Perspectives of violin pedagogy: A study of the treatises of Francesco Geminiani, Pierre Baillot, and Ivan Galamian, and a working manual by Jonathan Swartz
Swartz, Jonathan Ward
Barnett, Gregory R.
Doctor of Musical Arts
This paper presents an original working manual for violinists, building on selected pedagogical principles from eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and twentieth-century violin treatises. The pedagogical method at the heart of this manual is the conceptualization of various techniques by means of mental models. The idea or image of "hanging" the fingers of the left hand from the strings of the instrument is one such model whose purpose is to ensure a relaxed and flexible left-hand technique. Through the exploration of earlier treatises---those of Francesco Geminiani (1751), Pierre Baillot (1835), and Ivan Galamian (1962)---this paper illustrates continuity in the development of violin technique from the eighteenth century to the present day. At the same time, there is a fundamental progression in violin pedagogy demonstrated by these treatises that informs the approach taken here: earlier treatises simply provide brief statements of what the violinist must do, whereas later treatises, Galamian's in particular, present more detailed descriptions of the physical actions of violin playing while also exploring the correlation between the mind and the muscles. Mental models are used throughout this manual to facilitate that correlation between the mind and muscles by suggesting easily graspable images that in turn effect a desired result in technique.
Music; Music education