Steven Staryk’s Collection of Fundamental Bowing Exercises and Calisthenics, available on this site in both English and French, were written as a companion to his Left Hand Exercises. In the Collection, Mr. Staryk’s original directions are in boldface, the commentary below being gathered from his classes and private lesson notes. All music examples have been added by the editor.
Mr. Staryk would make aware the futility of words describing bow motion, balance and direction. These exercises require a visual element to which he will attend to at another time.
Exercises 1 through 6 deal with preparation, finger placement and balance. Numbers 7 through 20 are largely the development of the “finger action” necessary for the bow change at the frog as well as for accents and advanced strokes. These techniques are combined and expanded in the remaining exercises.
There is a practicality and utilitarian value in even the most discomforting demands: the “scratch” exercise (No. 21) can be demonstrated at a school concert as well as a new music festival.
Each study contributes to the mastery of another: the disciplines interact and many are dependent with each other.
This collection comprises a thorough and rational contribution to the “right hand culture.”
Unyielding and disquieting are the ways of the Coast, particularly in the manner it bestows the weather upon its residents. Impervious to human plea or meteorological science, the Coast offers the elements as variants to its seeming immutability and to reinforce the notion that there is fickleness in all things.
And on the day of The Outdoor Concert, the Coast demonstrated a virtuosic prowess.
It wasn’t just a rainy day, it was a day when the air itself became a river. If one’s feet touched solid ground, it was only that gravity wished them an even more solid drenching. The musicians, some annoyed and some bemused, arrived at the community-by-the-sea (as that’s-the-way-things-were-done) expecting an on-site cancellation. Some musicians had entered onto stage, a portable shell sitting on the beach near the water’s edge.
The Coast began to show a distaste for a perceived imperfection of planning and the delay of the decision. The tide, cheeky and insolent, and certainly not consulted about the concert starting time, went about redefining the water’s edge until the stage was completely surrounded a new, briny audience.
“Let’s cancel the concert,” said the Decision Maker.
“I think some of the musicians are stuck on stage,” said the Union Representative.
“No problem. We’ll dispatch the bus to pick them up at the stage entrance.”
The bus got stuck.
“No problem. We’ll dispatch the tow truck to free the bus and rescue the musicians.”
The tow truck got stuck.
It started to rain harder. The sky and sea became the same colour.
The stuff of legends have it that the musicians were never rescued. They still wait in place for the downbeat that will never occur while The Cedar Coast determines the programme.
Available as a free download in the “Sheet Music” tab, the full, unabridged title is actually “Collection of Original and Other Exercises Compiled for Daily Use.” Mr. Staryk made use of these exercises to his students and classes for many years. They are complemented by right hand exercises, which are nearing completion for publishing on this site, with amplified text and a French translation. The exercises, digitally engraved, are faithful to Mr. Staryk’s system of notation and to the extreme brevity and clarity of his comments, with the exception of Exercise XII, written in full.
Violists please note that Exercise IX involves extreme extensions: marvel and observe, but avoid playing them! There are plenty of exercises for all levels and ages. I have found that young students, with little or no theoretical studies in music, and adult amateurs as well have difficulty in transposing. Thus the reason for for the transcription.
So, enjoy – er, get to work!
June 27, 2011
Welcome to all string players: students, teachers, amateurs and professionals!
Thank you for your interest in Cedar Coast Music. This site features technical studies and methodology for violin and viola, mostly beginning and intermediated levels, and will be fully operational by October 2011. The works, formatted for letter-sized paper, will be available for immediate download, with some free of cost. Interested buyerswill save on binding and postage.
The first volume, “Towards Strength and Agility”, offered without charge, is loosely patterned on traditional left hand exercises by Dancla and Schradieck. The works of these artist/teachers are published domestically (North America) and exist in viola transcription. These works are supplementary to the usual scales and etudes and specifically address moderate to difficult fingering combinations and their repetitions.
Future offerings will include bowing technique, shifting, rhythmic studies and the many other trappings and demands associated with learning and maintaining our technical abilities.