ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Yuri Yankelevich and The Russian Violin School

Updated on April 15, 2019
dumdummy profile image

Tong Keat has an M.A. in Violin Perf. from MTSU, TN. He is currently a member of the Selangor Symphony Orchestra and Strettosphere Quartet.

The Russian Violin School

The Russian Violin School after the revolution in 1917 was little known to the West as few violinist were allowed to travel freely outside Russia at that time. The Hungarian violinist Leopold Auer, who taught at St. Petersburg from 1868 to 1917 left a strong legacy behind when he fled the Soviet Union. His former students and assistants who remained in the country continued his legacy and became part of the new Violin School that produced many successful violinists.

The Russian School is a broad term. According to Masha Lankovsky, it represents a combination of foreign and native elements over many centuries. Many people associated the Russian school with the Russian bow hold as described by Carl Flesch in his book "The Art of Violin Playing". However, there was no evident to that and Auer himself claimed that there should be no exact rules in how to hold the bow.

Yuri Yankelevich taught at the Moscow Conservatory. He started as an assistant to Abraham Yampolsky, who himself studied with Sergei Korguyev, a former student and assistant to Leopold Auer. Yankelevich's analytical nature and strong pedagogy intuition allowed him to publish some of the most important research on violin pedagogy. This article highlights two of his original essays published in the book "The Russian Violin School: The Legacy of Yuri Yankelevich".

Setting up the Violin and Bow Hold

Yankelevich's writings were never about setting rules on how to play the violin. Instead, they were in-depth studies on violin technique offering practical solutions by taking into account various possibilities and points of view. Yankelevich was fearless in calling out the flaws in the methods of notable violinists such as Ion Voiku, B.Mikhailovsky, and even Joseph Joachim. He argued strongly against the one-size-fits-all methods that tend to overlook many finer details. He described each component clearly, and at the same time drawing comparison between all violin methods. Compared to the earlier violin treatises, Yankelevich's works represent a modern research on violin pedagogy.

On holding the violin, he pointed out that the body needs to be free of tension. The human body is a unified system in which tension can spread from one part to the other. It is therefore important to observe the posture starting from the legs and all the way up.

For the upper body, he discussed on how the freedom of the shoulders depend on the head. A shoulder pad/rest can greatly aid the violinist in lightening the burden of the neck. He also highlighted the angle and the inclination of the violin. The angle of the violin that is improper (i.e. too far left or right) will make bowing difficult. Likewise, the inclination refers to how flat the violin is positioned on the shoulder. It should not be too flat nor too inclined as it will affect the left hand.

On holding the bow, he noticed that the position of the thumb in relation to the other fingers is a controversial issue. Some violinists preferred to place the thumb opposite the ring finger, resulting in greater pressure on the bow. While some others preferred it to be opposite the middle finger, which allows for more versatility in various bow techniques. The positions and functions of each finger, along with the wrist and arm were discussed further in this essay. It also covered issues regarding to bow angle, bow inclination, and tightness of the hair.

Maya Glezarova and Yuri Yankelevich
Maya Glezarova and Yuri Yankelevich

Shifting Positions in Conjuction with the Musical Goals of the Violinist

The second essay by Yankelevich is a thorough study on various positions on the fingerboard and the action of shifting. He drawed across different violin methods and concluded that any system of dividing the fingerboard into various positions is entirely relative to the musical context.

On the actions of shifting, there are many elements involved. Certain part of the hand plays the leading role in initiating the shift while other plays a guiding role. The position of the hand and its movement differs between the lower and upper part of the fingerboard. He also discussed in great length on how a one-point contact (violin supported solely by the head) or two-point contact (violin supported by the head and the left hand) affect shifting.

It was mentioned that shifting is ultimately a procedure between the ears and the hands. Established violinists have a well-developed reflex system where the brain has learned to associate the perception of the sound with the movement of the hand. Such ability to coordinate needs to be trained and cultivated over the years.

Another interesting part in this essay is the use of oscillograph to illustrate the ways of shifting by different violinists under different circumstances. It was observed that a shift using the same finger tend to start slowly and then accelerate as it approach the next note. There was also another observation where, despite the popular notion of shifting using an intermediary note, many violinists rarely adhere to that.

Apart from those, shiftings that involve double stops, chromatic glissando, open strings, and harmonics were discussed in this essay.

The Russian Violin School: The Legacy Of Yuri Yankelevich
The Russian Violin School: The Legacy Of Yuri Yankelevich

Besides the two original essays highlighted above, this book also includes writings on Yankelevich's method by his students - Maya Glezarova and Vladimir Grigoryev

 

© 2019 Goh Tong Keat

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)