Before the Chinrest

Before the Chinrest

A Violinist's Guide to the Mysteries of Pre-Chinrest Technique and Style
Stanley Ritchie
Distribution: World
Publication date: 07/16/2012
Format: Paperback 260 music exx. and 1 b&w illustration
ISBN: 978-0-253-22318-0
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Drawing on the principles of Francesco Geminiani and four decades of experience as a baroque and classical violinist, Stanley Ritchie offers a valuable resource for anyone wishing to learn about 17th-18th-and early 19th-century violin technique and style. While much of the work focuses on the technical aspects of playing the pre-chinrest violin, these approaches are also applicable to the viola, and in many ways to the modern violin. Before the Chinrest includes illustrated sections on right- and left-hand technique, aspects of interpretation during the Baroque, Classical, and early-Romantic eras, and a section on developing proper intonation.

Author Bio

Stanley Ritchie is an internationally recognized violinist, teacher, and recording artist. He is a professor at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University Bloomington and the 2009 recipient of the Howard Mayer Brown Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Field of Early Music.


“Useful and elegantly written, Stanley Ritchie's book will be a most valuable resource to accomplished modern violinists wishing to learn to play the baroque violin.”
 — Marc Destrubé, violinist

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements
How to Support the Pre-Chinrest Violin
I. Right Hand Technique
General Observations
1. Tone Production
Basic Right-Hand Technique
The Importance of Arm Weight
The Use of Arm Weight
2. Bow-Strokes
Lifted strokes
Slurred notes
Martelé and Spiccato
3. Chordal Technique
4. Bow Division
5. Swift-Bows
6. Combination Strokes
II. Left-Hand Technique
7. Position-Changing Exercises
Some Basic Concepts
The Position Of The Left Hand
The Swing
III. Interpretation
8. Expression
Affect and rhetoric
The role of analysis
The importance of the bass-line
The tyranny of the barline
The significance of metre
Shaping notes and gestures
Beware of the beam!
The trouble with notation
The reality of rubato
9. Dynamics and Nuance
Figures of musical speech
(i) Repetition
(ii) Sequences
(iii) Tessitura
(iv) The question
(v) The exclamation
(vi) Silence
10. Tempo
Metrical symbols
Harmonic motion
Technical complexity
Affective words
Cautionary and qualifying words
Baroque dance movements
11. Ornamentation
Notated ornaments
Un-notated ornaments
12. Baroque Clichés
The classic cadential formula
Slurred articulations
The hemiola
Melodic accents
The ultimate Baroque cliché
IV. Technique and Practice Guide
13. Tuning
A word about intonation
Difference tones
Difference tone exercise
Warm-up exercises
A shifting exercise
14. Exercises Starting on First Finger
Broken Thirds
Double-stopped Thirds

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