Shifting III

When proper basic shifting technique is in place and there is an understanding about the principles of shifting, we can look at some of the additional matters that deal with shifting.

1. Moving the Thumb

When the left thumb moves before the fingers, it can help to make the shift smoother. Of course, the thumb might not move all the way to the new position, so it is more towards the thumb having a head start. The following shows this to a slightly exaggerated extent:

2. The Position of the Left Thumb

As discussed in a previous posting, different people may have their left thumbs to the left of the violin neck, or below it. Whichever way it starts, the thumb will always end up below the neck by about fifth position. The following shows an incorrect position of the thumb from that point onwards:

and this is the correct version:

What happens before fifth position is a tricky issue. One perspective (depending on the starting point of the thumb) has the movement of the thumb as follows:

However, another perspective is to keep the thumb off to the side up to fourth position – from fifth position onwards, prepare the thumb while in first position and then just focus on one direct shift. This has certain advantages in keeping the distance of the shift clearer.

Much higher beyond 5th position, the thumb will eventually go to the side for most players:

3. Replacing Fingers

Another way to shift is to replace a finger with another finger, in a way that a finger slides into the place of another.


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