String Techniques F261
Pizzicato (right hand)- plucking of the string with the finger at the middle of the string
Double-stop- the playing of two notes at the same time
Detache- a bow stroke using a regular up-bow or down-bow
Martele- stopped bow
Arco- bowed (not pizzicato)
Sul ponticello- bowed near the bridge
Sul tasto (or flautando)- Bowed over the fingerboard
Col legno- with the wood of the bow
Sounding point- the point at which a string is most resonant
Slur- the two notes being slurred are bowed with one stroke in the same direction
Vln. = Violin
Vla. = Viola
When in doubt about an abbreviation, the instrument can usually be determined by the clef the instrumentís part is written in as well as the range of the part.
Every string player needs a quality horsehair bow (preferably not of fiberglass), a cake of rosin, a clean, soft cloth (for removing fingerprints, rosin, etc.), a string cleaning solution (to remove caked-on rosin), a quality chin-rest, and a quality shoulder-rest. The strings on the instrument should be of the same quality as in orchestra and not steel. Synthetic hair bows should not be purchased because they can not produce the same quality of sound as horsehair. Lower string players also need a quality rock-stop or leather strap to keep their instrument firmly in place. However, if neither of these are available the player must find a hole in the floor or ridge where the peg with stay in place. This is not recommended though, because the instrument will tend to shift and move more than with a rock-stop.
Anatomy of a string instrument
The bridgeís job in all stringed instruments (not just upper strings) is to support the strings and transmit vibrations. The bridge should be aligned vertically with the notches in the F hole. If this not the case, the bridge can be braced with the hands and moved carefully in the direction needed. However, if the feet of the bridge must be moved, this is best done by a string technician, as it is easy to mess up or break the bridge.
The pegs are used to adjust the strings to the correct pitch and maintain this tension in the string. Pegs sometimes need to be lubricated with peg dope to allow them to move smoothly. When a string is to be replaced, take care to not wind the string on top of an earlier layer on the string. If the string is on top of itself, it may cut through lower layers, breaking the string. On upper string instruments, the pegs tend to move fairly easily and a small movement on the peg will make a noticeable adjustment. However, on the lower strings there is quite a bit of tension as well as a great length of string. These instruments take a bigger adjustment of the pegs to notice a pitch change. To adjust pegs on a lower instrument especially, one hand should brace behind the scroll as the other hand turns the peg. Once the strings are fairly in tune, fine tuners should be used to make small adjustments. When purchasing instruments try to get instruments with fine tuners as they aid greatly in getting a quality sound from an ensemble.
The tailpiece basically only functions to hold the end of the strings in relation to the bridge. Modern tailpieces tend to be made of synthetic material, however, originally they were made of gut.
Ranges of the string family
Effective methods for establishing relaxed and correct playing position:
-Take the instrument in resting position and extend it up to the left with the left arm.
-Lower it towards your collarbone and your jawbone. Find a comfortable position here. The shoulder rest should be placed in a spot that helps your body support the instrument and hold it firmly in place.
Sitting position (all strings except bass)
Sitting position (Cellos)
-In other words sit as close to the edge of the chair as you can comfortably and sit leaning a little towards the cello
Fingering patterns for violin, viola, cello, and bass
Pattern I 0 1 2 3 4
O W W H W
Pattern II 0 1 2 3 4
O W H W W
Pattern I 0 1 3 4 0
O W WH W
Pattern II 0 1 2 4 0
O W H W W
Pattern I 0 1 2 4 0
O W WH W
Pattern II 0 1 2 0 1
O W H W W
Development of a relaxed bow hold
I guess we could call this exercise "arm flopping" or " canít find my ROSIN so Iím throwing a fit"
-First, take your elbows and touch them together
-Then allow your wrists to flop loosely, pointing away from you, in this position
-Then slowly let your wrists turn inwards and you are basically doing the motion for vibrato and it keeps the children interested
-Students tend to lift and place the fingers in a new position when, in some instances, it would be more efficient to slide
-Students tend to look in the direction of the instrument, instead of keeping their head forward
-Students will tend to have problems holding the bow without letting either their picky tense up, or their thumbs to straighten
-Students tend to forget to loosen the bow before placing it in the case
-Students will tend to shorten their bow stroke when focusing on fingering problems that challenge them.
-Students when playing bass tend to let their thumb on their left hand to become horizontal with the ground as opposed to keeping it vertical
-Students when trying to press down a highly tensioned string on the bass, tend to create tension in their left hand or use incorrect techniques to depress strings
-Students when playing cello, tend to have problems getting a quality sound at first because they are not dropping their arm weight in the right arm
-Student tend to have problems finding a balance point for the bass against their body
Cleaning the instruments
String repair/equipment box
-Spare cakes rosin
-Spare strings (if budget allows)
-Tape (to mark fingerboards and pinky houses)
-Several soft clothes
-Band aids (you never know what might happen when a string or something breaks)
Pictures of accessories (for reference)
Picture of the frog of the bow
Picture of the tip of the bow
Picture of a typical violin case
Picture of a chin rest for violin or viola
Picture of a typical cake of rosin
This is the kind of package that new strings normally come in.