Lower Intermediate Tenor Lesson 1: Chordal Fingering

Viol Player Book 2
Chapter 4
• P32 Chordal Fingering explained: Keeping different fingers down on the same fret, either 2 and 3, to replace 2-2, 3 and 4 to replace 3-3. You can also use finger 1-2 on the same fret. Barring with 1st and 4th finger is allowed but not with 2nd or 3rd finger.
• Hand shape and chordal fingering. Keeping the wrist up (in a tunnel shape).
• P32. Pizzicato Exercises 1, 2 Try not to look at your left hand!
• No 3. Changing hand shape from chordal fingering to playing a 4th finger. Eyes closed!
• Transferring finger weight to each finger to stop the hand from clamping on the fingerboard with a bent out thumb, so the hand is flexible, supple, relaxed and strong.
• No 4. Playing the top note on chordal fingering first. Eyes closed.
• Tallis’s Canon: Spot the Chordal Fingering: it should feel wrong to play 2-2! Holding fingers down when you come back to the same finger. Although it’s not marked in the book, it should start to feel wrong when fingers come off.
• P34. Bransle de Royne:Preparing for chordal fingering in bar 2. Chordal fingering marked with a bracket so it looks like a fret.
• Placing the bow on the top string: Using breathing in and out to relax the position of your right arm when it’s so far away from your body. Keep the elbow down. Looking at the difference in hand position between barring and playing with 4 fingers down. Feeling where the weight is in each finger to avoid clamping onto the fingerboard. Bar 14 consecutive back bows and how the bow goes forward and back. Preparation for bar 16 with 3 strings to cross.
• P35 Shepherd’s Dance:How long can you hold a chordal fingering pattern? Pizzicato to make sure you have good contact with the fret. Keeping a well behaved bow especially when you play faster.
• P36 No 19 Mrs. Robertson’s Fancie: Looking at Chordal Fingering over 3 strings, then playing secure octaves by holding fingers down across the strings. Listening for fingers coming off when they shouldn’t! Try to finger notes in intervals of thirds. Practising in sections, rather than the whole piece

Lower Intermediate Tenor Lesson 2 Expressive Playing

Viol Player Book 2
• P40 Chapter 5 : Playing on the top string: Exercise 1 Memorise a few bars to check the bow. Looking at the difference between the C string and the top G string.
• P41 C major scale, two octaves: Keeping a high wrist so fingers stay down when string crossing. Looking at the ‘right place’ on the top string and how the place for the bow changes across the strings.
• C major arpeggio, two octaves: pivoting on 2nd finger on the A string. Say the notes allowed when playing them.
• La Bouron: Holding fingers down to find the next note across the viol. 14.28 Error: should say easier for the 1st finger to jump.
• P50 Forqueray: Principles of Bowing: 4th Principle – explained and demonstrated.
• Chap 5 p40 no 1: Experimenting with the use of the 2nd finger on the hair, having a heavy arm and playing loud.

• P46 Italian Ground: Working phrase by phrase: Supporting the bow hair to play quietly and phrasing off where needed. Bar 4: playing consecutive back bows and leaving the string ringing. Planning bowing so weak beats are not accented.
Three ways to apply pressure with the 2nd finger
1. From the finger pointing towards the floor
2. From the wrist in an anticlockwise direction
3. From the elbow with bones in the forearm starting to cross.
Using the skills we have learned to play more expressively with this piece.

Lower Intermediate Tenor Lesson 3: Half Position

Viol Player Book 3
• P1 Half Position: Mrs Nag Viol’s Challenge no 1. Going back a fret and adding a finger to make sense of half position. Holding fingers down when changing strings and for fingering notes so they resonate in thirds.
• Page 3 F major scale. Looking at playing E natural with 2nd finger, rather than 1st finger in 1st position. Arpeggio; Chordal fingering in half position with 3rd and 4th finger. Pizzicato and arco. Play three times and third time with eyes closed.
• Page 2 and 3. Notes on the F string: Notes on the D string
• P4: No 3 Putta Nera Ballo Furlano. Learning one hand at a time, thinking firstly about the notes and secondly playing with dynamics. Demonstrating what happens if your hand position isn’t correct and how affects string clearance. Playing loudly with bow speed and more pressure and playing quietly supporting the bow hair with less bow speed.
• P5 B flat major: keep 1st finger down on b flat, when playing the whole arpeggio. 3 times, 3rd times eyes closed.
• How to handle the bow from to arco pizzicato, in one quick movement!
• No 5 Ronde VII: Starting from bar 9 pizzicato to establish barring with 1st finger. Line 3 needs more practice as it’s faster! Playing the first line f and then p. Looking at the use of 2nd and 3rd finger for dynamics and checking on which fingers need to stay down. Looking at learning notes and then finding them an octave lower.

