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A composite scale method based on violin tutors and treatises from the 17 th and 18 th centuries

Master's Written Work


Anthony Marini Sibelius Academy Faculty of Classical Music Early Music Department




Thesis’ title

Page count

A New Scale Method for Baroque Violin


Author’s name


Anthony Marini

Spring 2012

Degree program Faculty of Classical Music Early music



Don‘t enough scale methods exist already? This question, when examined through the lens of historical performance, yields a surprising answer: ―no‖. While many scale me- thods have been created with the position-oriented approach of modern violinists in mind, this does not meet the needs of baroque violinists. Not only are there physical differences in the hardware used, but also musical hints given by pedagogical sources present even more differences. Therefore, a new method must be made which takes into account the guidance given from primary sources as well as the unique violinistic demands of baroque music.

In order to accurately create this new method, five especially relevant primary sources were chosen from a plethora of examined written works from the baroque period and earlier. These primary sources came in the form of treatises, or violin tutors. The five sources chosen were works by John Playford, Robert Crome, Michel Corrette, Frances- co Geminiani, and Leopold Mozart. First, material relevant to scale-playing was ex- tracted from each of these sources individually. This was followed by a side-by-side comparison of the findings. These findings were then used to create the composite scale method, which is presented in sheet music form with requisite fingerings and in- structions for proper execution.

Due to the limitations of time, materials, and the scope of this project, only two-octave scales were examined. In the future, it would be beneficial to expand it to cover differ- ent kinds of scales, including (but not limited to) scales in more than two octaves, scales in double stops, and accompanying bowing patterns. In addition, the examina- tion of performing materials with original fingerings alongside these pedagogical sources would offer a unique insight into the relationship of pedagogy versus perfor- mance.


baroque, violin, method, treatise, scale, Playford, Crome, Corrette, Geminiani, Leopold Mozart, barokki, viulu, metodi, traktaatti, asteikko, skaala

Table of Contents

  • 1 Introduction..............................................................................................................


  • 2 Treatises


  • 2.1 Development of Treatises


John Playford

  • 2.2 ....................................................................................................


Robert Crome

  • 2.3 ...................................................................................................


  • 2.4 Michel Corrette .................................................................................................


  • 2.5 Francesco Geminiani


Leopold Mozart

  • 2.6 ................................................................................................


  • 2.7 What Did We Learn?



  • 3 The Composite Scale Method ................................................................................


  • 3.1 Instructions for Execution


  • 3.2 How It Was Made


  • 4 Conclusions / Lessons Learned


Works Cited





Appendix A : Robert Crome's Scale Diagrams



1 Introduction

Don‘t enough of these exist already? That is probably the first thought that comes to most readers‘ minds when they pick up this thesis. There are already a wide range of

scale methods for every skill level from Barbara Barber to Carl Flesch. Other popular

authors of these books include Jan Hřímalý, Henry Schradiek (which is not a pure scale

book, but has the same drawbacks and will be discussed later), Hans Sitt, and Ivan Ga- lamian. All of these aforementioned names are influential violinists and pedagogues from the 19th, 20th, and even 21st centuries, and each has its own way of improving the basic technique of the violinist.

Each scale method provides a different way of teaching the left hand how to maneuver

the fingerboard. For example, in Flesch‘s scale system, every form of the ―scale‖ and a

relatively varied combination of arpeggios are explored for each key. This includes scales and arpeggios (including broken 3rd and chromatic scales) in one octave on one string, three octaves, in thirds, sixths, octaves, fingered octaves, tenths, and even some selected exercises in artificial harmonics. By contrast, books such as the three volumes by Schradiek contain scale- and arpeggio-based exercises that work through the violin in positions rather than keys. This approach attempts to use every combination of notes

in every order to prevent the fingers of the left hand from getting confused in any situa- tion. All of these method books are position-oriented, and attempt to teach the hand to work in an easily-reproducible, horizontal (i.e. across the strings) manner. For example, every three octave scale in the Flesch book starts on the first finger (except G major and minor) in different positions, so that the basic fingering pattern is used, building consis- tent intonation. This works on the modern violin due largely in part to the advent of strings that are metal-wound, allowing them to be smaller in diameter than their

―straight gut‖ counterparts. The smaller diameter makes it easier to initiate the vibration

of the string, in turn allowing for a more consistent sound in high positions across all strings.

This position-oriented approach is precisely the reason that these scale methods, while useful for opening up the hand and improving intonation, are not the best approaches to be taken in baroque violin pedagogy. On the baroque violin, both the physical and mus- ical tendencies of violins of that period do not lend well to this model. In the physical realm, the structure of the violin neck and bridge, as well as the nature of the strings,


work against this model of position-oriented technique. The usually thicker neck of the baroque violin 1 makes shifting into high positions much more awkward, and can in some instances destabilize the holding of the violin in the left hand due to the increased rounding of the neck as one gets closer to the violin body (see Figure 1.1). In addition, the bridge, which was often flatter and sometimes also lower 2 , would mean that the height difference between the strings was less (see Figure 1.2), therefore making it more difficult to play each string individually in high positions on the middle strings. When composers did write for the violinist to play something with high positions in the middle strings, such as in the Preludio of J.S. Bach‘s Partita in E major (BWV 1006) (see Fig- ure 1.3), it is often a passage that arpeggiates a chord or employs some effect that does not require each note to be perfectly distinguishable. In the Renaissance and early Baro- que times when metal-wound strings were less common 3 , the issue of high positions on low strings also was one of simple sound quality: if thick strings were played in high positions (and therefore the vibrating length shortened), the force required to initiate the

vibration became very great, often yielding some less enjoyable ―chaff‖ in the sound.

work against this model of position-oriented technique. The usually thicker neck of the baroque violin makes

Figure 1.1 Illustration of the difference between a baroque violin (on top) and modern violin (on bottom) 4

work against this model of position-oriented technique. The usually thicker neck of the baroque violin makes

Figure 1.2 Illustration of the difference between a baroque bridge (on left) and a modern bridge (on right) 5

  • 1 Boyden 1950, 11.

  • 2 Boyden 1850, 1112.

  • 3 Webber 2006, Strings.

  • 4 Webber 2006, What is a “baroque violin”? ...

  • 5 Webber 2006, What is a “baroque violin”? ...


Figure 1.3 Excerpt from the Preludio of J.S. Bach‘s Partita in E major (BWV 1006) From

Figure 1.3 Excerpt from the Preludio of J.S. Bach‘s Partita in E major (BWV 1006) 6

From a musical point of view, using low positions also gives a more clear and resonant sound, as was obviously recognized by composers of the time. For example, in Gemi- niani‘s violin tutor, his tenth example (second line) directs the player to shift into third position for special effect in a piano passage, and then indicates a return to first position (for very similar pitches) when the dynamic returns to forte. 7

After explaining why modern scale methods do not suit baroque violin, the question remains ―What kind of scale method would suit the baroque violin?‖ This paper will prove, through a thorough understanding of the primary source material, that a compo- site scale method can be constructed based on the directives put forth by available pri- mary source material. It will begin by discussing the violin tutors of the 17th and 18th centuries, and cataloguing the relevant information that can be gleaned by the five most important tutors. Keeping in mind that this genre of technique is quite individualized (even in the modern scale methods), the catalogued material will be compared and con- trasted. Finally, the composite method will be presented as a usable scale method in sheet music form.

  • 2 Treatises

    • 2.1 Development of Treatises

In the 17th century, the services of the publishing world and the needs of amateur musi- cians met in a unique way, spurring the creation of a number of treatises for every in- strument and skill level. These treatises, or books on how to play an instrument, often included sections on the basics of music theory and composition. They come in a varie- ty of formats, from very verbose treatises such as Johann Jakob Prinner‘s Musicalischer Schlissel (1677) to treatises containing many more examples and illustrations, like Mi-

  • 6 Bach 1720, 38.

  • 7 Geminiani 2001, 12.


chel Corrette‘s L'école d'Orphée, méthode pour apprendre facilement à jouer du violon (1738). Occasionally the authors became more creative, as was the case in Robert Crome‘s The Fiddle new Model'd (c. 1740), where the entire treatise is a series of dialo- gues between a master and a scholar. As the 18th century approached, the number and variety of treatises increased, yielding a wide variety of instructional materials that are often used to learn more about the specific elements that make up a national style. In some cases, the reader can use these treatises to also gain insight into what a certain nationality thought of the national style from another country or region. A perfect ex- ample of this can be found in Corrette‘s L’école d’Orphée, in which he devotes an entire section of the book to the Italian style entitled ―Leçons de violon pour apprendre a joüer dans le goût Italien‖ (―Violin lessons to learn to play in the Italian taste‖ in English).

