Playing a stringed instrument requires so, so many fine motor skills and attention to the smallest of details. One group of these skills involves the correct setting and lifting of the left hand fingers on the strings of the instrument. We often use words like, “curved” and “round” for the fingers themselves, and talk about placing the fingertips on their “inside” or “thumb-side” corners. All of this is to facilitate ease, accuracy, speed, and the ability to shift and vibrato as technique develops.
When I think of this aspect of technique in action, no better example comes to mind than that of Shlomo Mintz playing Paganini Caprice No. 5. The Paganini Caprices are known to be among the most difficult of violin repertoire for many reasons, each of the 24 with its own unique challenges. Speed is a particular challenge in Caprice No. 5, which Mr. Mintz makes easy work of in part by keeping his violin fingers curved, round, and close to the strings throughout the piece. Watch, learn, and enjoy!