Todd Ehle - violin expert

How to play the Havanaise by Camille Saint-Saens

How to tackle the most complex passage of this famous violin piece

In this video, violin expert, Todd Ehle, gives you step-by-step instructions to approach and study the most difficult passage of the virtuosic Havanaise by Camille Saint-Saens.

Released on June 5, 2013

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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Carole * VSM MEMBER * on June 26, 2013 @5:09 am PST
How do you keep track of the repetition in the Vivaldi Spring? First movement bar 17-38
Patricia on June 20, 2013 @11:58 am PST
Even when I am not at the Advance level yet to play Havanaise Op. 83 by C. Saint-Saens, the information in this video may be applied to Bourree by J.S. Bach (Suzuki 3 #7 measure 19) helping us at Beginners level, to play C natural by extending the fourth finger and, what is very important to me, without stressing the left hand. Thanks Professor Ehle.

The other option of shifting to 2nd position, in the case of the abovementioned measure 19, for only one short note going back and forth too fast could jeopardize my intonation.

Thank you Mr. Ehle.

Todd Ehle - host, on June 21, 2013 @10:20 am PST
Thank you for writing that, Patricia. I'm glad you were able to apply some of the information to your current technical issues. Best of luck to you!
poicpi * VSM MEMBER * on June 7, 2013 @1:58 am PST
Thank you for this help!I think that is too difficult also,if not more,the passage on the 2nd page-the fast notes sautilles, with strings crossings and often played on the G string!
Todd Ehle - host, on June 12, 2013 @7:57 am PST
Hi poicpi, I agree, the 2nd page is very difficult. My experience with it is that at first, the difficulty is in the notes (positions and shifts). Once those are coming, the real challenge is in coordinating the notes with the bow stroke. I do the whole page sautille, which makes it much easier, though I know some editions say to go off the string at measure 85 (it may say spiccato). Thanks for your comment, poicpi.
Todd Ehle - host, on June 6, 2013 @8:51 am PST
Hi Helen, thanks for that. Just remember to bring your thumb under the instrument and place your 4th finger first, then stretch back for the 1st finger. I remember a teacher once showing a student (with short fingers) that she could actually place the first finger on the left side of the finger, missing the tip entirely. You do what you have to do, and try to avoid injury. Thanks again for the comment.
Helen * VSM MEMBER * on June 6, 2013 @4:10 am PST
Thank you for this, Todd. It is a really useful idea to think of the 3rds to train the ear for 10ths. My major problem with this passage is physically being able to stretch a 10th in first position, but I doubt there is anything you can do to help with that! Thanks again.
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