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Violin Lessons: Double Stops

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When playing double stops,
all the rules about hand frame are
increased in importance
because while it may be possible to play
single notes with inefficient
left hand technique, double stops really
force us to make sure
that what we're doing is very efficient,
really kosher.
Double stops should be based on the upper
so that the lower fingers reach down.
That goes for, for all of them, really,
it's especially important for intervals
that require a little stretching.
So, if you're playing minor thirds, for
This would be a proper
hand position for that.
You can see, my second finger is very
That means it's reaching back.
The first finger, you can see, is reaching
And my four is able to maintain a curve.
For those with smaller hands or smaller
fourth fingers, your arm may have to come
around a little bit in order to maintain a
little curve in the fourth finger.
Two and one may have to reach even further
Now you also want to leave the fingers
down when you can.
This is especially important in playing
It's more difficult to leave
them down in descending passages, but
it's a good idea to do it when you can,
or at least to anticipate the place
where they're going to play.
If you're not getting the idea that thirds
are a very important thing to practice,
[LAUGH] you should be.
Thirds train the frame of the hand, they
appear in
virtually all the violin repertoire and
they are great practice for
prep fingers, leaving fingers down and
preparing fingers.
When you practice double stops it's fine
to practice them without vibrato to really
center the pitch, but you should also get
used to practicing them with vibrato.
Because there will be times when you have
to play double stops expressively, and
if you're not used to that freedom in the
hand, it can be very difficult,
and it can mess up the nice intonation
work that you've done.
Practicing double stops with vibrato also
encourages you
to maintain only as much pressure as
When you have extra tension in the hand
or, or squeezing from the thumb,
let's say, it can be very difficult to
And so getting rid of that tension and
exploring why you have it, may allow
you to vibrate and will make playing
double stops easier in, in any case.
One last technique to use when you're
practicing double stops is to play all
the fingers that you're going to have
down, but to play only one string.
So for example, if I were practicing that
same passage in thirds.
Now I'm going to do the same thing with my
left hand, but I'm only going to play the
lower string.
Now I can easily tell
which note is at fault or
which series of notes is at fault.
It's especially nice to do with octaves.
Octaves and
other double stops that keep
the same fingers down and
that move on the string require
a little special attention.
What I don't wanna see happening is your
finger rolling onto the wrong side.
This is not a strong position for
the fourth finger, and it's gonna prevent
you from vibrating.
Rather, when you release the finger, I'm
looking especially at four,
when you release the pressure slightly to
go up to the next note,
you want to push it that way.
So the pressure releases, the finger
travels on the string, and
then gets put down for the next note.
The same thing is happening on one, but
the one is in a much easier position to
make that happen.
You would never play with your one rolling
over like that, but for the fourth finger,
it can happen easily, so you work your way
up the fingerboard like this.
Remember that the bow has an important
role to play in double stops as well.
The pressure on the two strings, or the
focus on the two strings,
needs to be virtually equal, because the
bow can change the pitch.
Let's say we're playing octaves.
If this sounds in tune now,
let me lean a little too heavily on the E
I haven't moved my fingers at all but
suddenly the nice.
This kind of thing leads some people in
an endless quest to shift their fingers
when in fact it was the bow's problem all
So you need to play always with a quality
sound, and
you need to be cognizant of how much
pressure is on the two strings.
So when you send me a video of double
stops, I'd like to see a scale in thirds.
Doesn't have to go up two octaves although
it, it can if, if you like.
I practice two octave scales in thirds.
I'd like you to show me some sixths.
Sixths have a special challenge,
because you're always having to shift
fingers over.
And that trains the lateral movement,
the movement of cross strings for the
And then a scale in octaves, and if you
like, you can include fingered octaves in
there as well, which are played with one,
three, two, four.
Show me the double stops without vibrato,
and then show them to me, please,
with vibrato, so that I can see that your,
your tension in your hand is low enough.
I'd like you also to show me how you could
finger both notes but only play one,
and remember that to play these in tune
and with a quality sound,
you'll wanna have even bow pressure on
both strings involved.