While it is impossible to address all of these treatises and the unique characteristics of their contents within this paper, it is important to identify some of the most significant sources of the time. To accomplish this, articles written by David Boyden, Jeffrey Pulv- er, and Richard Gwilt will be examined.

Jeffrey Pulver‘s article ―Violin-tutors of the 17 th Century‖ describes the method of vi- olin tuition in the beginning of the 17th century as being two-fold: private lessons taught by older players and small compositions, or ―lessons‖, which were written spe- cifically for practicing. These lessons, being some of the only written forms of exercises or etudes that are still found today, primarily came in the form of ―Divisions on a Ground‖ (such as The Division Violin, a book that was published in several editions containing a compilation of divisions from a wide range of composers). 8 The collection can contain several other styles of composition besides divisions, up to and including the full partitas or sonata-form. Works published as late as the mid-18th century bore the name ―Lessons‖ or ―Lezioni‖. The birth of the written violin tutors seems to be tied with the adoption of violin playing by amateurs. Since travel was difficult during this time, those who did not live near a major city had to rely on published tutors and trea- tises for guidance. The first example of this, which is an example of a ―verbose‖ work that only addresses violin playing in a small part, is Marin Mersenne‘s multi-volume work entitled Harmonie Universelle (1636-37). 9 The next most significant treatise is John Playford‘s Introduction to the Skill of Musick, which exists in twenty-two editions. This paper will refer to the 12th edition, which has been corrected and amended by Hen-

  • 8 Pulver 1923, 695.

  • 9 Pulver 1923, 695696.


ry Purcell and was published in 1694. This work, separated into three books, contains information on the basics of music theory in the first book, instructions and lessons for the bass viol and treble violin in the second book, and instruction on how to compose music in parts in the third book. 10

Closer to the end of the 17th century, John Lenton‘s Gentleman’s Diversion on the Vi- olin explained appeared (and was later republished in 1702). This work, although it is devoted to the art of violin playing, is very simple in its content, and suggests that Len- ton‘s own exposure to violin playing was very limited. 11 Two other tutors from the 17th century are also worth mentioning, although unfortunately it seems to be almost imposs- ible to find them in print currently. The first is The Self-Instructor on the Violin (first published in 1695), which has been published and paraphrased several times under dif- ferent names. 12 The second is John Banister‘s Compleat Tutor to the Violin (1698), writ- ten by a man who was well-known for his violin playing in the Court in London, where he founded a school of music. 13 The final major tutor from the 17th century, which is often referred to for insights into French bowing style, is Georg Muffat‘s Florilegium Secundum (1698). 14

As the more virtuosic techniques of violinist-composers such as Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber and Johann Jakob Walther became more widespread and built upon in the 18th century, violin tutors in turn began to offer additional information regarding more spe- cific and virtuosic techniques, including shifting, ornaments, special bowing techniques, and ways of holding the violin and bow that accommodated the new techniques. There were a remarkably large number of treatises published, and this paper does not endeavor to even mention them all. One needs to only look at David Boyden‘s article on the vi- olin and its technique in the 18th century, in which he only addresses fourteen of over fifty 18th century treatises (that he found), to realize that it would require a paper of unreasonable proportions to address all of the treatises published on violin playing in the 18th century. 15 Boyden‘s list, found in figure Figure 2.1, is quite succinct and worth

  • 10 Playford 1972, 33.

  • 11 Pulver 1923, 696.

  • 12 Boyden 1960, 4045. This paper by Boyden, which is separate from the one which discusses 18 th cen- tury violin technique, deals with the origins of Geminiani‘s treatise and this history of treatises on violin playing in England.

  • 13 Pulver 1923, 697.

  • 14 Boyden 1950, 9.

  • 15 Boyden 1950, 9.


mentioning to ensure that the reader is aware of the resources that were desired and available during the writing of this paper. Despite the importance of the whole list that Boyden provides, this paper is only examining the baroque period and earlier, and there- fore some of the items at the end of the list fall outside of the scope of this research. It is also important to remember that violin tutors written for the use of inexperienced play- ers were still being published, and offer some valuable insight into the difference be- tween what an amateur player might be expected to do compared to a more virtuosic player.

mentioning to ensure that the reader is aware of the resources that were desired and available

Figure 2.1 David Boyden‘s list of the 14 most significant methods or documents of violin playing in the

  • 18 th century 16

Michel Corrette‘s L'école d'Orphée from 1738, mentioned above, is a rich and succinct treatise that covers a wide range of subjects, including basic music theory, how to hold the violin and bow, reading music (and applying fingerings), how to play the violin in the French and Italian styles (with bowings), and how to shift. Next is Francesco Gemi- niani‘s The Art of Playing on the Violin (1751), which is often used currently as a peda- gogical tool by teachers of baroque violin. It covers a similarly wide range of subjects, and in some instances seems to be more of a cataloguing of all of the possibilities of the violin, rather than what is used in practice. Johann Quantz wrote Versuch eiuer Anwei- sung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen in 1752 which, although it is primarily geared to- wards flute players, includes several informative chapters about violin playing. These chapters are often in the context of ensemble playing (a less-commonly addressed sub-

  • 16 Boyden 1950, 9.


ject). Tartini is known for numerous written works on violin playing, two of which are mentioned by Boyden. The first, his Trattato di Musica (1754), is a lengthy work that is mostly known for its discussion of sum and difference tones created by double-stops, which are now fittingly called ―Tartini tones‖ by many violinists. The second, Lettera alla Signora Maddalena Lombardini (written in 1760 and published in 1770), contains basic instructions for how to play the violin. This letter, while quite short, discusses mostly the use of the bow, practicing concertos transposed into a higher position, and how to trill. 17

The final years of the baroque era were marked by some of the most well-known trea- tises on violin playing, starting with Leopold Mozart‘s Versuch einer gründlichen Vio- linschule published in 1756. This work is one of the most read treatises from this time, and contains not only a wealth of information, but a uniquely amusing writing tone that is sure to keep the reader from getting too serious about violin playing. The work which is considered to be the last ―baroque‖ treatise is Principes du Violon (1761) by L‘Abbé le Fils (Joseph-Barnabé Saint-Sevin). 18 This book, which contains more musical exam- ples and illustrations than text, represents the turning point between the baroque and classical periods, most notably in being one of the first books to seriously recommend that the violin player put his chin on the side of the fourth string. 19

While Boyden‘s list is certainly a very complete, it is missing a handful of sources worth mentioning. Among the several interesting treatises referenced on Robert Gwilt‘s

personal website, Robert Crome‘s The Fiddle New Model’d from 1735 is a perfect ex- ample of a work geared towards inexperienced players. By contrast, one can look at the Venetian manuscript of Tartini‘s Regole per arrivare a saper ben suonar il Violino, a work that was often copied by his students, and does not seem to have been published. 20 There is a second manuscript that was translated into French and published, but the Ve- netian manuscript is unique because it contains two extra pages of bowing instruction at the beginning and two extra pages of instructions on how to compose cadenzas at the end.

  • 17 All summaries are my own based on my reading of these treatises.

  • 18 Gwilt 2012.

  • 19 For clarity, this paper will refer to strings in cardinal numbers, rather than letters. Therefore, in a tradi- tional tuning in fifths, the first string is E, the second is A, the third is D, and the fourth is G.

  • 20 Due to the generosity of Mr. Enrico Gatti, Professor of Baroque Violin at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, I have a facsimile of the copy made by Giovanni Francesco Nicolai, the original of which is held in Venice, Italy.


In analyzing treatises, it is very important to consider the intended audience as well as the author‘s place in society (if it is possible to know this). As was discussed earlier, the advent of the violin tutor came about because of amateur interest in violin playing, and this is the one audience that almost every treatise has in common. The difference lies in how detailed the text is and how virtuosic the techniques are that are introduced. In the 17th century, one can be sure that almost every treatise on violin playing is written for the express purpose of informing amateur musicians, and therefore may not be able to be applied exactly in more virtuosic music of the time. An appropriate modern compari- son would be if someone was trying to learn to use a graphing calculator by reading a manual for a basic calculator. While the manual may describe the basic mathematical functions that can be used with both calculators, reading the manual alone will not allow

the user to realize the full potential of the graphing calculator. In the case of the consid-

eration of the author‘s place in society, one can take Geminiani as an example. While it

is clear that his treatise gives a clear and detailed picture of his way of teaching violin technique at the time, the reader should be wary of considering his treatise to be an ex- planation of the Italian style. For example, in 1776, commentator John Hawkins wrote, ―It is much to be doubted whether the talents of Geminiani were of such a kind as quali- fied him to give a direction to the national taste‖. 21 Of course, not having recordings, the informed performer must rely on published works such as treatises and compositions to learn the ―national tastes‖, but then one must always be vigilant that these works are considered in context.

