Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst and his Contributions to the Development of Left-hand pizzicato and Harmonics.

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Institutionen för musik- och teatervetenskap


From the middle of the eighteenth century, the use of left-hand pizzicato and harmonics began to become more common in violin playing. Over time, these techniques underwent substantial developments thanks to several different violinists, among others Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst. These developments, however, have not been adequately investigated or documented, and in general, ignorance and misconceptions prevail regarding who contributed what, as well as to the significance of these individual contributions.This thesis attempts to present Ernst's contributions in this area, and also advance that his lack of adequate recognition is unfair. In order to do this, a more complete and chronologically accurate review of the development of left-hand pizzicato and harmonics from the beginning of their development has been drawn up. This has been done through critical reviews and comparisons of different contemporary sources such as musical journals, violin methods and musical scores.The conclusion has been drawn that Ernst contributed to the development of left-hand pizzicato and harmonics to a greater extent than has been adequately recognised. The importance of his role in this development is partially due to the number of his individual contributions, but primarily because he enabled the violin to play the role of several independent instruments played simultaneously in a more advanced fashion, which has arguably changed the outlook of the instrument.

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