Twentieth-century violin technique: a new pedagogical approach

Robertson, Chika (1999) Twentieth-century violin technique: a new pedagogical approach. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


The aim of this thesis is to identify the innovations and resultant problems encountered in violin technique and performance practice in the twentieth century. An introduction to the techniques which are encountered most frequently in contemporary repertoire illustrates how compositions have dictated that violinists are required to exhibit new physical and aural skills proficiently. The changes have been studied using a taxonomy based on ergonomics to encourage technical efficiency: a) Part 1 addresses left-hand techniques, which are subdivided into those techniques which use sliding horizontal finger movements (“glissando” and “vibrato” variations), those utilizing vertical finger movements (harmonics), and those involving new hand shapes and finger patterns (high register playing; large, disjunct leaps; unconventional intervals and nontraditional scales); b) Part 2 investigates how novel timbral changes are made with the right hand; c) and Part 3 studies various plucking movements. A critical study of published violin tutors and method books confirms the need for a new teaching approach, which specifically addresses the resultant problems caused by the development of the above movements. Therefore, a unique problem-solving Guidebook has been devised to bridge the current schism between composers' expectations and performers' technical abilities. The original exercises in the Guidebook are cross-referenced to works which are cited from the repertoire.

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