General Remarks on Technique

It is not            scientific.                      This method
will explain                    the violinist:

the arm,           the fingers, the brain                            and memory,
the “                   ”; the intention                       to master.

Fingers and                  arm obey                     memory,
reproduced      under               the impulsiveness                     of performance.

With                 exercise                       the brain and memory                           lie,
building up a logical whole—                          technique-psychology,

the picture                    preceding reason.

Complete mastery        means               to       scale                 the vertical.

On four strings,                        violinists                       oppose
rationale;                                              practice shifting                         the absurd.

Errors                                       are committed.

Thousands      are         taxed              to the utmost, exhausted           at times,
ruining their health;                 incapable of                  purity.

Their tone                                presents itself
as        part of this work.


Typical Exercises

All violinists                                                       should be used.
The simplest                may be executed.

Though it apparently never leaves,                   the guide
touches                        the variants of                                        all parts.

In simple and accentuated “                   ”                     the typical
is                      stopped           and the practice                        developed

to the highest degree.                           The parts
should be                     first                               the brain and the memory;

later,                                         the fingers, the arm
eventually                     the parts                                   in the lower half.


Clare Louise Harmon is the author of The Thingbody (2015/2018 forthcoming, Instar Books) and the chapbook, If Wishes Were Horses the Poor Would Ride (Finishing Line Press, 2016). Her work has appeared in Sixth Finch, Tammy, PANK, The Feminist Wire, Bone Bouquet, and the Cider Press Review, among others. She lives and works in New Orleans.

*These poems borrow language from The Artist’s Technique of Violin Playing, Op. 12 by D.C. Dounis. Dounis is said to have taught supplemental lessons in extended violin technique to the greatest violin virtuosi of the twentieth century, including, among others, Nathan Milstein and Jascha Heifetz.