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6300538
6300538
6300538

The Dounis Collection

Opp. 12, 15 (two books), 16 (two books), 18, 20, 21, 27, 29, 30

By Demetrius Constantine Dounis

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Strings violin
Opp. 12, 15 (two books), 16 (two books), 18, 20, 21, 27, 29, 30. Composed by Demetrius Constantine Dounis. Perfect - A Hinge". Back To School. Instructional and Studies. Instructional book. With bowings, fingerings and introductory text. 303 pages. Carl Fischer Music #BF16. Published by Carl Fischer Music (CF.BF16).

Item Number: CF.BF16

ISBN 9780825858505. 9x12 inches.

Demetrius Constantine Dounis (18861954) was one of the most prominent violin pedagogues of the twentieth century. Dounis work in violin pedagogy extended to many areas, but there are two specific areas for which he was highly revered and influential in his own time and today. The first was his intense concern with the proper ergonomics of violin playing, for example, the horizontal and vertical movements of the left hand, the importance of muscular development and relaxation, the development of finger strength and independence in the left hand, and the proper means for gripping the bow in the right hand. The second area is his emphasis on the role of the brain, not the arms or the fingers, in proper violin practicing and playing. The eleven books in this collection are the most comprehensive collection of this master pedagogues work ever published.
Demetrius Constantine Dounis (18861954) was one of the most prominent violin pedagogues of the twentieth century. He studied violin privately in Vienna with Franti?sek Ond?ri?cek, a much-sought-after teacher who no doubt impressed Dounis with the significance of pedagogy, and simultaneously enrolled as a medical student at the University of Vienna. Following his graduation, he made several tours as a violinist in Europe and Russia. After World War I, he was appointed professor of violin at the Salonika Conservatory in Greece, and it was at this time that he devoted much of his energy to violin pedagogy and the publication of pedagogical treatises. He then settled in England and, facing the threat of World War II, relocated to the United States, first New York City, then Los Angeles, where he died soon afterwards. Dounis work in violin pedagogy extended to many areas, but there are two specific areas for which he was highly revered and influential in his own time and today. The first was his intense concern with the proper ergonomics of violin playing, for example, the horizontal and vertical movements of the left hand, the importance of muscular development and relaxation, the development of finger strength and independence in the left hand, and the proper means for gripping the bow in the right hand. This concern may have stemmed from his medical studies in Vienna and from his instinctive awareness of how the body worked best in violin playing. His deep knowledge of these matters made him a much-valued consultant by students and professional artists alike. The second areaone that is evident in numerous instances in his published collectionsis his emphasis on the role of the brain, not the arms or the fingers, in proper violin practicing and playing. In the General Remarks on Technique (p. 10) that prefaces The Artists Technique of Violin Playing op. 12, he discusses this at length: The true technical training of the violinist is not merely a training of the arm and fingers but, principally, a training of the brain and memory. The fingers and the arm should obey perfectly the intention of the player in order to be able to perform any movement with complete mastery. Later in the same essay he adds: What we call technique is nothing but a series of brain-reflected movements. The secret lies in building up these movement pictures into a rational, logical whole namely, technique. The eleven books in this volume, approximately one-third of his total output, were written and published between 1921 and 1946. Six of these books are accompanied by a subtitle that alludes to a scientific basis, although the exact nature of this basis and of science in general is never expounded in any detail (his remarks on the significance of the brain in violin playing may be a part of this). The worth of these studies is greatly enhanced by the ample amount of written material that Dounis provided to elucidate the nature and intent of the exercises. The reader will no doubt encounter numerous instances that illustrate Dounis unique knack for explaining complex performance concepts with a minimal amount of words. For example, his observations on shifting in op. 12 (p. 12) note: The whole mechanism of shifting consists in knowing how to connect the positions. Later in the same book, his explanation of thrown bow-flying staccato (p. 83) is equally laconic: The thrown bow is nothing but a spiccato with all the notes played with consecutive down or up bow strokes. The first book in this collection The Artists Technique of Violin Playing op. 12 from 1921 is the longest of the eleven studies and probably the most well known amongst violinists. He notes in the foreword to this study (p. 8) that the intent of this book is to clarify issues pertaining to violin practicing. The object of this work is to indicate a method of solving all the problems of higher technique of both hands, with the least possible expenditure of time and energy, and to provide definite suggestions for mastering all technical difficulties. Another intent, mentioned previously, is to explain the significance of the brain in violin playing. The Artists Technique is divided into two parts, the first of which deals with the left hand, the second of which with the bow. The seven sub-parts in Part I are: 1) shifting; 2) exercises for the highest development of the muscles; 3) how to practice scales; 4) the