C-Major No.2

Here is a video of how I think No. 1 should be executed.
To remind you from No.1:

  1. I use a metronome
  2. I distribute the bow evenly over 8 beats for the scale and 6 for the arpeggios.
  3. Shifting is executed slowly and with even speed between the two positions (more on this later)
  4. bow changes are slow
  5. contact point of the bow and the string does not change and the sound is concentrated and even.

In this scale, let's talk about playing in higher positions. The challenge is that as the string gets shorter, the amplitude of the string's vibration gets smaller, and so the bridge vibrates less resulting in smaller sound. To compensate for that, the point of contact should change in relation to the string length, or in other words: the higher the positions, the point of contact should be closer to the bridge.

In addition, the viola should be held higher in higher positions. This helps the hand slide downward towards the bridge, rather than have to climb.

This perhaps, is a good opportunity to discuss our concept of "difficult". We all live with the illusion that difficulty is a real thing. But in fact, it is all in our head. It is usually a result of trying something unsuccessfully for the first time and then tagging it as "difficult". Our fear or stress from the perceived difficulty will manifest as tightening in the hands or body, hand sweating, or even unawareness of viola position or other elements of our playing that will make the passage much more difficult that it otherwise could be.

I imagine many of you looking at this scale think "this is difficult". I invite you to breathe, relax, take your time, start slowly, and figure out how to make this scale "easy".

I welcome your comments and questions.

Ori Kam