Revised Bowing and Fingering
Vln Books 1-3

Lindsay said: Aug 7, 2008
Lindsay LogsdonViolin
55 posts

*Moderator’s Note: This thread is for discussing the changes to the violin repertoire such as bowings, fingerings, articulations, additional etudes, the content of additional instructions, etc.

lindsay originally posted this in the very long Violin Revised Book 1 thread. That thread focuses mainly on the new layout, grammatical errors, and communication with Alfred, the SAA and the ISA. If you have comments about the layout, grammar, spelling, etc., please post in the old thread:


End Moderator’s Note*


I’ve got the new book in my posession now. First impression: colorful!
Immediately noticeable: There’s a lot of tiny writing in four languages on every page. (I’m not sure that I like this: although the content of the new directions seems OK, I’m wondering who it’s directed at? Trained teachers will be telling their students all these things anyways.) New pictures: nice (a definite improvement). CD paackaged with the book: nice (a few dollars cheaper than buying separately). To my ears the “B”s seem more in tune than in either Cerone’s or Nadien’s recordings (their “B”s always sound a little sharp to me, compared to their pianists—does anyone else think this?). Accompaniment tracks are nice too, unlike Nadien’s they are recorded separately without a violin track in the background. Glossary of terms in the back of the book is nice.

Disappointment: I thought from the website description that there would be a little more info about some of the pieces, such as where they came from originally, but it’s not there.

RaineJen—the website’s product description says “New editing of pieces, including bowings and fingerings”, which raises some questions for me. What has been changed, and why?

Lindsay—Violin teacher, homeschooling mama of four, small-time publisher

Jennifer Visick said: Aug 9, 2008
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

Hi lindsay,

If you are a member of the SAA, you can create a username and a password to access the members only section of the SAA website. There you can download a .pdf list of all the changes to the revised books 1-3. There is also a “recommended timeline” for integrating these changes.

As to what the changes are—for book 1, the changes are minimal:

Twinkle Variations:
Variation D is now the reinstated triplet variation
Variation E is now the sixteenths variation

May Song:
now no repeat

Happy Farmer:
measures 9 & 15, first two beats—bowing is a slur, not a dotted hooked bow

Now I can only speak for myself, but I believe that the reasons for changing the books are:

  1. Dr. Suzuki thought it was a good idea, and he set the revision process in motion before he passed away.

  2. There is a general sense that we ought to get a little closer to the original intent of the music, even if we are using arrangements for teaching purposes. For example, I understand the change in Happy Farmer more closely resembles the articulation in the original piano version. Another example of this would be, in the later books, the correction of wrong notes in the Bach Cello Suite transcription.

  3. There is a general sense that certain bowing conventions used in modern orchestras ought to be taught within the Suzuki repertoire. An example of this would be the almost complete reversal of bowings in the arrangement of the Bach orchestral suite near the end of Book 3.

As for new fingerings… there is some controversy amongst the Violinists That Be (in the international leadership echelons of the Suzuki community) about how soon to introduce 4th finger in the repertoire. (That’ll account for the “optional” 4th fingers early on in the revised book 1). I think there are some earlier introductions of shifting in book 2 and 3 also.

Plus, there’s a lot of “instructional” material (Text instructions, etudes, things which had been previously passed down orally in parts of the Suzuki community or passed down in other publications or in teacher training classes which, I think, the VTB decided ought to be written down.)


Lindsay said: Aug 9, 2008
Lindsay LogsdonViolin
55 posts

Thank you, Jen! That helps me out. I think I’ll pick up the new editions despite the horror of the interpretation errors and spelling mistakes.

Lindsay—Violin teacher, homeschooling mama of four, small-time publisher

said: Aug 18, 2008
 55 posts

Well, I picked up my copies of the newly revised books 1-3 and have been attempting to make some sense of the changes. While some bowing changes seem logical, others just don’t make any sense to me at all and feel all wrong. It would be interesting to know who made the changes and how the decisions were made.

Can anyone explain the logic of the changes in Book 2’s Beethoven Minuet? They have been easy enough to “reprogram” but I am wondering WHY?

Many of the book 3 changes feel so backwards and akward to me too. I don’t know if it is just a case of playing the pieces a certain way for so long that it feels weird to play another way, or if they really are akward changes. Perhaps time will tell…

Jennifer Visick said: Aug 21, 2008
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

It seems that the change from up bow staccato to legato slur helps to make the “echo” sound different, which is kind of nice. The previous version tended to lead me into thinking of the motif in smaller groups—as if the phrase is a group of 6 notes; the new version encourages me to think of a group of 12 notes instead.

I can’t see any other side effects of this change—any other thoughts?

On a different tack, I’ve been going through the Book 3 changes and noticed the editors suggesting a fair number of mordents in the Bach Minuet and the Bach Gavotte in G minor that weren’t there before. But there are no suggestions for decorations in Martini Gavotte, (which needs it, by the time you get to the second or third return of the “A” theme!). I wonder if a group class is expected to play all these as written? In a recital I would probably decide not to perform them every pass; perhaps on the repeats only. But I’m not an expert in Baroque practice. Does anyone know if the mordents are indicated in the original MS?

And then, if you’re going to do a group performance, and include the book 1 students, I suppose you just have the book 1ers play without ornamentation, as they’ve been taught.


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