In Introducing the Positions for Violin Vol.1, you learn the 3rd position, 5th position as well as shifting from the first to 3rd, 3rd to 5th, also the combinations. The shifting in musical context is introduced at no. 85, but I’m going to talk about the section in F Major no.91, 97, 98 and 99 in this article.
What is shifting in violin playing?
Shifting is one of important violin techniques. By learning it, you can expand the ranges of the notes you can play, and also it will eventually give you opportunities to choose right tone color that the music asks for.
Shifting menas moving your left arm (and of course your entire left hand) very smoothly to any places (or positions) on the fingerboard up or down.
Important points when you practice shifting at the beginning
- Again, the shifting motion need to be very smooth and should not strain your hand. Never squeeze your left thumb or fingers. Relax them and release your finger pressure especially while you are shifting.
- You need to staiblize your violin by supporting it properly with your jaw on your collarnone so that you can move your left arm and hand freely up and down on the fingerboard.
- Never leave your thumb behind at the previous position. Whole arm/hand moves up or down.
- I highly recommend, at the beginning, you change the position with remaining finger on the fingerboard and then get the note you are aiming for in the new position. (which is called “classical shift”) ***you can learn romantic shift after you learn the classical shift, getting used to shifting motion.***
Introducing the Positions for Violin Vol. 1, no.97, 98, 99
Introducing the Positions for Violin by H. Whistler is an excellent books in order to make yourself familiar with shifting and the new positions. For the students who are learning no. 97, 98, 99, I wrote short exercises in order to get the feel of completely moving your hand to the new postion before you get the targeted note.
Adding grace notes which distract the melody line would bother some students. However, these exercises provide not only correct motion of shifting but ear training opportunities.
Let’s practice together! : on my Youtube channel
This video contains the sound of no.91, 97, 98, and 99 along with my short preparatory exercises. Please click “show more” in the description and use time stamps to find the best place for you to practice.
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