How to Master Double Stops | Online Violin Lessons

 

How to Master Double Stops | Online Violin Lessons

Many composers use double stops in violin music to create interest, add depth, and incorporate complex harmonies. Double stops are an intermediate-level technique and can be tricky to get the hang of. With a lot of practice and some tips from this article, you can start mastering double stops.

 

Types of Double Stops

 

Two Open Strings

This type of double stop is played by placing the bow on two adjacent strings, with the bow balanced evenly on both strings. No left-hand fingers are used.

 

 

Double Stop With Bottom Open String

Use one left-hand finger to play a higher note with a lower open string.

 

 

Double Stop With Top Open String

Use one left-hand finger to play a lower note with a higher open string.

 

 

Double Stop With Two Fingered Notes

Use two left-hand fingers to play both notes in the double stop.

 

 

 

Tips for Playing Double Stops

 

1 – Keep Your Hand as Relaxed as Possible

It is natural for you to tense up your hand and fingers as you are trying to achieve a proper double stop, but tension will only hinder your playing and could potentially cause you to injure yourself. Try to avoid any type of squeezing!

2 – Try Playing Open String Double Stops First

Open strings are fairly easy to play, and not using your left-hand fingers can help you focus on balancing the bow evenly between the strings (something that is important when using fingered double stops as well).

3 – Master Double Stops Using One Finger and an Open String

It is much easier to tune a fingered note to an open string than to another fingered note. Assuming your violin is in tune, you only have to tune one note (as opposed to two) when playing this type of double stop. 

4 – Tune Fingered Double Stops One Note at a Time

When using two fingers to play a double stop, it can be tricky to play in tune. Try tuning the bottom note of the double stop first (or the lower note) and then tune the top note to the bottom note. It’s important to tune in this order (lower note, then higher note) in order to properly tune double stops.

5 – Include Supplementary Technique Books

Going through a technique book can be an organized way to get comfortable playing double stops. My favorite double stop technique books are Preparatory Exercises in Double-Stopping by Sevcik Melodious Double-Stops for the Violin by Josephine Trott.

 

Conclusion

Mastering double stops can be tedious work, but working on this technique one step at a time and being patient throughout the process can help you get there. Being able to play double stops will allow you to expand your violin repertoire and enjoy showing off your advanced technique!

 

Do you want help creating a practice routine that works? Find my tips here!

 

Find digital resources to improve your practicing here.

 

Heather

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