Lower Intermediate Treble Lesson 1: Chordal Fingering

Viol Player Book 2
Chapter 4
• Review of Posture and holding the viol. Whether to use a rubber cloth to help make the viol feel secure or not? Practising long bows to maintain a good tone.
• P32 Exercises 1-4 How to spot chordal fingering by recognising intervals of a 4th. Discussing how it’s easier to go from the lower note to the upper note, than it is the other way around. Starting with the upper note in chordal fingering means having to add a finger first. Giving time to consider bowing technique when learning something new in the left hand.
• Chordal fingering and hand shape with a well behaved thumb. P32.
• How to hold the bow and do Pizzicato at the same time.
• P37March starting with chordal fingering. Playing with the bow and breathing preparation to start a piece. Playing with dynamics: how to play piano support the hair on the bow with the third finger. Realising the arm weight to play loud, rather than tensing up. Finding the ‘right place’ on the string to make it ring.

Lower Intermediate Treble Lesson 2: Forqueray’s Principles of Bowing and Dynamics (42)

Viol Player Book 2
Chapter 5
• P40 G major scale 2 octaves – holding fingers down on string crossing and looking at hand position on different strings. Keeping a ‘tunnel’ in your left hand shape. Learning new muscle memory.
• P40 Cotillion: String crossing over 4 strings and leaving the string ringing. Holding fingers down and recognising when it feels wrong if you lift your fingers where you shouldn’t.
• p51 Forqueray’s principles of bowing; principle 4. Looking at how much pressure to use with the second finger and where it originates or how you feel it originates in your body. Three options:
From the 2nd finger directly
From the anticlockwise wrist rotation
From the elbow and the turning of the bones in the forearm
• P44. Ronde [28 mins.10 secs Error should say 3rd finger on the bow hair to play quietly].
• 2nd finger the loud finger and 3rd finger quiet finger. Looking at each finger having a specific role in terms of dynamics. Learning to play with dynamics and phrasing so it becomes an automatic reaction when there are no dynamics written in the music.
• An introduction to Italian Ground.

Lower Intermediate Treble Lesson 3: Half Position

Viol Player Book 3
Chapter 1
• Half position Exercise 1 page 1 – holding fingers down. No 3 – holding 2nd finger down , No 5
• P2 Dindirin – dynamics and text
• C major scale in half position – eyes closed! C major arpeggio in half position with 3rd and 4th finger.
• P 5 Mrs Nag Viol’s Challenge no 1 – holding g and b flat down together.
• Playing dotted rhythms elegantly. P6 Notes on the e string in a compound time signature.
• Jenny Pluck Pears. Learning a piece thinking of the left and right hand separately; putting each hand on ‘auto-pilot’ to free up thinking space for the other hand. Sometimes, just play and not think – let your body absorb what you’ve learnt.

Bass Viol Elementary Lesson 1: Posture and Pizzicato with Jacqui

Viol Player Book 1

Chapter 1

P24 Up and Down Again
P40 Soldier’s Call
• Looking at good posture, not arching your back, with knees over feet. Holing the viol with the right side tucked in.
• Does a rubber cloth help in the initial stages of learning the viol? The advantages and disadvantages.
• Learning the names of the strings from the middle out, rather than from the bottom string up.
• Left hand position and the relationship of the thumb to the second finger. Keeping the thumb bent out with the point of contact on the side. Transferring weight to each finger and not pressing too hard.
• Placing of the fingers correctly on the frets so each plucked note rings. Impossible to get a good sound with the bow if the finger on the fret is not placed correctly.
• How to play pizzicato.
• Learning in such a way that the left hand can go on autopilot, playing with your eyes closed and visualising the notes.

