Making Matters: Fifth harmonies

Fifths1

If 5ths are driving you nuts, it may be to do with your violin nut. Itzel Ávila explains how luthiers can help by customising the piece at the top of the fingerboard to the player’s hand

Playing 5ths is one of the most common challenges in the development of a solid violin technique. This interval commonly gives performers headaches at various stages of their careers. Achieving the perfect tuning, sound and vibrato while playing 5ths can seem like a mystical ability, both cognitive and mechanical, for beginner, advanced and sometimes even accomplished violinists. As such, the interval has commonly been addressed as a technical problem, primarily involving the mechanics of playing. Violinists and pedagogues around the world all have their own take on how to improve 5ths as a performance problem…

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