technique of double-stop playing; 5) chords of three and four notes; 6) harmonics; 7) pizzicato. The seven sub-parts in Part II are: 1) typical exercises for all bowings; 2) detache-springing bow; 3) martele-spiccato; 4) accentuated legato-firm staccato; 5) thrown bow-flying staccato; 6) thrown staccato-springing staccato; 7) legatosustained tones. Part I is by far the longer of the two parts, thereby confirming the significance Dounis placed on matters concerning the left hand, shifting, in particular. Dounis opens Part II (p. 78) by noting: The entire technique of bowing is based on the simple and the accentuated detache. When the bow is pushed or drawn without accenting the change of bow, it is called simple detache. It becomes accentuated detache when every stroke is vigorously accented at the start. These comments are accompanied by a diagram labeled Genealogical Picture of Bow Strokes, a brilliant schematic representation of how all string bowings are related to these two types of detache bowing. Dounis interests in developing finger strength are especially apparent in The Absolute Independence of the Fingers op. 15 from 1924. It is the first study in this collection to carry the subtitle In Violin Playing on a Scientific Basis. The Absolute Independence of the Fingers is composed of two books, both of which are included here: Book I focuses on the absolute independence of three fingers of the left hand; Book II of four fingers of the left hand. Book I continues with and concentrates in greater detail on four fingering movements introduced in op. 12: 1) the vertical or falling movement (trill); 2) the horizontal or side movement (stretch, chromatic passages); 3) the movement from left to right (left-hand pizzicato); 4) the movement from right to left (chord playing). Dounis contends that finger independence results from mastering these four movements independently and in conjunction (i.e., any combination of two, three or four of them). He itemized, somewhat dogmatically, the rewards to a daily practice of these exercises (p. 91): A careful and daily practice of the following exercises will develop the strength, solidity, surety and pliability and INDIVIDUALITY of the fingers of the violin player in such a phenomenal degree of perfection, that all difficulties inherent to the left-hand technique will automatically cease to exist The roles of the brain and of mental concentration are recapitulated in the foreword to Book I (p. 89): The object of the following exercises is the absolute independence of the fingersThey are of such a nature as to demand constant mental activity and the utmost concentration of the brain. It is impossible to execute any of them while thinking of something else. This advice should not be underestimated in these demanding exercises. In Book I, three of the four fingering movements noted above are combined in each exercise; in Book II, the longer and more involved of the two books, all four of the fingering movements are combined. Dounis wisely notated these exercises on two staves for ease of readability, the novelty of which might prove equally taxing on the brain as on the fingers. Preparatory Studies op. 16 from 1924 is likewise divided into two books, and likewise carries a subtitle alluding to a scientific basis. The first of the two books is composed of studies based on thirds; the second book of studies based on fingered octaves. Dounis motivation for compiling these exercises is explained in the foreword to the first book (p. 176): It is generally acknowledged that the practice of thirds is one of the best, if not the best, means of shaping the left hand to fingerboard requirements and of promoting a good position of this hand and a correct placement of the fingers on the strings. He later notes: Practicing thirds is the ideal means for promoting a correct position of the left hand; practicing fingered octaves promotes finger stretch through the stretches involved. The exercises in Book I are organized in three chapters. It is worthy to note that all of the exercises in both books are composed as melodic thirds and octaves, not harmonic thirds and octaves (the latter are given in opp. 27 and 30). Third exercises are written in varying positions, from first to tenth, with and without shifting for string crossings. Book II continues the same concept of Book I, though the emphasis is now on fingered octaves. In the foreword to Book II (p. 187), Dounis notes that: The one and only difficulty of fingered octaves is the stretch of the fingers: in every other respect they arecontrary to the general beliefmuch easier than thirds. The reason is that the setting of the fingers is less difficult in fingered octaves than in thirds, and that both fingers stop always the same interval, while in the case of thirdsexcepting chromatic passagesthere are major and minor intervals. Fundamental Trill Studies op. 18 from 1925 bears the subtitle On a Scientific Basis. The studies in this book elaborate in extensive detail on the first of the four movements introduced in op. 15: the vertical or falling movement of the fingers (trill). Dounis notes in the foreword to these studies (p. 218) that: The object of the following exercises is the development of RHYTHM and SPEEDthe two essentials of a perfect musical trill. The studies are organized in ten sections, each of which focuses on one of the four left-hand fingers and on specific melodic intervals (i.e., sixths, octaves and thirds). Parts IIV comprise single trills that work each of the four fingers. Parts VVII introduce double trills (sixths); Part VIII features octaves; Parts IXX conclude with thirds. The Violin Players Daily Dozen op. 20 from 1925 comprises twelve fundamental exercises for the left hand and the bow. Dounis planned these exercises as a means for keeping the player in technical shape by addressing different technical aspects of violin