Violinist Zakhar Bron discusses creating a smooth line when playing trills in the op.36 no.6 etude by Dont

This is an extract from an article that appeared in the April 1999 issue. To read the article in full, click here


The most frequent mistake made by pupils working on co-ordination is found in the almost automatic accent placed by the bow on the last note of each group:


To avoid this I recommend playing the figuration by isolating each first note:


Then try to continue the bowing in a similar way, irrespective of what the left hand is doing:


A further theme of importance is bow division This study can be practised in the upper and lower half of the bow or with the whole bow, but never in the middle. The middle of the bow could be designated as a zone not recommended for pupils. When playing at the tip or in the upper half of the bow the muscles of the lower arm are engaged. However when playing at the frog both shoulder and upper-arm muscles come into action. In the middle, the lower-arm, shoulder and upper-arm muscles cannot work independently of each other; in this way co-ordination is made additionally difficult. For this reason I call the middle of the bow a ’neutral zone’, even when this area can be of great use under other conditions.