Carl Flesch published his "System" for violin in the early 1920's and it became the standard work for advanced students and indeed professionals for decades, especially in Europe. (In America the distinguished pedagogue, lvan Galamian, published his authoritative scale book in the 1960's which became popular, particularly in the U.S. and Asia.) Flesch set out to provide a logical and practical manual for violinists to develop and maintain technique and it was unquestionably successful. Except that it wasn't quite as rigorously logical as he claimed. Two examples: his fingering for the single-stop 3 octave scale of G sharp minor has to begin in what violinists call the " half" position. Although elsewhere he criticises players for avoiding using the half position in sharp keys, justifiably, in this scale he gets out of the half position as soon as he can. Also hardly logical, when remaining in the half position is much more comfortable, until the pitch dictates a change of position, than struggling in his instruction to continue in the first position.
A second example of lack of fingering rigour is to be found in the double-stop scales in 3rds. The scale patterns, which are excellent, gradually take the violinist to the top of the scale but instead of completing the scale in 3rds he breaks down the pattern into 6ths thus avoiding the most demanding aspect of the exercise. These are some (not all) of the reasons why from my teaching I came to the conclusion that Flesch needed to be updated and developed further. One further point. Flesch includes all manner of bowings in the different keys. He rather cruelly provides the most complicated and difficult bowings on the most demanding keys. I have taken them out. Competent teachers will address the issue of various bowing techniques in their own way and without any left hand distractions. Carl Flesch Plus presents the scales in clearest possible outlines, not implying any stated rhythm or tempo, as made clear in the guidance notes but I have suggested some preliminary practise exercises.
My "CF+" is not intended as a substitute or replacement for the Flesch original but a supplement to it. Also to provide equal opportunity for viola players to enjoy scale practise
About the author
Mark Knight is Professor of Violin and Viola at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. A specialist in the historical development of string playing in the 17th and 18th centuries, he has developed an acknowledged reputation for his training of players of 'modern' instruments in the essentials of authentic performing practice.
A student of Professor Yfrah Neaman and disciple of Carl Flesch's technical principles, Mark Knight has past pupils in many of the UK's premier ensembles including the Academy of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, London Sinfonietta and the English Chamber Orchestra, as well as senior members of several symphony orchestras. Among his ex-students are established solo performers Philip Dukes and Lawrence Power. Both have been soloists in prestigious ensembles in BBC Promenade concerts at the Royal Albert Hall.