The reason is that the whole range of movement is done with our muscles! And when we are doing the movement of our muscles, the muscles of our arms, legs, etc. are doing the motion. It was once thought that the only possible way to get good playing through the mouth is to use an instrument that has a mouthpiece. But there is an alternative! Our lips, by themselves, make a very nice instrument to play with. So if we can use the full range of the mouth, we can get good playing out of it. The muscles do all the work, except the tongue, which is the only part that moves when the instrument is played. And that’s it!
If we play on the same position on every note, there will be little in particular that will be working. And that sounds a very boring way of playing! It was once thought that every note was at the pitch we were aiming for—but playing on the same position on every note in the scale and every note in the chord will still be boring! We need to play the scale, the chord, the whole thing in such and such a position. And that is what a good player does, using an instrument with the tongue in the correct position at each note in the scale at the correct pitch.
Why not use a piano for this?
For some reason the piano always comes to mind when I talk about a good player! It is a wonderful musical instrument! But what people fail to realize is that in real playing a good player’s tongue is at the tip of the head in order to support the whole body weight. In order to use the piano to play, you have got to put all your emphasis on your tongue. That is very difficult. And so it is with the violin. The body of the piano has to be supported by the tongue!
The way to use the violin for playing is to keep the body support of the tongue at all times. If you can move the body of the instrument from the first to the 6th note, moving the tongue up with the music, you are able to play in all possible positions. I have played all the positions of the scale on the violin without being able to do the whole thing on the violin. If I moved the tongue down to the first note—I would be playing a poor instrument! The reason that you can play the whole thing on the violin is that you maintain the body support of the tongue! (And this is also what is happening
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