In order to maintain the focus of this paper, not all of these sources can be addressed, and indeed many of them do not contain sufficient material regarding what would be required to create this composite scale system. In addition, due to the limited time and resources, there are certain works which were not able to be included, and will hopeful- ly be included in the future. For example, it was not possible to procure a copy of the treatise of L‘Abbé le Fils, although it surely has information in it that would be valuable to this subject. Longer treatises such as Tartini‘s Trattato di Musica have not been in- cluded due to difficulties in translating the work in the given time, and the English translation was not able to be procured. I have therefore chosen five treatises which will hopefully represent the spectrum of violin technique over the 17th and 18th century as well as different nationalized ―schools‖ of violin playing. Representing the 17th century will be John Playford, while representing the 18th century will be Robert Crome, Mi-

21 Gwilt 2012.


chel Corrette, Leopold Mozart, and Francesco Geminiani. For the purposes of this study, only relevant sections of the treatise will be discussed. Since many of the musical examples are taken from the middle of a page, clefs may not be visible. The reader can assume that all clefs are a modern G-clef unless otherwise noted.

  • 2.2 John Playford

John Playford was born in Norwich in 1623, and is unique in this collection of violin tutors in that he was not known as a performer. Rather, he has been called by some ―the Father of English music publishing‖. 22 He arrived into the music scene in London in 1640, as an apprentice to John Benson. After finishing his apprenticeship, he branched out on his own, working in cooperation with his former printing-master, Benson. He worked for thirty-four years to provide a significant part of printed music in England. According to Franklin Zimmerman, ―The quality, as well as the quantity of his publica- tions, and especially his integrity as an editor, established for him a reputation equaled by very few in England‖. 23 He edited and published a plethora of instrument tutors, as well as a variety of songbooks and instrumental collections. He first published the In- troduction to the Skill of Musick in London in 1654, and it subsequently underwent al- most 20 different editions. The twelfth edition, which was published in 1694, is being used for this paper.

The first thing to note in this treatise is that the intended audience is the amateur with no experience playing a stringed instrument. Therefore its usefulness in this study is li- mited, though it is still relevant due to the importance of this work to 17th century violin pedagogy. It does not give any indication of an upper limit of the instrument, although it only gives clear fingering instructions for first position. In order to accommodate those who could not easily read music, Playford includes both tablature and G-clef examples in almost every instance, as can be seen in Figure 2.2 below. Tablature was a way of notating music where the musician did not have to remember note names or accidentals.

Instead, a letter was assigned to each fret(frets separated by half steps), starting with the letter ―a‖ for an open string, ―b‖ for the first fret, ―c‖ for the second fret, and so on.

Above the letters is a note-head that shows what rhythm to use. This same rhythm is used for all subsequent notes, until a new rhythm is indicated. The horizontal lines

  • 22 Playford 1972, 8.

  • 23 Playford 1972, 8.


represent the strings of the instrument, with the top line being the highest string. Since the tablature method relies on letters, shifting very high would necessitate the imprac- tical use of too many letters, making it almost impossible to work properly on an in- strument without frets like the violin. None of the musical examples go any higher than a B5. 24

represent the strings of the instrument, with the top line being the highest string. Since the
represent the strings of the instrument, with the top line being the highest string. Since the

Figure 2.2 An example of tablature (above) and the corresponding G-clef notation (below)

There is one instance, however, where Playford goes into detail regarding notes that require shifting.

Fourthly, When you have any high Notes which reach lower than your usual Frets or Stops, there you are to shift your Fingers; if there be but two Notes, then the first is stopp‘d with the second Finger, and the rest by the next Fingers. 25

When Playford writes ―lower than your usual Frets or Stops‖, he means moving closer

to the bridge on the fingerboard. The wording is slightly confusing, but it can be con- strued to mean that the first note beyond the usual stops (assumed to be B5), would be taken by the second finger. Therefore, the shift would result in the first finger landing in the same location as the first-position third finger. Having this common note would al- low the student to easily use their ear to check the accuracy of the shift. This might be the first written example of very common problem of violinists being more comfortable

in odd positions than even positions.

  • 24 This paper uses scientific pitch notation, which uses the capital note name (A-G) and the octave num- ber, where middle C on the piano is C4.

  • 25 Playford 1972, 128.



Robert Crome

Little is known about Robert Crome beyond his tutor, The Fiddle new Model'd, pub- lished in London sometime around 1740. Edmund Van der Straeten, a composer and writer who lived from 1855-1934, describes Crome as a violinist at Covenant Garden

Theatre in the middle of the 18th century. 26 His tutor, aimed at the complete beginner, covers a wide variety of materials in a way that makes the reader feel ―led by the hand‖

by the author. The majority of the book is broken into five dialogues between a Master and Scholar, each dialogue building on the one before it. Following the dialogues are a collection of lessons, or small pedagogical compositions by Crome. Finally, the book contains a sort of ―visual appendix‖, which presents fifteen different one-octave scales (and appropriate fingerings) with a visual layout of the fingerboard as well as a notated scale.

The book begins with the Master teaching the Scholar how to sing a scale, and by the end progresses to the point where the Scholar can shift, add ornaments, and play a work with correct bowings. The discussions regarding shifting are very specific, and will be discussed further. It is important, however, to note some of the information that is in- ferred in this tutor, but not specifically written about. The first is that all of Crome‘s scales are one octave, allowing the Scholar to focus his/her energies on perfecting a small number of notes, rather than trying to play a complicated piece too soon. This limitation is surely caused by the intended audience being complete beginners, and would probably not apply to more experienced players. The second item which is not explicitly mentioned is the range of the violin. In examining all of the musical examples in the tutor, as well as the diagrams at the end, the demonstrated range of the violin for a complete beginner is from G3 to D6. 27 While many other tutors from this time demon- strate a much larger range, it is useful to note that the range demonstrated by Crome can be thought of as the absolute minimum for a player of any skill level. Therefore, a true violin virtuoso can extend much farther beyond this, but certainly no less. The final im- portant note that is not specifically discussed is that this tutor does not speak of avoiding open strings, but rather encourages the Scholar (through provided fingerings) to use them, when in first position. 28

  • 26 Highfill 1975, 53.

  • 27 Crome 1735, 7.

  • 28 Crome 1735, 7, 13.


The first mention of a scale comes in Dialogue II, in which Robert Crome introduces

the gamut, or scale of notes without the use of accidentals. This scale goes from G3 to D6, but only includes fingerings up to B5. 29 Later in the chapter, after explaining the C major scale (from C4 to C5), Crome explains the ―upper Key of C‖ (from C5 to C6), which he calls a ―Shifting Key‖. The diagram of the fingerboard for this and the key of

D (from D5 to D6) are included in Appendix A. According to the Master, the Scholar should start the ―upper Key of C‖ in first position on the second string, and then move from a first finger on F5 on the first string to a first finger on G5. 30 This is the only indi- cation of such a shift in the treatises studied during the course of this research. Most

sources direct the player to extend the fourth finger to reach the C6.

The following chapter, Dialogue III, contains the most material regarding scales in this violin tutor. It begins with a chromatic scale, again from G3 to D6 and with fingerings up to Bb5 (B5 is mysteriously missing). As can be seen in Figure 2.3, it uses a mixture of sharps and flats, using the most commonly used accidentals to demonstrate the scale. One can also see that, like other tutors discussed in this paper, each finger is assigned to a particular line or space, keeping in mind that the fingering indication ―J‖ refers to the use of the first, or index, finger. As was mentioned above, it is good to note that Crome does not suggest using a fourth finger for the open strings. Also, the notes above Bb5 are not given fingerings, as that depends on which ―Shifting Key‖ is being used.

The first mention of a scale comes in Dialogue II, in which Robert Crome introduces the

Figure 2.3 Excerpt from Dialogue III of Crome‘s violin tutor, page 13

Next, Crome returns to the discussion of ―Shifting Keys‖ by explaining the key of D

major (from D5 to D6, diagram found in Appendix A). The explanation for this scale directs the Scholar to begin in first position on the second string, and shift to a first fin-

  • 29 Crome 1735, 7.

