5 Tips on How To Play Three-Note Chords with Power and Depth


Three-note (and four-note) chords come up all the time in the violin literature. 


Some notable examples are: 


Bach Fugues from his Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin

Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001, II. Fugue


Saint-Saëns Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28 

Paganini Caprice No. 24, Variation 8   


Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26, First movement: Allegro moderato 

In a lesson I was teaching to one of my students in my Violin Bootcamp this summer, we were working on the chords in the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1, First movement. 


How do you play these chords on the violin without crunching but still get a powerful and resonant sound? 


Assuming that your left hand is in good shape on the fingerboard and that all notes are properly depressed on the string and in tune, here are five tips that will help you play chords on the violin with more power and depth: 


  1. Use the natural weight of your arm: imagine there is a heavy weight attached to your elbow as you draw the three-note chord. 

  2. Aim for the middle string in the three-note chord. 

  3. Be sure to grab the strings cleanly without "crunching": gently place the bow on the strings, with a slight leaning towards the bottom two strings, but without excess pressure causing a pressed or crunched sound. 

  4. "Pull" the sound out of the instrument horizontally to produce great resonance. Depth will come from step #1: finding just enough weight into the string. 

  5. Keep the right hand and fingers passive. No need to do anything “active” with the fingers. Just keep the hand inanimate (but still cushioned and responsive). 


Watch the video tutorial for a demonstration to see how I approach three-note chords on the violin to get power and depth:

To learn five tips on how to practice more efficiently and avoid the most common practice mistakes, feel free to download my free How To Practice Like A Ninja QuickStart Guide.

If you’d like to work with me privately on your violin technique, feel free to reach out to work with me through my Private Lesson Packages or get on the wait list for my next Violin Bootcamp.


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