Yesterday, it was particularly edifying to play each group of 3 twice, since the universal fingering works in handfuls of 3. So it goes (using D maj as an example, slurring 3) D E F#, D E F#, shift G A B, G A B, shift, etc. It emphasizes the feeling of being in position, which is a key to accurate, relaxed playing. So make sure your arm doesn’t make a wild swing when you go for 4th finger, or when you move back to 1, on the way down. This pattern works perfectly on the major keys, and is possible, but a little bockety for the melodic minor, because the intervals change on the way down.

By Friday, those still on the wagon should notice the “shrinking” phenomenon. The more often you play over the range of the cello, the smaller and more controllable it feels.

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3 Responses

  1. But still 2,2,3 on the third octave?

    I wonder if it’s really true that it’s faster to go up a single string 2 at a time than 3 at a time? Always wondering…

  2. Third octave is usually 3 or 4 on the tonic, then 1 2 1 2 1 2 3. As for what’s faster, perhaps I’m old school, but I think they should be equally fast. Eleonore Schoenfeld was the master of this philosophy when it came to 4th finger, which we avoid on trills and certain passages. Her students could trill between any two fingers with no audible difference. I still keep them in mind when I’m practicing; do I avoid 4 because it’s weak or because another fingering works more elegantly?

  3. I like how you phrase the “shrinking” feeling. I’ve never articulated it, but I know what you mean.

    I also notice that the more I play the longer my bow seems to get. The bow control gets so much better that it feels like I can make it go on forever…

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