  • 30 Crome 1735, 1112.


ger on A5 on the first string to reach the top notes of the scale. 31 After presenting a small minuet to allow the Scholar to try out his/her newfound scale, Crome approaches the explanation of the two Shifting Keys, C and D, in a new way. For the shifting key of C, he suggests that the Scholar start in second position (with the first finger on C5). 32 It should be noted that this is the first time in the tutor that Crome writes that the player should use a stopped note in place of an open string. A similar explanation applies to the shifting key of D, in which the Master instructs the Scholar to begin in third position (with the first finger on D5).

The final reference to shifting and fingerings beyond first position occurs in end of Di- alogue IV (found in Figure 2.4), in the context of discussing bowings. Crome provides written scales in eighth and sixteenth notes in a variety of different scales, two of which are the shifting keys discussed above. In the higher one-octave scale of C major, Crome again suggests the uncommon fingering of shifting from the first finger on F5 to the first finger on G5. There are no fingerings indicated for the higher scale of D major, proba- bly implying that the player should begin in third position at the beginning of the scale.

ger on A5 on the first string to reach the top notes of the scale. After

Figure 2.4 Excerpt from Dialogue IV of Crome‘s violin tutor, page 36

  • 2.4 Michel Corrette

Michel Corrette was a French organist and composer whose life is mostly unknown to current-day musicologists. Born in 1707, he launched his career as musician as the mu- sic director of the Foire St Germain and the Foire St Laurent in 1732. After this ap- pointment, he proceeded to not only win other positions as an organist and music direc- tor, but became a renowned teacher, although not always for positive reasons. His stu-

dents were sometimes referred to as ―ânes à Corrette‖, or ―donkeys to Corrette‖. Despite

  • 31 Crome 1735, 18.

  • 32 Crome 1735, 1819.


his extensive working, teaching, and composing, he is largely known for the twenty method books or important prefaces to music collections. 33 In 1738, he published L’école d’Orphée, a method book which the title page describes as containing an easy way to learn to play the violin in French and Italian styles with the basic principles of music and many examples. The book is structured in five parts: chapters on basic music theory and notation, chapters on how to play the violin, lessons on how to play in the French style, lessons on how to play in the Italian style, and a glossary explaining Ital- ian words in French. This paper will mostly focus on the pertinent chapters from the section on how to play the violin.

Although there have been earlier examples of music to demonstrate musical concepts like time signatures, Chapter III is the first time that music is used to describe how to play the violin. It is important to note that this publication uses both a G-clef on the first line (described in the music theory section as being for French music) and a G-clef on the second line (described as the clef used in Italian music). This chapter, titled ―Conte- nant l'ètendue du violon‖ (―Regarding the range of the violin‖), shows the both the open strings of the violin as well as the range of the violin (complete with solfege indications, fingerings, and bow directions). Interestingly, the range spans from G3 to C6. This final C6 necessitates either a shift or extension of the fourth finger, and both are presented as options, as can be seen below in Figure 2.5 (example is in French G-clef).

his extensive working, teaching, and composing, he is largely known for the twenty method books or

Figure 2.5 Excerpt from Chapter III of Corrette‘s violin method, page 8

In this case, it seems that an extension of the fourth finger is acceptable if the player

doesn‘t plan to go any higher than C6. If the music does go higher, then it is assumed

that the player would shift into third position. The lower fingering suggestion also brings to mind the modern-day tendency to predominantly play in odd positions and avoid even ones.

In the following chapter, Corrette goes on to discuss the chromatic notes in between the chord tones, and what fingerings to use. In this illustration, the upper limit of the range

33 Fuller ―Corrette, Michel‖.


is D6, and the fourth finger extension is no longer mentioned. The fingering suggestions can be simply described as assigning each finger to a given line or space. Even when an accidental is applied, Corrette shows that the player should use the same finger. This rule is illustrated in the following example (Figure 2.6), which use sharps when rising and flats when falling. These examples use the French G-clef (where G is the bottom line), and the capital letter A is used to signify an open string.

is D6, and the fourth finger extension is no longer mentioned. The fingering suggestions can be
is D6, and the fourth finger extension is no longer mentioned. The fingering suggestions can be

Figure 2.6 Excerpts from Chapter III of Corrette‘s violin method, page 11

While this violin method does not mention the specifics of intonation with larger and smaller semitones, this fingering is very complementary to the general idea of having low sharps and high flats.

The final chapter of the book, Chapter VI, is devoted to the discussion of positions. Be- low the title is a short subtitle that reads (in English), ―One can shift on [all] four strings of the violin, but principally on the Chanterelle (French way of referring to the first string)‖. 34 This chapter shows the widest range presented in this tutor, from G3 to A6. The bottom three strings are only presented as having four positions, whereas the first string has seven.

The discussion of shifting is very limited in this treatise, but there is one fantasia fol- lowing Chapter VI which illustrates three situations in which a violinist would usually be required to shift. The first situation is to accommodate ornaments such as trills (as shown below in Figure 2.7) or appoggiaturas.

34 Corrette 1751, 37. Original text: On peut dèmancher sur les quatre cordes du violon, mais principale- ment sur la Chanterelle‖.


Figure 2.7 Excerpt of the first Fantasia f rom Corrette‘s violin method, page 38 (first line)

Figure 2.7 Excerpt of the first Fantasia from Corrette‘s violin method, page 38 (first line)

The second situation is to avoid unnecessarily difficult string crossings. In Figure 2.8, shifting into second position allows the player to avoid skipping over a string to make the string crossings in between each figure.

Figure 2.7 Excerpt of the first Fantasia f rom Corrette‘s violin method, page 38 (first line)

Figure 2.8 Excerpt of the first Fantasia from Corrette‘s violin method, page 38 (second line)

The third situation is to be able to execute a figure that occurs in very high positions without shifting under the slur. Below in Figure 2.9, Corrette directs the player to play the slurred figures all in one position (with a string crossing) to avoid shifting during the slur.

Figure 2.7 Excerpt of the first Fantasia f rom Corrette‘s violin method, page 38 (first line)

Figure 2.9 Excerpt of the second Fantasia from Corrette‘s violin method, page 38 (second line)

This same example leads to the discussion of when to shift, an issue also addressed in this example fantasia. The first suggested way of shifting (which is also shown in Figure 2.9) is to shift on a repeated note. A second suggestion is to shift at the joint between two musical phrases. In the below example (Figure 2.10), the phrase ends each half bar after the first 16 th note (note that the beginning of the line is the second half of a meas- ure). Corrette then directs the performer to shift for the start the next iteration of the sequence in a new position. This not only makes the finger patterns more convenient, but also ensures that the sequences are performed in a consistent way.


Figure 2.10 Excerpt of the second Fantasia from Corrette‘s violin method, page 38 (third line) The

Figure 2.10 Excerpt of the second Fantasia from Corrette‘s violin method, page 38 (third line)

The third suggestion, which occurs more rarely than the first two, is to use a ―crawling‖ approach to shifting. In the following excerpt (Figure 2.11), the player starts very high, and gradually moves to lower positions. This is accomplished by compressing the hand position to use the first and third fingers to take an interval of a sixth in the second half of each bar. At the beginning of the next bar, the hand decompresses to the ―normal‖ position with the first finger and third finger creating the interval of a seventh.

Figure 2.10 Excerpt of the second Fantasia from Corrette‘s violin method, page 38 (third line) The

Figure 2.11 Excerpt of the first Fantasia from Corrette‘s violin method, page 38 (fourth line)

  • 2.5 Francesco Geminiani

Francesco Geminiani was an Italian violinist, composer, and theorist. Born in Lucca, Italy probably during 1687 (his exact birth date is not known), he moved to London in 1714 to make his way as a virtuoso in the technically inferior England. His travels took

him all over Europe, including to France, Ireland, and the Netherlands. 35 His tutor, ―The Art of Playing on the Violin‖, was published in London in 1751. It covers a very similar

breadth of subjects to the other tutors mentioned in this study, but uses a uniquely illu- strative way of presenting the material. It consists of fourteen examples (some with multiple sections) and twelve compositions. The examples (and the contained sections) are explained concisely in the beginning, with only a few sentences to introduce the material. The topics covered in this tutor include how to hold the violin and bow, how to place the fingers on the fingerboard, how to shift, how to understand accidentals, rules for bowing, and explanations of ornaments (many which are unique to Geminia- ni‘s compositions). For the purposes of this paper, however, most of the focus will be

35 Careri ―Geminiani, Francesco (Saverio) [Xaverio].


given to the use of the positions (called ―Orders‖ by Geminiani) and fingering indica- tions found in the examples.