Bass Viol Elementary Lesson 2: How to hold the bow and bowing with Jacqui

Viol Player Book 1

Chapter 1

• Feeling the weight in your arm by swinging it.
• Hold your right arm, with your left hand and wiggle it! Feel the wrist move as a reflex action to having a floppy arm.
• Bow hold: Put your bow on lap – horse hair on knuckle, 2nd finger through the hair and stick. The thumb tickles the stick and the 1st finger is passive and cradles it. Bow hold is only complete when bow is on string. What does it feel like?
P24 Up and Down Again
• How much to tension the bow hair: Depending on the density of the stick, but if it looks like Robin Hood can ping arrow from the bow, it’s too tight! If it’s too loose, it’s difficult to hold and wiggles around.
• Being comfortable: Take a picture on your phone for a physical reference to your body and the position of your viol.
• Bow under the strings – before you apply rosin! Feel the movement of hour relaxed arm.
• When you hold the bow, think of the arm coming ‘up’ from under – this will help to keep the elbow down (especially if you play modern strings). Make sure your palm is vertical and the is bow is turned away so it looks like you’re playing on the wood of the stick. If the palm of the hand is not vertical the bow hold can feel very insecure.
• Check you bow hold: Take off your 1st finger and thumb from the stick and see if the bow remains on the string and feels secure. Take your bow off the string with your left hand and it should ping back onto the string.
• Hold the bow in the left hand at the tip and put the bow on a string and move the arm up and down the bow. Close your eyes and feel the movement of the arm.
• Starting to bow on the middle two strings.
• For bowing think push and pull rather than up and down and this can help modern string players to not get the bow stoke mixed up. Think of racket sports and a strong stroke with a bat is the same as a forehand stroke and a back hand being the same as a pull bow.
• Push is strong and pull is weak; tension and resolution.
• How to rosin the bow.
• Looking after your viol: Always wipe the strings, the belly of the viol and the stick of the bow with a duster when you have finished playing. It’s very easy to get a build up of rosin on the string and not make good contact with it.
• P14 Bowing & Viol Aerobics in 8 bows to each string and continuing with 4, 2 and 1 move bow forward and back – not up and down.
• To keep the bow parallel to the bridge, imagine you are bowing under a table (apart from the top string).
• Use right leg as a runway to keep the bow level. (apart from top string)
• Close your eyes and remember physical references to help embed muscle memory.
• P24 Up and Down Again; arco (with the bow). Separate each hand by learning skills separately: play without the left hand and bow the string the notes are on.
• Bow on string – breathe in and out.
• When string crossing in bar 8, the bow comes back, not down.
• P14 N25 Singing Cucumber – arm forward and back. Memorise, play with your eyes closed and feel the bow stroke changing from string to string. Little challenges. Important to learn these skills by putting them on autopilot.
• 15. Up and Down Again – both hands finishing with 2 fingers down and a relaxed right arm.

Lower Intermediate Bass Lesson 1: Chordal Fingering

Looking at the technique of Chordal Fingering and how it maintains the resonance of the viol. How do you know when to use it and does it really make life easier?

Viol Player Book 2, Chapter 4 Exercise 1, 2, (eyes closed).

In this lesson we recap on some of the bowing technique learnt in the Elementary Lessons to enable a beautiful sound. Also starting to build a repertoire of good habits! For example:

• putting the left hand on the viol without looking

• putting your bow on the string, breathing in and out, relaxing and sinking into the string with good sense of bow arm weight
• Keeping the same hand shape using chordal fingering in first position using fingers 2-3 and half position with fingers 3-4.

P 33 Fanfare No 33 No 3:
Covering notes for bass lines and putting your left hand on autopilot!
p.38 Rondeau:
looking at changing hand shape from chordal fingering to normal hand position.
Playing with dynamics using the 2nd and 3rd finger on the bow:
• 2nd (or middle) finger can provide more weight (or pressure) on the horse hair, making the sound louder
• 3rd (or ring) finger supports the weight of the bow hair, making the sound quieter.
In conclusion: Chordal Fingering: don’t jump on the same fret with 2-2 or 3-3, just add a finger 2-3 or 3-4.

Lower Intermediate Bass Lesson 2: How to play elegant dotted rhythms

How to play elegant dotted rhythms. Understanding the relationship between different types of compound time signatures: 6/4 and 6/8 How well do you know your C major scale? Looking at c major in first position with F on the C string. C arpeggio with chordal fingering P38. Viol Player Book 2 Lull me Beyond Thee p37 : Using a 4th finger or an open string to avoid string crossing for one note. The un-cluncky quaver: bow distribution for dotted rhythms and playing short bows for short notes. Skye Boat Song p45 Looking at slurs on 3 notes and bow direction across 4 strings. Bowing long notes and feeling free and relaxed.