Double Stops – Double the Fun
Double Stops – Double the Fun:
Learn how to play double stops on the violin and viola
Double stops are one of the most exhilarating sound effects a violinist or violist can produce. The first time a violinist or violist first produces (or hears) some reasonably accurate double stops is often a real epiphany for the player.
Double stops offer a real opportunity to play in harmony with oneself and they mark an inspiring level of technical accomplishment. Even the name ‘double stops’ conjures up a sense of the gloriously powerful sound of a pipe-organ flooding the senses.
Double stops can be challenging to learn to play well but the rewards go way beyond just the technical accomplishments and include:
- Greater sensitivity to tone
- Improved intonation
- Bow control
In fact, each of these three aspects provides mutual support for the others and for your overall sensitivity as a musician.
Double stops are a great tool for improving intonation but it is essential to develop a good hand balance so that all fingers can function freely and independently without excessive tension. The thumb position and flexibility are critical elements too of good double stopping technique. Attention to the angle of the finger stopping the string and the area of the finger pad used will pay dividends for intonation and tone.
Another less well-known aspect of the pure double stop is the presence of a third tone, which occurs thanks to that wonderfully rich interplay of harmonics and sympathetic vibrations. Focusing on this area is a great way to improve intonation and develop real subtlety of tonal nuance.
Bow control plays a necessary role in good double stopping technique especially in sustained double stop passages where subtle weight variations might be needed to emphasize changes of harmony or a melodic line.
Learning to play double stops effortlessly is an essential milestone on the journey to becoming a well-rounded violinist or violist and it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming challenge.
A free webinar on ways to improve your double stops technique is another inspirational offering in the outstanding Pro-am Strings series. Pro-am Strings’ free live online class, ‘Double stops’ is designed to help all violin and viola students, young and old, intermediate or advanced to play double stops with ease and panache.
Join Henriette de Vrijer, your online violin/viola teacher and a wonderfully supportive violin/viola community, as she shares some priceless tips and techniques to help you get double the fun out of double stops.
This post was written by Stylus writer, a former professional violinist/ violist who has taken his gift for phrasing and tone into the world of words. You can learn more about his work at http://styluswriter.com/
Register for this class here