While it was shown above that this tutor covers a wide range of subjects, it is primarily broken into two sections: one for mastering the art of stopping notes on the fingerboard, and the second for mastering the art of the bow. Geminiani even writes,

The fingering, indeed, requires an earnest Application, and therefore it would be most pru- dent to undertake it without the Use of the Bow, which you should not meddle with till you come to the 7th Example, in which will be found the necessary and proper Method of using it. 36

In looking at his directions regarding fingerings in the examples, it is clear that it can yet again be broken into two categories, the first being an exhaustive exploration of the fingerboard, and the second being a more practical application of fingering practices. This first category encompasses Examples I-VI and XXII, and the remaining examples belong to the second category.

While the exhaustive exploration of the fingerboard may seem impractical for concert use, it offers some important insights into Geminiani‘s pedagogical approach. He clear- ly demonstrates in Examples I and XXII that no fingering should be off limits. The framework for this is presented in Example I, Section C, where he introduces the 7 or- ders (largely referred to in the present day as ―positions‖). 37 This shows the limits of the violin, from G3 to A6. In a way, it offers a foreshadowing of the modern methods which this paper seeks to distinguish itself from. Each order is presented in a horizontal way across the fingerboard, always starting with the first finger on the fourth string. In Sec- tion D of the same example, the concept of the orders is shown as it applies to each note. In Figure 2.12 below, one can see how C5 is possible to be played in seven differ- ent ways on three different strings. In Section E, the final section of Example I, Gemi- niani illustrates different combinations of shifts in order to reach notes higher than B5. Many of these combinations are quite uncomfortable to play, but serve as a chance to attempt many different combinations of shifts.

  • 36 Geminiani 1751, [2].

  • 37 Geminiani 1751, 1.


Figure 2.12 Excerpt from Example I, Section E of Geminiani‘s violin tutor, page 1 Similar exhaustive

Figure 2.12 Excerpt from Example I, Section E of Geminiani‘s violin tutor, page 1

Similar exhaustive illustrations can be found in Example XXII, an excerpt of which is shown in the below illustration (Figure 2.13). In this example, Geminiani goes through every possible double stop from unisons to octaves using the notes in the C major scale. For each type of double stop, it starts as low as possible and ends as high as possible while still staying within the boundaries of the seven orders.

Figure 2.12 Excerpt from Example I, Section E of Geminiani‘s violin tutor, page 1 Similar exhaustive

Figure 2.13 Excerpt from Example XXII of Geminiani‘s violin tutor, page 30

The remaining examples, II-VI, focus more on different types of scales and on playing almost every possible note between A3 and E6, while not necessarily exhausting every fingering option. Example II contains what Geminiani calls ―mixt‖ scales, which con- tain lesser Semitones, greater Semitones, and Tones (capitalization Geminiani‘s). 38 The most important information to be gained from this example is in the directions. In the first line of music for this example, it shows each of the greater and lesser Semitones, as well as basic fingerings where the same fingering is used for two successive notes. An excerpt can be seen in Figure 2.14.

Figure 2.12 Excerpt from Example I, Section E of Geminiani‘s violin tutor, page 1 Similar exhaustive

Figure 2.14 Excerpt from Example II of Geminiani‘s violin tutor, page 2

The reader is cautioned from taking these particular fingerings too literally, however:

38 Geminiani 1751, 2. Explanation on pages [3][4].


The Position of the Fingers marked in the first Scale (which is that commonly practised) is a faulty one; for two Notes cannot be stopped successively by the same Finger without Dif- ficulty, especially in quick Time. 39

The same warning is issued for the last scale in Example IV. Examples IV and VI deal with the same subject of applying fingerings to ―mixt‖ scales, in flats and sharps respec- tively. Example V demonstrates different ways to shift into higher positions on diatonic sharp scales (D and B major). As can be seen from the below excerpt (Figure 2.15) from Example V, Geminiani presents every option, and does not avoid large shifting move- ments, as are often avoided in modern violin practice. Even though the examples men- tioned previously have been categorized as ―exhaustive‖ in regards to the fingering op- tions presented, it is clear in every example that Geminiani avoids shifts on the same finger, and favors making fewer shifts with larger movements.

The Position of the Fingers marked in the first Scale (which is that commonly practised) is

Figure 2.15 Excerpt from Example V of Geminiani‘s violin tutor, page 4

The remaining Examples offer a wide variety of fingerings, and it would be superfluous to discuss each one individually. It is, however, important to identify some of the cha- racteristic suggestions that Geminiani makes in these more practical illustrations. In this way, the reader can distinguish which parts of the above-mentioned examples are men- tioned in a purely pedagogical way, and which are worth considering for practical use.

Example VII outlines all of the intervals used on the violin, from thirds to tenths. The main fingering rule which can be observed from this Example is that Geminiani discou- rages using the same finger for two successive notes if those notes are anything but a perfect fifth. Figure 2.16 provides two instances of this rule.

The Position of the Fingers marked in the first Scale (which is that commonly practised) is

Figure 2.16 Excerpt from Example VII of Geminiani‘s violin tutor, page 5

39 Geminiani 1751, [4].


In this example, one can see that in moving from the B3 to the F4, it would require the finger to not only move over one string (which Geminiani does not show any effort to avoid), but also move up (toward the nut) one half step. In order to avoid this awkward and unreliable jump, he directs the player to take the F4 with the first finger. This could indicate a shift to second position. It is reasonable to assume that the player would shift back to first position upon reaching the open D and A, arriving to the E4 on a first fin- ger. A second possibility is that this simply recommends a compression of the hand, and that the following note, C4, be taken with the third finger without any shifting. At the end of the line, Geminiani uses half-position (not discussed as one of his Orders) in or- der to avoid the jump from the B4 to the F5. While double stops are outside of the scope of this paper, this use of half position is significant to show that comfort on the finger- board should not be limited to the traditional Orders that are most commonly used.

Starting from Example VIII, Geminiani departs from the more analytical illustrations and begins to embed his directives into music. For the purposes of this paper, only ex- amples that illustrate matters relevant to creating a scale method will be examined, with a special focus on range and fingering patterns. Therefore, Examples VIII-IX and XIII will not be examined. In addition, examples XVI-XXIV, which deal with bowing prac- tice, ornaments, and double stops, will not be examined.

Example X contains four notable guidelines for fingering, and all of them are demon- strated in Figure 2.17.

In this example, one can see that in moving from the B3 to the F4, it

Figure 2.17 Excerpt from Example X of Geminiani‘s violin tutor, page 12

The first guideline can be noticed in the first full measure, in which Geminiani instructs the player to shift into third position upon the change to a softer dynamic. This shows that fingering choices are not only ones of necessity, but that there should also be an artful decision for them. In this case, that means using a less clear register of the violin to give a different color in the soft passage. The second guideline, found in the third full measure and the final partial measure, is that it is best to land in a comfortable position (in these cases, first position) if you are shifting down from a higher position. In the third full measure, Geminiani could have chosen to start the forte passage in second


position, but seemingly found it more secure to start in first position and shift up later. The third guideline can be found in the fourth and sixth full measures, in which he chooses to shift less often, but with a larger movement (as discussed above in Example V). The final guideline can be found in the fifth full measure. In this place, Geminiani directs the player to remain in fourth position until the open E occurs, and then make a large shift while playing the open string. This both prevents a slide during the shift and allows the hand a small amount of extra time to travel. Almost all of these guidelines are also further illustrated in Example XI. While these guidelines are all useful in per- formance, only the second and third guidelines will be useful for creating the composite scale method.

Example XII provides two more situations in which special fingerings are required. The first situation is found in Figure 2.18.

position, but seemingly found it more secure to start in first position and shift up later.

Figure 2.18 Excerpt from Example XII of Geminiani‘s violin tutor, page 16

In this example, the arpeggiated nature of the figure is well-suited to using three differ- ent strings, as shown above. This also means shifting into a higher position, in order to achieve a better effect with the bow. The second situation is how to get down from a high position in a chromatic passage, illustrated in Figure 2.19. As was discussed in Example VII, Geminiani would want to avoid using the same finger for the A5 and the D#5, but somehow must be in first position for the B4 at the end of the example. In or- der to do this, Geminiani suggests a compressed fingering (using mostly half steps) in combination with using more incremental shifting (not as commonly seen in his finger- ing directions) to create a crawling motion. This motion is the only way to get from the fourth finger D6 down to the first finger B4 while still obeying his aforementioned rules.

position, but seemingly found it more secure to start in first position and shift up later.

