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.

Lesson 4 The Beautiful Sounding Bow

Viol Player Book 3
• P3 E flat major scale: ‘The scale of threes’ Hand up to enable string crossing with you hand in place on the string. Arpeggio : holding all fingers down together. Play three times and last time with your eyes closed.
• Notes on the G string: and finding the octave below!
• P9 no 9 Grimstock: Chordal fingering to start. Practising pizzicato to feel comfortable and be able to free up head space to work in detail with the bow. Playing elegant (un-clunky) dotted notes by not having too much bow on the quaver after the dotted note. Think of the quaver as an upbeat to the next note. Looking at left hand shape is important for a relaxed thumb.
• P10 Sinfonia Antica tenor part
• How easy music should mean – do lots with the right hand! Bar 20 practising the hemilola. (very similar to B flat major scale). Bar 32 until the end. Looking at hand shape to accommodate the c sharp in bar 40.
• Chapter 2 The Beautiful Bow: How playing with wrist movement increases the resonance. Thumb and stick 90 degrees. Point to the wrist with your left hand and move your wrist towards it. Remembering to keep a heavy arm, so the wrist moves as a reflex action, then doing the same holding the bow.
• Considering Forqueray’s reference to a secure 2nd finger on the bow hair and how that in turn relaxes the thumb and the 1st finger. Checking the points of contact with the bow hair: 2nd finger, base of the 1st finger, under the knuckle and the bow on the string. Demonstrating a back bow, where the back of the hand leads. How to keep the bow parallel with the bridge with wrist movement. Move the wrist first, before moving the bow. How to avoid a flicky wrist.
• P12. Exercise 1: Using breathing to relax your arm. What happens if your wrist pronation gets replaced by finger movement in the dotted rhythms: the 2nd finger contact with the hair becomes unstable and the bow skates across the string. Finger led bowing does not work! (called Jelly fish bowing). Keep the wrist pronation to keep good 2nd finger contact.
• P13 Exercise 4: pizzicato first, left hand up. Arco – not at the tip of the bow. Moving the bow back and forwards to get accurate string crossing.
• P13 Exercise 2: Playing crotchets with wrist movement. Trying to put new muscle memory on autopilot.

Lesson 5 The Beautiful Bow: 10 points of Bowing

Viol Player Book 3
• P14 Excerpt 1. Pavana: Starting with a back bow by just moving the wrist and opening out the hand and not leading with the elbow. Tips about managing the bow with the weight of the third finger, skimming the string to allow resonance. Adding dynamics with more pressure on the 2nd finger pressing down towards the floor.

Chapter 5
• P38 The Beautiful Bow: Of the 10 points about bowing, make yourself a personalised list to work out how good you are and where more is needed. The idea is to always make a beautiful sound with this vocabulary of bowing technique, thinking of it as an equivalent as 10 new notes in the left hand. Each piece has an open string version to enable you to practice these points.
• Pavane d’Angleterre: rhythm only. Did you get to the tip on the 3rd beat? Support the hair on the second back bow to enable the string to ring? Did you support the hair at the heel of the bow.
• Pavane d’Angleterre: melody – still thinking about the right hand?
• P39 No 25 Whereto should I express: open string version. Planning bowing so there is enough for long notes and working back gradually avoiding huge bows for one note; called z bowing. How to avoid a bounce when placing the bow back on the string; being aware of the horse hair under the thumb (with the 3rd finger supporting the hair) and how the bow is balanced.
• P39 No 25 Whereto should I express: Complete version
• Pizzicato : Holding C down when playing the E flat and how it should start to feel wrong if it comes off. Applying bowing technique already learnt to the Complete Version.

Chapter 2
P15 Lachrimae Antiquae. Pizzicato: Fingers up and round for C sharp in bar 5. Bar 6 practising with weak fingers held down. Arco; thinking about wrist movement and planning the bowing so the quavers in the first bar come at the tip. Dynamics: thinking about good contact with the 2nd finger on the hair, a heavy arm and the wrist when playing loud at bar 5. Playing expressively and leading with the back of the hand and looking at the grace in the movement.

