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Mendy Smith

It is You-Know-What Week!

June 6, 2013 at 3:33 AM

Every year I play in the pit orchestra for a musical-comedy with the Houston Bar Association for charity. This year's theme is "Law of Ages". Think "Rock of Ages" mixed with the Oil & Gas industry. Thank goodness it is more about the brass and rock band than strings. With my house remodel going on, I barely have time to practice scales as it is!

Though the music is generally very easy this year for me, there are some unique situations that make this quite a challenge. First is playing a 1st violin part on viola.

On one piece the director wanted the string melody to come out more (which was in the 1st violin part). I played it an octave below at first, but was asked if I could do it at the same octave as the other violinist. I gave it a try and ended up at the very end of the fingerboard and nearly got a nosebleed for my troubles, but it was a keeper from the director's point of view. So 10th position it is then, for a measure or two at least.

On another piece, there were no string parts, so we were handed various brass and wind parts. After playing the first measure I realized that I was given the sheet music for a transposing instrument. I've never transposed on the fly before that day and had to consult with one of the trombonists to figure out what the "concert note" was. After some quick math, I figured if I played the piece in 2nd position and pretended that I was playing in 3rd position, I'd hit the right notes most of the time.

Playing viola is always an adventure. Some days more than others.


From Francesca Rizzardi
Posted on June 6, 2013 at 6:23 AM
That penultimate paragraph is hilarious, Mendy.
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on June 6, 2013 at 12:48 PM
After your recent blogs, I thought this one was going to be about "$h0uld#r r#$t" week!
From Mendy Smith
Posted on June 8, 2013 at 2:13 AM
Karen,

Exactly what I was going for... This coming week will be one of those sleep deprived ones, but fun.

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