Figure 2.19 Excerpt from Example XII of Geminiani‘s violin tutor, page 17


In Example XIV, Geminiani‘s fingering indications provide some insights as to when it is convenient to shift. Still, one can see that he prefers fewer, but larger, shifts. In the below example, however, one can see that he chooses to shift (when possible) at the beginning of a new figure. In this case, the recurring figure is a series of rising scales. Therefore, the musical performer would be able to shift as they end the phrase, moving from third position on the D6 to sixth position on the G5.

In Example XIV, Geminiani‘s fingering indications provide some insight s as to when it is convenient

Figure 2.20 Excerpt from Example XIV of Geminiani‘s violin tutor, page 18

In the same example, this pattern occurs again, now several times in a row.

In Example XIV, Geminiani‘s fingering indications provide some insight s as to when it is convenient

Figure 2.21 Excerpt from Example XIV of Geminiani‘s violin tutor, page 19

In Example XV, Geminiani‘s discussions and illustrations of his fingering practices

return to the basics by creating a small piece of music that allows the violinist to play almost every note in every Order, one order at a time. Not only is this a demonstration of the possibilities of the orders, but it is also an exercise in sight reading. Geminiani


I am sensible that the Modulation of these Orders is somewhat harsh, but however very use- ful; for a good Professor of the Violin is obliged to execute with Propriety and Justness, every Composition that is laid before him; but he who has never played any other Musick than the agreeable and common Modulation, when he comes to play at Sight what is direct- ly opposite to it, must be very much at a Loss. 40

While this example does not offer any shifting guidance (since each section is to be played in the same position), it impresses upon the reader the pedagogical importance that Geminiani places on having both vertical (up and down the strings) as well as hori- zontal (across the strings) command of the fingerboard.

40 Geminiani 1751, [5].



Leopold Mozart

Leopold Mozart was, like Geminiani, a violinist, composer, and theorist. He was born in Augsburg in 1719, and was a prolific composer, although most of his works have been lost. Upon the birth of his famous son, Wolfgang, he refocused his energies to develop- ing his son‘s talents. 41 Not long after the birth of his son, he wrote ―A Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing‖ 42 , which represents one of the most popular written works on violin playing from the 18th century and earlier. It, like the other tu- tors examined in this paper, covers more than just violin playing. Some of the topics in the book include music history, music theory, how to hold the violin and bow, how to manage bow direction, how to make a good sound with the bow, how to place the fin- gers on the violin, and explanations of various ornaments. This paper will focus on pri-

marily on Chapter VIII, ―Of the Positions‖, although other mentions of fingerings will

be examined as well.

The first mention of fingerings beyond the discussion of how to hold the violin is in Chapter III, when he discusses accidentals. He presents chromatic scales spanning all four strings using first flats, and then sharps. In each scale, it is shown that the player should use assign the fingerings based on what line or space it falls on. Therefore an Ab/G#3, A3, and A#3 on the G string are all played using a first finger, as seen in Fig- ure 2.22 below.

2.6 Leopold Mozart Leopold Mozart was, like Geminiani, a violinist, composer, and theorist. He was born

Figure 2.22 Excerpt from Chapter III, §6 of Leopold Mozart‘s treatise on violin playing, page 70

As can also be seen from the figure, Mozart indicates that the player should take the D#4, A#4, and E#5 with the fourth finger. This is suggested, he writes, to avoid quick successive moves with the same finger. 43 Therefore, if the player had the series E4 - D#4 - E4 in a fast tempo, he/she would take the D#4 with the fourth finger and use the

  • 41 Eisen ―(1) (Johann Georg) Leopold Mozart‖.

  • 42 The title in original German is Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule‖, and was published in 1756.

  • 43 Mozart 1985, 71.


string crossing to avoid the less-clean shift of the first finger back and forth. In the fol- lowing section, he further expounds on the virtues of using the fourth finger when he writes,

A beginner will act sensibly if he endeavours to take also the natural D, A, and E with the fourth finger on the next lower string. The tone is then more even; for the open strings are shriller than the stopped notes. 44

The largest part of the discussion of fingerings and positions occur in Chapter VIII, ―Of the Positions‖. Leopold Mozart uses ―Whole Position‖ to describe when the player is only using odd positions (first, third, fifth, etc.), ―Half Position‖ to describe when the player is using even positions, and ―Compound or Mixed Position‖ to describe when a combination is used. In his discussions of both the whole and half positions, he men- tions two subjects: avoiding open strings and extending the fourth finger in extraordi- nary cases. He suggests avoiding open strings for a similar reason as mentioned above, namely to maintain the same color in a given passage. 45 In regards to the use of an ex- tended fourth finger, Mozart writes that in the following example (Figure 2.23), ―the tone is made more level if the F be taken with the fourth finger but without the hand changing its position, and the note E be also taken with the fourth finger‖. 46

string crossing to avoid the less-clean shift of the first finger back and forth. In the

Figure 2.23 Excerpt from Chapter VIII (Section 2, §10) of Leopold Mozart‘s treatise on violin playing, page 144

In speaking about the Positions, Leopold Mozart promotes the idea of staying either in the Whole or Half Position, unless it cannot physically be executed that way (often the case in double-stop passages) or if the music demands some sort of uniformity that re- quires several small incremental shifts. By attempting to remain either in Whole or Half Position, however, necessitates that the player make several smaller, but more frequent shifts, as can be seen below in Figure 2.24.

  • 44 Mozart 1985, 71. The same sentiment is expressed on pages 101, 106, and 112.

  • 45 Mozart 1985, 134 (whole position) and 141 (half position).

  • 46 Mozart 1985, 144145 (half position) and 134 (whole position).


Figure 2.24 Excerpt from Chapter VIII (Section 1, §9) of Leopold Mozart‘s treatise on violin playing,

Figure 2.24 Excerpt from Chapter VIII (Section 1, §9) of Leopold Mozart‘s treatise on violin playing, page 135

He also suggests that one decide which finger to use in shifting based on the passage preceding the shift, usually using rhythmic patterns as a guide. In the previous passage, being in duple time and the necessary shift being preceded by first and second finger, the shift is made on the first finger. In the passage below, however, since the shift is immediately preceded by the use of the second and third fingers, it becomes more natu- ral to shift on the second finger.

Figure 2.24 Excerpt from Chapter VIII (Section 1, §9) of Leopold Mozart‘s treatise on violin playing,

Figure 2.25 Excerpt from Chapter VIII (Section 1, §12) of Leopold Mozart‘s treatise on violin playing, page 137

In discussing when to shift, Mozart cautions that the player should endeavor to remain in the same positions as long as is necessary. The ideal option is to shift when an open string is being played, which hides the sound of the shift and allows plenty of time for the hand movement. If that is not possible, there are several ways to make a consistent, but less obvious shift. The first way is to shift on a repeated note, which has the added benefit of allowing the player to hear the note in tune before the shift, assisting with the accuracy of the shift. The second way that he suggests (illustrated in Figure 2.26) is to shift after dots, since the bow would be lifted there in any case.

Figure 2.24 Excerpt from Chapter VIII (Section 1, §9) of Leopold Mozart‘s treatise on violin playing,

Figure 2.26 Excerpt from Chapter VIII (Section 1, §19) of Leopold Mozart‘s treatise on violin playing, page 139

Although Leopold Mozart never explicitly discusses the issue of shifting under a slur, there are almost no examples of a shift under a slur in the whole treatise. The exception can be found in the discussion of extending the fourth finger. In the discussion of Whole Position, Mozart notes that when the fourth finger is used in extensions, that it ―is fre-


quently used twice consecutively‖. He then provides the following example (Figure 2.27, which is one of the only examples of shifting under a slur. 47

quently used twice consecutively‖. He then provides the fo llowing example (Figure 2.27, which is one

Figure 2.27 Excerpt from Chapter VIII (Section 1, §10) of Leopold Mozart‘s treatise on violin playing, page 136

To further support this unspoken rule, one can see that in the discussion of Half Position (an excerpt shown in Figure 2.28) that exercises in shifting are specifically coordinated with the bowings to ensure that the player does not have to shift under a slur.

quently used twice consecutively‖. He then provides the fo llowing example (Figure 2.27, which is one

Figure 2.28 Excerpt from Chapter VIII (Section 2, §14) of Leopold Mozart‘s treatise on violin playing, page 146

Another matter that Mozart never specifically writes about is the range of the violin. It is obvious, though, that none of his examples go beyond A6.

