Today’s article is quite exciting! Similar to yesterday’s article, this topic is inspired by the track we’ll listen to today, but not necessarily focused entirely on the piece itself. Today we are going to be talking about some of my favorite violin techniques: pizzicato, spiccato, and ponticello. Now I am not a violinist, so I am not a complete expert on this subject, but I remember really enjoying learning about playing techniques (for all kinds of instruments!) in my upper division classes in college. If you happen to be a violinist, please try out these techniques, and let me know in the comments how it goes! 🙂
Let’s listen to “Risky Romp”, which like many KHUx tracks, first appeared in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. In Kingdom Hearts Union Cross, “Risky Romp” is the battle music for the Dwarf Woodlands.
In “Risky Romp”, the violin uses two fairly standard techniques: regular bowing, and pizzicato. The pizzicato section occurs between 00:12 – 00:18 and 00:24 – 00:30—pizzicato is when the player plucks the strings with his or her fingers, rather than using the bow. It’s a much quicker, lighter sound.
Here’s a particularly flashy but great demonstration of pizzicato:
Now to get into other less common violin playing techniques that are not included in “Risky Romp”! There are many more extended techniques for the violin than the ones I will be introducing today, so please feel free to explore the great big, world of contemporary music to find out more! :3 First let’s talk about spiccato, then we will get into my favorite extended technique (which can be used for the cello as well), ponticello.
Spiccato is when a player, instead of bowing the string normally, lets the bow bounce off of the string. I’d liken this technique to staccato—though spiccato would probably be considered a more specific way of playing staccato. Here’s a great example of a student learning how to play spiccato.
That channel has a lot of great spiccato technique videos, from beginning to advanced 🙂
The last technique we will discuss today, my favorite one, is ponticello. This technique is when the player bows the violin very close to the bridge, to bring out the higher harmonics, achieving an ethereal, ghostly quality. Here’s what it sounds like:
And that’s it for today! If you know of more uncommon playing techniques for the violin, please feel free to share your examples and/or stories in the comments! ^_^ ♪
Stay tuned for more Single-Track Analysis Articles of tracks from Kingdom Hearts Unchained X / Kingdom Hearts Union Cross! One article every day in the month of April 2017!