Anticipation is the key to virtuoso technique

February 27th, 2010

One of the key principles I wrote about in the AOV is fluidity. In the book, I explained how we can achieve greater fluidity through anticipation.

I recently received an email from Miguel de Maria where he pointed me to the following webpage in support of the concept:

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

TJ: You wrote, “Anticipation is the key to virtuoso technique.” What does this mean?

GM: If I play slowly I have time to prepare for the next action. If I want to play fast, I have much less time, so I have to plan much earlier, perhaps several notes ahead of the difficult point.

Let’s take a shift, for example. In order to shift successfully, I need to initiate a preparatory motion in my body and in my arm well before the shift actually occurs. The time between the first preparatory motion and the shift can be as much as one second. When playing a series of fast notes, I have to start preparing for the shift several notes prior to when it occurs, not just the note before. A common mistake is that students practice shifts in fast passages by endlessly repeating only the note prior to and after the shift. This is a waste of time. Success or failure is decided much earlier. One must practice the shift by playing the entire series of notes involved in the shift preparation.

(GM is Gerhard Mantel, author of Cello Technique)

Miguel also pointed out another example which supports another technical concept described in the AOV for Guitar.

In the book, I suggested that we anchor the “a” finger on the first string when playing the lower strings with the “i” and “m” fingers.

Here is Miguel: “on the DVD of Yamashita and Coryell playing Four Seasons, Yamashita does a fast im scale (Winter, I think) on the high E string. He plants his a on the b. I thought of that while reading your book, thought I’d pass it along.”

Many thanks to Miguel for providing me with these two pieces of info!

Leave a Reply