playing in each exercise, for example, horizontal and vertical movements, thirds, fingered octaves, intonation, tone production and left-hand pizzicato. Dounis themes of scientific principles, although again not explained in detail, recur in these exercises (p. 232): How much time could be saved; how much energy could be spared; and how much more profitable would the daily practice be if that feeling of ease, fluency and surety could be had AT THE BEGINNING of the days work instead of at the end, by practicing specific exercises for a few minutes composed according to scientific rules based on psycho-physiological laws. Later in the same essay, he emphatically notes the actual intent of these exercises: This is what the following exercises intend to do: TO GET THE PLAYER INTO FORM IN A VERY SHORT SPACE OF TIME AND KEEP HIM FIT FOR THE DAYS WORK. Two aspects of staccato playing are addressed in The Staccato op. 21 from 1925: the accented legato and the accented staccato. The collection is subtitled Studies on a Scientific Basis for the Highest Development in Staccato- Playing. In the foreword to these studies (p. 246), Dounis notes: Scientific investigation, along psycho-physiological lines, proves that the mechanism of staccato is based primarily upon the rational and thorough development of accentuation in EVERY part of the bow. He notes later (p. 247): To be able to execute it [staccato] at all times, in every part of the bow and at any rate of speed, i.e. to acquire complete, I would say absolute, mastery of staccato technique, the following seven points have to be considered and developed: 1) the accent (attack); 2) control of the bow before and after each stroke; 3) the accent during the drawing or pushing of the bow (simultaneous movement); 4) rapidity; 5) swift drawing or pushing of the bow and quick transfer of it from one part to another; 6) rhythm; 7) control of rhythm. Dounis insistence on accentuation in every part of the bow as the means for playing staccato inspired a notational novelty to indicate the exact position of the bow. On page 248 he includes a diagram of the bow and its division into six and eight equal parts, each of which is indicated by means of a fraction (i.e., 1/6, 2/6, 3/6 or 1/8, 2/8, 3/8 and such like). Certain exercisesthough not all of themthat follow provide these fractions as a means of indicating exactly at which point the notes are to be performed on the bow. Only seven pages in length, New Aids to the Technical Development of the Violinist op. 27 from 1935 is the shortest of the eleven studies in this collection. Nonetheless, it is replete with Dounis themes of scientific principles and finger independence. The short Introductory Note (p. 276) to the book states that It offers specific exercises, based on scientific principles, for the study and development of certain neglected phases in the technical training of the player: 1) the independence of the bow from the fingers of the left hand, and; 2) the study of thirds in such as manner so as, not only, to develop the third and fourth fingers but also to make possible the use of a new fingering for a smoother execution, without shifting, of short scales in thirds. The exercises under the first of the two phases feature scales in C and D major and arpeggios in A minor, A major, D major, D minor and F major, F minor, each of which is accompanied by a specific set of fingerings. The second phase features harmonic thirds (as distinct from the melodic thirds in Preparatory Studies op. 16), each accompanied, as before, by specific fingerings. Although trained and rooted in eighteenth- and nineteenth- century musical traditions, Dounis was mindful of developments in the music of his time, and of the need for performers to adapt their styles and techniques to the new demands posed by this music. Studies in Chromatic Double- Stops for the Violin op. 29 from 1942, likewise a short collection at only ten pages, proceeds from the viewpoint that performers will never be able to adapt to non-tonal music if their training is based exclusively on diatonic scales. In the foreword (p. 283) Dounis points out that: The purpose of the following studies is to train the violinist in the intricacies of chromatic double-stop playing on the violin. His objective is in response to the modern trend of music which is toward chromaticism and atonality, but the teaching of violin technique is still based upon the diatonic scale and its harmony almost exclusively. His second objective involves proper intonation: The acquisition of reliable intonation is almost impossible if the mind is not trained to visualize the fingerboard chromatically. For this reason all the exercises in the authors other works, with very few exceptions, are without key signature and are notated in such a way that they may be chromatically transposed. The exercises are composed according to the following melodic intervals: perfect fifths, minor sixths/augmented fifths, augmented fourths/ diminished fifths, major sixths/diminished sevenths/ perfect fourths, major thirds/diminished fourths, minor thirds/augmented seconds, and fingered octaves. The Higher Development of Thirds and Fingered Octaves op. 30 from 1946 abandons the recurrent theme of scientific principles, and introduces a new term as a synonym for study or exercise: formula. On p. 291, Dounis notes that this set of studies is the rational sequel to the authors Preparatory Studies, op. 16. They provide the means toward absolute mastery of thirds and fingered octaves. Like op. 16, this collection is in two parts, the first of which treats thirds and the second of which treats fingered octaves. The difference in op. 30 is that the thirds and octaves are harmonic, not melodic as in op. 16. Curiously, Dounis nowhere explains the exact meaning of the term formula in this collection, which might suggest that it did not originate with him.

