FOR THE CURIOUS CELLIST

Neck Region: Doublestopped Exercises: No Shifting: Part 3

This page concerns the third level of preparatory exercises for the “Cossmann Doubletrills”. In the first level we used one finger fixed on one string while on the other string we used all the other fingers as well as the open string. In the second level exercises we used one finger and the open string on one string, while on the other string all the other fingers were used. Here now we will look at those two-string finger combinations that use one finger and the open string on one string, combined with any two other fingers on the other string. So in these third level exercises we now have the full coordination problems of the  “real” Cossmann exercises, but the whole is made somewhat less physically strenuous because of the use of the open string.

In the Cossmann Exercises without open strings (here) we only have 6 different possible finger configurations across two strings but on this page, in our Level 3 preparation with the open string, we now have 24 possible combinations (see table below). For each of these finger configurations there are eight different possibilities of finger orders. This means that there are a total of 24 x 8 = 192 possible variants which would need 24 pages if we were to write them all out with one page per finger configuration. If we then add the possibility of doing them all in extended position then we have a total of 384 possible exercises which would take up 48 pages. This is more than intimidating, for both the writer and the player, but is ultimately perhaps worth it. Some of these exercises are extremely useful, perhaps even more useful than the exercises without the open string. In fact I sometimes think that these little exercises have the equivalent value for our left hand’s technical training as the vital “missing links” that occasionally appear in evolutionary biology, archaeology etc. And another reason to write them out is that when we try and play them from the tables (below), it is easy for our brain to get all tangled up trying to rember the different finger-order variants. When we play them from the printed music our brains can just relax.

Here then, for the moment, are the first 16 of the 48 exercises, written out (notated) with all their eight possible finger orders. By using our brains a little we can save pages – here we have put 16 finger configurations on only 6 pages. The rhythmic patterns that we will use are the same as in the original Cossmann exercises and these same patterns can be used for all the different finger combinations. Perhaps later the rest of the exercises will also be notated (rather than just being presented in table form) to make using this material more user-friendly. All of these exercises can be done also in extended position.

   1st Finger and Open On Top String: 3rd and 4th (and 2nd and 4th) on Bottom

1st Finger and Open On Top String:  2nd and 3rd Fingers on Bottom

2nd Finger and Open On Top String: 1st and 4th (and 1st and 3rd) on Bottom

  2nd Finger and Open On Top String: 3rd and 4th on Bottom

3rd Finger and Open On Top String: 1st and 4th on Bottom

3rd Finger and Open on Top String: 1st and 2nd Fingers on Bottom

We can also present all this material in table form, which is much more concise than than writing each exercise out in musical notation. The following tables show all the different possible finger configurations. Each table also shows in which fingerboard positions each finger configuration will sound the best – in both extended and closed (non-extended) position – because with the open string, each position has a completely different harmony. Each finger configuration will sound unbearably dissonant in some positions while in other positions it will sound very pleasant. We will always try and use the pleasant ones! These “optimal” positions are indicated according to our chromatic numbering system (see Neck Region) except for the extended positions (for which the fixed note pitch is given). The first four tables concern the finger combinations in which the open string is on the top string, while in the last four tables the open string is on the bottom string. These tables can be printed out here.

In the notated examples, for each finger configuration we have chosen one position in which to notate each exercise but hey will also sound pleasant if transposed into the other, alternative positions as shown in the tables.

EXERCISE 3A: WITH OPEN STRING ON THE HIGHER STRING

TABLE 3A1: ALL POSSIBLE COMBINATIONS WITH 1ST FINGER AND OPEN STRING ON THE HIGHER STRING

HIGHER STRING

1   0

1    0

1    0

LOWER STRING

3    4

2    4

2    3

SOUNDS GOOD IN WHICH NON-EXTD POSITIONS?

8º, 5º and 2º
1st finger on F, D, or B
(if on A-string)

5º, 2º, and 1º
1st finger on D, B or Bb
(if on A-string)

7º, 6º, 4º, 3º, 2º and 1º
1st finger on E, D#, C#, C, or Bb
(if on A-string)

SOUNDS GOOD IN WHICH EXTENDED POSITIONS?

1st finger on E or Bb
(if on A-string)

1st finger on Eb or Bb
(if on A-string)

1st finger on E, B or Bb
(if on A-string)

TABLE 3A2: ALL POSSIBLE COMBINATIONS WITH 2ND FINGER AND OPEN STRING ON THE HIGHER STRING

HIGHER STRING

2    0

2    0

2   0

LOWER STRING

1    4

1    3

3    4

SOUNDS GOOD IN WHICH NON-EXTD POSITIONS?

7º, 4º and 1º
1st finger on A, F# or Eb
(if on D-string)

7º, 5º, 4º, 3º, and 1º
1st finger on A, G, F#, F or Eb
(if on D-string)

7º, 2º, and 1º
2nd finger on F, C or B
(if on A-string)

SOUNDS GOOD IN WHICH EXTENDED POSITIONS?