Lesson 6 Confident from First to Half position

Technical Review:
• Right hand: Wrist movement with a wrist pronation on a push bow and leading with a pull bow, by opening out the hand on a pull bow and how it enables the string to resonate. Starting the bow at the heel, with support from the 3rd finger to avoid a creaky door. Dynamic fingers: 2nd finger loud, 3rd finger quiet or refining.
• Left hand: Half position. Relating notes across the strings and holding fingers down to enable resonance. Chordal Fingering.

Viol Player Book 3
• P18 Sweet Nymph, Come to thy Lover: Observing punctuation in texted music with phrasing off (with the 3rd tip on the bow hair). How wrist movement can help the vocal line to be smooth. Bar 32: Moving off the string, on a leap, and landing on the next string, before you need to play the note in the rest before.
• P21 Chapter 3 C minor scale
• Three easy ways to work out how to play a melodic minor scale.

1. Ascending: Play C major scale (recognising 4th finger in half position: E)
2. Ascending: Make the third note E, a semitone (or finger) lower and carry on playing C major scale
3. Descending: Come down in the key of the lowered third note: E flat major – p9. Key signature, B, E A flat.

• Arpeggio: Chordal fingering on 3rd and 4th finger.
• P22 No 1 Playing on the C string in half position
• How to learn in layers with the bow:
1st time: just play
2nd time: feeling the weight in the arm
3rd time: leading with wrist and opening out the hand on a back bow.

• P22 No 12 Goddesses: Starting arco and observing hand position on the C string. Spot the E flat major in bar 9 and the b flat major arpeggio in bar 10. Recognising ledger line notes in alto clef, and how it’s better to try and learn them in that clef, rather than always transpose. Hold fingers down when playing the same note again, for example, bar 13 and 14. Not forgetting wrist movement when playing faster.
Chapter 4
• P27 Playing in First position with separate and slurred bows. Slurs, if possible, to be on one string, so bar 7 D is on a 4th finger, the same as the penultimate bar. How to co-ordinate the left and right hand when playing slurs. Think about the note value of the bow and how it’s the finger in the left hand that creates the rhythm or note.
• Second section: string crossing section as double stopping; how to play on two strings at once. Playing away from the tip for the string crossing. Practising pizzicato and arco to learn difficult fingering or string crossing. Introducing a triple barre.
• P30 Coronation Bells (Mrs Nag Viol’s Shifty Piece) Getting confident shifting from first to half position and vice versa. How to anticipate shifting on the previous open string. Looking at point of contact with a loose, bent out thumb. If your thumb grips the back of the finger, it makes shifting harder and can make your thumb ache.

Lesson 7 Shifting using Chordal Fingering and How to Play Faster

Viol Player Book 3
• p29 Another way to shift using Chordal Fingering
• No 1 & 2 Pivot on 3rd finger, letting go with everything, including the thumb, and placing fingers in the new position.
All the weight goes into your 3rd finger, so the rest of the hand is relaxed enough to find the new position. Check thumb to see if it’s moved: Shifting from half position from first position.
• P31 No 1 Thumb needs to follow the 2nd finger when shifting. Practice the movement in bar 2 on its own, to get the feel of it.
• P30 no 19 Great Tom is Cast: using Chordal Fingering to enable us to shift.
• P31. No 3 starting from bar 4 to ‘feel’ the shift. Check the position of your thumb when finishing the piece.

Chapter 5
• P42 The Bear’s Dance: Starting with bar 4 to practice the shifts in the quavers. Try not to look at the left hand when shifting, just feel the shift. The piece starts in first position for the octave Gs to reduce the string crossing.

• Open string version: wrist movement on the semiquavers. Comparing bar 2 and the last bar and how the semiquavers fall on alternate bows. Practice with dynamics on the open string version. Learning the piece line by line of the open string version, then the complete version.
• P34 No 23 Under the Linden Tree
• Finding Chordal fingering from the top note from an open string by feeling your way on the viol. Becoming fluent with chordal fingering and using it to shift. Looking at how long fingers can stay down. Listening to the tone on top string and where the bow needs to go in relation to the bridge to get a beautiful sound. Practising slowly to enable faster playing.

