Ask Harry Wimmer
Q & A #1
How to make chords ring.

Q. How can I play a succession ofchords without choking or scratching?

A. A good repertoire example comes to mind: look at Menuetto I of Suite No. 2
in D Minor by Bach, meas. 7
Menuetto I from Solo Cello Suite No. 2 in D Minor by J.S.Bach

First, the Musical Context:
Dance-like, robust, chords well separated (but stillnote values)

How to Make the Chords Ring:
With bow well balanced horizontally and poised about 3 inches
above and to the left of the strings,

1. let arm drop unto the middle string and rebound to its
starting point in the air, each time describing a counter-
clockwise oval.
Bow poised in air ready to drop on the strings

2.As the bow drops down on the strings,
it creates the illusion that all three strings
are played simultaneously.
  3. Stay near the fingerboard, where the middle string can be depressed
more easily by the bow hair. The speed of the downward drop is much greater
than the rebound. All the more reason to stay near the fingerboard
for a more resonant sound during that brief contact.

Bow Speed as one of the inter-related right hand Tone Factors is discussed
at length in
The Joy Of Cello Playing, Master Lesson 5.
Master Lesson 5 available online from:

4. Finally, the A Major chord in meas.8 could be made to resonate like this:
a. Strike the bottom 2 notes (A&E) from the air.
b. Roll to the A&D strings and sustain them, dropping the G String note "A."


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