1st finger on A or F
(if on D-string)
*TOO HARD*

1st finger on A,F#, E or Eb
(if on D-string)
*TOO HARD*

NOT APPLICABLE

TABLE 3A3: ALL POSSIBLE COMBINATIONS WITH 3RD FINGER AND OPEN STRING ON THE HIGHER STRING

HIGHER STRING

 3    0

3    0

3    0

LOWER STRING

1    4

1    2

2    4

SOUNDS GOOD IN WHICH NON-EXTD POSITIONS?

7º, 4º , 2º and 1º
1st finger on A, F#, E or Eb
(if on D-string)

7º, 3º, 2º and 1º
1st finger on A, F, E or Eb
(if on D-string)

8º, 6º, 4º, 2º and 1º
2nd finger on B, A, F#, F or E
(if on D-string)

SOUNDS GOOD IN WHICH EXTENDED POSITIONS?

1st finger on A or F
(if on D-string)

TOO HARD

1st finger on A, F or E
(if on D-string)

NOT APPLICABLE

TABLE 3A4: ALL POSSIBLE COMBINATIONS WITH 4TH FINGER AND OPEN STRING ON THE HIGHER STRING

HIGHER STRING

4   0

4   0

4   0

LOWER STRING

1    2

1    3

2     3

SOUNDS GOOD IN WHICH NON-EXTD POSITIONS?

4º, 2º and 1º
1st finger on F#, E or Eb
(if on D-string)

7º, 5º, 3º, and 2º
1st finger on A, G, F or E
(if on D-string)

 6º, 3º, 2º and 1º
2nd finger on A, F#, F or E
(if on D-string)

SOUNDS GOOD IN WHICH EXTENDED POSITIONS?

UGLY EVERYWHERE

UGLY EVERYWHERE

NOT APPLICABLE

EXERCISE 3B: WITH OPEN STRING ON THE LOWER STRING

TABLE 3 B 1: ALL POSSIBLE COMBINATIONS WITH 1ST FINGER AND OPEN STRING ON THE LOWER STRING

HIGHER STRING

2    4

3    4

2    3

LOWER STRING

1    0

1    0

1    0

SOUNDS GOOD IN WHICH NON-EXTD POSITIONS?

7º, 4º and 2º
1st finger on A, F# or E
(if on D-string)

7º, 3º and 2º
1st finger on A, F, E
(if on D-string)

7º, 6º, 4º, 3º and 1º
1st finger on A, G#, F#, F or Eb
(if on D-string)

SOUNDS GOOD IN WHICH EXTENDED POSITIONS?

1st finger on A, F or Eb
(if on D-string)

1st finger on G or Eb
(if on D-string)
UGLY

1st finger on A, G, F or E
(if on D-string)

TABLE 3 B 2: ALL POSSIBLE COMBINATIONS WITH 2ND FINGER AND OPEN STRING ON THE LOWER STRING

HIGHER STRING

1    4

1    3

3    4

LOWER STRING

2    0

2    0

2    0

SOUNDS GOOD IN WHICH NON-EXTD POSITIONS?

7º, 5º, 3º and 2º
1st finger on E, D, C, B
(if on A-string)

5º, 3º, 2º and 1º
1st finger on D, C, B , Bb
(if on A-string)

7º, 6º, 5º, 3º and 2º
2nd finger on Bb, A, G# or F
(if on D-string)

SOUNDS GOOD IN WHICH EXTENDED POSITIONS?

1st finger on D or Bb
(if on A-string)

1st finger on B or D
(if on A-string)

NOT APPLICABLE

TABLE 3 B 3: ALL POSSIBLE COMBINATIONS WITH 3RD FINGER AND OPEN STRING ON THE LOWER STRING

HIGHER STRING

1    4

1    2

2       4

LOWER STRING

3    0

3    0

3    0

SOUNDS GOOD IN WHICH NON-EXTD POSITIONS?

5º and 2º
1st finger on D or B
(if on A-string)

5º, 2º and 1º
1st finger on D, B or Bb
(if on A-string)

7º, 4º, 2º and 1º
2nd finger on F, D, C or B
(if on A-string)

SOUNDS GOOD IN WHICH EXTENDED POSITIONS?

1st finger on Bb or D
(if on A-string)

1st finger on E, D, C or Bb
(if on A-string)

NOT APPLICABLE

TABLE 3B4: ALL POSSIBLE COMBINATIONS WITH 4TH FINGER AND OPEN STRING ON THE LOWER STRING

HIGHER STRING

1    2

1    3

2    3

LOWER STRING

4   0

4   0

4   0

SOUNDS GOOD IN WHICH NON-EXTD POSITIONS?

4º, 2º and 1º
1st finger on D, B or Bb
(if on A-string)

7º, 5ºand 2º
1st finger on E, D or B
(if on A-string)

4º and 1º
2nd finger on D or B
(if on A-string)

SOUNDS GOOD IN WHICH EXTENDED POSITIONS?

1st finger on D, C or Bb
(if on A-string)

1st finger on D or B
(if on A-string)

NOT APPLICABLE