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Hi Beth / Everyone - just reviewing the Spiccato videos and I'm having problems controlling the bounce.

I didn't catch in your video if you said how to control it? Is it just the first finger? First and pinkie? all fingers? hand? wrist!?! I'm guessing just a small amount of pressure from the first finger and the hand stays still (ie no vertical motion of the hand or arm?)

Thanks! Simon


4 Responses
Posted: June 13, 2011
Last Comment: June 16, 2011

Posted: June 16, 2011
Thanks Beth, yes, it was a great help. I had been practising on the D string which I found easier to bounce on but might have caused the pinky tension as you describe. I'll move over to the A and work on getting the bounce smaller - there are so many bow-arm movements that I need to make smaller and more refined!

The more I learn playing the violin, the less it seems about 'knowing' how to do something but 'feeling' how to do something. I guess like riding a bike - until you've felt what balance is like, you don't know how to achieve it! Your comment about feeling the spiccato really stuck with me.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: June 15, 2011
This discussion includes members-only video content

Let me know if this helps, Simon.

Posted: June 14, 2011
Coming to it again, I've also realised I'm getting a fair amount of tension in the pinkie from trying to balance the bow and hold it off the string - ie holding it above the string so that it can fall from a very short distance on to the string to enable the bounce. I'm not sure if this tension is because I don't have enough strength in the finger yet, or if my technique is all wrong!

Beth Blackerby
Posted: June 13, 2011
Hi Simon,

It's really all of the above, but the larger muscles (upper arm and whole arm) will largely control the bounce in slower tempos. Oppositely, in faster tempos, more of the control is in the wrist and fingers.

Start with slower large motion bounce strokes, gently swinging the arm from the shoulder, then once you're comfortable with that make the spiccato strokes smaller and use less arm.

The first finger in large part controls the height of the bounce. The more force used to "throw" the bow to the string, the higher the bounce. Ans sure, with enough force and no release, you can stop the bounce.

I hope to get the camera back up this week. I want to make a video response for Shovan, and your question will make a good response as well.