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Violin Lessons: Basic Shifting

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The basic shift is a mode of
transportation on the violin.
Shifting is simply changing positions and
that lets us access more notes, of course,
because we don't wanna only play the notes
that are right here.
But, of course, it also lets us play the
same note, but
in different parts of the violin on
different strings.
Shifting to a new position can make a
certain pattern
much more playable as well.
So although we'll get into expressive
shifts in the later lesson,
these shifts are transportation shifts.
They're seen and not heard.
They're going to be heard a little unless
you totally hide them with a bow, but
it's important to build a mechanism that
hides them as much as possible.
Now it's very important that the left hand
supports the violin throughout a shift.
One easy way to determine whether you're
doing that or not.
Is to take off your shoulder rest if you
use one, as I do.
Now without a shoulder rest, it becomes
much more difficult, if not impossible,
to clamp down on the violin with the head,
which you should never be doing anyway.
Without that clamping motion,
many people suddenly feel like their
violin's gonna fall.
But it won't, as long as you're supporting
it with the left hand.
So in an upward shift.
I'm supporting, but
I even support, and especially support,
for a descending shift.
In fact,
I like to feel a little rising of the
That lets me know that my left hand is
really supporting.
the bow, as I said,
can help hide a shift.
But it's important to develop good habits
with full bow pressure.
That'll expose any weaknesses in the left
without resorting to constantly hiding
shifts with the bow.
What I mean by hiding shifts with the bow
is to temporarily release bow pressure.
So you can see a little bit of releasing
of the bow pressure to he, to hide that
What happens is that becomes a habit and
the smooth slurs that you've
worked hard to create start getting broken
up at every shift.
So let's look at the different
combinations of the basic shift.
We have same finger ascending shift.
That's simply.
Now anytime I shift,
what I would call a transportation shift,
I release the finger pressure before I
move the finger.
So I would get a whistle tone.
Then I move the finger and
just as it reaches the arrival note I put
it back down.
Now to make the shift smooth
I wanna minimize the time at each end
That's the same finger up and
the same finger down.
Old finger up means, if I'm shifting from
first to third position there.
I'm using what's called
the guide finger, or the old finger.
The old finger is the first finger.
That moves up from an E to a G.
And that's my guide, because at that
point, I put down the three.
Again to make the shift smooth
I minimize the time before releasing the
finger and
before placing the final finger down.
The same holds true for an old finger
Now the three is my guide finger.
As I said, you wanna keep the bow and
the string to hear that whistle tone
because that's
going to expose exactly what your left
hand is doing.
You wanna make the shift as invisible as
possible with the full bow pressure before
use the last step of hiding it slightly
with the bow.
Now to coordinate with a bow
change, you just remember that
the bow changes with the arrival,
so for a same finger shift.
If you change before the finger
gets there you're gonna get an ugly sound.
Instead of the proper timing.
The same holds true for
shifts where you change the finger.
The bow changes with the arrival finger.
So when you send me a video of these basic
shifts I'd like you to demonstrate a few
different ones.
Same finger up.
Same finger down, old finger up.
And old finger down.
So I'd like you to do those slurred.
And then I'd like you to repeat all of
those, changing the bow on the arrival
Then I'll know that you really get what
the basic shift is all about.