  • 2.7 What Did We Learn?

With such a such a large amount of information from sources that are so disparate in time, national origin, and intended audience, it can seem like there is no way to accom- modate everything. Despite these differences, it is not at all difficult to both compare and contrast the different works if one can distill the subject matter into a collection of important categories. This paper chooses to focus on the following categories: intended audience, range of the violin, use of open strings, equality of the positions, frequency versus size of the shift, in what situations to shift, when to shift, and use of extensions. A table visualizing these categories can be found in Appendix B.

47 Other examples can be found on pages 15455, but there is no specific discussion regarding the con- cept of shifting under a slur.


The intended audience is one of the categories that varies the most between the chosen treatises. All of them start from the very basic concepts of music theory before even picking up the violin, and progress into violin techniques of varying degrees of difficul-

ty. One can examine the treatise as a whole, though, as well as look at the treatise in historical context to more accurately determine the intended audience. For example,

Robert Crome‘s violin tutor is clearly intended only for beginners since it spans such a

small amount of violin technique, despite being written in the mid 18th century, when the capabilities of violinists were widely expanding. John Playford‘s treatise is similarly geared toward beginners, as is evidenced by his intentional avoidance of the subject of

shifting. On the other side of the spectrum is Geminiani‘s treatise, which does not break

down music theory separately and simply as in other treatises, but rather includes it while already discussing various kinds of shifting and fingerings. His extensive discus- sion of virtuoso techniques such as double stops, high shifting, and complicated bow- ings shows that this book is written for a virtuoso violinist, or for a teacher. The treatise by Michel Corrette is quite typical for its time, and does not discuss virtuoso techniques

at length. It could be said that this treatise is geared toward the average violinist in the

18th century. Leopold Mozart‘s treatise is perhaps one that defies these categorizations, though. Although it covers an extraordinarily large range of material, from the most basic to very virtuosic techniques, it does so in a uniquely level and progressive way. Therefore, a beginner who only reads the first few chapters will find this treatise just as useful as the virtuoso who reads the whole work. The exhaustive nature of the topics discussed in Mozart‘s treatise would also be of great assistance to a teacher.

The category of the range of the violin is a rather sterile one, and many of the tutors agree in this. Mozart, Geminiani, and Corrette show the range to be from G3 to A6. Crome shows a range from G3 to D6. Playford only demonstrates a range from G3 to B5, but does acknowledge that the player could need to go higher. He does not elaborate

regarding the top limit of the violin‘s range.

The use of open strings is a subject that varies widely in many treatises, and can most likely be attributed to the taste of the author. Playford does not ever mention using a stopped string in place of an open string, even in faster musical examples that he pro- vides tablature for. Neither Crome nor Corrette explicitly discuss the practice of using a stopped note instead of an open string. However, they both indicate that the player should primarily use open strings when in first position. Corrette only indicates using a stopped note when performing ornaments to prevent a string crossing. Leopold Mo-


zart‘s treatise, however, explicitly directs the player to avoid the open strings due to their shrill sound. Geminiani‘s treatise, which doesn‘t specifically indicate that the play- er should avoid open strings, does acknowledge the usefulness of choosing to play in high positions on lower strings to achieve a certain tone color. This flexibility in finger- ing choices could also be extended to choosing a stopped note instead of an open string.

Although all positions should be equal in principle, several treatises showed clear prefe- rences. Playford‘s tutor, while it did not discuss shifting in detail, only mentioned shift- ing into third position, possibly being the first to show such a clear preference for odd positions. Corrette also shows a similar preference in Chapter III, although he does also mention other positions in Chapter VI. Crome does not talk about shifting extensively, and what he does discuss does not seem to show a clear preference. He only describes two ―Shifting Keys‖: C major in second position and D major in third position. Gemi- niani goes to great pains to avoid showing favoritism toward one position. Instead, he spends a majority of the treatise emphasizing the fact that the violinist should be equally proficient in all seven positions. Leopold Mozart‘s treatise breaks the positions into Whole Position (odd positions) and Half Position (even positions). He encourages the player to stay within the same position if possible, while acknowledging that there are times when a mixed approach must be taken. Mozart does, however show a favoritism

for the Whole Position when he writes that ―many passages which seem to fit the half position perfectly, can and must often be played in the whole position‖. 48

In examining the frequency versus the size of the shift, most seem to favor using small- er shifts more frequently. Playford‘s lack of material regarding shifting makes it im- possible to compare it in this category. Chrome, however, advocates using as small movements as possible (for example, not offering the Scholar the option to play the C major scale in third position). Corrette‘s Fantasia example after Chapter VI also indi- cates many small, incremental shifts, especially because it contains many repeated fig- ures. Geminiani‘s treatise, however, shows clear instances in many of his Examples in which he favors using larger shifts less often. This is especially visible in Example XIV. Leopold Mozart, however, does not show a clear preference, and provides as many ex- amples with small, more frequent shifts as he does for larger, less frequent shifts.

Many answers arise when looking at what instances one should shift. Playford and Crome write that the player should only shift when absolutely necessary. Playford de-

48 Mozart 1985, 145.


scribes this situation as notes that go beyond the frets, while Crome calls them ―Shifting Keys‖. Besides shifting to play notes higher than B5, Corrette also suggests that the

player shift to avoid string crossings, to accommodate ornaments, or to avoid shifting under a slur. Geminiani uses shifting to achieve a different tone color, otherwise only shifting on the E string when needed. He also encourages the player to shift to allow them to play arpeggiated chords in a way that each chord tone is on a separate string, making it easier for the bow. Leopold Mozart also encourages violinists to shift to avoid string crossings and accommodate double-stops.

The presented ideas regarding when to shift are surprisingly consistent across the ex- amined sources. The exception is Playford‘s tutor, which does not discuss shifting in enough depth to warrant comparison in this category. Crome also does not discuss shift- ing in depth. While he seems to encourage shifting in a rhythmic way before arriving to a strong beat, it is difficult to extrapolate anything more from his text. Corrette encou- rages shifting on repeated notes, in between musical phrases, or in a more gradual

―crawling‖ fashion. Geminiani includes all of the same suggestions as Corrette, while

also encouraging the violinist to exploit open strings for hiding larger shifts. Leopold Mozart discusses shifting on open strings, repeated notes, in between musical phrases, and after dots (when the bow is often lifted to ensure the correct rhythm). One may no- tice that a contradiction exists between Mozart‘s preference for shifting on an open string and his encouragement to avoid the shrill sound of open strings. Rather than viewing this as a contradiction, the reader can understand that he values a clean shift more than the uniform color of all of the notes. Of course, a good violinist can accom- modate the color difference so that the open string blends in with the surrounding notes.

Extensions are concepts that are not discussed at all in the treatises of Playford, Crome, and Geminiani. In Corrette‘s violin tutor, the extension of the fourth finger to C5 is only mentioned twice, both instances in Chapter III. This is the chapter in which the basic notes of the fingerboard of the violin are introduced (on page 8) and illustrated (on page 9). Leopold Mozart‘s treatise goes into more detail regarding the use of extensions. He discusses the upward extension of the fourth finger in the discussions of both Whole and Half Position. Mozart writes that if a single note comes that is one tone higher than the position the player‘s hand is in, that the player should simply extend the finger in- stead of shifting for one note. He also describes when the player might want to extend other fingers forwards and backwards (in pages 150-154), but these extensions are much more situational and not suitable for scale methods.



The Composite Scale Method

  • 3.1 Instructions for Execution

The scale method, found in Appendix C, strives to separate the hand movements on the violin into two categories: horizontal (across the fingerboard) and vertical (up and down the fingerboard). The first page of the scale method deals with the horizontal approach

to violin fingerings, and is based on Geminiani‘s seven Orders. Each scale is to be

played both ascending and descending (repeating the top note), and should be executed in one position per scale. To add variety, the player should, at the beginning of each practice session, choose one key signature to apply to the exercise. This ensures that, over time, the player will learn the position of all of the notes.

The second and third pages consist of rotating scales that chromatically progress from G3 to A6. The scales can be played using slurs of two, three, or four notes, as well as simply playing each note separately. Fingerings for slurring two and four notes are writ- ten above the scale, and fingerings for slurring three notes are written below the scale. If different fingerings apply to slurring of two or four notes, then the fingerings are en- closed in different kinds of brackets. Parentheses are used for fingerings applying only to scales slurring two notes, and square brackets are used for those applying only to scales slurring four notes. It is suggested that, when slurring in groups of three, the top note be repeated. In this case, the final slur will contain only two notes, not three.

