Variation 2

ID 5240

Spiccato is an important bow stroke and can be learnt as soon as the détaché stroke is consistent.

The spiccato stroke needs a flexible bow hold to be able to support the bow in the air with ease and control. Therefore your hand needs flexible base knuckles to absorb impact when landing on the string from the air and a well- positioned 4th finger on the bow. The ability to start spiccato either down bow or up bow as in this variation is important, as the down-bow and up-bow actions should be the same. The up and the down bows both need to use the same bow speed, follow the same flight path in the air and start and finish at the same distance above the string.

Practice points for spiccato

•Practicing without the 1st finger on the bow can be useful, as a tight 1st finger makes it difficult to play an even stroke or make a resonant sound
• Holding the bow at the balance point in the early stages can help deal with the weight of the bow in the air
• Although it is an off-string stroke, the first note of a spiccato passage is often best started on the string
• As with many other bowstrokes the down-bow in spiccato can be stronger and heavier than the up-bow, leading to unevenness. Practise spiccato starting on the ‘wrong’ bow, for instance Kreutzer’s Study No.8 starting up-bow, to help improve evenness.

This variation can be practiced also starting with a down bow at the beginning of each bar. As there are few fingerings in most editions of the 40 variations, look for fingerings that suit the bow stroke required.
Practice the intonation by using double stops and comparing core notes with open strings.

Introduction to Spiccato