Technique: Artificial harmonics


How to use this less-common technique to improve harmonics, hand frame, intonation and bow control

Artificial harmonics are not as common as some of the other techniques we practise, but working on them can be very beneficial for improving intonation, hand frame and bow control. The only way to make a harmonic ring nicely is to play absolutely in tune, or it will whistle, sound at the wrong pitch or not sound at all. Artificial harmonics are even better than octave scales for building a consistent hand frame, because they are far less forgiving if your finger placement is even slightly wrong. Finally, they force you to play with a perfectly straight bow very close to the bridge. Any deviation from that will cause the string to whistle, and again the harmonic won’t sound.

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