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There are as many techniques in changing position as there are violinists, the rarest forms can be found in both beginners and the most famous violinists. Far from judging and qualifying the performer's conscious and unconscious choice, the commonalities in the human physiognomy allow us to find ways to make changes in position that may be more comfortable for the performer in general. The video to be analyzed corresponds to Elgar's violin concerto with the Berliner Philharmoniker with Pinchas Zukerman as soloist. The system used for the analysis will be the usual one, using the Kinovea software as a motion analyzer tool, which semiautomatically detects the movements on which we decide to focus. The reference points that we will take into account will be mainly the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumb and forefinger, using the carpometacarpal joint as the axis of the angle formed by these two ends. These three points will allow us to distinguish the position of the thumb with regard to the other fingers of the hand and the degree of the angle of the lower space between the hand and the handle, all at different points in time.


Zukerman usually places the thumb between the first and second fingers. This position is practical to facilitate the use of the fourth finger without having to make a pronounced movement from the metacarpophalangeal joint. This allows the little finger to be curved more easily since it forces the knuckle of the finger to get closer to the fingerboard. In this way, the same finger posture can be used for both faster playing and vibrato. All this is due to the fact that the point of support will be closer to the axis of the hand, equalizing the difficulty of movement in the lower end (first finger) and the upper end (fourth finger).

Image 1. Position of the thumb aligned to the first and second fingers

When changing position, Zukerman executes an independent thumb movement, both anticipatory and postponed depending on the direction of the shift. In this way he will avoid any friction during the movement created mainly by the point of contact of the thumb. He usually supports the violin in the middle of the distal phalange, having greater muscle mass and where greater friction is created. The opposite happens when placing the neck on the interphalangeal joint where there is less muscle mass. Friction can be almost zero, ideal for those who do not use a shoulder rest.

Image 2. Zukerman's point of balance

Image 3. Support point with less friction

We can distinguish four predominant ways of shifting in Zukerman:

1) In the upward shifting the anticipation of the thumb movement can be seen.

4. Position prior to the start of the shifting

5. Shifting movement

Image 6. Final position

2) On the contrary, in the downward shifting, a postponed movement can be seen.

Image 7. Start of the downward movement

Image 8. Beginning of the thumb movement

Image 9. Final position

3) Since this shape requires that the thumb "detach" from the neck, in short shifts, for example from fourth to third position, Zukerman leaves the thumb still while moving the other fingers independently (image 10 and eleven).

4) In specific cases, he executed a joint movement of the whole hand, including the thumb.

Image 10. Change of position with static thumb

Image 11. New position with the thumb in the same location

Descárgate el artículo completo aquí:

Zukerman shifting technique - Tomas Cuns
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