Kato Havas' Violin Pedagogy

Updated on July 31, 2019
dumdummy profile image

Tong Keat has an M.A. in Violin Performance from MTSU, TN. He is the founder of Just Violin—a free resources site for violinists.

A New Approach

The left-hand and right-hand techniques for violin playing were often addressed separately. In a nutshell, the right hand / the bow arm, is reponsible for producing tone, varying dynamics, and managing rhythms and articulations, whereas the left hand is responsible for the accuracy of pitch and to do vibrato. Kato Havas, however, believes that in order for violin playing to become an expressive form of creative art, it requires a unifying control and co-ordination of all physical and mental aspects.

Her book, The Twelve Lesson Course, is a series of instructions and exercises for both beginners and advanced players to achieve the concepts that were presented in her New Approach to Violin Playing, which aimed to eliminate all forms of obstacles and anxieties faced by violin players.

The Twelve Lesson Course

Lesson no.1

When holding the instrument, Havas placed great emphasis on achieving the sense of weightlessness by swiftly "tossing" the instrument onto the shoulder. In the playing position, both arms are "hanging" in the air as the result of the support derived from the back muscles. This can be illustrated with an image of a see-saw with the arms on one end, and the back muscles on the other. Balanced posture becomes the fundamental to good violin playing. Likewise, bad posture is often the root cause of many difficulties experienced by violinists of all levels.

Lesson no.2 - 4

Using the concept of see-saw again, all bowing actions have their motivating balance in the back of the body, particularly the muscles connecting the shoulder blade to the spine. The upper arm is primarily responsible to initiate the movements. The down-bow should be a forward motion where the arm, with a few exceptions, should be completely straight forward from the shoulder at the tip of the bow. The forward motion from the arm also supplements the decreasing bow weight in a down-bow.

The up-bow is once again initiated by the upper arm, with the motivating balance in the back muscles. A swift "scooping" action from the upper arm inward against the body will help to raise the forearm and hand to bring the bow to the frog. This whole-arm movement creates the momentum to counter the increasing bow weight towards the frog.

The fingers of the bow hand, particularly the thumb, functions like the tip of a paint brush. While all bowing actions involve the arm, it is the fingers that ultimately give the sound its subtle shade and color.

"The violinist is that peculiarly human phenomenon distilled to a rare potency - half tiger, half poet."

— Yehudi Menuhin

Lesson no.5 - 9

Havas saw the left hand as an important aspect in producing good tone, on top of its role in managing intonation and vibrato. She believed that the quality of the tone depends on the "touch" of the fingers, like the piano. A proper left hand position allows the base joints to "throw the fingers forward" while the fingertips remain light and sensitive to adjust for intonation. The quick action from the base joints prevents stiffness in the contact and at the same time, allows for spontaneous and natural vibrato to follow.

Havas believed that the left hand actions should always lead the playing while the bow responds. Through the use of intermediate fingers (a term used for notes that are fingered but not played), violinists can develop a sense of security for intonation and allow for better co-ordination. Apart from that, Havas also emphasized on cultivating "inner hearing" by singing or hearing the note and relating it to the sensation felt in the base joints of the fingers before producing it on the violin.

Lesson no.10

According to Havas, all musical pieces are built on scales, and scales are built on intervals. It is important for violinist through ear training, to play each note not only in tune by itself, but also in tune according to the intervals before and after the note. Understanding the "tonal coloring" of each individual note within the scale is important to beautiful violin playing and scales should never be treated as merely a finger exercise.

Lesson no.11—Explanations and exercises on a list of bowing techniques including legato, detache, martele, and double stops.

Lesson no.12—Repertoire for two violins to practice on the concepts learned in the previous lessons.

Questions & Answers

    © 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, spinditty.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://spinditty.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)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)