Ivan Galamian (1903-1981) was one of the great violin teachers of the 20th century. He taught people like Perlman and Zukerman, as well as countless other professional players of today. This book sets forth the essentials of his method. The text was written by Elizabeth Green, herself a Galamian student and a noted author and teacher in her own right. But the ideas are Galamian's. The small number of pages (100+) is deceptive; every sentence is packed with information and must be read carefully lest some important feature be missed. Violin playing is a complex mental and physical activity, and to learn it well demands the ability to focus on many small details as one trains the ear and the hands. This book is not really intended to be a self-tutor so much as a reference for the teacher and the student who is advanced enough to understand what Galamian is saying. It is not for beginners. A beginner book might tell you where (approximately) to put your fingers on the string to get certain notes. This book tells you (in words and photos) what your finger looks like when it is on the string, what part of the fingertip is pressing on the string, how hard it is pressing, how fast it should be traveling as it hits the string, the musical effect of different methods of lifting the finger, and so on. And that's only a tiny bit of what is written about what the left hand and fingers do. This is followed by a complete analysis of the mechanics and musical effect of every conceivable bow stroke. Matters of bow speed, pressure and point of contact with the string are all considered in light of the effects they produce, along with many more ideas concerning placement of thumb and fingers on the stick, angle of bow to string, and more. The book concludes with an analysis of effective practicing and teaching. There is much useful material on the relationship between technique and artistic interpretation as well. The many excellent photographs and musical examples add a further measure of depth to the book.
One small quibble: I don't think he spent enough time discussing how to play in tune. What he does say is all correct--he mentions that one must "think the sound" of the desired pitch as well as mentally prepare the hand and finger motion--he is speaking of shifting--but thinking the pitch needs to be stressed more, I think, and extended to thinking the actual sound of a beautiful violin tone as well.
This is a book for teachers and players who are advanced enough to know the areas they need to work on. It is considered one of a handful of classic books on violin playing, which include the famous treatises by Leopold Mozart, F. Geminiani, and Carl Flesch. First editions of this book (1962) are scarce and cost anywhere from ..., which says something about its importance, I think.