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Before the Chinrest

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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 Retaking Z-bowing Martele and Spiccato Sautille Bariolage Ondeggiando 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 Shifting Half-position Vibrato 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 Harmony Melody 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 Symbolic Notated ornaments Un-notated ornaments 12. Baroque Cliches The classic cadential formula Slurred articulations The hemiola Pulsations Suspensions Syncopations Melodic accents "Down-downs" The ultimate Baroque cliche IV. Technique and Practice Guide 13. Tuning A word about intonation Tuning Difference tones Difference tone exercise Visualizing Warm-up exercises A shifting exercise 14. Exercises Starting on First Finger Scales Broken Thirds Double-stopped Thirds Sixths

Promotional Information

Unlocking the secrets of early violin performance

About the Author

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 Destrube, violinist "Before the Chinrest is aimed at modern violinists and viola players who are 'curious to learn about technique and style as understood and practised by their seventeenth and eighteenth-century predecessors', so it is designed as a practical guide and includes a wealth of information, musical examples and technical exercises... Ritchie divides the book into four sections: right-hand technique, left-hand technique, interpretation, and a technique and intonation practice guide. I found myself in agreement with a great number of his points about matters technical and interpretative, and many of his technical exercises would be extremely helpful to those new to period playing. However, I would have expected more information on how the baroque violin differs in its setup from the modern and how the bow developed over the years, as well as some advice as to how to go about getting hold of the instruments, bows and gut strings... Before the Chinrest is highly recommended for what is included, but disappointing as to what is omitted. My recommendation to modern-trained players would be to buy Judy Tarling's Baroque String Playing for Ingenious Learners as an ideal reference book for this music and then use this new book for a more detailed practical guide to playing the instrument."-Classical Music, Dec 2012

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