The follow-through redux

December 9th, 2011

As a concept, the follow-through has never made any sense to me.

Why carry on the stroke after you’ve already plucked the string? Once you’ve plucked the string, any movement after that is superfluous.

It also has an inherent flaw. It changes the target of the stroke from plucking the string to carrying the finger to some imaginary point beyond the string.

This runs counter to a principle that is at the heart of an effortless relaxed stroke (and of the AOV) and that is to release all energy the instant you pluck the string.

In other words, the moment of plucking must be the moment of release.

So where did I derive the principle? Mostly from practice, but also from observation. You don’t have to take my word for it, however. If the follow-through is working well for you, more power to you.

But if you’re looking for ways to relax your strokes, try the technique out. At the moment of impact, relax all tension in your fingers. I guarantee you’ll like the feeling of relaxation this produces in your fingers.

It’s no secret that I was heavily influenced by John Williams. Here’s a video of him playing Recuerdos which I have posted in an earlier blog.

Watch his fingers at 1.51 in the video. Note how little movement there is in his knuckles and the equally minimal follow-through in his fingers. But most importantly, note also the trajectory of his fingers, upward rather than inward (into the palm).

Here’s an old article about this very same topic in my archives:

The follow-through.

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