A selection of letters The Strad receives each month from its readers around the world: October 2022 issue
In The Strad ’s recent newsletter, violist Maxim Rysanov gives insight into his warm-up regimen (bit.ly/3At2teV). He says: ‘Normally I warm up with a four-octave scale, four octaves of arpeggios, and two octaves of double-stops.’ This didn’t ring true for me. How can you play four-octave scales and arpeggios in any key on the viola? Open C string to middle C is one octave, up to a second-finger C in first position on the A string is two, up to C in seventh position (third finger) is three, then you can just about reach the next C above fourth octave on a good day. Now try it starting on a B…
The rest of his advice is well grounded. What resonates with me is the recognition of the problem that viola players may have in getting to the very high positions when you can’t keep the thumb behind the neck and need to reach around the bout to reach the higher notes. Fortunately, this is not a problem for most of the viola chamber music repertoire if the composer keeps the part in a more natural range for the viola.
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