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Violin Lessons: Irish Washer Woman

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Now here's a fun tune called the Irish
Washerwoman, and
it's all about string crossings.
There various challenges, but the string
crossings are what
make this tune a challenge and that's why
we're gonna tackle it.
There are also a couple of quick shifts
you need to do
they're from first to third position and
But really you're gonna be concentrating
on the bow here for the most part.
And we've got both a slow version and
a fast version for different levels of
Obviously with this one the quicker it
goes, the tougher it is.
And then I've built in a few bowing
variations as well.
Just to, to test your ability to slur
smoothly and
do different patterns without obvious
So let's go to it.
Right away at letter A, you can help
yourself out and
you're gonna see this, you know,
experience it over and over in this tune.
The more that you can help yourself out
with the left hand,
the less work that your right arm will
have to do.
So as an example.
I just automatically am putting
my first finger down with the three.
If I don't do that, then it's gonna look
like this.
And you can see how busy the left hand
gets and there's just a sympathetic
response in the right arm where it wants
to move more mechanically and
that's the last thing you want for a
longer tune like this.
So instead, I put the one down with the
And I basically
lead it down whenever I can.
Now as far as the right arm's job,
you're gonna be leading these crossings
with the arm.
In a, in a subtle way so that instead of
looking like this.
Where the arm is just moving exactly
with what string you're playing.
It's going to be smoother than that.
So when I'm crossing over to
a lower string, the arm's gonna move
there a little bit sooner and then back.
And then back, so it's a, it's a more
circular motion or
a more figure eight motion.
And in fact, you'll find that when you
have string crossings just between two
you can do a lot of it with subtle
movement of the hand.
So you're going to have two different
string levels, in this case A and
D, but you want to be playing as close to
in between those two strings as you can.
So it's almost like a double stop.
Now, if I just clear the two strings a
little bit,
I have the least amount of motion
necessary, and that's what I want.
Rather than.
The most amount of motion necessary,
that's the opposite.
Now look at the pickup to B.
There's your fast shift to third position.
So the left hand leads this one because
you can't start moving the bow
until the left hand is there.
So give yourself a split second of time.
Nobody's gonna know.
And there's the left hand.
The biggest mistake you can make there,
is starting to move that bow, or
continuing to move the bow before the left
hand gets there.
Another option there that some of you may
prefer is to actually
shift the third position at the beginning
of that bar.
And then you don't have to shift right at
that moment but, it's still a fast shift
from first to third,
so I prefer the, the first one that I
Before letter C, take a look at the
fingering there.
That's going to be just a half step shift
up to fourth position.
And then that reach
back with the one to the, the D.
That's a temporary reach.
You stay in fourth position.
And that reach with the one is the one
that actually, you follow with the hand
to take you back to third position.
So it's very important to know for
when a reach is just temporary, you're
staying in the old position.
And when the reach is going to be followed
by the hand to the new position,
in this case third position.
Letter E, another great opportunity to
leave the one down.
So that even when you're playing so
many notes, the hand looks very quiet.
So starting with letter G is where we get
into the fun slurring, the challenges.
And the nice thing about these slurs is
that the string crossings are going to
look and feel just like they did when you
were playing separate bows.
I mean you'll be, the bow will be going
different directions, but
the movement of the arm with the string
levels is gonna be just the same.
So practicing the slurs is actually a
great way to practice
the string crossings for separate bows.
See how with the slur you have
that smooth motion automatically.
What a great model that is for
the separate bows.
So this one you can actually practice in
You could start by practicing figure G if
you wanted.
And I get that smooth feeling.
At letter H start mixing in separate bars.
And what you want is for the separate
notes to sound smooth just like the slurs.
So that the motion of
the bow stays just the same.
So if you hear notes sticking out.
The notes that stick out are usually going
to be the, the odd note out.
In other words, it, at the letter H, the
third note is separate, so
you've got two slurred and then one
The separate is the one that usually wants
to get an accent,
so you have to listen for that and just.
Usually listening is enough.
Your arm will make the adjustment to play
is smoothly.
And then finally at the letter I, you've
got one plus two.
So, in this case it's a first note, the
down-bow that usually want so
stick out with an accent, especially since
it's on a down-bow.
So, those down bow's will have to be
You'll probably find yourself working
unconsciously toward the frog there,
because you've got those slurs on an
And that's fine because next you can work
back down.
So don't panic if you find the bow
traveling a little bit.
You'll, you'll get back to the right part
if you just keep playing smoothly.
So, have fun working on both the slow and
fast version of Irish Washerwoman.