Thumb position

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Andy Mopley, Jan 25, 2017.

  1. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    I am working on the technique with the following books
    Simandl Book 2
    Hrabe 80 studies
    Petracchi simplified technique

    Any suggestions as to which of these is preferable to start with? I also have some of the George Vance books.

  2. Petracchi simplified technique - hands down. I like doing Simandl book 1 etudes an octave up instead of book 2.
  3. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    OK, thanks, it does appear to be "simpler" I must admit (although the Simandl Book II is also easy in its approach).
    Might come back with a few more questions, at some point.
  4. Jmilitsc

    Jmilitsc Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 22, 2013
    Fairfield County, CT
    Hal Robinson's Boardwalkin is really good for this practice too. The main thing for me however was a teacher showing me how to play thumb position efficiently. Once I "got" the ease of it rather than struggling, the exercises became easier and just playing up there in general became less stressful.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017
  5. Jon Stefaniak

    Jon Stefaniak Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2000
    Tokyo, Japan
    If you've been using Vance's books much, you might find that the Petracchi and Rabbath approach are different enough to seem incompatible at first... They aren't really, but I think the way the two approach getting your bearings is just different. Petracchi is the perfect sequel to Simandl and Hrabe- Little positions, 3 or 4 hand shapes, you move around. Rabbath's positions are not positions in this sense - more general areas. Your arm goes to those general areas, and find what notes you can reach from there. Rabbath covers much larger spaces without truly shifting.
    The difference being Petracchi is more focused on practical hand shapes and Rabbath on where notes can be found and flexibility.

    There are some important things to keep in mind -
    -The finger pressure comes from arm weight - fingers are walking hence Hal Robinson's "boardwalkin' "
    -Apply the weight to the finger you are using and relax others
    -Try and get the minimum pressure to stop the string for a wide string vibration (ie. Forte in the bow, or pizz) in each finger with arm weight. (Easier said than done,huh) Practicing pizz at first can help you focus on the left hand and make sure you really are stopping the string.
    Timing and coordination can be more important than raw strength- but stopping the string quickly and efficiently does require some strength.
    However it's hard to be accurate when you're fatigued- don't overdo it.

    Now I gotta go practice.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017
    Andy Mopley and Chris Fitzgerald like this.
  6. I use that basic Petrrachi exercise up the G string on page two as part of my daily warm up. I transpose it across all four strings.
    I mainly use Bach at pitch for TP study. Remember it doesn't have to be at performance level to benefit your study, just take your time with it.
    All those books are great to have, work out of all them in time.
    Pizzicato is also helpful for building strength - since you are clearly not going whole hog Rabbath with a Rabbath teacher be sure to keep your left hand fingers arched, pizz can help with this.
  7. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    Thanks Jon.

    Damonsmith, are you referring this exercise? If so, I was having a look at it earlier, and it does seem to go quite high on the G string. But it is a good one!

    For pitch exercise, I am using Beethoven 3 Equali (play the trombone part transposed), which works for both thumb and non thumb!

    Thanks again to you both.

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