February 1, 2011 – Preparing for Kreutzer Vol. 1

Harvey Whistler has published two edition of “Preparing for Kreutzer” books. I think that they have many materials that will prepare students for the bowing and left hand techniques found in Kreutzer, some interesting and some useful.

The first exercise in Volume I is a “Developing Bowing” guide. It covers detache, legato, ondule, portato, marcato, accents, martele, staccato, sautille, spicatto, parlando, ricochet and jete. It uses Kayser Op. 20 Number 1 to develop these bowing strokes. This would be a great “supplement” to any student wanting to learn terminology for different bowing strokes.

In addition to bowing exercises, it has a few very detailed left hand exercises by Eichberg and Schradieck. These exercises will take time to develop properly. The Eichberg has the student hold one finger down that is not active in producing a tone while the other fingers move around it. These are reminiscent of Dounis or Flesch finger exercises. The Schradieck works on intonation and proper use of the half step.

Next, Whistler has first position etudes in major key signatures with up to four sharps or four flats. Following that, a preparation page for position playing and several etudes in second through fifth positions.

After several pieces in position, he adds a finger velocity exercise by Dancla. These exercises are taken from the “School of Velocity.” If you acquire that book, it has specific instructions for how to carry out these exercises that are neglected in the Whistler text.

Included in the Volume I, Whistler also includes preparation for the trill etudes you find in Kreutzer. (Playing two or three of those Kreuzter trill etudes will make anyone want to quit the violin if they are not properly prepared for them.) The first book ends with double stop and octave preparation.

These etudes are by several composers including Kayser, Mazas, Dont, De Beriot, Dancla, Wohlfahrt, Blumenstengel, and a few other lesser known violin pedagogues.

I find it intriguing that the “Daily Exercises” are outlined in black. I don’t suggest violating copyright, but they would make nice supplement pages for students working on other technique books.

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