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  • Ratings + Reviews

  • 5

    chelseaf
    Difficulty Level:
    Intermediate/advanced
  • August 10, 2018 The Dounis Collection

    D.C. Dounis was a genius with a keenly analytical mind and one of the most revered educators of recent previous generations. This collection is a valuable asset to any string player. Dounis knew and taught that good technique is a function of coordination of mind and body. Certainly he...

    was not the first to know and apply this idea, but, the exercises in this volume take learning coordination much farther than any others. Being both a very accomplished violinist, violist and mandolin player and also an MD (specializing in neurology and psychiatry), he brought all of his knowledge to his teaching and the exercises in his books. This collection gives us valuable tools toward helping us overcome technical difficulties as we confront them. My only criticism of the collection is that it is not complete. The books which are left out also have value; adding them to future editions or publishing them in a second volume would be much appreciated.

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  • 5

    Koulou
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Difficulty Level:
    Advanced
  • October 10, 2011 Perfect book reference

    The book is in great condition and of cource is one of the most important book in violin technique.

    16 of 28 people found this review helpful.
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  • 5

    Stephen Shipps
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Difficulty Level:
    Advanced
  • October 31, 2006 Irreplaceable exercises

    The collection of 11 Dounis etude books should be the basis of any advanced violinist's daily study. In my opinion, this ranks with the works of Paganini, Sevcik, Ricci and all of the famous etude books of the 18th and 19th centuries.

    27 of 50 people found this review helpful.
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