancaster
Posted: April 14, 2019
Hi you are not alone. I have issues reaching 4th finger as well. This is especially an issue in double stops for me, trying to play 3rd in A string (D) with low 1st on E string (F natural), followed by 4th on A string (E) with 2nd on E string (G) and back again quickly. Iíve tried reaching back, repositioning the hand, separating the notes and simplifying. I can just about manage it very, very slowly, but as you say Elle, as soon as it speeds up the intonation goes. Iíve included a picture of the music snippet. Itís measure 1 on the second line.


Posted: April 14, 2019
Fix For Pain Over the Top of the Left Hand
This came on suddenly yesterday, and made me feel as if I was starting all over again, and I had to stop practicing. I still had it today, and that is when I remembered what it could be- this pain that manifests over the top of my left hand, is really neck/shoulder tension. It is relieved trough massage therapy/trigger point work on the back of the left shoulder. After this was done today, the hand pain disappeared. I knew I've had this before, but I couldn't remember what it was, and couldn't find it in the archive.

I still have the challenge of reaches back to 3rd finger from 4th, and maybe now I can work on them with a hand frame change- so still hoping for comments on this. But I'm bookmarking this for the pain over the top of the hand!

Elke Meier
Posted: April 14, 2019
I have the same question - not because of book 4 but in general! Getting the space wide enough between a fourth finger followed by a third (or, worse, a low second) is such a challenge. Stretching alone does not seem to do the trick or you would think that after years of it (and lots of Schradieck) it would show a result. My hand still gets so tense and with Schradieck and lots of fourth finger workout the muscles at the side of my hand (the extension of the pinky) get hot and crampy. I have not found a solution yet. Some days it is a bit better, lots of days it is really bad, basically never it is comfortable. I can keep the intonation with LOTS of real effort but as soon as something gets a little faster (and thus too fast for this exertion it requires in my hand), intonation goes out the window, and all my third or second fingers after the fourth are too high. So I look forward to what people have to say about this question.