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How They Really Played

A Fictional Interview With Leopold Auer 

A Guide To Violin Technique of the Early 20th Century

by Jon Poupore

THERE HAS ALWAYS been much interest in the playing of the early 20th century violin masters. Though such interest peaked at a time when a greater part of the population enjoyed classical music through live and recorded formats such as LPs and the radio, there has been a renewed interest that has built steadily over the past 25 years. I often poll my fellow violinists as to what they admire most about violinists such as Jasha Heifitz, Fritz Kreisler, Nathan Milstein, or Yehudi Menuhin. Though these musicians and countless others possessed their own idiosyncratic styles, one feature common to most of them was their ease of playing. They stood with such stillness: faces relaxed to the point of seeming disinterest; a left hand that allowed for an ever-present vibrato, lightning quick finger action, and agile shifts; and full use of a bow that could either stick like glue or fly on and off whether at the tip, frog, or somewhere in between.
--from the author's introduction to How They Really Played

In this concise, well-crafted book, Jon Poupore examines, explains, and illustrates many of the techniques used by legendary violinists.  Using the classic method of a fictional interview with the man who taught these techniques to the greats, as well as providing graphic illustrations, Mr. Poupore  has put these techniques  into the hands of every violinist.

JON POUPORE resides in Baltimore where he is a free-lance violinist, violist, and counter-tenor.  He also enjoys baroque performance practice on authentic instruments.   He is a native Minnesotan who started viola at 17 and violin at 27.   He holds a Master's Degree in viola performance from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.  He graciously invites responses from readers of HOW THEY REALLY PLAYED and can be reached at

  Copyright 2006 by Jon Poupore

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  These are in Letter (8 1/2in  x 11in)/A4 (210mm x 297mm).

Printing Hints

If you have purchased the downloadable version of this book, the best way to enjoy it is to print it.  It prints to letter size (or A4), and you can either print it on one-sided  or on two-sided pages. If you do the latter, you can punch holes in it, so that it can fit in a binder, or you can take it to a copy shop or a print shop, and they may be able to spiral-bind it.  This makes it very useful on a music stand. Another option is to use the Clickbooks software to make a book out of it.  This is best done if you have a large format printer (11 x 17 or A3) and can staple the spine (you need access to a long-armed stapler for this).  Clickbooks also can make a reduced-format book, allowing you to use smaller paper.