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'Ricci on Glissando: The Shortcut to Violin Technique,' by Ruggiero Ricci, Edited by Gregory H. Zayia (Indiana University Press, with DVD, $34.95)

The book offers solutions to common shifting problems by using the study of glissando technique


The prolific violinist Ruggiero Ricci's career has spanned more than 75 years, during which time he is believed to have played more concerts and produced more recordings than any violinist past or present. Now he has released a book on left-hand violin technique that utilizes his wealth of experience. The book offers solutions to common shifting problems by using the study of glissando technique. As Ricci states in his preface, he uses Paganini's 24 Caprices as the basis of his technique; in teaching them, he offers a "shortcut" that is a one-finger, or glissando, fingering system. This fingering system was cultivated in the pre-chinrest era during which Paganini played, but fell out of use after the invention of the chinrest and has been neglected ever since.

Ricci makes an effort to address the new and old fingering systems and urges players to study the old system in order to truly master the fingerboard. Chock-full of notated examples and excerpts from the caprices, and reinforced with fingerings, exercises, scales, and text by Ricci, this book will encourage violinists to rethink their shifting practices. The music and text are easy to read, and pictures are occasionally included to demonstrate technique. The book includes a DVD on bowing and right-hand technique, although this guide is really for those who are interested in left-hand technique and the development of their shifting.

*This article appeared in Strings February 2009
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