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Violin Lessons: Natural Harmonics

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Harmonics are an essential
part of violin playing.
They add color.
They are a wonderful way to hit a nice
clean high note.
They should be used sparingly though, and
for effect.
All to often I'll hear a passage like
Here the harmonic is isolated.
It has no vibrato, no expression, but the
notes on either side of it are expressive.
And that's a problem.
That would not be a good place to put a
Harmonics can be used to finish a passage
either very brilliantly, or to,
to finish a passage that's very quiet,
where the vibrato is gradually working
down to nothing.
And then the last note is pure harmonic.
So they, they should always match the
Now it's worth knowing where different
harmonics are on the instrument.
The most basic harmonic is the one that's
one octave up the string,
divides it in half
The next major one is a fifth up from
the next major one two octaves above the
open string.
Often times you're gonna be
finding yourself sliding up to these
There are some good techniques
to remember when you're doing that.
Number one, control your bow speed.
It's tempting to move the bow the exact
same way you're moving the hand.
In other words,
What that can do is destroy the integrity
of the sound.
The bow gets out of the string before
you've even reached the harmonic.
So, it's fine for the hand to move
like this, but keep the bow
It's also a good idea to brace your finger
on the next upper string.
So, here I'm sliding on the D string with
my finger.
But rather than just sliding on the D
I'd like to put the finger in between the
D and A.
Now it's kind of riding on rails.
And it's much easier to control.
If you're sliding up on a harmonic on the
E string,
use the finger board as your second rail.
When you are releasing it, for
maximum ring, because if i keep the bow
the finger on the string
The ring kind of stops.
Now I'm getting more ring.
What you wanna do is release the bow off
the string first, then release the finger.
If you try to do it at the same time and
you mistime it
You may get an open string instead of
the harmonic.
So, you release the bow first
then the finger immediately after.
So, in your video to me,
I'd like you to slide up to those three
You've got the octave,
The Twelfth,
and then two octaves
So, if you'd slide up to those three, and
do it for me on all four strings if
you would, and then I'll know that you've
perfected the technique.