Lesson 8 Stuck in Half Position? & Sight Reading Tips

Viol Player Book 3
• p29 Another way to shift using Chordal Fingering
• No 1 & 2 Pivot on 3rd finger, letting go with everything, including the thumb, and placing fingers in the new position. All the weight goes into your 3rd finger, so the rest of the hand is relaxed enough to find the new position. Check thumb to see if it’s moved: Shifting from half position from first position.
• P31 No 1 Thumb needs to follow the 2nd finger when shifting. Practice the movement in bar 2 on its own, to get the feel of it.
• P30 no 19 Great Tom is Cast: using Chordal Fingering to enable us to shift.
• P31. No 3 starting from bar 4 to ‘feel’ the shift. Check the position of your thumb when finishing the piece.
Chapter 5
• P42 The Bear’s Dance: Starting with bar 4 to practice the shifts in the quavers. Try not to look at the left hand when shifting, just feel the shift. The piece starts in first position for the octave Gs to reduce the string crossing.

• Open string version: wrist movement on the semiquavers. Comparing bar 2 and the last bar and how the semiquavers fall on alternate bows. Practice with dynamics on the open string version. Learning the piece line by line of the open string version, then the complete version.
• P34 No 23 Under the Linden Tree
• Finding Chordal fingering from the top note from an open string by feeling your way on the viol. Becoming fluent with chordal fingering and using it to shift. Looking at how long fingers can stay down. Listening to the tone on top string and where the bow needs to go in relation to the bridge to get a beautiful sound. Practising slowly to enable faster playing.

Lesson 9 Playing fast with Alexander Technique

Chapter 6
• P46 No 31 Lilliburlero: Learning how to practice to enable fast playing. Using Alexander Technique to focus on breathing, allowing your body to co-ordinate the right and left hand, without thinking about it. Looking at the position of the right arm on the top string, playing loud, and relaxing the right arm, rather than tensing it up.

• P48 A third way to shift: Contracted Fingering
1. With chordal Fingering
2. Moving the whole hand, including the thumb
3. With contracted fingering

• One of the most useful ways of getting around the viol to other positions! Looking at transferring the weight to one finger and moving the next finger adjacent to it, leaving both fingers down, with a finger left over. This technique does not work if you don’t have these contracted fingers down together.
• No 1 Working on the fluency of the movement when it gets faster.
• No 2 Using the same contracted technique, but on a string cross.
• No 3 Finding F sharp on the F string with contracted fingering and shifting back to first position.

• P49. Mrs Nichols Almand: Using contracted fingering and a whole hand shift. Starting with Chordal Fingering, fingering in thirds and relaxed right arm on the top string. Remembering to keep 3rd finger down with 4th finger, to support it.

Chapter 5
• P40 Sinkapace Galliard: Looking at how a Galliard goes towards the 4th note, whether in 3 / 4 or 6 / 4. Practising the open string version with dynamics. Getting faster and how to practice doing it. Focusing on breathing to enable relaxation and therefore better co-ordination with the right and left hand.

Lesson 10 Confident Shifting between First & Half Positions

Viol Player Book 3

P54 Scales with different bowings to aid co-ordination. Slurs in 4s on semiquavers and without. Building up the scale with adding more notes each time from the bottom and focusing on breathing the faster it goes.

Chapter 5
• P43 No 29 Come Vyolle Come: Sight reading the open string version and including dynamics and wrist movement. Looking at good bowing technique and starting work out what is happening automatically. Learning to play with a controlled bow when playing slowly. Considering the use of the 2nd and 3rd finger on the bow to make loud and softs; looking at specific places where to do this. Practising quietly and how important it is to do it.

Chapter 6
• P51 Recercada I – La Spagna: With lots of shifting and avoiding looking at the left hand when doing so. Looking at contracted fingering as an alternative to shifting with the whole hand. Building confidence with shifting to make it fluent as well as playing with an expressive bow.

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