Applying the Extended Hand Frame Technique: Mendelssohn Violin Concerto

In previous lessons (here and here), we explored the concept of extending the hand frame and discovered the freedom it brings to our playing. The exercises we practiced not only solidified our hand frame but also provided us with the freedom to experiment with unconventional fingerings. Now, let’s apply these concepts to a passage from the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto.

INSTRUCTIONS: When playing the 1st finger on the first note b, feel already how you will play the note e with the 3rd finger in bar 77. So, to play the 4th finger g in the first bar you don’t shift. Instead, you keep the 1st finger on the note b, placing the 3rd finger on the e and measuring a minor third from the 3rd to the 4th finger g. Your 2nd finger is simultaneously placed a half step below the third finger. Having played the e in bar 77 its easy to reach back with the 1st finger a half step from the b to the a sharp. In bar 78, again no shift is necessary. Keep the first finger on the string. To play the e with 4th finger, place the 3rd finger on the note d and the 4th one whole step above. This way you just have to lift the 4th finger in bar 79 and your d is already in place underneath. In this process the 2nd finger was placed already on the note c. The 3rd finger just has to lift for the c to be heard. And since your 1st finger was kept on the note a, you only need to lift the second finger c.

Give this passage a try using the suggested fingering. Notice how, by extending our hand frame, we navigate through the passage with ease and efficiency, eliminating the need for frequent shifting. It’s important to note that this fingering is not necessarily the “best” or definitive choice. But it gives you an idea of the many more fingering possibilities there often are to a passage.

I encourage you to revisit the exercises from the previous lessons. Keep exploring the various fingering options in your repertoire. These ideas will equip you with the tools to express yourself more freely and creatively.