William Fitzpatrick - violin expert

Advanced Approach to Violin Shifting - Part 3

Third part of Advanced Shifting Techniques

In this third video, Prof. Fitzpatrick extends his teaching on the shifting technique by applying it to fast passages. He features music from Bruch's Scottish Fantasy, Wieniawski's Second Concerto in D minor, and Bartok's Second Concerto in B minor.

Released on January 7, 2015

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Video Transcription

Hi and welcome to VirtualSheetMusic.com's Meet the Expert. My name is William Fitzpatrick and I am the Temianka profession 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.

All right. Let's have a look as an aspect of shifting that I've hinted at, but not really, really explained in great depth. That's shifting in fast passages. Now this requires the coordination of the elbow, with the rotational rolling of the hand towards the desired destination. A sort of point or marker in the sand. So to do this, one must know where one is going. What is that destination point? Well, let's try from a B flat on the A string to an A fourth finger on the same string. The A will be my destination.[plays]

Now what I want to do with my elbow leading is to roll towards that destination - roll [plays]. My elbow's movement propels my hand and fingers and thus did not require my fingers to expend energy so they could remain loose throughout the process. Let's look again. [plays] Here, let me show you the elbow. [plays] Everything is flowing towards that destination point, so that's how it works, either ascending or descending.

I tell you what? Why don't we look at some real life examples? Well, from Bruch's Scottish Fantasy, why don't we look at an arpeggio ascending, going up? [plays] The F sharp E was my destination. So I'm trying to get there from the beginning of that arpeggio. [plays] The second half of this passage is interesting. It goes down from where we started. [plays] Where was that destination point? Well, it actually was the one that started it, [plays] and we release it from there. [plays] Let's look at the whole passage. [plays] And that describes our destination points, both ascending and descending for Bruch's Scottish Fantasy.

Well, why don't we look at Wieniawski Second Concerto in D minor in the first movement [plays]? Here again, the elbow; it's all about that movement of the elbow. I'm starting here. [plays] The elbow moves around. Finally, let's look at one which is a more melodic kind of a fast shift. Let's look at Bartok's Concerto No. 2. Our destination point will be the last note of this phrase. Here we go. [plays] Everything I am doing is leading towards that last B flat. [plays] My elbow is required to move in a smooth gesture towards that destination point.

Well, these are but a few of the many types of fast shifts that one encounters in solo pieces or concerti, but remember that you really need to know where you are going before you try to find a path with your elbow to get there.

Well, that's it for this video. If you have a comment, question, or special request, please feel free to post it below. So practice well, and I look forward to sharing the next video with you.
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Fabiano de Carvalho * VSM MEMBER * on January 24, 2015 @12:02 pm PST
Dear Professor William,

It'll be very opportune if you show your approach to the up-bow staccato off strings technique (that one of the 'staccato hora'Winky Face.

Why do violinists establish limits to their technique, though they master most of them, so restricting their possibilities?


Charles Waterman on January 10, 2015 @7:52 am PST
Thank You, William,
The use of the elbow is well explained- now if I only knew where the destinations of my fingers were located. Practice, practice, think, think, practice, try to understand, think. Thanks again.
William on January 14, 2015 @4:53 pm PST
A french teacher once said to a student, playing in tune? Whats the problem? Just figure out where to put your finger and keep putting it there! There are ways we can explore! Its on my list...
Patricia on January 7, 2015 @12:20 pm PST
Thank you Professor Fitzpatrick for all the good tips and observations in your videos that facilitate to understand better not only what we have to do but also what is happening while we are performing the technique.

I hope during 2015 you and Fabrizio keep doing exactly the excellent work done in 2014 and helping this way to many students around the world.

Receive a wish of a happy 2015 from this student that is madly in love with the violin.

Cordially yours,

William on January 7, 2015 @11:46 pm PST
My only hope is to contribute to the understanding of violin playing so your thoughts are very appreciated!
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