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The Proper Position.

Some difference of opinion exists among violinists and teachers as to the proper position in which the player should stand when playing. The great majority contend that the player should stand on the left foot, with the right foot somewhat advanced, the left leg acting as a pillar for the support of the body. A few are of the opinion that it is best to stand on the right leg with the left foot advanced. Still others think it best to stand with the weight of the body equally distributed on the right and left legs, while a small minority contend that the common sense plan would be to shift occasionally from one foot to the other, especially if the piece being played is long and the one rigid position becomes irksome to the performer.

One famous violinist, I think it was Vieuxtemps, had a habit of placing his feet together, with the heels touching, and his weight equally distributed on the right and left legs. This position he would rigidly retain during the entire performance, his body swaying, however, at times under the influence of the music.

As the classical and most used position, advocated by the most noted violin teachers of history, is to stand on the left foot with the right advanced slightly, it is probably the safest for the student to assume. There would be no great harm done, however, if a violinist should assume one of the other positions, provided it were gracefully done and he found it more comfortable.

Teachers should insist that their pupils do their practicing standing, and not sitting. The bowing can be done much more freely when standing. Recognizing this fact, the rule obtains in several European orchestras for the violinists and viola players to stand while playing, even in the case of a symphony, lasting three-quarters of an hour or so. When Henry Schradieck, the Leipzig violinist, was engaged as director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra some years ago, he introduced the custom of having all the violinists in his orchestra in Cincinnati stand while playing. The custom was not generally adopted in this country, and there is no American orchestra, requiring it at present, as far as I know.

The position of the violin soloist on the stage should be easy and graceful, and there should be no frequent change of position, wandering around the stage, beating time with the foot, etc., all of which faults I have seen eminent soloists from time to time commit. A graceful position and grace in playing goes a long way with an audience, and often condones faults in the actual playing.

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