  • 3.2 How It Was Made

Ironically, this project was born out of the desire to abandon what originally seemed to be an anachronistic use of horizontal violin fingerings. However, after having examined

the sources, and especially after understanding Geminiani‘s pedagogical obsession with the seven Orders, it seems impossible to leave out. That being stated, it is important to

note that even Geminiani‘s own compositions and examples in his treatise only shift on

the first and second strings (unless the example is specifically demonstrating the Or- ders). Therefore this first part is considered to be a smaller portion of the overall scale method.

The second part, consisting of rotating scales, is much more extensive. For the purposes of brevity and practicality, only major scales have been included. The fingerings are all


specially chosen, including a mix of open strings and stopped fourth fingers. Each scale

starts in first position, and only shifts on the E string. It has been shown that shifting is much more common on the E string, both in fingering examples in the context of music,

as well as explicitly written instructions (see the discussion of Michel Corrette‘s treatise

above). The fingerings are chosen to avoid shifting under a slur. While it adheres to this

aesthetic that seems inherent in many of these violin tutors, it has the added advantage of allowing the player to practice many different kinds of shifts.

The fingerings largely fall into two categories: large shifts which occur less frequently, and smaller shifts that occur more frequently. In the case of all of the four-note slurred scales, and some of the three-note slurred scales (for example, the upper A major scaled in measure 133), the larger but less frequent shifts are employed. This approach is the

one found largely in Geminiani and also in some parts of Leopold Mozart‘s treatise. The

remaining scales use smaller and more frequent shifts, more characteristic of the re- maining treatises. The top note is always played with a fourth finger, and almost none of the shifts are made with consecutive fingers. The decision regarding whether to use open strings or a stopped fourth finger was made on the basis of keeping a slur uniform- ly on one string, if possible.

There are two exceptions to the above-mentioned patterns used in this scale method. The first is the extension of the fourth finger in C and C# major. This fingering pattern, which imitates fourth-finger extension shown in Corrette‘s treatise, is the only time that there is a shift (or in this case, a slide of the fourth finger) under the slur. This exception is included due to the frequency with which C6 occurs in baroque music. Practicing this as an extension rather than a shift assists in improving the consistency of this reach in both scalar and non-scalar contexts. The second exception occurs in the keys of Eb and E major, when the player is using four-note slurs. This concept of shifting from first position to second position on the first finger comes from Crome‘s example of shifting in the ―upper key of C‖.

  • 4 Conclusions / Lessons Learned

Don‘t enough of these exist already? This question, first posed at the beginning of the paper, forced this paper to identify why the current spectrum of violin scale methods was invalid for the baroque violin, and what would be required to create an appropriate


one. This examination maintained the assumption that no substantial scale method ex- isted for the baroque violin. In fact, during the course of the research done for this pa- per, it was discovered that this is not exactly true. Rather, there was no scale method that seemed to cross all genres of violin playing from the baroque period.

One of the most identifying characteristics of a specialist in the historical performance of baroque music is the ability to perform and understand the different styles of playing that existed in the 17th and 18th centuries. Sometimes this implies a national style, such

as the iconic French style of Lully. Other times it implies a more blended approach such

as Geminiani‘s highly personalized style with his own library of embellishments and

articulations. Despite these differences, however, certain commonalities in baroque vi- olin technique can be extracted and built upon. This provides a solid foundation on which to build the more defining characteristics of the different styles. This paper fo- cused on finding that solid foundation in the most basic musical regiment: scales.

In building this common foundation, however, one must find a creative way to accom- modate differences. In this case, the assumption that was made in the beginning of this project was that all position-based approaches were, on a basic level, anachronistic for the baroque violin. Through the research into Geminiani‘s approach to violin pedagogy, it turned out that this was not true. However, even Geminiani (supported by the other four authors) demonstrated that position-based playing is more of a pedagogical tool than a practical approach. Therefore, the focus of the method was on shifting patterns and finding a compact, but creative, way to present as many options as possible. This led to the use of rotating scales, which allows the player to not only experiment with several different fingerings, but also use every note in the chromatic scale in the process. So in looking at the effort to provide a simple but thorough approach to two- octave scales, this method was successful.

Were this project to continue, the next logical step would be to continue to develop the scale system, much in the way that Flesch‘s system caters to modern violinists. That means including options for larger ranges, arpeggios, and many kinds of double stops. This study would also further benefit from looking at even more treatises, especially L‘Abbé le Fils‘ Principes du Violon.

Beyond the pedagogical aspects of the project, it would be of paramount importance to the modern-day baroque violinist to be able to see the relationship of pedagogy versus performance. The clearest way to do this is through primary sources, much in the way


that this scale method was created. There are a plethora of works that provide original fingerings from the composer 49 , and also parts of treatises (including Geminiani, Cor- rette, and others) which include compositions. These compositions are written for the express purpose of making the link between pedagogy and performance, and are the perfect basis for which to do a further study.

It is imperative to note, however, that the continuation of this project is important. Ba- roque violinists should have all of the tools that modern violinists have, in order to hone their skills to an equally high level. In addition, this kind of approach to creating peda- gogical tools can be a bridge to help budding baroque violinists break into the world of historical performance scholarship. Truthfully, not enough of these methods exist. Ac- tually, none of these methods have existed in such a comprehensive way. That is, until now.

49 See Peter Wall‘s article ‖Violin Fingerings in the 18th Century‖, published in Early Music (vol. 12, no. 3) for a fantastic list of violin sonatas with printed fingerings from 17001770.


Works Cited

Bach, Johann Sebastian 1720. Sei solo a Violino senza basso accompagnato. Manuscript. (Accessed 3.12.2011). Boyden, David 1950. ―The Violin and Its Technique in the 18th Century.‖ — The Musical Quarterly 36 (1), 938. Boyden, David 1960. ―A Postscript to ‗Geminiani and the First Violin Tutor.‘‖ — Acta Musicologica 32 (1), 4047. Careri, Enrico. ―Geminiani, Francesco (Saverio) [Xaverio].‖ — Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. grove/music/10849 (Accessed 18.3.2012). Crome, Robert 1735. The Fiddle New Model'd or a Useful Introduction to the Violin, Exemplify'd with familiar Dialogues. London: J. Tyther. File:PMLP146745-Crome_The_Fiddle_New_Model%27d_c1735.pdf (Accessed


Corrette, Michel 1738. L'école d'Orphée pour apprendre facilment a joüer du violon. Paris: Chez l'auteur, Boivin, Le Clerc. LEcole-dOrphee-Michel-Corrette.pdf (Accessed 3.2.2012). Eisen, Cliff. ―(1) (Johann Georg) Leopold Mozart.‖ — Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. 40258pg1 (Accessed 18.3.2012). Fuller, David/Gustafson, Bruce. Corrette, Michel.‖ — Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. music/06563 (Accessed 18.3.2012). Geminiani, Francesco 1751. The Art of Playing on the Violin, Op. 9. London: J. Johnson. Gwilt, Richard 2011. Holding the Baroque Violin, Part II - The Sources. (Accessed 1.23.2012). Highfill Jr., Philip H./Burnim, Kalman A./Langhans, Edward A. 1975. A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers, and other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800. United States of America: Southern Illinois University Press. Mozart, Leopold 1985. A Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing (trans. Editha Knocker). Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule 1756.] Playford, John (corrected and amended by Purcell, Henry) 1972. An Introduction to the Skill of Musick. New York, New York: Da Capo Press. (12th ed. London, 1694). Pulver, Jeffrey 1923. ―Violin-Tutors of the 17th Century.‖ — The Musical Times 64 (968), 695697. Webber, Oliver 2006. What is a “baroque violin”? Authenticity, labelling, and compromise. (Accessed 3.12.2011) Webber, Oliver 2006. Strings. (Accessed 3.12.2011)



Appendix A: Robert Crome's Scale Diagrams

Appendices Appendix A: Robert Crome's Scale Diagrams 39
Appendices Appendix A: Robert Crome's Scale Diagrams 39


Appendix B: Comparison of Five Violin Treatises

Appendix B: Comparison of Five Violin Treatises 40


Appendix C: Composite Scale Method for Baroque Violin Part I

Appendix C: Composite Scale Method for Baroque Violin Part I Part II 41

Part II

Appendix C: Composite Scale Method for Baroque Violin Part I Part II 41