Principals of playing violin (III)
Continuation of Pattern 2/1
Points Regarding Left Hand
4/1/2 Left Thumb:
Violin players should always pay attention to the proper position of the left
thumb and other points related to it and to its joining point to the palm.
Normally, the left thumb is stretched and is not bended in first and last
knuckles (last knuckle is the one which joins the thumb to the hand), there is
no need to bend the left thumb while holding the instrument or playing it.
NB 7: Knuckles are rows of connecting joints where the last phalange joins the
palm. The order of counting finger joints in these series of articles has been
selected from finger tip toward knuckles arbitrarily.
NB 8: There are two possible bending forms for the thumb in the first phalange:
The first one is bending inward which causes the fingertip to be inclined toward
the fingerboard. The second is bending outward in which the finger tip is
diverted toward the left side of player or outside the fingerboard.
As the thumb is not used in general state of playing violin, it should be
noticed that in the first manner of bending, digression of the tip of thumb
toward fingerboard makes the thumb disturb other fingers through finger
placement. This disturbance increases to the most when the player places his
finger on G string.
On the other hand, bending thumb inward causes a kind of pluck in thumb and also
in part of left palm which is near the thumb. Not only this may cause early
tiredness during exercise, it decreases the speed of playing.
In the second state of bending, digression of thumb outward decreases skill in
playing. Thumb and edge of first finger of left hand play the main role in
holding the instrument. Outward digression of thumb decreases hand’s reliance on
the neck as well as the player’s energy while holding the instrument.
NB 9: Usually, only inward bending occurs in the last phalange of the thumb.
This kind of false bending, which causes a sort of outgrowth in internal part of
palm which is joined to thumb, decreases the movement of other left hand
NB 10: After this introduction we will attend to the most common mistake of
players related to bending the left thumb, i.e. a state that occurs due to the
mixture of the above-mentioned mistakes. In this position the thumb is bent
inward simultaneously at first and last phalanges. Occurrence of this position
causes the player to suffer from all of the above-mentioned errors resulting
from false bending which leads to deficiencies in playing.
NB 11: In general, it is better to raise the left thumb, form the fingerboard,
about the distance between the finger tip and the first phalange (or central
point of the first phalange). Doing this makes the necessary “central gap”
between player’s left hand and the back of violin neck balanced (it is worth
mentioning that the amount of the gap varies according to the form and size of
2/1/5 Left Elbow:
When the left hand lands on lower positions of the fingerboard it is better to
keep the elbow exactly under the central part of the violin or in line with the
fingerboard. It is better to prevent the left elbow from excessive bending to
the left or to the right.
NB 12: If the elbow inclines excessively toward left, player will encounter
problems in landing his finger on G string. Moreover, he will face difficulties
reaching the last string of the violin.
This critical state in the fourth finger of the left hand is problematic even
for players who have long and slim fingers.
NB 13: If elbow inclines more toward right, the player will encounter problems
in correctly landing his finger on E string.**
*If the left hand is raised excessively upper or lower than the neck, in both
above mentioned states, central distance (gap) is lost and causes some problems
in manner and form of finger placement on the fingerboard which will be
discussed in finger placement section.
** It will be discussed in finger placement section.
Wrong Rightward Elbow Bending
Bending of Thumb Toward the Fingerboard by Mistake
False Outward Bending of Thumb
False Simultaneous Bending of Thumb
Correct Position of Thumb
False Method in inclining Elbow to the Left
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