William Fitzpatrick - violin expert

Studying Staccatos Through Etudes

Use famous violin etudes to learn and improve your staccato

In this video, Prof. Fitzpatrick explores staccatos through the use of famous violin etudes such as Kayser's, Kreutzer's, Rode's and Fiorillo's.

Released on November 1, 2017

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Video Transcription

So, of course, you've used your scales to practice up and down those staccatos. I mean, as the scale is divided into slurs by 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, and 24, we can use that to divide the bow for up and down bow staccatos. Well if you would like to have a look at my video, understanding up and down bow staccatos, to get a deeper look at what one needs to know to do this, please, please, have a look.

Well, now I think we need a place, a musical place, to see if the skill we've learned in our skills can work in that musical scenario. So let's have a look at the following etudes: Kayser number 33, Kreutzer number 4, Rode number 7, and Fiorillo number 3. These etudes are dedicated to the study of up and down bow staccatos. So let's start with Kayser number 33. Here, let me play a bit for you. So the 8th note provides the amount of bow necessary to perform the 6th 16th notes in the staccato. Here, have a look at this graph.

Once we've understood this, this etude offers a fascinating opportunity to start either up bow or down bow. So now looking at Kreutzer number four, we get the staccatos but tied to a half note like this.


Not only does he do it this way, but he offers other alternatives. One with 14th, 16th notes, and another with triplets. Here, have a listen. Have a look. You see, with this Kreutzer etude we're really learning how to manage different bow speeds and bow distributions. Now let's have a look at Fiorillo number three.This etude is not as complex rhythmically as the Kreutzer, but when you take into consideration the bow change is it offers quite a bit of variety and a few more challenges as well. Now in Rode number seven, we get two different kinds of bow distribution challenges. The twist in this one is with regard to two eighths at the end of the measure. Not only does this challenge us with bow distribution, but as well with maintaining sound production as it was obviously sound good as well.

So now after having gone through a few different musical scenarios, I think one will be prepared to study solo pieces or concertos that use this technical skill that use up or down bow staccatos. I do hope that this video helps you to understand how you can access and achieve even better, cleaner staccatos through the use of etudes. My name is William FitzPatrick, and I am the Tamianka 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 the Artistic Director of the MusiShare Young Artist Program which is located in Costa Mesa, California.
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