Artificial Harmonics On The Violin

Artificial harmonics, also known as false harmonics or flageolet tones, are a captivating technique that allows violinists to create celestial, bell-like tones reminiscent of a musical enchantment. If you really want to understand all you can about the violin, then just sign up for our Singapore violin classes instead which are all taught by professional violin tutors.

Understanding Artificial Harmonics On The Violin

Artificial harmonics on the violin are created by applying specific finger placements on the violin string while the bowing hand of the Singaporean violinist simultaneously produces the fundamental note. These placements divide the string into equal parts, resulting in overtone-rich, high-pitched harmonics. Unlike natural harmonics on the violin, which occur at specific nodal points on the string, artificial harmonics allow violin players in Singapore to create harmonics at any desired pitch, making them a versatile tool for musical expression.

Mastering artificial harmonics requires precision, practice, and patience. Here is a step-by-step guide.

  1. Finger Placement: Select the desired harmonic pitch by placing your index finger on the string, creating a light “stopping” point. The stopping point should be determined by the desired ratio for the harmonic (e.g., for an octave, place your finger one-third of the string length from the nut).
  2. Supporting Finger: Use another finger, typically the pinky or ring finger, to gently touch the string lightly, creating a “node.” This finger should not press down but merely make contact with the string. It divides the string into two vibrating segments.
  3. Bowing Hand: With your bowing hand, use a controlled and gentle bowing motion to draw the bow across the string between the stopping point and the supporting finger. The supporting finger should remain stationary while the index finger moves in coordination with the bow.
  4. Adjusting Pressure: Achieve the desired harmonic by adjusting the pressure of both fingers. Light pressure on the stopping point and a slight touch with the supporting finger are essential for clear, resonant harmonics.
  5. Intonation: Pay close attention to intonation. Artificial harmonics require precise finger placement to produce the intended pitch. Listen carefully to ensure the harmonic rings true.
  6. Practice Scales and Exercises: Start by practicing artificial harmonics on open strings and gradually incorporate them into scales and exercises. This will enhance your control and familiarity with the technique.

Artificial harmonics also open up a world of creative possibilities for violin players in Singapore.

  1. Melodic Enhancement: Use artificial harmonics to embellish melodies, adding a celestial quality to specific notes or phrases.
  2. Harmonic Chords: Create lush, resonant chords by combining artificial harmonics with fingered notes, offering a unique harmonic palette to enrich your compositions.
  3. Sound Effects: Employ artificial harmonics to produce otherworldly and atmospheric sound effects in contemporary and experimental music.
  4. Flourishes and Ornamentation: Enhance musical passages with shimmering, cascading runs and embellishments using artificial harmonics.
  5. Pedal Points: Use artificial harmonics as pedal points, sustaining high pitches while the music moves around, providing a sense of tension and release.