Forte vs. Piano

What do you like?
Do you prefer playing forte or piano? Or does it matter to you at all? A few years ago I was trying violins at the same time as one of my orchestra colleagues. For part of the rehearsal we switched instruments. I really struggled to get any sound out of her violin. Likewise, she was surprised by how easily sound came out of the violin I was trying.

Forte vs. piano
Producing a strong sound is something all violinists want. Some players do this very naturally and easily. However, it was an epiphany for me to realize that many violinists would rather “work” to play forte and choose to make playing piano easy.

Expanding your dynamic range
As this card suggests, putting more weight into your bow arm will help you access more sound. For those who find playing with less sound to be challenging, it may help to slow the bow. Imagery can be helpful too. For more sound in a phrase, you could imagine a very large and bold character. For less sound, the character could be more introverted or mysterious.

What do you tell your students about projecting a big sound? Are you a heavy weight, feather weight or somewhere in between in your own playing?

The Inspiration for Violinists card deck
This “Body weight” card is part of a 50 card deck. Every card has a unique image and text inspiring musicianship, mindfulness and spirituality

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