William Fitzpatrick - violin expert

Mintz's Patterns

Learn useful patterns for your violin technique

In this video, Prof. Fitzpatrick tells you a story about how the famous violinist, Shlomo Mintz, improved his violin pattern technique.

Released on February 4, 2015

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi and welcome to VirtualSheetMusic.com's Meet the Expert. My name is William Fitzpatrick, and I am the Temianka professor of violin at the Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music which is located on the campus of Chapman University in Orange, California. I am as well Director of MusiShare in Irvine, California.

So do you remember our conversation about tetrachords? Remember it, a major tetrachord being a whole step, whole step, and a half step, that scales were made up of tetrachords? Well, I had a very interesting conversation with Shlomo Mintz many years ago at Juilliard.

Well, I was sort of walking around the practice rooms and saw Shlomo practicing in a room and decided to walk in and just sort of chat for a minute. We were chatting away and all of a sudden he looks at me and he goes, "Billy, can you do this?" [plays] Well, I went, "Okay, cool. Let's see." So I started to do it [plays] all the while thinking, "What in the world am I doing, and why am I doing this?" And all of a sudden, I went, "Oh my goodness." Shlomo had just shown me a way to practice all of the patterns that we find in a major scale in this little exercise. So why don't I break it down for you?

First off, we have half step, whole step, whole step. [plays] Second, whole step, half step, whole step. [plays] Third, whole step, whole step, half step. [plays] And finally, whole step, whole step, whole step, ascending, going up. [plays] And whole step, whole step, half step, descending, coming down. [plays] And with that, we can start again, as we were doing it before, but we are a half step higher. [plays] And we can go up as far as we want to. [plays] We can do it on any string that we want to. [plays] It's a great way to remind ourselves of what those patterns are as we are going up a scale.

Let me remind you, for example, if we were doing B flat, [plays] it's half step, whole step, whole step. That's part of the Mintz patterns. [plays] Whole step, whole step, whole step. Again, a part of the Mintz patterns. [plays] Whole, whole, half. I don't have to say it. [plays] Do I need to say? [plays] Whole, whole, half. [plays] Whole, whole, half. Thank you, Shlomo, and I'm happy to share it with you guys now.

Well, that's it for this video. If you have a comment, or a question, or a special request, please feel free to post them. See you next time.
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Mary Ann * VSM MEMBER * on August 28, 2015 @3:28 pm PST
Having the notation visual would be most helpful! Thank you for considering this.
Mary Ann * VSM MEMBER * on August 27, 2015 @3:24 pm PST
Where can I find these Mintz patterns? Are they in print?
William - host, on August 28, 2015 @9:13 am PST
No they are not in print. But if the following is a half step (12) and a dash is a whole step (1-2) then it is the following: 12-3-4 / 1-23-4 / 1-2-34 / 1-2-3-4 / 4-3-21 etc ... Hope that this helps!
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on August 28, 2015 @2:57 pm PST
William, I guess we could actually publish them... would we probably need to have Mintz's permission?
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